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Spotlight on Commerce: Sherri Curtis-Lattisaw, Administrative Specialist, SelectUSA, International Trade Administration

Guest blog post by Sherri Curtis-Lattisaw, Administrative Specialist, SelectUSA, International Trade Administration

I am an Administrative Specialist at the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA). Within ITA, I work for SelectUSA. SelectUSA's mission is to facilitate a job-creating business investment into the United States and raise awareness of the critical role that economic development plays in the U.S. economy. My responsibilities vary from day to day, but ultimately, I ensure that the SelectUSA program is operational. For example, I serve as the purchase cardholder, and I prepare travel for the Executive Director and staff. I ensure that policy and procedure for travel are adhered to by the staff. Regularly, I assist in any way I can to ensure that the yearly SelectUSA Investment Summit, one of the Department of Commerce's largest events, is a success. I consider my job as essential as it ensures that my colleagues can accomplish their own jobs knowing that I will successfully handle the administrative processes.

As a native Washingtonian, I have served for more than 30 years in the Federal Government throughout Washington, D.C. For the last twenty years, I have served at the Department of Commerce, which has allowed me to work alongside an awesome group of people. Working with these fellow civil servants has helped me understand how the International Trade Administration (ITA) connects to the world and the critical role we play as civil servants in attracting foreign direct investment in America. Many years ago when I was a staff member of the Advocacy Center, I had an unexpected opportunity, where I met the Minister of Energy while hosting an international delegation from Kuwait. My task was to accompany the delegation to the Occidental restaurant. It was very exciting, and it was an experience I will remember fondly.

I grew up in Capitol Heights, Maryland, where I attended Maple Springs Bible College and Seminary with a focus on Theology. My studies afforded me the opportunity to serve as a minister at Christ Kingdom Church (CKC) in District Heights, MD, where Bishop David T.P. Perrin is the Senior Pastor. In February 2018, Bishop Perrin appointed me as the "International Coordinator for Boundless Ministries" (which is the umbrella for CKC), a position that requires a great deal of my free time. In this position, I coordinate with our international delegates where we plan the International Missions Conference (IMC) for the Ministry. The first IMC was held in Eldoret, Kenya, in 2018; However, in 2020, we had our first virtual IMC with our Ugandan host due to COVID-19.

As an African American woman, February is the month that provides insight into the struggles that my ancestors and forefathers had to endure. They made it possible for me to have a federal job, to reach for the stars, and to have hope in becoming anything that I desire to be!

For those reading this feature, I would like to share my favorite quote from the 37th President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, at his inauguration:

"There is nothing to fear but fear itself"

I would like to encourage today's youth not to allow F.E.A.R (False – Evidence – Appearing – Real) to hinder them in succeeding and becoming the best version of themselves. Don't allow fear to keep you from pushing past your circumstances, the color of your skin, or any obstacle that would hold you down, but to shoot for heaven, and should you miss, you'll be among the stars!

Editorial Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce African Americans during Black History Month.