terra widdifield '95
Major: Vocal Performance
Career field: Sales
Job title: Director of International Sales
Employer: Gateway Music Festivals and Tours, Inc.
In two to three sentences, please describe what your current position entails.
I oversee product development and sales of customized tours for American performing ensembles traveling to foreign countries. In addition to directly selling to clients, I manage a sales staff. I travel an average of 6 weeks per year.
What has been your career path to date?
After graduating from St. Olaf in 1995 with a B.M. in Vocal Performance, I entered a graduate program in Musicology at the University of Minnesota. In 1997, I began working at Gateway Music Festivals and Tours.
Which country(ies) has your work taken you to?
How did your interest in working internationally develop?
Since childhood, I had a keen interest in foreign languages and cultures. Immediately after high school, I spent a year studying at international schools in England and Austria before transferring to St. Olaf.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work internationally?
As a member of the St. Olaf Choir, I participated in a three-week tour of Norway in 1993. During the tour, I observed how Bob Johnson, Manager of Music Organizations, interacted with local contacts. I realized that our well-paced itinerary and sold-out concerts took considerable advance planning and relationship-building. This piqued my interest in exploring the logistical side of musical tours.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about working internationally?
We work with suppliers in more than 20 countries. Our American clients often want information earlier than our foreign suppliers are accustomed to providing it. Negotiating timelines that work for both our clients and our suppliers is a daily challenge.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
We send a company representative on every tour we organize. When I travel with a group, I see the participants' engagement with foreign cultures. Many of our clients are students. Since my life was changed by spending time in Europe as a teenager, I know the lives of these students will be enriched and expanded by their tours.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
For me, being a "global citizen" means attending to human and environmental concerns through education, financial support, political action and relationship-building.
What advice would you offer current students interested in working internationally?
Cultivate relationships with people from different cultures, even simple friendships. 2. When you travel, be an extrovert. Engage with as many different people as possible. 3. Keep up on international affairs.
Terra Widdifield Director of International Sales Gateway Music Festivals and Tours, Inc. P.O. Box 1165 Monticello, MN 55362 Tel: (800)331-8579 Email: email@example.com