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  • 13 May 2021 4:44 PM | TB OWIT (Administrator)

    Say hello to Jose Rincon, the CEO of Just South ConsultingJust South Consulting is a full-service consulting firm based in Southern Florida providing professional guidance, training, market research & support, real estate services and more to help give your business an edge in Latin America.

    What kind of work do you do? 

    We are a boutique consulting firm that assists small and medium-size businesses expand into the Latin America market. We are able to do market research, set up in-country appointments with potential buyers, suppliers, distributors or clients (virtual or in person), translation services and consulting services.

    Who is your ideal client?

    Companies that are new to the global market or that have some sales, but need a better understanding of the market and the potential in LATAM.

    What advice would you give young women entering the “company’s industry” today?

    Find the problem you can fix. When you provide a solution or a way to improve a process, your services will be very valuable.

    How has COVID-19 affected your job/company?

    As most of our clients are small/medium size, we have seen a sharp decline in business. The clients that we had in the pipeline are in recovery mode in the domestic market, so globalization has been moved to “in the future” strategy. Although we may not be able to stay open as a business post-covid, I will always be available for a quick chat to provide some guidance and I’ll be glad to refer to other service providers.

    What do you like most about your job/company?

    Becoming a bridge between business in LATAM and the US. It our way to give back and to help others.

    How long have you been a member of TBOWIT and what drew you to TBOWIT?

    I have been a member for about 3 years. I was looking for opportunities to network and exchange ideas with similar professionals. When I learned that I could join TBOWIT, I jumped on the opportunity.

    What is one thing you want members to know about you?

    I developed my passion for international business after a 3-month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico. Travel helps us see that we have more similarities than differences with other cultures.

    What has been one of your favorite TBOWIT events?

    Tour of the Port of Tampa. It’s nice to see behind the scenes.

    What do you love about the Tampa Bay area?

    Tampa Bay is a very diverse region with a lot of potential.


  • 09 Feb 2021 4:28 PM | TB OWIT (Administrator)

    Meet your 2021-2022 board members and learn why they joined TBOWIT!

    We are dedicated to providing our members with opportunities to learn, network, and connect. We would love to hear from you so please don't hesitate to reach out to any of us with ideas, suggestions, or just to say hello. We're looking forward to a wonderful year ahead!



    Devon Barnett, President

    Business & Market Intelligence Manager, Tampa International Airport 

    I joined TBOWIT early on in my career as I was transitioning to a field more heavily focused on international business. As I was diving into all of the local resources available to help me navigate this new venture, I came across TBOWIT and started attending events to see what opportunities and connections I could take advantage of to quickly engrain myself in the world of global commerce. What I soon discovered was that I had only scratched the surface in in my initial research and that this organization was the catch all of who’s who in Tampa Bay when it came to international business. I met experts in every sector, including law, banking, protocol, customs, logistics (and beyond) and the best part about those connections was that if they didn’t specialize in a particular topic, they knew someone that did. Fast forward to today and I couldn’t be more proud of the strength, diversity and expertise in TBOWIT’s network that helped me kick start my career in international business.



    Debbie Fallucca, Treasurer

    Senior Tax Director, RSM US LLP

    I joined TBOWIT because I enjoy networking with business people who are active in the global economy. We learn a lot from each other’s experiences.



    Selma Canas, Secretary

    International Trade Specialist, Florida SBDC at USF 

    I joined TBOWIT to meet and learn from others in the international business field. TBOWIT is an active network comprised of professionals, business owners and organizations serving the international business community of Tampa Bay.



    Christyna Doege, VP Membership

    Client Engagement Manager, Port Tampa Bay

    I joined TBOWIT to satisfy my curiosity. I like learning and I like hearing another’s story. TBOWIT combines educational topics with networking and I learn something new at every event. Along the way, I have heard impactful stories and lived vicariously through speakers and fellow members. TBOWIT is a unique organization and I’m thrilled to be connected to each member and through them to the world of international business.



    Madison Lawson, VP of Scholarship

    International Business Manager, Tampa Bay Economic Development Council

    Just a few years ago, I was new to the international trade scene in Tampa Bay and a fellow board member introduced me to the organization. TBOWIT has since allowed me to meet amazing women involved in similar roles, providing a sense of community and support for one another in traditionally male-dominated fields.



    Ilana Goldenberg, VP Marketing

    Marketing Manager, Tampa International Airport

    I joined TBOWIT to meet other professionals who are dedicated to connecting Tampa Bay to the world.



    Olga Pina, TBOWIT Director

    Partner, Shutts & Bowen LLP

    I joined TBOWIT when we founded the Tampa Bay Chapter back in 1997. A dear friend and colleague, Carol Delia, who like me had also lived in Washington, D.C. prior to moving to Tampa, had been a member of the D.C. chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade and talked me into founding the Tampa chapter. With her support and the support of my firm at the time, Fowler White, and the guidance of Bill Flynn, who was the head of the immigration practice at Fowler White, P.A., we gathered together a founding Board comprised of a fabulous group of women who were trailblazers in their respective arenas. We represented all sectors of the Tampa Bay economy that touched international matters, such as Banking (Charlotte Kovach n/k/a Starfire with SunTrust at the time), Accounting (Laura Bedingfield, then with Deloitte), Architecture (Joanie Buckley, then with HOK), Education/Academia (Dr. Carol Cargill, Dr. Maria Crummett, Dr. Corinne Young, representing USF and University of Tampa), the City of Tampa (Margarita Gonzalez), the Port of Tampa (Trudy Carson), local Fortune 500 companies in Tech (Adele Giovanazzi, Rose McClatchey Romero), and several others totaling 19 Board members. Eileen Rodriguez, carrying the torch for the SBA and SBDC, was also part of that initial core group. I wanted to gather together a group of like-minded women who understood the importance of international trade to the future of the Tampa area. We came together to learn from each other, to educate the community about international trade and business, and all the ancillary industries that make it happen, as well as to facilitate the entry of small businesses into exporting or importing activities. We ended up finding much more than just a professional group with a common mission—we found lifelong friends who supported each other through many a crisis. Over the years we suffered devastating losses in our midst, losing 3 beloved Board members in the prime of their careers, feeling the pain of two of our Board members at the loss of their respective children, each an only child, as well as changes and challenges to our own organization. We have learned from each other professionally and personally, and it’s been a wonderful journey. The best is yet to come as our community continues to sizzle with activity in all sectors that are impacted by and impact international business!!



    April Rose Grajales, Board Member

    Executive Director with the Multinational Corporation team, J.P. Morgan

    I joined TBOWIT to expand my network of other professionals who were focused on promoting the thriving International Business community in Tampa Bay!



    Laurel Evans, Board Member

    Global Account Manager, XPO Global Forwarding 

    I joined TBOWIT to connect with women that have an interest or work in international field. I love the variety of topics and events that we host to broaden our minds and connection both professionally and personally.



  • 11 Jan 2021 11:08 AM | TB OWIT (Administrator)

    Electric Supply is Florida’s largest independent electrical and voice data video distributor serving both local and international electrical contractors, utility companies, industrial facilities, institutions and low voltage installers. The company was founded in 1970 by the Adams family with George Adams, Sr. as the founder. As part of Electric Supply’s succession planning and goal to be sustainable as an independent distributor, an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) was established in 2011 and all employees are now co-owners of Electric Supply. Electric Supply’s team is 140+ members strong, backed up with the assets to furnish electrical and data communication materials to local or offshore customers. Earning the trust of individual team members, customers, and suppliers has been the cornerstone of Electric Supply's success. This success has been realized by honoring commitments, one commitment at a time. 

    TBOWIT is proud to have Electric Supply as a corporate member and TBOWIT spent time with three members of the international sales team to learn more about them.  Please meet Narkaly Fernández, Lisa Eckel, and Alex Vazquez in their own words.

    Narkaly Fernández, International Sales Division
    Lisa Eckel, International Sales Division
    Alex Vazquez
    , International Sales Division

    1. What kind of work do you do?

    Narkaly: I work as an Inside Sales Representative for our overseas customers. I help them to cover their electrical needs, offering products and looking for solutions to any and all electrical problems. 

    Lisa: At Electric Supply, I provide customer support to our customers, process purchase orders and maintain inventory levels to ensure our customer needs are met. 

    Alex: I’m an inside sales rep for the International division of Electric Supply. 

    2. Who is your ideal client?

    Narkaly: Out of all the areas in the Electrical Industry, I feel most confident working with Utility companies. 

    Lisa: Utility Customers.

    Alex: Electrical Contractors, Exporter. 

    3. What advice would you give women (and men) entering the “company industry” today?

    Narkaly: The Electrical Industry is a very challenge industry and very competitive, but at the same time very interesting. A person that is entering this industry needs to keep an open mind, adapt well to changes, and be eager to learn something new every day, and finally, to always be positive. 

    Lisa: Learn as much as you can, always be up for a challenge and know that everyday can bring new challenges and opportunities. 

    4. How has COVID-19 affected your job/company?

    Narkaly: I think that COVID-19 has come to change our life in the entire planet. We in Electric Supply and as an essential company never stopped working. We only moved our job from the office to working remotely. At the beginning, it was a little hard but once we realized that this was not for a short period, we created a new way to do our jobs, adapting and learning more about technology and how to use it for work purposes. I guess it has been successful, everybody has adapted to it. 

    Lisa: COVID-19 has made us adapt to a new way of working.  We have almost all had to learn how to do our jobs remotely and work with a more flexible schedule.  I feel we have also become more creative with how we handle our day-to-day work. 

    Alex: It has affected us tremendously with life changes and the way we do our work. 

    5. What do you like most about your job/company?

    Narkaly: In my International department, I like to work with customers abroad with different cultures, needs, and languages.  At Electric Supply, we are more than employees. We are a big family. We take care of each other and that is the key of our success. 

    Lisa: What I like most about Electric Supply is that everybody that works here is important. We all carry a very important part in Electric Supply’s success. They treat all employees equally and truly care about everyone’s needs.

    Alex: The family feel work environment the company provides and my co-workers. 

    6. How long have you been a member of TBOWIT and what drew you to TBOWIT?

    Corporate Members since 2017  




  • 17 Nov 2020 1:38 PM | TB OWIT (Administrator)


    Artie Renee Pobjecky

    Global Immigration and Compliance Attorney

    Pobjecky & Pobjecky, LLP


    What kind of work do you do?  

    I am an immigration and compliance attorney.  I am blessed since I help individuals achieve the "American Dream" by immigrating to the United States. At times the work can be daunting, but there is no greater joy than when a client learns that their case is approved and they can live and work in the greatest country in the world.

    I work with individuals, professional athletes, and businesses who seek to bring foreign talent to the United States.  One of my most significant accomplishments was obtaining lawful permanent resident status for a scientist working on a cure for Alzheimer's.  I also advise on compliance matters to ensure that businesses hire persons who are authorized to work in the United States.

    What advice would you give young women entering the "company's industry" today?

    Network!  As an introvert, this can be a daunting task – but not impossible.  If you are new to the industry, invite experienced peers to lunch or coffee.  With COVID, this can be accomplished with a Zoom meeting.  If your request is ignored, do not take it personally and move to the next person on your list.  If you are unsure where to start, use LinkedIn to find the influential people in your field.  Always follow-up with a personal card thanking the individual for her time.

    Another useful tool is volunteering at conferences or luncheons, writing an article, or speaking at an event.  Within a short time, you will be perceived as an expert in your field!

    How long have you been a member of TBOWIT, and what drew you to TBOWIT?  

    I have been a member for at least five years.  I met Christyna Doege during a "cruise" through Tampa Bay with the Port Authority and the Winter Haven Chamber Leadership Class. I was excited to learn that a group of international women exists in Tampa. I enjoy meeting new professionals and learning from others. TBOWIT has been a great resource and networking channel for me and my firm.

    What is your superpower?

    My superpower is resiliency.  I never give up on cases or clients.  When I am told, "no," I rebound with solutions to immigration obstacles by "thinking outside the box" and not giving up.  


  • 23 Oct 2020 1:58 PM | Madison Lawson (Administrator)

    TBOWIT welcomes our newest member - Andrea Darling de Cortés, a Partner with Tampa's Holland & Knight!

    Andrea Darling de Cortés is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Tampa office. Ms. Cortés focuses her practice in the areas of inbound international income and estate tax planning, international tax controversy and compliance, cross-border tax planning and related transactional matters. Ms. Cortés has advised clients on a broad array of tax and legal, transactional and operational matters, including U.S. income and estate tax planning for non-U.S. high-net-worth individuals with U.S. and non-U.S. assets, pre-U.S. residency tax planning, planning with respect to foreign investment in U.S. real property and U.S. trade or business analysis.

    Ms. Cortés has in-depth experience in assisting noncompliant U.S. taxpayers to become U.S. tax compliant. Over the past several years, Ms. Cortés has served as lead counsel or co-counsel and has successfully resolved more than 1,000 taxpayer disclosures under the various Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Voluntary Disclosure Programs, Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures.

    Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Cortés was a tax attorney for a boutique international tax law firm.


  • 19 Oct 2020 1:13 PM | Madison Lawson (Administrator)

    Mary Beth Allen
    Principal
    Mary Beth Allen Brand Marketing


    What kind of work do you do? 

    I am the Owner of Savvy Green LLC and Mary Beth Allen Brand Marketing. I am a brand owner and consultant for CPG Startup companies in Brand Building, Marketing, Amazon Sales and Retail based on my experience in Department Store Merchandising and Product Development. 

    With a life-long entrepreneurial spirit I helped launch Savvy Green LLC and created an award-winning "eco" household cleaning brand with domestic and international sales. Diverse skills in all aspects of brand ownership including product development, sourcing, export, certification, US & International Trade Shows, marketing and so much more support my Consulting business. I have knowledge of the Export Assistance available to companies, taken advantage of the US Commercial Service Gold Keys for Denmark and Germany and Enterprise Florida Trade Event Grants in the UK and Hong Kong.

    20+ years of Corporate experience as a Divisional Vice President in Merchandising, Advertising/Marketing and Product Development for Bradenton, Florida, based Bealls Department Stores set my foundation and path to brand ownership, import/export, e-commerce and consulting.

    Who is your ideal client?

    One of my key clients is Diversified Communications UK as the USA Sales Agent for exhibit space at the April 2021 Natural & Organic Products EU Trade Event in London, June 2021 Organic Food & Eco Living Iberia in Madrid and the November 2021 Nordic Organic Food and Eco Living Fair in Malmo. This has been so much fun as I meet many US Natural Products and Food Companies interested in exporting and exhibiting overseas for the first time. The UK show team are very knowledgeable about doing business in the UK/EU and have made me a part of their team.

    The London show is the premier show for Natural & Organic products and a terrific first International show with huge growth in plant-based foods and natural beauty. I have signed many first time brand owners and exporters and love sharing my experience and knowledge at this level. Since I have exhibited with Savvy Green, attended and love the show and London. I have worked closely with Cheryl Withers in Commercial Service in London, Sandra Campbell and in Clearwater and Joseph Bell with Enterprise Florida to meet potential exhibitors.

    How has COVID-19 affected your job/company?

    COVID has cancelled and postponed many shows and I am finding companies are ready for 2021 and planning for more potential in person travel. Its a challenge to meet new Buyers and Sellers virtually and Trade Events will bring people back together to do business safely.

    What do you like most about your job/company?

    I love traveling, Trade Shows in the USA and Internationally with a focus on Natural and Organic Products, Specialty and Plant-Based Foods, visiting friends and practicing Yoga when I can during my travels. I am a member of TBOWIT, Appointed to the North-Central Florida District Export Council this year and a member of Startup CPG for Global Development. Can’t wait to spend more time in England and Europe!

    What has been one of your favorite TBOWIT events?

    I have made great connections in TBOWIT including finding an IP attorney (Schutts & Bowen) for Savvy Green Trademark work as well as meeting many great connections for International Business customers. The most recent Virtual Global Currency Talk and Wine tasting was a fabulous event especially with clients doing business globally.


  • 05 Jun 2019 1:23 PM | TB OWIT (Administrator)

    How long have you been a member of TBOWIT?

    I’ve been a member for the past year.


    What drew you to TBOWIT?

    After launching my business, I wanted to participate with the bi-national chambers - but there are so many! When I learned about TBOWIT, I knew it would be a good place to become more engaged with Tampa Bay’s international business community. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to continue to learn from the wealth of experience of our many members.

     

    What do you do for work? What does it involve?

    My business is Accord Protocol, and I’m a certified Intercultural Protocol and Business Etiquette trainer. I do seminars and workshops for business people, organizations and students in Business Etiquette/Soft Skills and Intercultural Protocol and Etiquette. It involves finding out the specific needs of each business or group and tailoring a seminar or workshop for them. If it’s an international project, there is always research involved in getting all the right information for that particular country or region.   

     

    Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. I moved to St. Petersburg halfway through high school when my dad’s company offered him a position in Florida.

     

    Give us one fun fact that we might not know about you

    One of my favorite pastimes is Latin dance and salsa.  A friend got me interested several years ago, and I was hooked right away! The music just drew me in. I don’t have much time for it these days, but once in a while I get out with friends for a night of dancing.

     

    Did you have any mentors in your life?

    My mother was my first teacher when it came to etiquette.  My parents raised six children and it wasn’t easy, I’m sure, but my mom did a good job of teaching us all to be well-behaved and well-spoken. Thanks to her, I feel like the business etiquette side of things comes more naturally than it might otherwise.  

     

    Who inspires you?

    My friend, Rose Marie - when I moved to Florida in high school, she became one of my first friends. Rose Marie was born in Chile, raised in France and the U.S. and spoke English, French, Spanish and a little Portuguese.  I was already studying French and very interested in foreign languages and we became good friends right away. She went on to marry a man from Switzerland, moved to Zurich and learned Swiss German. We’re still best friends. The last time I saw her was at her home in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. When we first met, she was the most international person I knew, and has always inspired me in the way she can switch languages on a dime.

     

    What’s one piece of advice for women entering international business or work in general?

    Be yourself and be genuine, always. Universally, when people sense that you’re being genuine, it builds a sense of ease and trust. It will work in your favor no matter where you go.


  • 27 Feb 2019 11:03 AM | TB OWIT (Administrator)

    To find past TBOWIT Webinars log into the Members-Only section.

     

    Guests can access all of these webinars too by becoming a member at the low price of $60.00. Can't beat that price anywhere else in Tampa Bay!  

  • 27 Feb 2019 10:54 AM | TB OWIT (Administrator)

    Meet Vanessa Zabala, a member of OWIT International's Virtual Chapter.  Did you know that we had a virtual chapter?  We do!

    Vanessa is also the chair of OWITCon Tampa Bay and is on the lookout for speakers and topic ideas. You can email her at  zabalavane@gmail.com

     

    • How long have you been a member of OWIT Int'l? 

    I have been an "official" member of  OWIT since the end of the previous international conference in Kenya. 

    • What drew you to OWIT?

    I found OWIT when I was looking for women's organizations in the state of Florida in order to encourage them to invite accredited women to a conference my company was putting together in order to teach them what it takes to become an angel investor. Currently, about 94% of angel investors in Florida are male and women entrepreneurs receive less than 2% of that funding. In a pursuit to change those statistics, I called Jennifer Diaz to learn more about OWIT and our ability to partner for this cause. As we learned more about each other and shared my background in innovation tools, she invited me to be a speaker at the Nairobi international conference, so I went!

    • What do you do for work? What does it involve?

    For work, I wear three main hats. 

    1) Director of Impact Development for the Orlando Economic Partnership. I help set the culture and practice of intrapreneurship and design programs for the community to learn innovation tools for themselves and companies. 

    2) Adjunct Professor at the University of Central Florida. I am currently teaching technological entrepreneurship to graduate students and also teach/ have taught social entrepreneurship.  

    • Where did you grow up?

    I was born in Venezuela and moved to Miami when I was 8 years old. So I mainly grew up in Miami.  

    • Give us one fun fact that we might not know about you

    I used to be a clown when I was in high school. 

    • Did you have any mentors in your life?

    Many! and they are the reason I am where I am. Beginning with my parents, to teachers, and moved on to bosses and worked up the courage to start asking speakers at conferences and events I went to. It has been the thing that has taught me the most about managing work and life EQ. 

    • Who inspires you?

    People who never give up and fight the good fight. One of the people that inspires me the most is Temi. She was my maid when I was in Venezuela and due to her inability to get an education, she did not become a business leader. She has the natural knack for it but because she was born into a family with few resources and in need of every family member to work, she was unable to get an education. 

    • What’s one piece of advice for women entering international business or work in general?

     Ask for advise and guidance. No one person knows everything and no one builds an empire by themselves. 

     

  • 30 Oct 2018 11:35 AM | TB OWIT (Administrator)

    Rachel is an experienced business attorney with a strong background in corporate and intellectual property matters. Rachel began her career in New York City working for two international law firms. Most recently, Rachel was a Partner at the Tampa law firm of Hill Ward Henderson, where she served as a trusted advisor to a multitude of private equity, venture capital and other strategic investors, as well as to companies of all sizes, stages and industries. The most rewarding aspect of Rachel’s career as an attorney was the opportunity to advise her clients with respect to their strategic direction and broader business goals.

    An alum of the Young Judaea movement, Rachel developed an affinity for Israel from a young age. Rachel had an opportunity to live in Israel during a semester spent studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has also been active in the local Jewish community for most of her childhood and as an adult, since moving back to Tampa nearly 10 years ago.

    Rachel is also a proven leader, having served in high-level positions for local nonprofits, on government committees and for local and national bar associations. Most recently, Rachel served as President of Tampa’s Gasparilla International Film Festival. A Tampa native who has also worked in other major cities, Rachel brings a unique perspective, deep local ties and a passion for supporting and improving her hometown.

    Rachel attended the University of Florida where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City. 

     

    A quote from her colleagues that was read at the Annual Awards Dinner

    "What impresses me the most about Rachel is her unwavering drive and passion for making FIBA successful.  She is constantly moving in many directions, but all of them are singularly focused on helping FIBA to take the next step forward.  She is masterful at making connections and opening doors for our companies from Israel to do business here in the Tampa Bay area.  Her to-do list is always long, but Rachel always takes things in stride and keeps things in perspective.  Her true pride is her family – who we get to see from time to time as her two little boys love to sneak into our office to grab a snack on their way to play basketball or swim lessons at the JCC. "

     

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