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Meet Collins Rex: a guiding light for Australian women in exports

Meet Collins Rex: a guiding light for Australian women in exports article image

International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated in many countries around the world on March 8.

It’s a day when all women are recognised for their achievements.

In advance of International Women’s Day, the Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA) has launched a new campaign to shine a light on the women who rock international trade.

As part of the campaign the GTPA will pay tribute to Australian women who deserve special recognition for their achievements in the world of trade.

Their first high achiever is Collins Rex, GTPA’s Asia-Africa director.

Collins is passionate about seeing small business do better business and do it on the global stage

To this end, she’s been responsible for the development and delivery of training courses across a range of topics, including export readiness, pitching/presentation & Free Trade Agreements workshops.

Her international trade knowledge and skills have been honed over many years, as evidenced by her managing and delivering a number of major trade-related projects.

The GTPA has shared this recent interview with Collins Rex who has spent much of her career encouraging and promoting Australian women to play an active role in global trade …

What is your background working in international trade?

I'm a marketing specialist who worked for years in and around the technology space, until the international trade bug bit.

For the past 11+ years I've assisted companies to do better business, and to do it on the international stage.

For 10 years I worked with the Export Council of Australia, managing the State of Victoria, heading up the skills team, developing international trade tools like the ANZ Be Trade Ready website, and developing and presenting more educational programmes than I can count.  It has, however, been over the past 14 or so months that I've become well and truly entrenched in international trade, working with the Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA) as the Director responsible for Asia and Africa and developing and delivering the eCommerce strategy.

What inspired you to enter into a career in international trade?

I came to international trade via a rather circuitous route!  Having owned and operated my own business on two continents gave me some firsthand insights into the challenges faced by MSMEs. I've helped companies of all sizes with their marketing strategies, and I also worked for many years with not-for-profits with SME members. Taking the step into assisting SMEs do international business, was a natural progression.

If you were to go back in time and invite any three leaders to dinner who would they be?Collins Rex new headshot

Nelson Mandela, Marie Curie and Katherine Johnson.

What are the top three challenges of working in international trade?

As a woman working in the developed world, I don’t think my challenges are any different from a man’s working in international trade.  I would highlight these challenges:

  • Finding enough hours in the day to do everything that needs doing
  • Dealing with sometimes punishing travel schedules
  • Constantly keeping up with changes in the international business landscape

Having said that, though, I wouldn’t change a thing!

What are the top four opportunities for anyone looking to work in international trade?

Again, these are not necessarily specific to a woman, but the opportunities are:

  • Learning more than one ever imagined
  • Meeting remarkable people
  • Travelling
  • Making a contribution

How would you encourage more women to enter into a career in international trade?

By getting them young!  Little girls at primary school level should be encouraged to think beyond careers in their own backyards. They should have role models who have achieved success on the global stage, in all walks of life and business. There are so many truly remarkable women who are perfectly positioned to inspire a generation of girls to enter the world of international business. 

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