CarolAnn Pollett credited for work with women in business
The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) has named an employee of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador one of 100 “extraordinary women and men who have advanced the economic empowerment of women.”
The award will be presented to CarolAnn Pollett — an international trade officer in the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development — at a gala event in Washington, D.C. on March 27, 2014.
This year’s award recipients hail from 35 different countries.
Pollett is one of only 10 recipients from Canada and has been specifically singled out for her work within government, working with businesses led by women.
Pollett was nominated for the TIAW World of Difference 100 Award by a client — personal and professional life coach Phyllis Reardon, a business owner — and received news of the win in August.
“I’m completely humbled by this award,” Pollett said, sitting with The Telegram in her office at Confederation Building this week. She said she particularly appreciates the fact the nomination came from a client.
Working as an international trade officer, Pollett’s day-to-day involves working with local businesses that are beyond the startup stage, with owners interested in expanding into the United States.
“‘Export curious’ we call it. That’s the term that I like to use,” she said. “So we take them from the curious stage, right to the stage where they’re actually signing contracts in another country.”
The United States is her assigned target market. And, while every case is unique, Pollett said the United States is generally a good starting point for companies looking to export.
“You can learn the ropes in the USA,” she said. “They’re a friendly neighbour. They’re close by. We speak the same language, the business culture is essentially the same.”
Within the department, Pollett has managed to advance the “Women in Business” portfolio alongside her work on U.S. partnerships by teaming with Deborah Youden, an export consultant at the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE).
“We help companies that go around the world (to) go around the world,” Pollett said, extending credit for their success to the network of individuals within her department and at NLOWE.
The work is not about making deals for local companies, she explained, but rather providing information, footing and opportunities for the businesses to seal their own deals and reach their goals.
“You still have to have the right price; you still have to have a good quality product or service; you still have to have your marketing, your website and all that stuff,” she said. “But,we’ll help you find your tools so you can grow.”
One assist is familiarizing businesses with standards like the WEConnect Canada certification for 51 per cent woman-owned and managed businesses. The designation, also available in the United States, extends from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and has the ability to open doors for businesses to work with companies with supplier diversity programs.
In more direct action, Pollett helps companies make connections with potential partners in target areas like South Florida and Louisiana — South Florida with its great mix of business types and access to the Americas, and the oil and gas service centre of Louisiana.
“CarolAnn goes above and beyond anything that could be included in a ‘job description.’ She is an individual who sees the broader picture … sees how she can use her skills to help others reach their goals,” said Andrea Sharpe, president of Karlande Designs Ltd. of Clarenville, in a testimonial accompanying the award nomination.
On Oct. 15 Pollett will join six businesswomen and representatives from NLOWE on a business mission to Miami.
The women have pre-booked pitch sessions and meetings with potential partner companies.