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  • Monday, November 29, 2021 9:12 AM | Anonymous

    OWIT-Toronto’s November webinar on The Global Supply Chain Grinch that Could Steal Christmas attracted record participation. It featured logistics expert Christian Sivière of Solimpex who gave an insightful presentation analyzing the causes, the impact on businesses and consumers, as well as exploring some remedies as the world slowly emerges from the pandemic.

    Here are some key take-aways on the causes of the supply chain disruptions and actions that can be taken to mitigate them:

    • The pandemic shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) mainly manufactured in China, the blockage of the Suez Canal by a huge container ship for a week, and now the recent events in BC that have destroyed some bridges and rail lines have all contributed to the heightened awareness of the importance of the supply chain and to create shortages of commodities and products.
    • The slow-down in production during Covid, the shortage of inventory when demand picked up, the resulting price increases, changes in consumer buying patterns, labour shortages, port congestion and huge increases in shipping costs have all combined to cause supply chain disruptions.
    • E-commerce growth is another contributor to both supply chain issues and environmental damage. The more we purchase online, the more we contribute to global warming (free shipping/free returns contribute to over consumption and waste, to high carbon emissions because of more trucks on road, and to congestion at ports.)
    • There is a huge economic impact when supply chain disruptions cause a shortage of products (eg. semi-conductor shortage for autos which means less vehicles at dealers).
    • Companies have to bite the bullet and rebuild inventory, which forces them to stock products earlier – now it is a Just in Case concept rather than Just in Time, which increases costs.
    • Trend: Many companies are starting to source locally (ie regional supply chain vs global supply chain) but this can be easier said than done if there is not supply.
    • Strategies for mitigating supply chain disruptions:
      • If it is not possible to buy local, at least try to build a regional supply chain – eg buy from US or Mexico rather than China.
      • Stock products earlier but reduce inventories to match sales patterns.
      • Buy from local merchants rather than online.
  • Monday, November 29, 2021 9:06 AM | Anonymous

    The Women-in-trade G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (YEA) Canada Panel and Networking Event, presented by Futurpreneur in partnership with EDC and OWIT-Toronto on 2nd November, brought together women delegates of the 2021 Canadian G20 YEA delegation and G20 YEA alumni as well as members of OWIT-Toronto, from a variety of regions and sectors. Held in the context of the G20 YEA 2021 Hybrid Summit which took place in Milan in October 2021, the session offered insights on international trade opportunities and the advancement of women in international business. It also provided an opportunity for young women entrepreneurs to connect and uplift each other, share common challenges and learn more about the solutions and services available to support their trade and export goals.

    The panel included Audrey Charles, 2021 G20 YEA delegate and founder & CEO of Convenient Business Solutions Inc.; Jennifer Cooke, Director of Inclusive Trade at EDC; Audrey Ross, Logistics & Customs Specialist at Orchard Custom Beauty, and moderator & President of OWIT-Toronto, Helen Hemmingsen. The panel discussion focused on experiences and data driven research on the current barriers women continue to face in trade and export from an intersectional and intersectoral perspective. While Audrey Charles highlighted her experience and learnings as a tech founder with multinational experience before and during the pandemic, Audrey Ross offered insights into navigating global supply chains in times of disruption and the importance of women-driven networks including OWIT-Toronto. Jennifer Cooke showcased insightful results of gender-driven research led by EDC and observations on export trends and gaps.

    The panel discussion was followed by a networking session where participants were able to connect and exchange on key take-aways around inclusive trade and its impact on economic recovery. The importance of accessing supportive networks and connections and sharing of resources and experiences were key takeaways from the panel and networking sessions.

    For more information on:

    EDC’s Women in Trade: https://www.edc.ca/women-in-trade

    OWIT-Toronto: https://www.owit-toronto.ca/

    Futurpreneur: https://www.futurpreneur.ca/en/

    G20 YEA: https://www.futurpreneur.ca/en/landing-pages/g20-yea-2021/

  • Wednesday, August 18, 2021 10:07 AM | Anonymous

    We are looking for new board members to join our team.

    This is an exciting opportunity to develop board governance skills for non-profit organizations. New board members will draw on a range of experience, talents and a keen interest in international trade and/or women's economic empowerment. No previous experience needed. You will develop new skills in areas like: board management, organizing and hosting virtual/hybrid events, trade policy development, and communications (website design and newsletters).

    Board members are elected at our AGM on January 26, 2022.

    You'll need to be a member of OWIT-Toronto, and can join within ten days of being elected. See our membership page for benefits and rates. If you're not a member, but are interested in this voluntary role, contact Helen Hemmingsen or Carolina Soto to discuss further. Current listing of board members and their roles can be viewed at: www.owit-toronto.ca/board_members




  • Wednesday, July 07, 2021 4:46 PM | Anonymous

    OWIT International just held its second Blue Table Talk in June. Hosted by VP Chapter Support Karen Bland, these informal monthly talks with past and present OWIT leaders are informal opportunities designed to give OWIT members the opportunity to relax while chatting and sharing information, tips and strategies to strengthen OWIT chapters.

    The topic for the first session in May was “Leadership Matters” where OWIT chapter leaders and members discussed what qualities make a good leader, how to effectively recruit board members and how to handle tough conversations related to underperformance. The topic for June focused on ‘How to leverage OWIT partners” which was an opportunity to learn about how to benefit as a member from OWIT’s various partners and how chapters can help market and promote partnership benefits. Special guests included Angela Hoffman, Co-VP Partnerships, and Cortney Morgan, Co-VP Partnerships.

    Summary of OWIT Partnerships:

    • US Department of Commerce: This is the second year of a strategic partnership with the International Trade Administration of DOC. The collaboration is focused on three elements: empowering and engagement in international trade, expanding networks and offering opportunities to drive new members to OWI. As part of the agreement, they help OWIT on the education front. They have conducted quarterly webinars on timely topics (eg on USMCA) and provide subject matter expertise as speakers for OWIT events. DOC has desk officers around the world. They have started a series to help women in other countries, such as a Coffee Series in Africa, and are helping OWIT expand our footprint in Asia. Their website is a sea of great info. 
    • NASBITE: National Association of Small Business and International Trade Educators. Offering a professional certification called the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) for international trade professionals, NASBITE concurs with OWIT’s mission in terms of empowerment and education. They offer a discount to OWIT members. 

    There is a great opportunity to tap into NASBITE and DOC as a speaker bank for chapter programs.

    • FIIT: The Forum for International Trade Training. They are a certification and training organization based in Canada dedicated to providing international business training, resources and professional certification (CITP – Certified International Trade Professional for individuals and businesses. They have several offerings including a Trade Ready blog, Twitter chats, FITT skills training programs, all offered at a discount to OWIT members. 
    • TFO Canada: Trade Facilitation Office Canada is dedicated to helping SME exporters (particularly women) in developing countries to access the North American market and to connect them with buyers. They provide education, webinars and capacity building programs. 
    • GroYourBiz: helps small and medium sized businesses to reach their potential and success. They set up advisory boards for entrepreneurs. 
    • ITC in Geneva: International Trade Center (www.intracen.org) offers opportunities for entrepreneurs to plug into a global networking database and receive exporting assistance. Check out their SheTrades initiative

    How to find out about partners: There are partner spotlights from past webinars recorded on the OWIT website. Updates on these and other partners are also included in OWIT’s newsletter and in monthly board meetings.

    OWIT members are encouraged to take advantage of our partners, and Angela and Cortney welcome suggestions for new partners. Email to vp-partnership@owit.org .

    Next Blue Table Talk session will be held on July 23 at 12 pm, focusing on how to use social media to promote and grow your chapter. OWIT’s VP of Social Media, Kyesubire Talitwala-Greigg, and Past President Jennifer Diaz will be the guests.

  • Wednesday, July 07, 2021 4:38 PM | Anonymous


    OWIT’s International network just got larger with the addition of its newest chapter in the United Kingdom (www.owituk.org) . Marked with a high-energy virtual launch on June 23 and an impressive panel of high-level speakers, the event attracted a large turnout of global participants from the UK and representatives of OWIT chapters from other parts of the world. They included OWIT-Toronto President Helen Hemmingsen and VP International Susan Baka, as well as OWIT International’s President Camelia Mazard who welcomed UK into the OWIT fold.

    Noreen Cesareo, OWIT UK’s President, called the launch a milestone event that was a year in the making but “well worth the effort”. “We are delighted to be supporting the launch of OWIT UK,” said guest speaker Chris Southworth, Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), UK. “It's perfectly timed as we scale up trade initiatives, tackle inequalities, modernize the trading system and importantly build back better.” Another guest speaker was Ambassador Stephen DeBoer, Permanent Representative of Canada to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, who outlined Canada’s various initiatives to promote women and trade, which include introducing gender chapters in several free trade agreements. Others lauded Canada for our trailblazing efforts.


    “Wow – what an event!” says Helen. “And it was great to see so many shout-outs to Canada.”

    “I’m thrilled to see a UK chapter get off the ground…and with a truly impressive group of accomplished women at the helm who are so knowledgeable and passionate about trade,” adds Susan. “Our Toronto chapter looks forward to potential collaborations down the road.”

  • Wednesday, July 07, 2021 4:22 PM | Anonymous

    In conjunction with a virtual trade mission to Toronto, OWIT Monterrey held a business conference program on June 22 and June 24, supported by OWIT Toronto. The event covered trending topics in the automotive and IT sectors, investment, and logistics and legal implications in Canada and Mexico.

    Sandra Shaddick, Consul General, Consulate General of Canada in Monterrey, kicked off the event, along with Helen Hemmingsen, President of OWIT Toronto Chapter, and Carolina Leal, President of OWIT Monterrey.

    Here is a summary of the presentations:

    Canadian Perspective Automotive

    Speaker: Rhonda Barnett, President, AVID Manufacturing

    • Canada is one of the world's top 10 producers of light vehicles. Its auto sector contributes $19 billion to GDP and directly employs over 125,000 of the 1.7 million workers in the Canadian manufacturing sector.
    • Manufacturing in Canada is the second biggest sector after oil and gas, working together with the US and Mexico to be a tremendous global trading block.
    • In 2017 there were just under .5 million women working in the sector
    • Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) launched the We can do it campaign, with the goal of adding 100,000 women to the sector in five years. We already added about 40,000 women to the sector in 18 months.
    • If the national childcare strategy committed to in the spring budget comes to fruition, providing very affordable childcare in Canada, it will mean that more women and young women can come back to work full time to high-value meaningful jobs.
    • Canada was just listed in 2021 as the number one country in the world by the Best Country’s Report. Canada hit the high-water mark on so many categories because it is really balancing social and economic aspects. Canadians have a high standard of living, highly educated population, high rate of employment and high quality of life.
    • Canada is leading the way on diversity and inclusion in the world.

    Automotive Trends in Mexico

    Speaker: Nazareth Black, CEO, Zacua Mexico

    • The automotive industry has had rapid growth over the years – starting 135 years ago with the first automobile called Fardier which was a steam powered vehicle and now a self-driving, electric vehicle called Olli.
    • Mexico is the 4th largest automobile exporter in the world and the 5th largest auto parts producer worldwide, exporting $80 billion per year.
    • There are several trends in the automotive industry, one of the most important is mobility, which includes electric, autonomous, connected vehicles and shared vehicles. All four are being worked on in parallel, because they are complementary to each other.
    • It is expected that, by 2040, 90% of the cars that circulate in the world will be electric. Mexico is working towards this same goal for the year 2050.
    • There are at least 100 projects worldwide working towards creating a fully functional flying car. By 2023, hopes to build a flying car that can be sold to the public.
    • The second most important trend is the supply chain, which consists of the digitization, automation, and electrification of the supply chains that generate the materials and resources to produce and assemble the vehicles.
    • Brands are working on designing new options of electric vehicles that carry a high level of digitalization. Which opens door to small businesses with a high level of profile referring to technology.
    • The third trend is the evolution of the user - going from very few choices to 2000+ choices when buying a car. Users are looking for convenience and different features in vehicles that are smart, modern, environmentally friendly.
    • Manufacturing industry is going to continue adapting to provide new generation vehicles, autonomous, smarter, and digitalize.

    The Implications of the USMCA in Mexico and Canada

    Speakers: Roberto Modesto, Partner, Deloitte, and Irka Lopez, Global Trade Manager, Deloitte

    • NAFTA did not have a termination date. However, USMCA will be terminated 16 years after the day of its entry into force unless all parties confirm their wishes to continue the agreement for a new term.
    • Country of origin rules were strong to ensure Mexican automobiles manufactured use materials or components from US, Canada, or Mexico. Under NAFTA, 62.5% of the automobile’s components had to be manufactured in Mexico, US, or Canada. Now under USMCA, that percentage increased to 75% and should apply in the first 3 years to be considered USMCA originated.
    • Automobile manufacturers have to comply with labor value content – ie. the manufacturing process of 40 to 45% of automobiles must be carried out by workers receiving a wage of US$16 per hour by 2023.
    • No import or export duties can be applied to digital products.
    • Certification of origin should include nine elements - the certifier of origin, the producer, the origin criteria, the certifier (who issued the certification of origin), the importer, the period cover by the certification of origin, the exporter, the description and classification of goods, authorized signature, and date of signature.

    IT Trends in Mexico

    Expositor: Arturo Correa, Advisor, Digital Transformation

    • A plus of COVID-19 has been the acceleration of the technology industry and digitalization. Companies that were already advanced in digitalization services were one step ahead once lockdowns started around the world.
    • From a cultural point of view, the pandemic meant people working from an office had to adapt to start working remotely.
    • Create a plan that fits you client needs before they even realized it. Sell what your customer needs and is going to help the solve a problem.
    • Form multidisciplinary work teams - not only about engineering, but also graphic design, marketing, sales, to create alliances in order to provide a better customer experience.
    • Digitalize retiring people’s knowledge for future generations to have access in form of a robot or a software. Avoid loss of valuable knowledge and experience.
  • Wednesday, July 07, 2021 3:47 PM | Anonymous


    Hosted by three chapters of OWIT – Tampa Bay, Toronto and South Florida – this cross-border virtual fireside chat featured a panel of three trailblazing and diverse women in different sectors from Canada and the U.S. and was moderated by Canada’s Consul General in Florida, Susan Harper. The panel included:

    • Aylin Lusi, VP Public Affairs, UPS Canada, Toronto
    • Alba Rodriguez: Senior Project & Design Manager, OHL Building, Tampa Bay
    • Hydi Webb : Deputy Port Director, Port of Miami 

    In introducing the panelists, Christyna Doege of OWIT Tampa Bay, said: “The heart of this webinar is to showcase successful women IN the world of international trade and business – to learn from them, to take away best practices, and at the end of the hour to say ‘Yeah, women can! Women do! Women are!’ So, too, we want each attendee - both women and men - to be excited about the possibilities found in international business and trade.”

    Here are a few highlights from the fireside chat:

    What inspired them to work in international trade?

    • When Aylin was a student, her dream job was to be a diplomat because of the appeal of getting to know international cultures. Having an Irish and Turkish background also inspired here.
    • Alba always wanted a career with the opportunity to leave behind a legacy - to see a creation – and that’s why she started as an architect. Then she got into health care which she found fascinating. Through all her travels, she discovered there is so much need in health care and started designing and constructing hospitals in South America and Latin America.
    • Hydi grew up around trade, working in a range of positions with the very international Port of Miami. She’s been at the Port for 39 years, now as its first woman deputy port director.

    What are some of their ‘war stories’?

    • When she came up against an anti-trade movement in Europe at the outset of the U.S./E.U. trade negotiations, Aylin learned that not everyone sees the benefits of trade.
    • Despite the sleepless nights negotiating financial agreements with cruise partners and the challenges of being a mom and balancing work and kids, Hydi called ‘war stories’ opportunities instead.
    • Although it can be hard to get accepted initially in a male-dominated career, Alba gradually gained respect by forgetting about the apprehension of male counterparts to embrace her as a female. Rather, she focused on bringing her knowledge and value to teams.

    What is their advice to other women?

    • Alba: Follow your passion and your heart and become the best at it. When you know your stuff, you can contribute value.
    • Aylin: Focus on the value you can add and find networks like OWIT which will be most helpful when questioning yourself or having feelings of imposter syndrome by talking about these things with other like-minded women.
    • Hydi: Go forward with confidence!
  • Thursday, June 10, 2021 4:14 PM | Anonymous


    The upcoming 2021 G7 Cornwall summit is a badly needed beacon of hope for a return to some level of normalcy as the G7 faces health, economic, social and environmental challenges of unprecedented proportions. The G7 and the world must keep trade channels open and secure, and ensure trade is more fair, inclusive, sustainable and responsive to the needs of all."

    Maria Marchyshyn, Lead Researcher on Trade at University of Toronto's G7 Research Group, and Advisory Board Member at OWIT-Toronto authored the article 'G7 Performance on Trade' before the upcoming G7 summit to be held on June 11-13 at Carbis Bay, UK.

    To read the full article, please visit the publication by the G7 Research Group, which also includes contributions by heads of states, international organizations as well as experts on various global issues. (p. 52-53)

  • Sunday, May 16, 2021 8:18 AM | Anonymous

    Either entrepreneurs or professionals, everybody need to develop a brand for themselves. Whatever your area of expertise, you can take steps to make people think of you when they think of your field. 

    Online presence is one of the keys to success today, but where to start to build your own personal branding? If you have the same questions, we invite you to our tri-series titled Fundamentals of Personal Branding, How to Build Your Personal Branding, and Dress for Success! 

    Our guest speakers will share the basics of the topic as well as some tips. We will also have a raffle prize in each session for our members

    To renew or become a member visit here.

    Do not forget to reserve your spot for the second event!

    Register
  • Tuesday, April 20, 2021 11:11 AM | Anonymous

    The FITT Global Mentorship Pilot Progam is a FREE 6-month virtual mentorship program featuring an all-CITP mentor roster. Created for the international business community, it helps students, entrepreneurs, and employees from anywhere in the world, with any amount of work experience or tenure, access support, guidance, and expertise to level up their careers or businesses alongside seasoned FITT Certified International Trade Professional CITP®|FIBP® mentors.

    Dates and deadlines

    Applications are open from now until May 14th, after which 5 initial mentees will be selected and have their names announced publicly. Mentorship will commence in June. The program will run from June 1 - November 30, 2021.

    Apply now

    Who can participate?

    Students, entrepreneurs, and employees from anywhere in the world with any amount of work experience or tenure are welcome to apply. A total of 10 participants (5 mentors and 5 mentees) will be selected to join. We will look to expand based on results and demand.

    How does the program work?

    Interested individuals must fill out our application form. We will select and announce 5 mentees and match them with a mentor that best suits their profile and application answers. Orientation will take place in a group setting in June and the mentor and mentee will meet weekly for the first month. They will set their preferred schedule thereafter. Mentorship will take place on a 1:1 virtual channel, mutually agreed upon by mentor and mentee.

    Why is this a pilot program?

    Based on popular demand, FITT is testing this Global Mentorship Pilot Program to best understand how to meet our community’s needs and open more doors for the international business profession.  Feedback received from participants will help us improve future iterations of the program. Currently, the pilot program will be offered in English only. We will work to expand based on demand and availability.

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