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Alejandra Mier y Teran: Promoting Binational Relationships

Created: 17 August, 2017
Updated: 13 September, 2023
3 min read

The Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business organizations in that region, and according to Executive Director Alejandra Mier y Teran it takes a binational approach to help it succeed.

When Mier y Teran joined the chamber almost 18 years ago, she brought her ability to develop relationships between businesses on both sides of the border.

That ability came from herself growing up in a bilingual, bicultural and binational environment. She was born in San Diego but grew up in Tijuana, and attended school on both sides of the border.

She said it was a unique experience to live by the border and especially the San Diego-Mexico border.

“I’ve always liked having the best of both worlds,” Mier y Teran said. “I’ve always liked the qualities of the United States and the qualities of Mexico. In this region we have a great advantage.”

While living and attending a university in Mexico, Mier y Teran made it a priority not only to learn about Mexican culture but also about how business is done in Mexico.

Ever since she was a young girl, Mier y Teran wanted to work in government, in Mexico particularly. She studied in Mexico City and began working for Mexico’s Secretary of Commerce and Industrial Development.

Mier y Teran began working, unexpectedly, for a temporary project in the San Ysidro Port of Entry with a group named San Diego Dialogue. The theme that they pursued was minimizing the amount of time people spent at the port of entry.

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She said being familiar with Tijuana and being bicultural and flexible is something that gave her an advantage.

“I was a person who understood both sides of the border,” Mier y Teran said.

She was given the opportunity to interview for the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce and got the job. She said she was able to take the chamber to the next level and make it more binational.

As the Executive Director of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, Mier y Teran works with Mexican and American authorities during projects related to the border.

She said it has been a great achievement to have a relationship with Mexican authorities and Mexican civil society organizations in the business.

“It was very important to me to turn this chamber into a binational chamber,” Mier y Teran said.

She said the chamber focuses on working on transportation and border entry projects. Her role is to ensure projects and events are carried out properly.

Mier y Teran also said her job is to work with both sides to help member businesses and insure that border crossing is as effective as possible for those who cross every day.

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And although she had been with the chamber for almost 18 years, there is always something new to learn.

“What’s the most interesting thing about this chamber in particular is that there are always different projects,” Mier y Teran said. “With all projects you have to learn about a completely different topic in order to carry that project out.”

Mier y Teran said that being flexible has helped her and she also believes it is a quality that Latinos share, which is especially helpful in international business.

“Latino individuals who can be bicultural and obviously dominate both languages are very important because things are managed differently in both countries,” Mier y Teran said. “You have to know how to adapt and how to be flexible.”

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