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United around the globe to foster international trade and the advancement of women in business.


OWIT-Toronto wants to provide you with current and valuable news and resources on a regular bases. We do this through our site as well as through our monthly newsletter. Sign up today to receive these in your inbox.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    Look where OWIT-Toronto members have been featured this year:

    • Check out this Tedx talk by Anita Agrawal, owner of Best Bargains Jewellery and Past President of OWIT-Toronto, and this news piece featuring her.
    • OWIT-TO President Helen Hemmingsen represented OWIT at the joint Casa Foundation/OWIT Women Inspire 2021: Women in Business & Leadership Forum, and at the launch of the first virtual Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) for women both during International Women’s Day week.
    • KC Goudiam of B2B Match spoke at events celebrating International Women’s Day, including Women Inspire 2021.
    • Several OWIT-Toronto members, including Diane Reko, and Susan Baka are included in the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub’s See it. Be it. Database. It’s a resource featuring 1000+ profiles of successful women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, sectors, experiences and regions across Canada who have received awards for their accomplishments. Its tagline? Because women need to see successful women entrepreneurs so they can dare become one.
    • Congratulations to Jessica Horwitz on becoming a partner at Bennett Jones. Jessica specializes in international trade, customs, and regulatory compliance. She represents Canadian and international clients in trade disputes and investigations, assisting clients with import/export issues including customs compliance, export controls and economic sanctions, and anti-corruption compliance and international investment matters. Jessica has been an invaluable member of OWIT-Toronto and we appreciate the ongoing support and sponsorship from Jessica and her colleagues at Bennett Jones as corporate members of OWIT-Toronto.
  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 10:15 AM | Anonymous

    From submitting consultation papers to participating in stakeholder groups, the past year has been a busy period for OWIT-Toronto’s Trade Policy Committee members. And the upcoming months promise more of the same.

    Here is where we have participated since the fall of 2020:

    • Gender and Trade Advisory Group (GTAG) to provide suggestions to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for new provisions in free trade agreements (FTAs) and to its Sub-Committee to provide feedback on gender-based analysis (GBA+) of FTAs and trade policy
    • Virtual business roundtable (Feb 2021) to share views on a possible comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with Indonesia
    • USMCA SME Counselling Network Pilot Program: to strengthen ties across borders and share best practices with other country counterparts
    • Submission on a possible Canada-Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Feb 2021)

    In the coming months, we will be submitting comments on an anticipated bilateral Canada-U.K. free trade agreement and a possible U.K. accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). We will also consider possible input to the G7 and G20 meetings (June 2021) and to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (November 2021) at which Canada will be proposing a gender and trade related roadmap.

  • Tuesday, March 02, 2021 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    This is a gentle reminder to all of our OWIT-Toronto members to update and refresh your profile.  You can get access via your log-in at the top right hand side of the home page.  Your profile will be included in our Members Directory, which is accessible only to other OWIT-Toronto members.  A photo will greatly enhance your profile.

    Contact us at info@owit-toronto.ca if you have any questions or need assistance.

    Helen Hemmingsen, President

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2021 1:58 PM | Anonymous

    What is your Key Advice To Small Business Owners For 2021?

    This past year has been an incredibly challenging time for small businesses, which have faced the pandemic with extraordinary resilience, innovation, and recognition that above all, we must all prioritize the health and safety of those around us. With the vaccine rollout, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    From the beginning, our government committed to doing everything it takes to support small businesses and entrepreneurs until we defeat the virus. I encourage eligible businesses to continue using support programs available to them– like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Business Account, and the new Canada Emergency Rent Support – all of which are critical in enabling our businesses and economy to weather the storm and prepare for a quick and full recovery.

    Looking further ahead, we know that advancing digital trade and e-commerce is one of the best ways we can support our businesses, introduce them to more customers domestically and internationally, and help them bounce back.

    In addition, our government is also focused on creating and expanding programs and resources that help more entrepreneurs see themselves as traders globally and bring their innovative Canadian products and services far and wide. We are taking a Team Canada approach to this and ensuring all businesses have access to our Trade Toolbox: Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada, the Canadian Commercial Corporation – all of which are there to help Canadian businesses continue to succeed internationally.

    We cannot do this alone. To all the business owners and entrepreneurs who have stepped up to support our communities in one of the most difficult periods in modern history – thank you. Know that you can count on us to continue providing crucial supports to get you through this pandemic and be well-positioned for future success.

    See the original article here.

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