Joanna Ridgway

What do you think “international” means to the DFW economy? 

International means growth and prosperity for our region. Every business and consumer is affected by the global economy, and 31.6% of the Dallas region labor force are immigrants (according to the City of Dallas). We are already an international city. Dallas has become increasingly tied to global dynamics as companies interact with global supply chains and as more global companies move their headquarters to DFW, driving international ties, job opportunities, and tax revenue.

Do you think it’s important for our DFW workforce – and future workforce – to have a global perspective? 

It is critical that the workforce have a global perspective. All of my clients are Interacting with foreign suppliers and customers - a global mindset is imperative to be efficient, understand issues that may impact those suppliers and customers, and to mitigate risks and drive innovative solutions.

What has the World Affairs Council meant to you / your business? 

First, I've made great friends through the WACDFW. Further, over time, relationships I've established through the Council have led to new client opportunities for me. When Santander Bank hired me to open our southwest region office In Dallas, I knew that maintaining close ties with the Council would be imperative for me to be successful in this role.

How did you become involved with the World Affairs Council?

As a young professional soon after I moved to Dallas (around 2005), I joined the Meridian Young Professionals group and enjoyed meeting others interested in international affairs, as well as attending Meridian and broader Council events. I joined the WACDFW Board of Directors in 2020.

What’s been your favorite Council event so far?

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing former CIA officer Jonna Mendez at a speaker event and at the 2022 International Educators of the Year luncheon.           

Sometimes we see listings of the planet’s “global cities” and Dallas is not among them. What kind of things need to happen in DFW for it to achieve its highest global potential?

Dallas Is increasingly being recognized as a global city. However, we should continue to highlight contributions of our international companies and residents and I hope more people engage with the WAC to understand the different Issues impacting global affairs.

Is there a global issue or event that keeps you up at night? 

Supply chain concerns (particularly this year with the war In Ukraine) as well as the people (specifically women and children) impacted by global dynamics such as war and trade issues.

Where would you like to see the Council go in the future? 

The Council already runs impactful global education programs, and I'd love to see global companies continue to support and expand that work.

What is your favorite country to (a) travel in, and (b) do business in? 

I love traveling anywhere new, especially where I can try new foods. I enjoy doing business in the UK and Europe. Grupo Santander has pioneered a number of green and ESG related Initiatives in Europe and LatAM, and we look forward to expanding those capabilities In the US.


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