Four Questions with Gabrielle Gerbaud
31 Oct 2017
Executive director, Minnesota Trade Office
What led you to the Minnesota Trade Office (MTO)?
My experience at Polaris involved everything from sales to operations. I represented Polaris in Latin America and Europe, and then eventually the whole world. It was a great job that I did for six years. One Sunday night I was sitting at home when I saw the opportunity at the MTO. I said to my husband, “This is it. I found it.” So I applied and was eventually hired. I am thrilled to be here representing the State of Minnesota. It’s really a mix of everything I’ve done for the last 20 years.
Does the breadth of your experience bring a different perspective than manufacturers might otherwise expect?
This job allows me to put all my previous experience to work. A major component of this job is understanding small and medium-sized business perception and perspective. That’s my background. I understand the challenges of a company that has just 10 or 12 employees. Your livelihood and the livelihoods of 10 people depend on your decisions on a daily basis. I understand the struggles of a manufacturing company, problems in production, deadlines, and all the input from the different parts of the world, and what it implies, and how it affects the manufacturing side at a medium-level corporation. This experience allows me to better serve the business owners and companies that look to the MTO for trade assistance.