Spotlight on Commerce: Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce
series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are
contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their
work.Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.I consider myself a lucky guy.
Every day, I have the privilege of serving the American
people as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. It is
a tremendous honor to be able to give back to a country that has given so much
My story is the American story. My grandparents and father were immigrants from
Spain; they believed in the American Dream, and worked hard to achieve it.
We lived in Tampa, Florida.
Growing up, I learned a lot of lessons that serve me well today. Through my father, who used to run a candy
factory in Spain, I was able to learn how important small- and medium-sized
businesses are to a community’s development. My mother worked as the
Director of one of the first Head Start programs in the country. She
wanted all children to get the best possible start in life and dedicated her
time to helping others. That’s why she is my hero.
Together, my parents taught me to love my community and
country. And, they also raised me to
take pride in our Hispanic roots, history and culture — and I always have.
Because of their example, from an early age, I knew that I
wanted to be involved in public service.
At the federal level, I got my first opportunity in the 1990’s, when I
served as a Special Assistant to then-President Bill Clinton. Eventually, I became an Assistant Secretary of
There is nothing like doing work that positively impacts
people’s lives and futures. Even after I
went on to the private sector, where I served as an international business
consultant, I never lost my desire to come back to government,
That’s why I am so grateful and honored that President Obama
selected me to lead the International Trade Administration. Through my work at the ITA, I’ve met so many
talented American entrepreneurs and business-owners. They are doing innovative work and creating
cutting-edge products. They just need opportunities
to sell their ideas and goods.
That’s where we come in.
Our mission is simple: To give people and companies new markets to do
business in abroad, so that we can strengthen the economy here at home. Not only does this bolster their bottom
lines, it also supports quality jobs for the American people. In fact, as President Obama has highlighted,
this work is a key to our nation’s continued economic recovery.
Nearly two years ago, the
President announced the National Export Initiative. The goal is to double
the nation’s exports by the end of 2014. I’m proud to say that we’re well
on our way to achieving this goal. And,
it’s incredibly rewarding for me to help lead this effort.
It’s also incredibly rewarding to do work outside
of the halls of government. I’ve long
been active in the Boys and Girls Club; in fact, I’m honored to be a member of
its Hall of Fame. I’ve also been privileged to mentor young people through
the Hillsborough Education Foundation.
And, I’m very proud to be a former board member of the ChairScholars
Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity
to meet so many unsung heroes who are doing valuable work to touch the
lives of those around them. They are students who take the time to mentor
others; parents who find the time to coach the local little league team;
volunteers who give up weekends to work at senior centers and so much
So, during this Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to give
special thanks to all the quiet heroes who have made, and continue to make a difference.
Their names may never appear in the history books, but they’ve made a lasting
impact on lives, and enormous contributions to our communities.
Just like my parents.