The Minnesota Trade Office announced its new director is a former Polaris manager who worked with distributors in Central and South America.
Today, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced Gabrielle Gerbaud, a Polaris Industries manager with 14 years of experience in international business and trade, has been named executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office.
Gerbaud replaces Kathleen Motzenbecker, who left late last year for an executive position with the Medical Alley Association. Gerbaud will assume leadership of the Minnesota Trade Office on April 19.
Gerbaud, a native of Spain who speaks fluent Spanish, French and English, will lead the office that was established in 1983 by Gov. Rudy Perpich to help Minnesota companies connect and compete globally. Through the work of the Trade Office, exports of Minnesota agricultural, mining and manufactured products have grown to more than $19 billion in annual sales. Minnesota businesses exported 1,044 different products to 207 countries last year. State exports supported almost 120,000 jobs in Minnesota in 2015.
“Gabrielle knows what it takes for businesses of all sizes to be successful in the global marketplace,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Her wealth of international experience and work at one of Minnesota’s greatest companies makes her a great champion for our businesses and overall economy.”
“I am enthusiastic about this opportunity to apply my international business, trade and cultural expertise to help Minnesota companies become more globally competitive,” said Gerbaud. “I have lived and worked in many countries, but I am proud to call Minnesota my home. I look forward to working with the Minnesota business community, our small businesses and manufacturers, to highlight all that our great state has to offer the world.”
Gerbaud previously served in international sales management positions at Polaris Industries, a Medina-based company with global sales of $4.7 billion (2015). She worked closely with Polaris distributors in Central and South America and was a key player in developing two company-owned subsidiaries in Latin America.
Prior to her work at Polaris, Gerbaud was managing owner of the Hotel Punta Couso in Santiago de Compostela, Spain; general secretary and business development manager for the Thomson Prometric standardized-testing firm in Madrid, Spain, and Manchester, England; and international relations manager for E.N. Mercasa, an organization within the Ministry of Agriculture that is responsible for food policy in Spain. In the latter position, Gerbaud was the first woman appointed to the board of directors of the Mercavalencia wholesale market in Spain.
Gerbaud has traveled to 29 countries on business and worked with 12 other countries on business matters during her career.
Gerbaud holds bachelor’s degrees (double major) in economics and international relations from Boston University and a Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certificate from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Trade Office provides export assistance to Minnesota's manufacturers and service providers. Programs and services focus primarily on assisting small and medium-sized companies.