The 2021 NASBITE International Annual Conference the organization’s “Advancing International Trade Award” winners were honored for their dedication and service in advancing international trade. The award also recognizes the winners’ leadership and commitment to improving the practice of global business on a state or regional level. The 2021 honorees were:
- Katy Sinnott, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) – Sinnott is vice president, Global Trade & Investment Division – State of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Her strategic management and tactical approval have positioned Wisconsin and its exporters to be fully engaged participants in export development and global trade. Sinnott has streamlined the structure of international business development operations to provide higher level services to businesses at minimal investment. She emphasizes an approach to growth in multiple aspects-exporting in some markets, licensing or partnership in others, and sales/service facilities as growth merits in other foreign markets. Sinnott has also created a holistic approach to trade by more fully integrating foreign direct investment for equal treatment in the state’s efforts. Sinnott leads her team along with 16 trade reps for assistance in 82 different countries. During her tenure since 2014, trade venture attendance has grown more than 400 percent and, foreign direct investment along with business attraction have been added to her responsibility scope. Programs of note that have benefitted from Sinnott’s oversight include the Global Business Development Grant program that helps Wisconsin companies accelerate their export efforts. This program has awarded more than $6 million to Wisconsin companies. The ExporTech program has grown to serve 234 companies create their export strategies for over 200 different countries.
- Academic Cohorts, Ohio Export Internship Program – Through a collective effort across Ohio, four universities serve as academic cohorts to prepare graduate and undergraduate students with the technical skillset needed to succeed in a career of global trade and commerce. The Ohio Export Internship Program (OEIP) provides an export-focused course that enables students to analyze a company’s export readiness and contribute to the development of a company’s export strategy. Students apply learning from the OEIP course to successfully complete a summer internship with a small to medium-sized Ohio company. Finding the time to focus on developing a new market is a challenge for many small businesses so OEIP was designed, in collaboration with the Ohio Development Services Agency, to help businesses overcome this challenge by matching them with highly motivated and well-trained students from Ohio universities and colleges across the state who have completed this export-focused curriculum. Additionally, students develop a keen understanding during the course of how to work with a real client on a rigorous project, as well as establish a network of subject-matter experts who participate in this unique learning environment. Students participate in the NASBITE Student Pathway Program and are then prepared to pass the CGBP exam. The overall mission is to help close the skills gap between Ohio companies that need trained employees and students who have developed those critical global business skills. The OEIP program has succeeded in training students in the fundamentals of exporting, and by placing them with companies to apply this knowledge to real global business needs. They are making an impact on Ohio’s economy by creating new jobs, developing new global markets, and finding new distributors or customers for more than 200 Ohio companies.
- Center for Global Business, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland – The Center for Global Business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, is a Title VI CIBE center and has long been involved in supporting the export community and providing opportunities for students, faculty, and industry alike to gain the skills and capabilities necessary to compete successfully in the global marketplace. In response to the challenges presented by the pandemic, the Center developed several innovative and impactful programs to support local companies in overcoming them. The Center’s Global Marketing Virtual Internship program was created in response to the needs of local exporters, who were prevented by the pandemic from traveling to meet their international clients, participating in international trade shows, and establishing new relationships with distributors and customers. Believing in the power of eCommerce, the Center developed a curriculum designed to enable pairs of interns to be deployed to support local companies in social media marketing, website globalization, search engine optimization, marketing analytics, market research, and more. The Center administered the hiring and payment processes and partnered with the Maryland Department of Commerce to direct funds from the ExportMD grant to participating companies. In the first summer of the program, the Center placed 22 students at nine Maryland companies.