Forging Cross-Cultural Relationships as a Woman in STEM

Forging Cross-Cultural Relationships as a Woman in STEM

An International Women’s Day Exclusive Interview

We are very proud of the global businesswomen we work with at Export Delaware. In honor of International Women’s Day, we sat down with Stephanie Rosenberg of Advanced Materials Technology to hear her perspective on being a woman in STEM sales.

Stephanie Rosenberg studied chemistry and biology in college and never guessed she would end up traveling the world representing an advanced manufacturing company. She has learned to develop her network, forge long-lasting partnerships, and lead with quality.

Early Career Spurred on by Science and Networking

The appeal of the laboratory interested Rosenberg from the beginning. During University breaks, she worked in a food science lab testing raw materials and finished products. After graduating with a degree in Medical Technology, with concentrations in Chemistry and Biology, Rosenberg worked for an analytical instrument company as a product specialist, which involved applications work in the laboratory that later led to a career in sales of analytical testing instrumentation. The interesting aspect of that position was learning all of the market spaces and applications that were being performed. “In my territory, that meant a lot of chromatography, specifically, liquid chromatography,” says Rosenberg. At the time, Advanced Materials Technology (AMT), a manufacturer of liquid chromatography columns, was one of her customers. She didn’t know then that one day her sales experience in the field would lead to a career change by joining AMT in a newly created sales and marketing department. “I didn’t have a formal background in sales and marketing,” says Rosenberg, “But I knew the science and the products.” AMT was striving to establish and strengthen their position in the global marketplace. “Finding the right partners is important,” says Rosenberg, “And there were key areas where we were underperforming.”

She set out to develop an international network of distributors to represent AMT in foreign markets where there were gaps. There was a lot of opportunity in China, so Rosenberg first traveled to Shanghai to make connections there. Export Delaware helped to offset some of her travel costs through a grant. “We identified a few potential partners and eventually signed an awesome distributor there.”

After China, Rosenberg set her eyes on Europe. She participated in a business trip with Export Delaware to the UK and Ireland. The international trade representatives on the Export Delaware team helped identify several potential partners for her.

Now, they do quite a bit of business in those regions, thanks to their distributors, who are well suited for the products and markets that AMT serves. “Having a true distribution partner with regular communication and engagement, and traveling to meet them face-to-face to show our commitment has made all the difference.”


stephanie in China
Shanghai China with Global Unimicro, 2018.



Right Relationships and Quality Products Are the Differentiators

According to Rosenberg, the hardest part of international business development is that you can’t be everywhere you want to be. You must focus on where to spend your efforts. “I’m one person. I would love to see distributors every quarter and give them support. There’s only so much time in a day and dollars available, especially for a small business.”

Understanding regulations and restrictions, even from a marketing standpoint, has been another challenge. “For example, in China,” says Rosenberg, “They don’t have Google, and you’ve got to use different partners to host your server. Seems simple, but it’s really not.” The biggest thing that helped her navigate these challenges was networking. The more she connected with people overseas, the more the puzzle pieces fell into place.

More relationships were forged on her business trip to Israel with Export Delaware. “We truly are a global economy. The meetings set up for us on the trip gave us an understanding of our customer base in Israel and the way distribution is handled.”

“I’m proud of the team we’ve developed and how we are able to serve both our customers and distribution partners so they can effectively sell our product,” says Rosenberg. “Most distributors also offer competing products in their portfolios. It’s the nature of our business. Therefore, it’s important for us to differentiate based upon quality and performance. For us, performance is not only the product itself, which is paramount, but performance in ourselves as a company supplying the product. That means on-time delivery, technical support, training, and responsiveness to the customer. We continually receive feedback and achieve high scores on surveys from our distribution partners that our products arrive quickly, they don’t have quality issues, and therefore, it makes it easier to sell, which is what we want!”


Stephanie in Israel
Israel Export Delaware Business Trip, 2019


Navigating Cultural Challenges

When Rosenberg started her career, there were few women in scientific sales. “The field has opened up a lot more.” Back then, certain cultures were not accustomed to negotiating with women, especially if they said, “That’s the best and final price.” Rosenberg learned to use different negotiation styles depending on the local culture. But she also had to learn to stand her ground. “I did my best to represent my company. Luckily, I don’t get offended easily.”

Since networking has shaped her career, Rosenberg recommends doing everything you can to get connected and seek advice from others. “You can only do so many things yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can’t know everything! I was fortunate to have met many knowledgeable customers throughout my career whom I now consider friends and I still contact for advice.” Rosenberg has also benefited from joining professional organizations in her field, such as The Chromatography Forum of the Delaware Valley (CFDV) and others that support Women in STEM. “I genuinely feel people want to help each other, and women want to help other women succeed. Seek their assistance and advice.”


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