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The Global Marketing Show

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The podcast for global marketers to hear experts talk about opportunities and challenges in increasing multilingual lead gen and revenue. Explore the highs and lows and then delve into best practices for strategies, technologies, processes and quality for translation, transcreation, localization and more.


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The podcast for global marketers to hear experts talk about opportunities and challenges in increasing multilingual lead gen and revenue. Explore the highs and lows and then delve into best practices for strategies, technologies, processes and quality for translation, transcreation, localization and more.




Localize to Sell Into Global Markets - Show #118

Stefan Repin is the founder of LuckBoosters, a company helping B2B companies with complex and long sales cycles grow demand and close more customers through full-cycle marketing and sales practices. He’s worked all over the world, growing companies by adapting sales techniques to meet specific industry needs while respecting local culture. Stefan helped one client, a Belgian software developer, enter the South African market. The company’s software consolidates data gathered by drones, information critical to the mining, agriculture, and oil and gas industries rife within the country. Stefan advised the company to build relationships with key opinion leaders to help with introductions. To develop the new relationships, prospects were invited to participate in a company podcast. Twenty agreed, receiving a brochure and a customized toy plane as a personal thank you. At the same time, Stefan knew that mail delivery and Internet service were inconsistent throughout the country, so he worked with the software company to send three copies of the same material to ensure that potential buyers received the information sent to them. Similarly, the company made available an offline version of its software. Stefan advised the company to be more direct – and more persistent – in its outreach than it would have been in Europe because it’s how business is done, locally. Relationship-building took time, but in the end paid off for the company. Another client, Platforce, conducted outreach into Southeast Asia via webinars. Stefan knew that local buyers wouldn’t respond to Internet or email invitations, so advised the company to call each prospect with a personal invitation. In the end, webinars combined with dinner and a custom presentation worked to build trust and sales. Stefan sees increased sales whenever a company supports a local representative and translates company brochures and related information. Many clients have limited budgets for localization so he asks his client companies to translate marketing material after securing at least five prospects, followed by website translation after just one sale. Building a landing page or microsite based on translated marketing material maximizes the investment. “Trust” is the recurring theme throughout, he adds – translated, localized content builds and nurtures local relationships. Links: Website: LinkedIn: Connect with Wendy - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Culture and Curiosity - Show #117

Jasmine Martirossian is Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief People Officer (CPO) of Mercury, a company simplifying time- and temperature-sensitive shipping for healthcare and life sciences companies. She speaks seven languages and has lived in as many countries, helping a host of well-known companies expand globally along the way. Jasmine shares her wisdom with us on this episode of The Global Marketing Show. “Bottom line: stay curious.” Jasmine credits her natural ability to stay curious as the reason that she’s had so much success in global marketing. She describes two situations defused by “not staying beholden to the tyranny of war” and instead by looking for alternative solutions to help teams work together. In China, she felt pushback by one team on developing a new website, so she could not move the project forward. Instead of forcing the issue and demanding compliance, Jasmine stayed curious and learned that the team thought it was just another “flavor of the month” project and didn’t want to engage. Plus, they had connectivity issues. She understood the culture enough to build consensus, using her connections to find the team a place to work with reliable Wi-Fi. Even though she had been there only two days, Jasmine knew how important “connections” are in China. By taking the time to stay curious and communicate in an appropriate way, she crossed the cultural chasm and got the project done. In another position, Jasmine was headed to France to meet with a team on a marketing project. She felt resistance from the French team about including a US colleague in the meeting, someone they considered “obstructive.” Again, instead of forcing the issue and demanding compliance, she suggested the co-worker come to France and join them for dinner. She understood the importance of meals to the French who said of course, they couldn’t refuse to “break bread” with another. Problem solved by using cultural empathy and understanding to meet the needs of all participants. Links: Website: LinkedIn: Connect with Wendy - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


AI and Translation: An Insider’s Perspective - Show #116

Adam Bittlingmayer is CEO and co-founder of ModelFront, a language services technology company striving to “make high-quality human translation radically more efficient” for large enterprises. The ModelFront API helps translators and language services agencies quickly determine the quality of machine-translated content, analyzing content segments for accuracy; with AI and human guidance, the technology’s ability to “predict” quality continues to improve over time. Adam is an industry expert on automated translation - before co-founding the leading provider of machine translation quality prediction, he worked at Google Translate as an engineer, and founded Machine Translate, the foundation for open information and community for machine translation. Google Translate “makes bad translation free,” he says, adding that because most people can’t access translation the service is great for humanity, but not dependable for high-quality translation. None of this is new to the language services industry, which has embraced machine translation from the outset. In this episode, Adam and I discuss AI, generative AI technologies like ChatGPT, and the technology’s general unreadiness for quality translation right now. AI-powered technologies are clearly and quickly redefining our concept of the future – what has changed is how we in the industry think about quality and client expectations in relation to potential (or perceived) time- and cost savings. Adam also lays out a framework to help you decide what type of translation method works best, based on the value and uniqueness of content. Content with the highest “value” impacts a company’s revenue, brand reputation, and legal obligations and still requires human translation. That need for quality will always be there, he says, even as the quality of AI translation improves. To keep up and stay relevant, the menu of services LSPs offer (and the methods they employ) will have to change, as the demand for services will likewise increase as the capacity to scale becomes greater. Adam and I agree that there exist extremist viewpoints on whether technology will take over jobs from humans. To maintain a balanced discussion on the topic – he comes from the technological side and I come from the human side – we also agreed that ensuring the quality of any translation project currently requires both technology and humans. Listen to the full episode to hear more from both perspectives and find out where they coalesce and collide. In addition, we discuss: Links: Website: LinkedIn: Email: Connect with Wendy - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Translation Unifies Multilingual Branding and Marketing - Show #115

Inge Carr is the owner of Altair Strategic Marketing, through which she provides Fractional and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) services. Her vast experience consulting throughout the US, Canada, and Europe and fluency in five languages, gives Inge tremendous insight into how companies can successfully align corporate strategy with branding and marketing, especially internationally, to drive revenue. Inge was a member of the team who created an award-winning campaign focused on marketing Canada to Olympic visitors. She reminds us that people coming from other countries to Canada may connect with different messages. And it’s not dependent so much on a person’s country of origin, but why the person is traveling. By hiring a market research company, the team was able to determine what experiences people wanted and how they wanted to hear about it. For example: 1. Northern Lights UK and Germany: “See the grandiose lights with standing room only.” US: “It’s standing room only for the greatest light show.” France: “Incredible light show and training of the dogs.” (This was the direct translation but I’m not sure what it’s supposed to mean!) 2. Glamping The US is the only country interested in “glamping,” or luxurious camping. It’s not talked about in other countries. 3. Sailing Nova Scotia UK, Germany, and France: “Have a wonderful lunch of lobster and scallops and enjoy the view for dessert.” US: “Lounge around all day and have a 5-star meal for dinner.” Inge also mentioned that a great translator simultaneously provides multilingual marketing insight to companies without a hefty Olympics-sized budget. (I certainly agree, at Rapport International our translators do it all the time.) Among the team’s challenges were initial social media posts that did not perform as well as expected. Yet they knew to keep tweaking them until they increased their response rates. In another role, Inge worked with an insurance company struggling with 20 different brands and a fractured brand experience. Representatives from each of the brands worked together to build a unified brand that worked across multiple languages. And although there were no language specialists in the meeting, each team member had deep experience with translation, so they resolutely kept translation issues in mind. If you are interested in seeing how Rotary International unified their brand in multiple countries and how they handled language translation and cultural adaptation, tune in to The Global Marketing Show, episode #17. Inge’s final words of advice: make sure to hire a professional translation organization to get the support you need. If you can’t clearly communicate your value proposition and messaging, you won’t emotionally connect with your audience. And since 90% of decision making is driven by emotion, you will also miss out on sales and lose opportunities. Inge’s favorite word is Dutch slang for “ATM”: “Flappentapper" (flappen - tapper)! Just say it to laugh, she says. It literally means: Flopa: currency or bills Topper: the server who dispenses the beer at a bar I’m adding that word to my lexicon! Links: Website: LinkedIn: Email: Phone: 760-655-6451 Connect with Wendy - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Software for the Global Automotive Industry - Show #114

Perry Nalevka, CEO of Penguin Strategies, specializes in launching technology companies internationally. In this episode of The Global Marketing Show podcast, he talks about the global launch of GuardKnox, a technology and engineering company specializing in electric/electronics (E/E) products and solutions for the automotive industry. GuardKnox offers next-generation software to carmakers, enabling the development of secure, high-performance driving computers. The company has won multiple awards and gets high marks from major car manufacturers like Ford, Mercedes, and Audi. From the outset, the company knew it had a total addressable market of only 1,000 to 2,000 people and about 10 companies, so their messaging had to be impactful and authentic. Through a few iterations and carefully selected forums of engineers, they tested their messaging to make sure it resonated with their target audience in specific countries, namely the US, UK, Germany, and France. Throughout, Perry insisted that messaging and content had to be insightful and accurately translated. He said they “would never use AI, that it had to be done right or not at all.” The biggest mistakes the company made initially were expecting results too quickly and not creating enough quality content of interest to its buyers. Now, the CEO or CTO develops content technical enough to capture their market’s attention. You can find a wealth of robust content on the company’s website – Links: Website: LinkedIn: Email: Connect with Wendy - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Patents, Exporting, and Translation - Show #113

Dave Roccio of Lando and Anastasi, a Boston-based law firm specializing in intellectual property (IP), takes a holistic view on patent filing – it’s not just about filing the patent application, it’s about his client’s stage in business, what they want to achieve, and their long-term goals. One telling example, he shares, is that of a tech company client that received funding and had 10 technologies to protect. They had funding, a strategy, and needed to move fast to protect their inventions. They budgeted about $10k per patent (the average cost of a single filing) and had one year to determine the countries in which to file, not an easy decision as each country would require another $100K for 10 filings. This is where Dave’s holistic approach comes in; he will advise his clients on where, when, and what to file. The first three variables to consider are: As part of the process, Dave determines whether the client would benefit from complete applications, wholly protecting them from competitors on many different levels, or if it’s better to file quickly for minimal, viable commercial usage. Interestingly, his electrical engineering background also means that where he ultimately chooses to file may differ from other patent attorneys’ choices. That said, he adds, US companies most commonly file for patents in: Rules around translation vary according to country, but every office usually requires translation into the local language. When deadlines are especially tight and attorneys need immediate understanding of particular content, the firm will sometimes utilize machine translation; however, a one-word mistake in a patent application can cause a lot of issues – delays, denials, extra time, and costs. Ultimately, it’s a balancing act between time and accuracy and, should that fail Dave will always turn to human translators to ensure accuracy. Timeliness is of utmost importance for companies managing patents and other IP. Global marketers, too, should check for patent protections before selling into a new country. Going to market prior to the patent process starts the clock on the time allowance for patent applications; if a company tries to file a few years after entering the country, they likely won’t be able to protect their IP. Links: Website: LinkedIn: Connect with Wendy - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


From Chocolate Stress to Joy - Show #112

Natalya Berdikyan is Founder and CEO of Life by Design, an executive coaching company “help[ing] individuals and organizations grow beyond borders and boundaries.” A truly global citizen, Natalya hails from the former Soviet Union and has lived in 6 countries; she speaks 4½ languages. A former executive for a multimillion dollar chocolate producer in Belgium, she has sold confections all over the world. I found it fascinating to learn about confectionary global preferences – for example, Natalya’s almond sweets are gifted on specific occasions, depending on the country: Belgium – to welcome newborns Italy – to celebrate marriage Luxembourg – for communion Portugal – at Easter Norway – on Valentine’s Day Natalya used a “pull” strategy to enter each market: trade shows allowed her to assess the current landscape then develop unique, differentiated products. Focusing on innovative color creation, distinctive merchandise, and special packaging for holiday and special occasion gifts, the company’s custom manufacturing option also meant made-to-order adjustments – for one, customized ingredients to meet changing consumer demands for healthier treats. Retailers and distributors were inevitably “pulled” in, attracted to the opportunities for originality and increased market share. The company catered to three major outlets: As co-owner of the confectionary company, Natalya met with clients worldwide and during her travels, developed a cultural intelligence that fueled her success. She recalls her early confusion in the US when asked: “How are you doing?” No one expects an answer, she says, it’s used as a greeting! She had to learn how to stop answering the question. In the very middle of running a successful company and a perfect life full of parties, money, and achievement, Natalya realized she felt unhappy. Upon slowing down to figure out why, she realized that she had bought into society’s rules about what success looks like, and a life full of wine, money, sugar, and limiting beliefs did not feed her soul. Drawing on that experience, and the belief that anyone can thrive – not just survive – through life changes, Natalya launched Life by Design, an executive coaching firm designed to help entrepreneurs and leaders build the life they want. She provides coaching, training, and holistic retreats to improve people’s energy so they can become better leaders in business and in life. If you’d like to talk to Natalya, you can reach her on LinkedIn or through her website. Links: More About Natalya: Website: Contact: LinkedIn: YouTube: Facebook: Instagram: Connect with Wendy - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Dad Jokes and Board Games - Show #111

John Coveyou is the founder of Genius Games and king of dad jokes around the campfire: “Have you heard the one about the sidewalk? It’s all over town!” So, it makes sense that he’s always had a passion for game design, too. Throughout his military service – during which he discovered his love for science – and while earning a master’s degree in engineering, he wondered why there were no games on science concepts like the periodic table, biology of the human body, or the atom. And just like that, Genius Games was born! Genius Games now offers more than 50 games that sell worldwide. Originally, John fielded requests from other English-speaking countries – the UK, Australia, and Canada were early adopters – and soon after, often at US game conferences, he found himself fielding inquiries from international distributors eager to sell into their home countries. John soon discovered that, instead of working with multiple distributors, building relationships with in-country game publishers possessing native fluency of local languages simplified his operations and increased revenues. To support that structure, John built Genius Games as a multi-national rather than global company, allowing for greater autonomy, cultural adaptation, and customized product offerings within each individual country, as opposed to a global company with centralized operations and static processes. For example, the company’s publisher in Spain translates game and product information into Spanish, pays for production costs, then sells the games into international markets. Margins are lower, but royalties are consistent and all profit. Listen to the full episode to hear more on the accounting and numbers!. Currently, about 20% of the company’s revenue comes from international markets, thanks to the relationships built with overseas publishers visiting the US, and Genius Games are now translated into Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Hebrew, Polish, Russian, Korean, and other southeast Asian languages. To complement the expansion effort, in 2022 I introduced John to his state’s export representative; he ultimately secured a STEP grant covering his attendance at an international trade show. The grant paid for travel, lodging, and conference fees and connected John with exporting help from international groups and additional growth opportunities. For instance, he now understands the importance, and mechanics, of adding translation to his website to drive more sales to his partners. A multilingual website optimizes the experience for people searching for Genius Games – or games in general – by recognizing their native language. The strategy increases the company’s reach – consumers will more often buy from websites in their native language – and linking to partner websites for the sale prevents cannibalizing partner sales. (If you’re interested in exporting and want to be connected to your state export rep, reach out to me for an introduction.) Even with such meaningful success in consumer and international sales, John still sees room for growth. Genius Games has yet to tap into the educational market – if you’re a potential partner or have any connections or resources to help with access to the educational market, please reach out to John on Linked In. To have fun, play some Genius Games available on their website or Amazon. Links: Website: LinkedIn: STEP Grant Information: German Words (Butterfly): Connect with Wendy - Connect with John - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Third Culture Kid on What We Can Learn From China - Show #110

Christian Klepp, Co-Founder of EINBLICK Consulting, explains that as a “third culture kid” he grew up in Austria, the Philippines, Singapore, and Germany, landing in China as a young adult. This experience of living across countries gives him and other second- or third culture kids the appreciation and ability to navigate cultures since they’ve had to do so from a young age. It's fascinating to hear about how Christian helps Chinese-speaking clients enter the Canadian and US markets, the perfect complement to his past experiences helping English-speaking companies enter China. He shares a story about a medical device company that entered China with the attitude of “what got us here, will get us there.” Instead of taking the time to understand the market for their non-invasive blood sugar measuring device, the company assumed doctors would promote the device to their patients, not knowing that such practice is prohibited. Instead, hospital procurement teams must approve the use of any new device; doctors can recommend devices to the procurement teams but not directly to patients. This adds another layer of relationships to the sales cycle that the team could not anticipate because they did not hire a Chinese partner connected into the health system for the launch in China. In addition, 90% of people in China are on their cell phones looking to key opinion leaders (KOLs) for information on doctors and healthcare. Mobile marketing and social media are more influential in China than in other markets. Christian also talks about the importance of accurate translation and cultural adaptation. China is a big country segmented by tiers of development; major cities along the east coast have a much different standard of living than rural communities, so what might work in the city could be different than in rural areas. It’s also important to be mindful of the spoken and written Chinese language. Although there are hundreds of dialects, there is only one written language. People may not be able to speak to each other, but they can write to communicate. Christian shares some interesting case studies about brand name translation: To wrap up the interview, Christian talks about what Canadians and Americans can learn from Chinese culture. Listen to the full episode if you’d like to know more. Links: Company website: Podcast ("B2B Marketers on a Mission"): Connect with Wendy - https://www. linkedin. com/in/wendypease/ Connect with Christian - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers - https://www. silvermansound. com


Applied Research Creates Real-Life Tech Solutions - Show #109

I had the pleasure of first meeting Aytul Ercil at the 2022 International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Awards Conference in Madrid, where we celebrated the cooperation of women-owned businesses throughout the world. In addition to being a delightful conversationalist, Aytul is a mathematician, professor, scholar, applied research expert, and entrepreneur; in this episode she describes her move away from theoretical research and toward its real-world business applications. Even with applied research, she explains, universities specialize only in research and developing prototypes but don’t take the products to market, instead they find existing companies to take the lead and launch. Working in applied research fueled her interest in launching the products herself; she started her first company alongside two graduate students and sold it to a strong and successful German company. Now onto her second company, Vispera offers image processing for retail stores. By providing in-store monitoring with either pictures or installed videos, companies can keep track of compliance with price and promotion deals, stocking levels, layout and display issues, and inventory reporting. It helps solve the major pain in retail of capturing information on the selling floor to maintain inventory and increase sales. The Vispera system’s speed, accuracy, and precision in gathering information on the selling floor helps clients better manage production, operations, and distribution. In addition, with retailers managing ecommerce, they have the information to manage the coordination of in-store and on-line ordering. Before the Vispera platform, companies relied on sales reps to visit stores, count items, fix displays, and communicate information – all very tactical and manual work. Now, sales reps can be more strategic when working with customers. Based in Türkiye, Aytul knew from the start that she would need to launch internationally for success. Since her first target clients were large, international companies, she chose to build an English-only website, knowing it would reach more people than a Turkish language website. The strategy worked; her first customer, based outside of Türkiye, found Vispera through an online search. Now implemented in 35 countries with clients such as Coca-Cola, CircleK, and Unilever, Vispera’s technology solution requires custom buildouts and adaptation, so rather than adapting her website and content, she hires bilingual employees to handle in-country communications with frontline customers. Since she hires local bilingual employees, I asked if she needs to culturally adapt her messaging for geographic markets. She says that most clients are large global companies dealing with the same issues and problems; in India, however, the company may have to adjust its messaging to account for the large number of “mom and pop” stores. Similarly, she does predict a need for website and other translation for particular countries. While Vispera currently markets only in English, and the company continues to optimize their website for English search terms, its technologies can easily be adapted to other languages; for instance, it provides a Spanish-language platform for clients in South America. Aytul lists her biggest challenges as: (I can certainly relate to these – how about you!?) And her biggest mistakes? In her first company, to support development they accepted project-based work, quickly finding that delivering said projects meant little time for development. Once they found funding, Aytul recognized that doing the project work for so long slowed down the larger development of their initiative. Gaining funding and working with a partner sped up their success. She adds that even a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Brown University does not mean you will understand finance or accounting; asked for a P&L statement, she had to look up its meaning, and made a few unwise financial decisions before taking the...


Bible of Messages Meets the PESO Model™ - Show #108

Amy Kenigsberg, Cofounder and COO of K2 Global, joined me on The Global Marketing Show to discuss WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”) communications, cultural messaging, and ChatGPT. K2 focuses on precise, nuanced messaging to impact everyone involved in the purchasing process, a strategy especially critical within account-based marketing (ABM). To that end, Amy developed a process that her agency uses to build a “Bible of Messages”: starting with the engineers from its technology company clients, K2 translates all the features and benefits of the “tech talk” into “marketing talk,” which is then customized to each of the decision makers in the buying process. They then test rough draft messaging across industries, roles, and geography to validate the messaging specific to each player, driving each to emotionally connect with the client’s brand. Continued client support combines K2’s Bible of Messages with the PESO Model™ developed by Gini Dietrich, of OBI. The PESO Model™ integrates and optimizes use of the four media types – paid, earned, shared, and owned. Building the Model based on specifics from the Bible of Messages accelerates the end-result of helping companies build authority and thought leadership more efficiently. Recently, clients have asked Amy about ChatGPT and its ability to write content. Like many content creators and translators, we are watching the technology to see what it will do to our respective industries, and here’s what we’ve seen so far. The good: The speed and ability of ChatGPT is amazing and it’s great at smashing writer’s block. It can clearly develop a thoughtful flow to the content for an initial “pre-draft” (rather than a “rough” draft, which is simply putting ideas on paper). It gives great ideas for short content like social posts, it corrects grammatical errors, it eliminates boring rote tasks. The Bad: The program pulls from historical content, so even if it’s dated, ChatGPT makes it seem current, and real. Add to that the seemingly worldwide trend toward a “post-fact” culture and it’s easy to imagine how the continued recycling of inaccuracies could kick-start the multiplier effect of a world operating on widespread misinformation. The content is consolidated, with neither source nor attribution to the original writers. When we write and publish, we cite our sources to add legitimacy to our work. Hopefully, the tide will likewise demand and formalize citation of content from any automated source. Its ability to adapt the tone of its output to the intended purpose is still limited. With the lack of emotion, ChatGPT content can get boring to read. It may make sense to use it to generate an automatic first draft and then edit for nuance, urgency, and other emotional cues, but outside of potentially helping with a writer’s block, it wouldn’t necessarily save time. The Ugly: Have you ever heard of the Infinite Monkey Theorem? It states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type any given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. Amy compares ChatGPT to this theorem! Given enough tries, maybe the program can come up with a creative story that encapsulates your marketing message with enough emotion to capture your buyer’s attention. The Concerns: Amy describes her additional concerns: On his Revisionist History podcast, Malcolm Gladwell explained the difference between an anecdote and a story. An anecdote talks about something that happened: “I went to the store and used a $5 bill to pay for the items I bought.” A story adds some spice to the anecdote: “I went to the store and tried to pay for my items with a $5 bill. The shopkeeper laughed and threw the bill back at me.” (OK, I edited it a tad from the podcast, but you get the idea.) In essence, an anecdote recites; a story keeps you interested, and you want to know more. ChatGPT can produce anecdotes; creative writers tell stories. Good...


Tech, Logistics, Environmental Impact, and Translation - Show #107

Marcus Mogéus, Chief Marketing Officer of AutoStore, explains that when you maximize efficient use of your space, you help the environment and the planet by minimizing your land usage – for industrial buildings, for instance. AutoStore helps warehouses, manufacturers, ecommerce companies and grocery stores optimize logistics and simplify fulfillment; the need for such services are clear, based on the company’s growth. With over 50% CAGR over the last 10 years, and over 70% CAGR during Covid, AutoStore’s global growth has been consistently explosive. When AutoStore started in 1996 in a small town in Norway, its founder thought about global expansion from the start. Their mantra then and now: “Let’s get as many bins as there are people in the world.” To do this, they built a proprietary system that uses robots and tracks to move storage bins quickly to fulfill orders. Each system is custom-designed and -built for the client. Operating in in over 45+ countries through a network of qualified partners and servicing multiple industries, Marcus’s biggest challenge in global marketing has been getting the messages right across countries and industries. For example, some countries focus on decreasing the costs of human involvement, while others want to focus on increased automation. Yet, it’s not as easy as localizing the message for each country. Industries vary in what they want from AutoStore’s cube storage automation. An online apparel store cares about the speed of fulfillment, while an industrial products company may care more about cost efficiencies. These differences can then align across countries. Marcus explains that language translation is an important part of their go-to-market strategy. AutoStore works with local agencies for translation, while coordinating global branding and messaging with the corporate office. Our focus is always on the human element and what the customers can achieve, he adds, and that simple goal has revolutionized automated fulfillment. Links: Connect with Wendy - Connect with Marcus - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Confronting Investment and Equity Injustice with Purpose - Show #106

Tracy Gray is Founder and Managing Partner of The 22 Fund, a venture capital fund that is facing investment and equity injustice head-on – in the finance sector, women and people of color are historically and consistently underrepresented. In her varied career, Tracy has worked as Senior Advisor for International Business to the Mayor of Los Angeles, as a systems engineer (aka “rocket scientist!”) on a space shuttle mission, and following her 2015 TEDx Talk on “Why It’s Time for Women to be Sexist With Capital,” established We Are Enough, a non-profit focused on educating ALL women on investing in women-owned, for-profit businesses. The 22 Fund builds upon that belief, that women and people of color don’t need any more “mentorship” or “technical assistance”; they need capital and help with exporting. It is a “mission-driven fund looking for high-impact and high-end returns” for climate-focused, self-sustaining technologies and ideas, and intentionally includes these historically overlooked groups. Tracy focuses her portfolio on manufacturing companies, which are typically located in low- or moderate-income communities, with the goal of exporting to elevate the community via higher wages and greater access to opportunities. Exporting coupled with manufacturing sees wages nearing $100K annually on average, they’re more likely to have healthcare, and increased generational wealth for women and people of color, says Tracy. “Our mission is to create the clean, quality jobs of the future” in these lower-income communities. The 22 Fund’s portfolio has launched products as disparate as: Tracy believes the time is right for an “all-government approach” to manufacturing and exports. “America is an insular, consumer-based economy that expects to sell just to each other – a system based largely on the fear of being taken advantage of, or the unknown – but economic instabilities aren’t well managed without exporting,” she explains. Relying on government services – the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, EXIM Bank – essentially comprises a concierge service that can move a company through: And these government agencies don’t market themselves so knowing what’s available to you is critical to global success. The 22 Fund will help by “providing the capital that doesn’t exist for these companies, especially for manufacturers, women, people of color, all of the capital gaps that exist.” All the entrepreneur needs to bring to the table is a good idea and the courage to succeed. Links: The 22 Fund - TedxOlympicBlvdWomen - US Department of Commerce – Minority Business Development Agency - Small Business Administration Office of International Trade - EXIM Bank - Connect with Wendy - Connect with Tracy - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Building an Export Business Through Organic Growth - Show #105

Ognadon Eddy Djagou (“Eddy”) is Founder and CEO of Muscatine, IA-based Djaagou-a Export LLC. He is also the Small Business Administration’s Exporter of the Year for 2022! Born and raised in French-speaking Togo in West Africa, Eddy holds a BA in Marketing from a West African university and immigrated to the US in 2011 on a Diversity visa. The Immigration Act of 1990 inspired the Diversity Visa program, a lottery by which 15,000 people come to the US each year. In Togo, explains Eddy, between one and 2 million people apply for the lottery; only 100 to 200 are selected and submitted for consideration by the West African government. “My dream changed” upon arrival, he says. Following a two-year “integration” period in Illinois – learning English, working, obtaining proper identification – Eddy relocated to Muscatine, IA, where he quickly realized that its residents typically traveled at least an hour to neighboring cities to get any international or ethnic goods – like fufu! Established in 2017, Djaagou-a Export LLC grew out of an organic process of simply sending samples of US food products to friends in Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and other regions of West Africa. What started with small packages of goods by 2020 turned into container shipments of rice, sugar, meat and fish, snacks. Eddy set up a storefront, found a supplier in Chicago, and simultaneously launched an importing business, addressing individual requests from customers both domestic and abroad. A visit to his homeland found larger orders from West African-based importers and turned Djaagou-a Export LLC into a B2B, B2C, and B2G (government) operation. Today, Djaagou-a Export LLC has the added mission of supporting the local community with their own exporting endeavors, so Eddy continues to work closely with the State of Iowa, the US Commercial Service, EXIM Bank, and the Small Business Administration (including a STEP Grant used for website translation). The opportunities that were made available to him are available to anyone: trade shows in foreign countries, 50% reimbursement grants to get started in exporting (for sending samples overseas, for example), funding for expansion. His best advice? Small US businesses that imagine exporting as “risky” should be assured that there is a lot of opportunity and government resources that will help you succeed. “Do not look afraid, try something good!” Links: Connect with Wendy - Connect with Eddy - LinkedIn - Twitter: @EddyDjagou Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Your Mindset Changes the Game - Show #104

Melissa Muhammad is the Founder and CEO of the Black and Global Business Network (BGBN). An international tax attorney, Melissa founded BGBN after 20 years with the US government, connecting businesses with exporting resources, creating opportunities, lowering trade barriers, and working with other countries to avoid any “double tax” that might stifle trade. When racial tensions in the US intensified after the killing of George Floyd, Melissa was called to reevaluate her “cushy government job” and address her “professional tragedy” of never seeing a black-owned business come across her desk throughout her 20 year career. She had worked in 50 countries, lived on 3 continents, but never used her time or talent to help the black business community. Challenging her fears of becoming an entrepreneur, and with help from a black-owned marketing company, Melissa formed BGBN. Success was immediate and Melissa attributes it to the richness of her existing relationships (in 54 African countries, Canada, the UK, and the Caribbean) and her ability simply to “listen to the people with the expertise.” In its inaugural virtual summit in April 2021, BGBN welcomed 1,100 attendees from 58 countries. Melissa is often met with disbelief by black-owned entrepreneurs that the government resources she touts actually exist. Breaking down that barrier – the historical belief within the black community of a suspect Federal government – is part of the BGBN process. BGBN provides exporting education, tests for global readiness, offers cultural competencies training, and incubates black-owned businesses at any and every stage. Its “done for you” solution means BGBN represents a company to government agencies. Melissa’s best advice is that your mindset changes the game. Making the shift to an international focus and challenging your uncertainties isn’t easy – “keep the paycheck if you’re looking for easy” – but will leave you fulfilled. Links: Connect with Wendy - Connect with Melissa: Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Look Within and Leverage - Show #103

Devon Mitchell is CEO of DSN Energy Corporation. A competitive duathlete, aeronautical engineer, MBA, entrepreneur, and leadership expert, Mitchell founded DSN to facilitate strategic partnerships with US-based businesses, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations to provide training, mentoring, and leadership programs to the oil and gas sector in Guyana. Mitchell’s family migrated from Guyana to the US when he was 10 and since, he has found success and a fruitful business network as an aeronautical engineer and Anytime Fitness franchise owner. When Exxon Mobil, several years ago, discovered in Guyana one of the largest hidden oil reserves outside of the Middle East, Mitchell immediately recognized the opportunity to give back to his home country, his specific intent being to engage the Guyanese workforce and ensure they benefit from their own economy. The only English-speaking country in South America, the Guyanese culture trends closer to the Caribbean, with British influences on education, for example. A country of fewer than 1 million, a sizeable number of people leave the country to work or study – drawing those residents back to Guyana could prove essential to engagement, and that will only be realized by creating opportunities. From that vantage point of having first-hand knowledge of Guyanese culture and close personal connections, Mitchell decided to “look within and leverage” the skills and connections he acquired in the US to revive opportunities in Guyana. It’s a repeatable process of bringing diversity of thought and problem-solving to every country with an emerging, frontier market. Connect with Wendy - Connect with Devon – Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Bringing Renewable Energy to the Amazon - Show #102

Jorge Sanchez is President and CEO of San Antonio-based Thor Energy, which develops and finances energy-efficient projects throughout Mexico and South America. Sanchez tells the fascinating story of how a start in his family’s business turned into Thor Energy, and how simply listening – to your customers, yourself, your children – holds the key to differentiating yourself from the competition. From the start, Sanchez listened to customers’ specific needs and found a foothold selling locomotive parts to Mexican businesses. Leveraging the common language, Sanchez quickly expanded into South America, and listened when businesses in the marine and oil and gas industries – both of which utilize the same parts as the auto industry – asked for his services as well. At every turn, says Sanchez, listening to customers and their needs catapulted Thor over their competitors. The move from oil and gas and fossil fuels to renewable energy occurred when Sanchez’s daughter presented a school project on renewable energy; it was the moment he recognized not only the opportunity, but also an immediate need, to pivot in that direction. Sanchez seamlessly transitioned the company into a service that recognizes a problem, identifies the technology to solve it, then finds funding for the partnership. In this instance, he explains, Thor quickly overtook the competition by adding the financing piece. Even large, State-run companies throughout South America often lack the financing up front to address pressing issues in the Amazon, he explains. Thor Energy can simultaneously find the partners and technology for a solution and conduct a visibility study to secure the financing to push projects forward. Culturally, each country is its own entity, says Sanchez. To help bridge the gaps, pay attention to “country briefings” from the US Department of Commerce and utilize the services of the US Commercial Service and your local District Export Councils (DECs), both of which will open doors to the whole world. Links: United States Commercial Services - National Association of District Export Councils - The International Trade Administration’s Country Commercial Guides - Connect with Wendy - Connect with Jorge – Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Delaware, the Eastern Gateway to the US - Show #101

Carla Sydney Stone is President of the World Trade Center Delaware, which champions international opportunity through cultural programs, training in logistics and financing, and helps with market research. Its services include finding and evaluating trade leads, direction in hiring oversees, finding partner organizations and agencies, trade missions, and facilitating conferences and exhibits. An engineer at heart, Stone’s career originated in geophysics and mining, about which she says: “Minerals flunk geography, making it an international industry.” From there she traveled the world; she has been to every continent except Antarctica (which is on her to-do list) then segued into banking, where engineers are essential for proper industry valuations, and ultimately landing in technical assistance to the “alphabet soup of [government] agencies” and academia. Just prior to the WTC Delaware, Stone found herself at the intersection of engineering and public health (water, energy, avian influenza, telemedicine). Her work with NATO introduced telemedicine into rural and remote areas of several countries. The WTC Delaware has ushered a countless number of businesses onto the international stage. Why should companies export? “To start, over 95% of consumers live outside the US,” says Stone. In addition, companies that export are more stable, riding out downturns in the economy better due to customer diversity. They can also easily adjust by way of foreign exchange, leveraging exchange rates and seasonal business, for instance. A good example is Delaware’s Port of Wilmington, which is not only the largest banana port but also brings to the US produce from around the world. It boasts the largest cold storage and fumigation capacities in the US and organizes its import/export relationships seasonally. Companies that export have a “variety of places to buy and sell. In addition, these businesses are more profitable, stay in business longer, and pay employees more.” Stone recommends that companies expanding into new countries “read, read, read.” For countries with diaspora communities, don’t be afraid to call related organizations for help with inroads; build relationships with anyone with feet in both communities. Know that culturally, even gestures can get lost in translation and can affect a meeting insofar as its pacing, attendee reactions, etc. In Bulgaria, for instance, tilting your head left and right means “yes,” a nod up and down, “no.” “Many countries say ‘we will only do business with our friends,’” says Stone, “so relationship-building is essential.” Links: Connect with Wendy - Connect with Carla - Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Envisioning Africa’s One Payment System - Show #100

Fatima Almeida, CEO and Founder of Angola-based BayQi, has a vision. Historically, online purchasing and payment systems have been problematic throughout Africa. Myriad issues are to blame, general access being the main obstacle; for example, in Angola there is a prohibitively high Visa interest rate. To promote financial inclusion, BayQi combined ecommerce and fintech to create a “super app” that now connects the 12 million people of Angola with the rest of the world. Backed by a license from the National Bank of Angola, the system currently relies on the national currency (the Angolan Kwanza) and BayQi further envisions a one-payment system that will ultimately service all of Africa, in partnership with larger, known creditors such as Visa. The platform is currently available in Portuguese, English, French, and Italian. Most African people speak one of these languages, says Almeida, but BayQi is positioned to expand its offering according to what the future demands. Any African-based business struggles with access to resources, reports Almeida, but no matter: Africa can deliver what is needed and “we can create something for the world to use as well.” Links: Connect with Wendy - Connect with Fatima – Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -


Revolutionizing International Agriculture Trade - Show #99

Michael Thornton, Founder and CEO of World TradeX, is turning his using his experience and passion to create a revolutionary new buy and sell platform focused on agriculture. When launched World TradeX will be a global buy and sell platform to support the world food chain. There’s currently nothing like it available to help farmers sell their goods in a one-to-one transaction, eliminating the middleman. They’re envisioning the platform will be the Amazon for food. Covering the whole process from farmer to purchaser including logistics, finance, insurance and of course the purchase transaction all in one place. Listen as Michael explains how World TradeX takes the best functionality of other apps and technologies (like amazon, uber and even tinder) and integrates it into their system. Farmers will be able to create profile and product cards that will be used as NFTs that can be tracked as the goods move along the process. Also, with NFTs they’re even envisioning buyers will be able to purchase future crops at today’s prices. In 2023 World TradeX will go live in California as a beta. Once the kinks are worked out their plan is to expand further in the US then internationally, focusing on two of the world’s largest agricultural producing countries, India and Brazil. “Everyone has to eat” says Michael and thinks once it’s up and running that the app will sell itself. Currently farmers go through brokers/agents that take 20-30% of their profit. This new system, with a much smaller flat rate and no need for the middleman, means more money for the farmers selling their products and smaller price tags for the buyers. They’ve been working for 7 years to get the idea out in CA through trade shows and networking. When it launches, he believes word of mouth will create excitement and bring in users. Once they launch beyond the US, they’ll have language and legal requirements to consider. Attorneys in each country will handle the legal paperwork in the appropriate languages and other translations will be handled as needed either through humans or automatic translations for things that aren’t crucial or critical. Michael’s main advice is to “do your research” and know what the market for your goods and services is in the countries you’re looking to export to and what requirements there are to sell there. He attended the EXIM conference to learn more about the financial programs available to international agriculture companies and farmers, and to network with other business owners doing global business. When asked about his favorite foreign word he replied “Arepa, because it’s fun to say and delicious to eat.” An arepa is like a pancake and is typically eaten at breakfast. Michaels’ favorite type is the Columbian arepa made with yuca flour and cheese. Links: Connect with Wendy - Connect with Michael – Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers -