Rosa Turchio is President and CEO of Cargo Partners International Inc., a freight forwarding company based in Mississauga Ontario with a second office in Detroit, which just opened in February of this year.
Rosa’s story is one of incredible strength amidst adversity, passion for her business and an unwavering belief in herself with the help and mentorship of one of Canada’s Corporate Members. Suddenly finding herself the sole owner of Cargo Partners International and eight months later facing total collapse, Rosa turned to one of her clients, ABC Group (now ABC Technologies) for advice. With a dedicated team, the ongoing support of ABC Group as well as her client base, and most importantly her daughter, Rosa has not only brought Cargo Partners International Inc. to the success it is today but she is looking at global expansion in the future.
WBE Canada: Tell us briefly about your business.
Rosa: Cargo Partners Int’l Inc. is a Freight Forwarding WBE Certified company moving cargo around the world by air, ocean and ground. We are located in Toronto and as of Feb 2019 we are also located in Detroit. We serve different industries, such as Ingredients, Automotive, Mining, Medical, Flooring and more.
WBE Canada: Why did you go into this business?
Rosa: I have always been passionate about moving freight around the world. I have been doing so since late 1990. In 2008 I was presented with the opportunity to be a 30% shareholder and in 2011 as a result of a Shotgun Clause in our agreement, my partner triggered the sale of the company. I accepted his offer. It was kind of a forced situation but also an opportunity to do what I loved to do.
WBE Canada: When it comes to your business, what are you most proud of?
Rosa: I am most proud of my team. Technology is a big part of every day business yet, it is the human touch they provide to our clients that sets us apart. Cargo Partners Int’l Inc. strength isn’t artificial.
WBE Canada: As a business grows it has a tendency to focus on institution instead of inspiration. How do you prevent this from happening?
Rosa: Passion, respect for my team and what I do for a living helps me to keep focused on the reason why I am in business rather than focusing on the institution side of the business.
WBE Canada: How do you encourage creative thinking in your company?
Rosa: By sharing with them different scenarios, by empowering them on decisions to be made, by building confidence and by letting them know that they are the best at what they do.
WBE Canada: How has your WBE certification helped you in your business?
Rosa: WBE Certification helps you get the attention with companies that want to work with minority suppliers. At the same time, you have to provide exceptional service, integrity is a must, communication and cost effectiveness, are the basic ingredients to build a business and most importantly a reputation.
WBE Canada: What advice would you give to another woman at the beginning stage of building her business?
Rosa: To be certified and attend as many events as you can. Networking, Networking, Networking. In the beginning it’s normal to be unsure and uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is the first step to growth. The networking will help you to get better at presenting yourself and your business. Your passion and dedication combined with a good company structure will bring the attention and business you had vision in the past.
WBE Canada: What has been the most challenging time in your business and how did you overcome it?
Rosa: My most challenging time, was when I purchased the rest of the shares and became the sole owner of Cargo Partners Int’l. I blindly trusted someone which caused an enormous loss to the business and 8 months into this adventure as a sole proprietor, I was on the verge of losing everything, including my home, my car and everything I had in possession.
WBE Canada: What has been the biggest triumph?
Rosa: As briefly mentioned we were at the edge of shutting down the company. They say, ”The need will show you the way”. During the time of need and struggle I decided to contact companies we were already doing business with. ABC Group (now ABC Technologies) was one of them. I called Marc Mallais, the Logistics Manager at ABC Group to explore my opportunities. He mentioned that I need WBE certification in order to do business with their organization and even then, pricing and services needed to be in place. I still remember the first quote opportunity and the very first shipment we were awarded. In all these years ABC Group and Marc Mallais have been our mentors. We have learned and grown so much. Time has gone by and 8 years later, I am proud to say Cargo Partners Int’l Inc. has remained their forwarder of choice for moving cargo across their 32 companies worldwide. Working with ABC Group, providing us with the professional and personal growth has been our biggest triumph
WBE Canada: What is your superpower?
Rosa: My superpower is my passion for moving cargo around the world and knowing that we make it happen. Developing the best solution for my clients and their business is what motivates me everyday.
WBE Canada: How do you continue to develop and grow as a leader?
Rosa: I take leadership courses on a regular basis. I listen and watch inspirational videos that teach me how to inspire my team on how to be strong, self confident and to set goals both personally and professionally.
WBE Canada: Has there been someone who inspired you and how?
Rosa: As a single mom, I have to say my daughter. She gave me the strength to get up every time I failed. She has given me the motivation to go on every time I wanted to give up, and given me her smiles when I wanted to cry. She was only 3 years old the very first time she looked at me and said, “Mom, where there is a will, there is a way.” It is because of her I studied and worked 2-3 different jobs. It is because of her I started to look at the world through her eyes, with the love she has for others that today has made me the person I am.
WBE Canada: What is your favourite quote?
Rosa: If you love what you do, you don’t have to work a day in your life.
WBE Canada: Are you actively involved in community work? If so, please provide a brief outline.
Rosa: Women’s Shelters and Nursing Homes occasionally. Someone once said, “I am selfish, I do good to others because it makes me feel good.” Helping serving lunches and mostly keep them company. Provide them with a little something to make their days better, attend their important events. It really shows how life can be so fulfilling by simply giving to those who are in need.
WBE Canada: What do you hope your legacy will be?
Rosa: To have two more offices around the world. My daughter has been working with the company since 2015. Most likely my legacy will be passed on to my daughter who fortunately loves what she does.
About Cargo Partners
Cargo Partners International Inc. established in 2000, is a Woman Owned Business (WBE) specialized in International Freight Forwarding around the globe. You can connect with them at www.cpcanada.com or LinkedIn.
About WBE Canada
WBE Canada is a Canadian non-profit organization that is opening doors for women-owned businesses to supply chains across North America. It certifies Canadian firms that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by women and introduces them to opportunities with corporations. To learn more about how we support women-owned businesses, click here. If you are a mid-size or large company looking to support women-owned businesses through procurement opportunities, we want to hear from you. Click here to learn more how you can get involved.