Local News Archive
Print Issue: July 1, 1999
Rachel Bailey Honored As International Trade Woman
BY PRISCILLA GREEAR
ATLANTA--Rachel Bailey, an international trade specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, is a guiding light for exporters as she counsels them through the complex world of international trade regulations and barriers.
A parishioner at St. Anthonys Church in Atlanta, Bailey, 74, works at Atlantas U.S. Export Assistance Center, one of the model centers for the nation. Here, exporters receive assistance and information from nine separate agencies including the DOC, the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Export-Import Bank. A trade specialist since 1977, she also assists in implementing the departments trade development programs to promote U.S. exports, and develops and disseminates trade information to American businesses and associations. She also counsels clients on market targeting.
In recognition of her success in international trade and for her contribution as a role model for women in the field, the Atlanta Women in International Trade on April 28 named Bailey as Atlantas International Woman of the Year for 1999 at its annual Founders Dinner. Also in recognition of her work, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners named that day as Rachel M. Bailey Day in Atlanta and Fulton County.
AWIT, organized in 1989, is a chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade of Washington, D.C., an international association with 28 chapters across the United States and abroad, with the mission of enhancing the careers of international trade professionals. The March 1999 issue of Working Woman named it one of the three most outstanding international networking groups for executive women with global careers.
Bailey was deeply honored to receive the award.
I just felt overwhelmed. I just never anticipated anything like that. I didnt think about it, she said, with her amiable demeanor. Of course I enjoyed it very much. I dont think I got down back to earth from cloud nine for awhile.
Recognized nationally as well, Bailey headed up to Washington, D.C., for the April 6 Commerce Department Awards program where Secretary of Commerce William Daley presented her with a 56-year recognition award for her continued outstanding service to the government. She was also honored in 1993 by the late Secretary of Commerce Rob Brown and presented with a letter of commendation from President Clinton. In 1974 she was awarded the DOC Bronze Medal for outstanding and dedicated service to the business community in Atlanta over a long time period.
Fresh out of business college, an 18-year-old Bailey began her career in 1943 during World War II as a typist with the War Production Board. She recalls how, on her first day working and not understanding carbon paper, her first copies were neatly typed on the backs of the originals. She also fondly recalls facing the challenges of using mimeograph machines and manual typewriters, where the strength with which one pressed the keys determined the darkness of the letters. Her starting salary, she added, was just over $1,000 a year.
She eventually moved to the Reconstruction Finance Corp. in 1946. Through the Upward Mobility program, she rose from a trade assistant to trade specialist at the DOC.
In an interview May 20 following a World Trade Day luncheon, Bailey said she is particularly interested in export licensing, determining whether shipments need export licenses or can be sent under license exceptions, and researching export administration regulations for clients. She often helps firms who want to expand their markets into new countries or ones that want to begin exporting for the first time. And, as a Catholic, she is rewarded with the satisfaction of serving others.
Frequently people say that I have been helpful to them. I sometimes think of myself as Rachel Helpful Bailey. That gives me a feeling of satisfaction of trying to help people get an answer to their need in order to be able to solve a business problem, she said.
With typewriter and mimeograph memories, Bailey said her biggest challenge is learning new software programs. Yet she happily continues working into her 70s, saying that as long as my health holds out and they want me, Id like to stay.
A graduate of St. Anthonys School and Sacred Heart High School in Atlanta, and an over 65-year member of St. Anthonys Church, Bailey is as faithful and dedicated to her parish as she is to explaining commerce regulations. She is rectress of the Marist Laity, an usher, participates in outreach and shut-in ministries and the ladies auxiliary. She is also on the parish core committee for RENEW 2000.
I hope that Im always able to be a member of St. Anthonys. It wouldnt seem like going to church if it wasnt at St. Anthonys.
AWITs past president and board member, attorney Deborah Temples, said that Bailey should have received the AWIT award years ago.
She has such a stellar reputation with the Atlanta business community. Over the years she just has been a person that people could rely on when they needed to understand the complex regulations of commerce, she said. Bailey is always looking for the opportunity to learn more and she is absolutely willing to share her expertise with others.
I know several of her business clients came to the dinner when they heard that she was being honored, Temples added.
In a recent article in InterTrade & Investment, Lynne Wendt, an attorney and AWIT board member, said, Rachel has excelled in her role of supporting the international trade community with export assistance. She has been both teacher and adviser to so many of us in Georgia and the Southeast in interpreting the often complex and confusing Bureau of Export Administration regulations. I know there are hundreds of individuals and companies who have benefited from her advice over the years who would enjoy congratulating her personally on the award.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR -- Rachel Bailey, who has been in government service since 1943, was chosen Atlanta International Woman of the Year for her work as an international trade specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce.