Posted at 1:29 PM
Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to the Open for Business Agenda.
Guest blog post by Gabriela Morales-Richards, Business Development Specialist, Minority Business Development Agency
I lead the Agency’s business development efforts for U.S. firms interested in doing business in Latin America. I ensure there are sustainable nation-wide strategies that our Business Development Centers and clients can benefit from to better access and penetrate international markets. The work is a lot of fun and excitement, especially when I get to deal with Mexican and Latin American institutions and have the pleasure to speak to them and transact in my native language, Spanish. In my fourteen year professional career, I have observed that there is better rapport with colleagues and understanding when you speak in their language and understand their culture.
I was born in Mexico City to later move with my family to Laredo, Texas. In this border town, from a very young age, as I saw commercial inland crossings, I understood the importance of not only keeping close ties to the neighboring country, but also the economic impact to these communities, and the positive domino effect to their entire nation. In those years when my curiosity and interest for commerce started, I knew there were better vehicles to increment international trade that would in turn create a more robust economy.
In my quest to enhance trade between both countries, I sought for an educational program that would provide me a strong backbone and synchronized academics. In 2013 I obtain two Masters in Business Administration. One delivered as a Global Executive program by Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and the McDonough School of Business in Washington, DC. The second MBA delivered by ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. The global curriculum of these programs provided intensive on-site experiences with a cohort of global executives in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, India, China, and the U.S. My individual master thesis: Taking the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Further: In-land Commerce and Transportation of Goods between the United States and Mexico truly complemented my career experience at the US Department of Commerce with my life-long commitment to work on easing binational relations and business transactions between Mexico and the United States.
When I talk to younger Latinas, I tell them to follow their dreams and never think that they are not adept to take on a particular career or job. A great mentor of mine is a former boss, Patricia Taylor, whom as a Latina, empowered me with the necessary tools to execute global programs and believed I was capable of anything I set myself to do. To me, that is what Hispanic Heritage Month is all about: a reminder for all of us to help out younger generations. To never forget where our families and ancestors came from and to really pave the path for those who are just about to conquer the world. My advice to young Hispanic Americans is that it does not matter how much you accomplish on your own, but rather, how many people you helped on your way to success.