Angela Joslyn is the newly appointed director of the Colorado Springs Office of International Affairs, which assists local businesses in exporting goods and services.
Joslyn’s qualification comes from a previous job that uniquely mirrors her present position.
“This is my background and passion,” Joslyn said. “I lived in Japan for four years, and I taught Japanese businessmen American business practices.”
While in Japan, Joslyn earned a master’s degree in international relations and also has hands-on business experience in other countries. She has served on the board of the Okinawan International Women’s Club.
She moved from Japan to Colorado Springs five years ago.
“I started out by campaigning for Ken Salazar,” Joslyn recalled,” and he pulled me into politics.”
Offered a position on Salazar’s staff after the 2006 election, she served as the then-Senator’s Colorado Springs regional representative. When Salazar resigned last year, Joslyn went to work for his successor, Sen. Michael Bennet. She left Bennet’s office for her new position at the beginning of the month.
“The next couple of weeks are going to be dedicated to just figuring it (the job) out,” she said, “I need to see whether businesses here are aware of what’s available to them, and how we can help. Honestly, this is a growth opportunity for this region.”
One of the first orders of business will be a name change.
“We’re going to be the International Development Office,” she said, “and not be just a static office.”
She sees her role as not one of passive information gathering, but as being both “a collector and a connector.”
Her experience as a senatorial staffer has given her some insight into the often-bewildering world of state and federal programs that are designed to help small and medium businesses become successful exporters.
“I think that a lot of businesses just don’t know about the programs that are out there,” she said, “OEDIT (the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade) has a program that offers a $2,500 grant for businesses that want to investigate export possibilities. So if a business is kind of scared of investing in the field, and needs help, that’s a great program.”
Joslyn said it is realistic to expect that a relatively isolated, somewhat insular, city such as Colorado Springs can attract and foster businesses that can compete in the world market.
“I think that we can re-brand ourselves as an international city,” she said, pointing to existing programs at UCCS and Colorado Tech, which have attracted many students from overseas, “and we also need to capitalize on what we have. If we have the USOC here, we should promote this more proactively, nationally and internationally.”
Joslyn is typical of the young professionals that cities across the country are eagerly wooing. But according to the Project 6035 study, created last year by the Angelou Consulting Group, Colorado Springs lags behind in recruiting and retaining YP’s.
How can we improve?
“We seem to focus on our negativity,” Joslyn said. “If we focus on our positives, not our negatives, we can do a lot better. I’m really excited about this job, and about making Colorado Springs a more international city, because I want to stay here for a very long time.”
Joslyn is currently reading two notably dissimilar books.
“I’m reading ‘A Splendid Exchange — How Trade Shaped the World’ by William Bernstein. And I’m also reading one of my favorites, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ to my kids who are 8 and 10.”
For exercise, Joslyn runs up the Incline. Is she one of those every day, rain or shine, snow or ice, hard-core Incline fanatics?
“Oh, no,” she laughed, “I only run it a few times a month. I’m a mom with two kids — I don’t have time to be a hard-core anything!”