Claude Gendron, CITP|FIBP is the Deputy Director of the Aerospace Team at Global Affairs Canada.
Three years after moving into the international trade world from a government position in international security, his efforts have already paid off in spectacular fashion and his career is on the rise.
Taking a hands-on approach to Canada’s aerospace industry
Before entering into international trade, Claude had already built quite an impressive resume, mainly with the Canadian government.
He spent six years working for Canadian Heritage and served as an analyst for the United Nations Development Programme. In that time he administered grants and programs related to women’s health initiatives for Health Canada and worked on several non-proliferation, global security partnership, and security threat reduction programs for Global Affairs Canada.
He also studied to earn a postgraduate diploma in management and a master’s degree in international management from HEC Montreal’s business school, and a business administration and management certificate from MIT’s prestigious Sloan School of Management.
When given the chance to transfer from his security role at Global Affairs Canada to a role in international trade, Claude found the new options open to him as a Trade Commissioner in the aerospace sector to be very appealing.
I was thrilled with the idea of assisting companies and businesses in expanding their business abroad.
“Although I had several degrees in management, my hands-on experience in working with industry was relatively limited.”
He also quickly found that he had a lot to learn, but that his colleagues were more than willing to share their experiences and help him understand the ins and outs of the complex aerospace industry.
“I had to learn about the dynamics at play in the aerospace industry, but also in each of its segments, namely commercial aviation, maintenance, repair and overhaul, and space.”
“I also had to learn about global value chains, foreign direct investment, the export control regime in Canada and the type of services Canadian companies are requesting from the Trade Commissioner Service, to support their international business development.”
“In terms of advice, speaking to my colleagues and partners was the starting point. Seeking advice from experts or seasoned trade commissioners in my Department helped me learn to handle simple and more complex queries in assisting Canadian clients.”
Making big connections and paving the way for Canada’s aerospace sector
Despite his early experience in trade, Claude was able to orchestrate some major projects and take on a great deal of responsibility in a short period of time.
He planned and executed the Trade Commissioner Service’s programs at both the prestigious biannual Farnborough Air Show in 2014 and the Paris Airshow in 2015, both of which had approximately 400 Canadians representing 125 Canadian companies in attendance.
He also contributed to the development of a B2B matchmaking program used by over two dozen Trade Commissioners at posts around the world to help commissioners meet with foreign delegations and foreign companies interested in investing in Canada.
Claude also contributed to the renewal of an MOU on promoting cooperation in the civil aviation industry between Canada and China in November 2014.
Along with helping others build stronger relationships in the aerospace sector, Claude has managed to secure some exciting clients of his own. One client has already been a great benefit to Canada’s aerospace sector and could continue to pay off in exponential fashion.
“A few months after I began my job as Trade Commissioner, I attended a trade event in Montreal where I was introduced to a Director of Procurement for a major aircraft manufacturer.”
My colleagues and I made a suggestion to this senior official to organize a series of conferences or a trade mission across Canada. We offered the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service and partners to organize these meetings for the benefit of the Canadian industry.
“This represented tremendous opportunities for Canadian suppliers in aerospace.”
“Today, this manufacturer not only has organized two conferences in Canada, but has also established a close relationship with my team and other federal departments. Frequent communications are taking place and have paved the way for great opportunities on the horizon for the Canadian aerospace industry.”
Furthering his global trade expertise through targeted training
2015 was a big year for Claude, as he completed several major career milestones.
Even with his impressive education, Claude wanted to continue to train and add to his skills and knowledge. As part of that effort, he completed his master’s in management from Harvard University, which he had started in 2010.
In 2015, Claude also took the FITTskills program, which he says has enhanced his credibility and expertise as a Trade Commissioner.
“I found the FITTskills training to be perfectly designed for my work at Global Affairs Canada. This training provides an excellent understanding of the role and responsibilities of an international trade expert.”
“It presents practical advice in a wide number of areas to help you better perform your duty and overcome challenges when dealing with international trade finance, supply chain management, market entry strategies, legal issues, etc.”
He found it so helpful in fact, that he’s recommended the FITTskills courses to many other professionals since completing them.
The training offered by FITT is well tailored to the needs of the global trade industry. I encourage all my colleagues, as well as International Trade Practitioners and Business Development officers in the private sector, to take this training as it really makes a difference.
After finishing his courses, Claude also successfully applied to become an elite Certified International Trade Professional (CITP®|FIBP®), and says having the designation has been a big advantage in his daily work at GAC, as it is widely recognized throughout his department and the private sector.
Claude was recently named Deputy Director of Global Affairs’ aerospace team, and thinks his FITTskills training and his designation will help him in the role.
“My supervisor gives a lot of credit to the FITTskills program as it is well recognized within the Trade Sectors at Global Affairs Canada. I have no doubt the CITP®|FIBP® designation will make a difference in my career.”
In November 18, 2015, Claude’s team and the aerospace trade commissioners were awarded the James C. Floyd Award by the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) for their important contributions to the promotion of Canadian aerospace interests in the global marketplace.
“The Trade Commissioner Service has proven to be a vital partner to the Canadian aerospace industry, helping companies to make the connections that they need to gain access to and do business in markets around the world,” said Jim Quick, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.
“Through their active participation in domestic and international trade shows, their support in coordinating aerospace industry trade missions for companies and industry delegations, and their partnership through initiatives such as embedding a Trade Commissioner in AIAC’s offices, the TCS has directly and significantly supported the growth of Canadian aerospace both at home and around the world.”
This was the first time that the Award, which recognizes exceptional contributions to the Canadian aerospace industry, has been given to a government entity.
With such a rapid upward trajectory, Claude’s trade career in the aerospace sector seems poised for continued excellence, and we look forward to see the heights he’ll rise to next.
LinkedIn: Claude Gendron
Learn more about the CITP®|FIBP® designation
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CERTIFICATION—CITP®|FIBP®
Advance your career and build your professional credibility in the field of global business by earning the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation.
Why Earn the Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) Designation?
The Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) designation is the world’s leading professional designation for the field of international business. So whether you’re new to global trade or have over a decade of direct experience, you’ll find the CITP designation can help advance your career and build your professional credibility.
The CITP designation sets you apart in the competitive international business industry because it’s proof you possess the competencies global business experts have identified as being essential for a successful career in international trade. It also recognizes your dedication to ethical business practices and ongoing professional development—both of which are desirable traits for today’s global business practitioners.