Today we’d like to introduce you to Dirk Ebener.
Dirk, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started Global CIF in May of 2014, after working in the international trade show and conference management industry since 1995. My first two career stops were with two German based trade show companies. In May of 2014 I launched Global CIF with the vision of providing future clients with four key business components, which I included in the name of my company: Global = working in global markets and with global clients, C = Connected to the international markets, I = Informed about the international trends and business solutions, and F = Focused on the successful concepts and solutions for our clients.
I have always been fascinated about foreign cultures, markets, products, and the business world. I grew up in Germany and traveled around the world at a very young age, ready to learn what other countries and business do to be successful. My parents allowed me to become independent and installed many important values in me that prepared me to be open to foreign languages, cultures, and their people. I wanted to make sure that this would be an important part of my business when I decided to leave corporate America and move into entrepreneurship and launching Global CIF.
The trade show and conference industry is an ideal platform for this goal and vision. Trade shows allow companies from around the world to meet for just a few days for very intense networking, sales, and marketing meetings. To assist companies from around the world, preparing them for a success trade show, making sure that their investment in a trade show is creating a return of investment, as well as launching and managing successful, events, is an ideal opportunity for my company to support their efforts and vision.
I moved to the USA in 1995 and countless companies and business leaders helped me to understand what it takes to be successful in a very different business culture. At Global CIF, I now want to give back to the business community and prepare domestic and international business for their step into the global marketplace.
Looking back at over 22 years in this industry, I am very thankful that I met people from around the world and in over 60 different industry segments, who helped me to create the spirit of entrepreneurship in my mindset. I believe that businesses need to help each other to be successful. Entrepreneurs like myself need a strong support network, making a phone call or sending an email to get advice. I hope that Global CIF will be recognized as a company that entrepreneurs, startups, and existing business from all over the world can reach out to when they need that advice.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Starting and establishing a business is never easy. It is very important to evaluate your network, making sure that there is a lot of support in place when you start your own company. It took me 18 months to move Global CIF into a position where it was a business and not just a vision. I had to learn that I needed to restructure and re-evaluate my network. I was looking at too many different ways to create business. Looking back my advice is to stay with your core business. Looking at “new opportunities” outside the core business and vision might not be the best way to go.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Global CIF – what should we know?
Global CIF is an international trade show and conference management company. We help companies to develop trade show concepts, assist them with the launch of trade shows, and manage events from start to finish. We also help companies to participate in these trade shows, as well as buyers from around the world to attend the events to meet with exhibiting companies. We offer trade show training about international markets, cross-cultural training, and individual corporate training and business solutions.
We are working in a lot of different industries, including organic produce, transportation, industrial paint and coatings, food and beverages, candy and sweets, just to name a few. The companies that are participating in these events are from over 70 countries. This allows us to be connected with the global marketplace every day.
Global CIF is very focused and proud on this global business element and vision. We are a small company with a very global reach. We are very focused on making sure that every company, no matter how small or large their business is, receives individual focus and attention.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
When I moved to Atlanta in 1995 I was very unsure about the future and how I will fit in a very different business world and culture. I was very fortunate to have parents who allowed me to travel around the world and experience new and different things. It was important to them that their sons were open minded, respected other cultures and people living there, and were ready to step into the world. Our family always talked about the world, politics, culture, business, and many other topics at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All of these many different elements were important and allowed me to be prepared for that important step.
I met my wife in Germany when she was teaching at an American High School in Germany, and we decided to move here after her teaching contract was completed. To move into an existing family structure after moving to the USA, was an enormous help. Her father has been my very first business mentor here in the US. His advice has always been very important.
I have been very fortunate that I have met many people over the last 22 years who have been mentors, supporters, and clients. Colleagues and clients from around the world have allowed me to build the vision and business values that I am building my company on.