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.