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Hispanic Heritage Month wraps up big with small business, international trade

Silvia Torres Bowman, director of Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and International Trade Center (ITC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. (SIUE photo)

Silvia Torres Bowman, director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and International Trade Center (ITC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, appeared with other senior export advisors on a September 26 panel presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

“Expand your Exports:  Experts Panel” featured Torres Bowman and several Hispanic speakers during SBA’s promotion of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Torres Bowman, a native Peruvian, American citizen and director of the SBDC ITC since 1998, and her colleagues joined dedicated trade partners from the national SBDC network for an online discussion covering tips for global sales success. To her surprise, more than 600 people registered and listened in on the webinar.

“I never forget my precious roots, I try my best to carry on my Hispanic values and traditions wherever life takes me,” Torres Bowman said.

“One of these values is taking care of our Southern Illinois community and small businesses. Every client who comes through the ITC, the Hispanic in me always makes sure they receive a warm, friendly service from us. Because that’s who we are, naturally warm people,” she added.

Marshall Girtman of Special Mine Services is a client of Torres Bowman. He provided a testimonial to the audience showing just how far her warmth can go.

“She’s always been there for consultation and advice.” Girtman said of Torres Bowman. “When I say her office has been the foundation of our success, I mean it.”

For Torres Bowman and her fellow panelists representation helps build the bridge that connects small business identities to global trade. And Torres Bowman is a big fan of building bridges.

“I love building bridges!” Torres Bowman beams. “Connecting people can be powerful and priceless. Both ends of a bridge have a lot in common, I can be a support where each can gain so much.”

Torres Bowman capitalized on her Peruvian background and her Spanish fluency to continue to build bridges between Southern Illinois and Latin America. She recently accepted the President’s E Award for Export Service from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on behalf of SIUE’s SBDC ITC. The webinar that originally aired live on the SBA Office of International Trade LinkedIN is available to watch on YouTube.

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