I can still remember the first World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) event I attended: the 2018 Member Seminar. I was very nervous because I had to address colleagues from all over the world and talk about the upcoming Latin American Regional Meeting, which World Trade Center (WTC) Asunción was preparing to host shortly thereafter. After reading about past Member Seminars, memorizing the names of key Members to meet, and drafting notes for my speech, I felt that nothing prepared me for what I soon experienced — the warm welcome I received from my fellow Members. After all of the panels, MAC meetings, workshops, conversations, and other social activities, I quickly realized the whole event was filled with camaraderie amongst WTCA Members and staff, and each person I met had been in my place before and were eager to meet me and learn about my WTC. Moreover, there were lessons I learned that I could put into practice as soon as I returned home.
In my particular case, as WTC Asunción was preparing for the upcoming Regional Meeting, I was tasked to share key topics from the agenda, as well as information about our WTC including what projects WTC Asunción was working on and what it was like working with the local government, the impact we had in the corporate market in Paraguay, as well as our economic and investment dynamics. It was astonishing to see how our work interested WTCs from distant regions, especially WTCs from the United States who had commercial ties to Latin America, and even WTCs from China. As a result of our efforts to share our upcoming event and network with other Members, our Regional Meeting was highly attended not only by Members from the Latin America region but also from regions across North America, Europe, and Asia.
The annual Member Seminar is a unique, enlightening, and educational experience. It provides a valuable opportunity to bolster your global perspective, learn about the successes and challenges from other WTCs, and get their insights on what is happening within their local markets. Listening to case stories and best practices is the best way to learn from each other and help others succeed. Whenever people ask me what’s the best thing about being part of the WTCA, I always answer “my fellow Members.” I believe it´s because of the network’s global reach, the genuine connection, and how we all learn from each other. There is great diversity in the 325-plus WTCs from nearly 100 countries around the world, and WTCA Members truly want to share their stories, and to connect with and help each other for the improvement of global trade and investment.
This October will mark my second year attending the annual Member Seminar — my fourth WTCA event overall — and I’m very excited about this year’s program, and to re-connect with my fellow Members. To those who are going for the first time, or those who are still having doubts about going, I will say this — not only will the agenda topics be very interesting and the location of the venue in New York City amazing, but, my dear colleagues, please don´t miss out on this opportunity. Everyone is eagerly awaiting your attendance and participation. You are part of this diverse, global community, and we can’t wait to learn all about you and all that you’re doing at your WTC!