Southeast Alumnus Enhancing International Sales Skills


Juan Zaval Pic2-1Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Juan Zavala Aleman of Queretaro, Mexico, is enjoying Miami while serving as international account manager, promoting a nutritional sales company and managing its sales in Latin American countries.

“I enjoy dealing with other countries and cultures and learning from them, plus I love traveling,” Juan says.

Juan is an international account manager for a nutritional brand called Syntrax. He handles all of the company’s sales in Latin America and other regions covering more than 25 countries, and deals with other companies on a daily basis in specific territories that distribute and represent Syntax’s brand. Juan is in charge of sales, account management, the import/export process and marketing strategies in each one of those countries, and also handles part of the company’s social media and marketing strategy in the United States.

Juan has been employed with the company for almost four years, when he began as an intern while at Southeast. Eventually, the company offered him a full-time position. Last year, he relocated to Miami and worked remotely for them.

“I thought I was pretty lucky to get a job in my field and in the area of business I wanted to be in,” Juan says.

Juan says he loves international sales and dealing with Latin American countries, and he plans to continue doing so for several more years.

“I love sales because you have the potential to earn as much as you put into it, and it allows you
to build strong relationships with customers around the world,” Juan says.

“Since I deal with international customers, I have the opportunity to visit several of my markets, so the best memories and learning experiences I have had at the company so far, is when I travel to these countries and get to deal with the market, the culture and learning from our partners in those countries. In these four years I have been to Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, Brazil and Colombia, and I’m hoping I get to visit several more markets pretty soon.”

He strives to gain more experience and eventually hopes to open his own distribution firm targeting Latin American customers.

While at Southeast, he pursued a Bachelor of Science in international business and a minor in management.

Juan chose Southeast due to its location and opportunities for growth.

“My family and I were relocated to southeast Missouri from Mexico in 2009, and Southeast seemed like the best school option for me,” he says.

Attending Southeast helped Juan develop important life lessons and expanded his cultural and business horizons.

“My time at Southeast made me a more responsible and career focused person. It taught me to overcome the everyday challenge in a more organized manner. It also had a huge influence on me learning the U.S. culture and business world, which I wasn’t familiar with when I moved to the United States,” he says.

He plans to pursue a master’s degree in international business from Florida International University. He has been learning Portuguese to prepare to implement his future goals and to be more competitive in the international business world.

“I enjoy traveling a lot. Every time I have the opportunity, I try to visit a new city or country. So far I’ve been to 13 different countries. I believe that traveling is the best learning experience one can have. It teaches you to understand and experience other cultures in a unique way,” he says.

In addition, he enjoys visiting the beach and practicing CrossFit.

To Southeast students, he offers some advice.

“Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, take on new challenges and embrace every opportunity you have. Travel as much as you can, make connections with people all over the world, learn a new language and keep pursuing your dreams.”