The CITP®|FIBP® (Certified International Trade Professional) designation is a source of immense pride for those who earn it, but many don’t know how impactful it can be on your career and personal aspirations. This week, we interviewed CITP Lora Rigutto, Loyalty and Engagement Manager at FITT, to discuss the ways in which FITTskills training and the CITP designation have advanced her personal and professional goals.
Lora, you’re celebrating your 10-year CITP anniversary this year. Can you tell us why this milestone is important to you and how you’re planning on celebrating?
Tell us a little bit about your journey in international business.
Out of university, I landed my dream job working as Assistant Trade Commissioner for The Trade Commission of Chile—ProChile, promoting Chilean exports in Canada, Canadian investment in Chile, and bilateral commercial relations between the two countries in general, all while working on my Spanish proficiency and witnessing the signing of Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement.
Fast forward a few years, I had two wonderful children and a desire to strike a work-life balance, so I took some time off. When my kids got older, I wanted to go back to work, but I was left with a skills gap after being a full-time mom and working part-time in a family-run automotive dealership. I knew that it was time to get back to the field of international trade, but my confidence was a little shaky since I had been out of the global business arena for several years.
What compelled you to get advanced training, or to upskill in business, and why did you choose FITTskills?
I knew I needed to upskill in order to re-introduce myself to the workforce and land in a role that ignited my passion for international trade. I knew I wanted to pursue a path towards certification as an international trade professional and that a designation would validate my competencies acquired through my international trade experience and my newly learned knowledge through the completion of all FITTskills courses.
I also knew that the international trade training I would commit to had to be flexible. I had to be able to build my skills and knowledge anytime—in between games, competitions and during practices, on weekends, and at night when everyone was sleeping.
Shortly thereafter, I was hired as an Export Manager with a local SME which listed the CITP designation as a required credential. From there, the CITP certification opened several more doors of opportunity both in the private, public and the education sector.
Did you find that the courses and training were applicable to your daily work?
You are now a seasoned business mentor and eventually taught FITTskills courses? Can you tell us a bit about those experiences?
Let me tell you, I don’t miss too many opportunities to mentor international business management students about the value of the CITP designation and share my passion with them about the dynamic field of international trade. It warms my heart when students reach out, years after graduation, to bounce ideas off me, seek advice or simply share details of a new global business venture or a great new position they’ve just landed.
Can you give us an idea of some of the business projects you’ve seen related to FITTskill training? Are some of these used in real business situations?
It’s hard to isolate certain projects because I believe FITTSkills training provides the entire framework to help companies meet their global market expansion objectives. If I had to choose specific FITTskills training, I would say that Incoterms® 2020 training provided the most concrete knowledge to truly assist SMEs with their export pricing strategies and help them understand their costs, risks, and obligations depending on which Incoterm is selected. The wrong selection of Incoterm could spell disaster for some SME exporters.
Many CITPs comment on the strong network and community between those who have the designation. Why are so many of them proud to spread the word about it?
I don’t miss too many opportunities within my network to raise awareness of the internationally recognized professional designation for those ready to take themselves or the companies they represent globally. In terms of validation and pride, I am recognized as a subject matter expert which lends credibility in private, public, and academic circles. I am extremely proud of a credential that not only values but soon will require proof of ongoing professional development.
This month, FITT is celebrating the value of upskilling. Can you tell us how upskilling has helped your career or personal goals?
Initially, I was humbled by my knowledge gaps but soon realized that all professionals, even those that use Incoterms® daily, need an in-depth refresher and deep dive into the important updates with the latest edition, Incoterms® 2020.
It’s interesting to note that so many CITPs maintain their designation after years and decades. Why do you think that is?
In regard to my 10-year anniversary, I feel that my certification is the gift that keeps on giving. When I took that first step to take one course, I knew I wanted to follow the established path which would provide me with the competency and credibility for global business professionals. I knew upskilling would open new opportunities to pursue my passion for global business and I knew, eventually, I would be compensated for doing something that I truly find engaging.
I am extremely proud to demonstrate my commitment to ethical business practices and encourage other CITPs to flaunt their designation as a symbol of competency and credibility in global business.
What aspects of FITTskills training do you find that you use frequently in your daily work? Was there a particular course or module that was your favourite?
I would have to say International Sales and Marketing course. It was my favorite because it amalgamated content from all courses into the international sales and marketing plan. I love looking at cultural aspects of international marketing from a language and preferences perspective.
Any parting thoughts for your 10-year anniversary?
I have opened many new and exciting doors in the past 10 years, gained a whack of experience, developed quite a network of diverse industry professionals, and had an incredible amount of fun. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for the next decade.