Ottawa Chapter of OWIT Grows its International Presence
The Ottawa Chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade [OWIT] started modestly as a group of ten volunteer enthusiasts in 2009.
Today, the international not-for-profit professional organization, whose mandate is to promote and connect women engaging in international trade through networking and educational opportunities, has greatly expanded its presence.
OWIT-Ottawa’s audience has grown to encompass representatives of government agencies, academics, the diplomatic community, educational institutions, and public and private businesses. The OWIT international network has supported OWIT-Ottawa’s outreach to various countries and continents, tapping into numerous members, partners, and contacts around the globe.
“International trade, a traditionally male dominated sector, has seen a remarkable surge in women’s participation in all roles at every level — business owners, advisors, politicians, and professionals,” says Anca Sattler, President of OWIT-Ottawa.
OWIT-Ottawa’s location provides a unique opportunity for it to interact with international trade regulators such as Global Affairs Canada and other federal departments, multiple foreign embassies and High Commissions, along with a wide variety of businesses – both for-profit and not-for-profit, Crown corporations, and two major universities, with a range of international trade implications.
The organization holds various events geared towards the promotion of women in business and trade. Events over the past few years have, for example, included a fireside chat with Export Development Canada President and Chief Executive Officer Mairead Lavery, the first woman to hold that position, and a gender and trade round table with Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng and Minister Isabel Plá, Chile’s then Minister of Women and Gender Equity.
Another OWIT event featured Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, British High Commissioner to Canada, who shared her perspective on the UK/Canada trade relationship as well as the implications of Brexit.
OWIT-Ottawa has created a robust and reliable network of contacts and partners, including Export Development Canada, Trade Facilitation Office Canada, Business Women in International Trade, HSBC, KPMG and others.
“The richness and diversity of OWIT-Ottawa’s events is only possible because of these valued relationships,” says President Anca Sattler.
To maintain the connection with its members, contacts and audience through the COVID-19 pandemic, OWIT-Ottawa has shifted its focus to online events and made more extensive use of technology. In so doing, it has maintained a good working relationship with its audience, sister chapters, and partners.
Its next event, in early December, will be a virtual seminar with several local businesses: Stubbe Chocolates, Equator Coffee, and KIN Vineyards, whose owners will share their challenges and opportunities arising from the new market realities.
Stay tuned for more details.