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Exit Interview: Alexis Carey

After four years of supporting and growing U.S. organic products in the global marketplace, Alexis Carey has departed the trade association to pursue an advanced degree and further her international career goals. The Organic Report caught up with her to discuss her time at OTA.

Tell us about the best part of working in the international department at OTA?

This job is so diverse—I love that aspect. I’ve been able to work on trade policy, international marketing, and advocacy with USDA. That being said, the best part about this job is the travel! OTA took me to dozens of countries all over the world over my last four years, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

Where is the biggest opportunity for U.S. organic products abroad?

The knowledge and interest in organic is growing globally, but we certainly have a huge role to play in expanding the market! Recently, we’ve seen interest skyrocket in the Gulf region, particularly in the Dubai metro area. This is an important area to continue pursuing for growth, especially since the population is eager for more organic products and friendly to U.S. brands.

What’s your most memorable international trip on the job?

It’s hard to pick just one. I’ve been so fortunate to have had a myriad of trips in this role. My first trip to Biofach in 2019 was eye opening—it was definitely a work hard-play hard environment, organic style. I learned so much on that trip, but was most in awe of the passion for organic globally. This is truly a unique and diverse industry. Sharing beers in an old German beer hall after a long day at the trade show wasn’t too bad, either!

What’s the best thing you ate or saw while traveling?

Getting to see the sun rise over the Dubai skyline was a pretty amazing experience. That being said, one of the things I will miss most from this job is the food! My first traditional Korean meal was an experience—if you know, you know. I will really miss the ramen vending machines in Japan.

What international practice or item do you wish was more common in the U.S.?

Such a good question—other countries, especially in Europe, have sustainable practices so entrenched in their everyday routines. They bring Tupperware to restaurants to carry their leftovers home, composting is much more common, etc. The U.S. organic community is really good about sustainable practices, but I think we can all continue to do more, and Europe is a great example.

Where are you headed next, and what is your dream for the future?

I’m off to pursue a Master’s in International Affairs from George Washington University in DC. I’m hoping to focus on food and water security, and ensure we have the resources we need to feed ourselves in 50 years. I know I’ll keep the organic community close, and hope my next job is at least half as fun as this one has been.

As we say goodbye to Alexis, we welcome Sarah Gorman as OTA’s new International Trade Manager. We look forward to sharing more about her in future issues.

This article was originally published in the Fall 2022 Organic Report, you can view the full magazine here.