Alan Cucknell

Head of Ignite Exponential

Alan Cucknell leads Ignite Exponential, Plextek’s strategic innovation and design business unit. Initially trained as an engineer, and with a passion for design, he had two decades of experience working with stakeholder insight, new business models and disruptive technology to create winning innovation strategies that deliver growth. he works across disciplines and industries as innovation is enabled by unusual connections and the transfer of insight, technologies and inspiration between domains.


He had been involved in creating new products that have won Olympic medals, broken world records, dramatically reduced costs, radically increased brand growth, breathed new life into ageing businesses and he have even successfully conducted experiments in zero gravity! He’s proud to have partnered with leading companies including Lego, Wonderbra, Procter & Gamble, Bosch, Electrolux, Ford, Boeing and many others. His work has helped partners to address a broad range of strategic challenges such as creating innovation strategies to manage in extreme volatility, developing next generation product portfolios and integrating design principles into corporate cultures. He is listed as an inventor on more than 20 patents in fields as diverse as automotive, healthcare and apparel.

Amy Baker

Attorney at Law, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

Amy Baker is an experienced litigator with a background primarily in complex claims and deep experience with product liability, FDA compliance, intellectual property and brand protection, and privacy and data protection. She has handled matters on behalf of high tech and life sciences companies involving emerging and state-of-the-art technology products and services, brand management, intellectual property, growth strategies and more. Over the past decade, Amy has handled transactional matters and practiced in state and federal courts in Florida and California. She has tried several cases to successful verdicts for clients in a variety of industries in addition to briefing and arguing cases on appeal and handling administrative proceedings. Her cases have included intellectual property litigation, deceptive and unfair trade practices, privacy and data breach matters, class actions, product liability, food, pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, and employment law matters.




Amy is particularly adept at handling technically challenging and complex litigation, defending matters that are factually and procedurally intricate. Her practice grows apace with her clients’ involvement in developing technologies and the molecular, cellular and functional basis of therapy in the health care field, with an emphasis on the attendant implications for product liability exposures and security vulnerabilities. She is much in demand as a speaker and author on emerging technologies and the life sciences, continually monitoring advances in the life sciences, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, drones, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, wearable technology, robotics and more.


Amy works with young companies on the cutting edge that offer novel products or services, assisting them with brand protection, intellectual property, corporate agreements and employee agreements. She leverages Wilson Elser’s dynamic cross-practice capabilities to assist clients with related matters such as acquisitions, mergers or capital transactions.


As part of her practice Amy advises companies on compliance with Food & Drug Administration regulations. She has counseled medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, cosmetic companies and beverage companies on FDA compliance and has litigated claims involving improper warnings, misbranding and false advertising.




Amy handles the prosecution and defense of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation on behalf of life sciences, technology, agricultural and hobbyist companies. She has brought patent and trademark claims on behalf of life sciences and technology companies and prominent national brands, and is experienced in Lanham Act litigation. Amy also has successfully defended numerous copyright infringement claims and handled trade secret litigation on behalf of technology companies and military subcontractors.


Amy proactively counsels clients in planning and executing programs to protect their intellectual property rights, such as registration and licensing of trademarks, preparation of license agreements for software and other works, and brand building. She conducts and oversees audits of company policies and websites for compliance with state and federal laws and prepares internet-related documents such as terms of use, privacy policies and terms of sale. In the area of brand protection, Amy performs clearance searches and advises on the availability of trademarks and service marks, and prepares applications for registration in the USPTO.

Aaron Goldstein

Associate, Gowling WLG

Aaron is a key leader in supporting the Hamilton office’s efforts in promoting economic development and technology commercialization in the region for and on behalf of key institutional clients including McMaster Automotive Resource Centre along with start-up and scale-up enterprises with particular emphasis on advanced manufacturing and other technology companies. Driven by positive client outcomes, Aaron is committed to building and developing mutually beneficial relationships between clients and accelerating the growth and success of those relationships through the services he provides.


An associate lawyer in Gowling WLG’s Hamilton office, Aaron is a member of the firm’s Business Law Group. His practice focuses on general corporate law, private M&A, as well as asset-backed financing. As part of his practice, Aaron regularly acts for a wide array of clients ranging from large international banks to local start-ups.


Aaron received his Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto in 2017. Prior to law school, he earned both bachelor of science and master of science degrees at McMaster University, completing his graduate work in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour.

Astrid Peters

President, Ascendant Europe

Peters is the President of Ascendant Europe. She is a media trainer, personal branding expert, and masterful at positioning clients. Recently she ran a crowdfunding campaign for an Ascendant client that set category records within the Netherlands after raising $322,000 the first 24 hours and 1.1 million over the course of 30 days.

Bob Kaldunski

Beatriz Vivas

Consul General, Consulate General of Argentina in Chicago

Consul General Vivas is an Attorney-at-law and Senior Career Diplomat now serving as Consul General in Chicago. Her job is focused in providing consular services to the Argentine community and to promote tourism and businesses between Argentina and the Midwest.


At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she served for more than 25 years specializing in multilateral negotiations. She was Deputy Negotiator for Argentina to the United Nations in Vienna. She was also Deputy Negotiator for Argentina at the MERCOSUR, the largest trade block from South America, on legal issues and at the Structural Convergence Fund, which coordinates regional infrastructure projects. Mrs. Vivas has lived in France, Austria, Bolivia and Uruguay. She speaks Spanish, French, Italian and English.

Bob Kaldunski

Bob Kaldunski

President, Ginseng Board of Wisconsin

As a ginseng grower for 36 years, and a Ginseng Board of Wisconsin board member since 2014, and having previously served as a Wisconsin Ginseng Grower Association (WGGA) board member for 13 years, and past President of WGGA for 4 years, Bob has shown long-term commitment to the advancement of the ginseng industry.


Bob is also employed by Marathon Feed & Grain as a Dairy Consultant since 1998, working as Lead Consultant and Sales Manager for the past 11 years. Using his leadership skills, Bob has been involved with numerous Agri-Business events. Some of these events include the 2006 Chair of Marathon County June Dairy Breakfast, a Committee Chair for 2011 Farm Technology Days, and a Steering Committee member of Partnership for Progressive Agriculture (PPA).


Previous community involvement includes Zoning Administrator for his township for 15 years, member of long-range planning committee for Marathon School District, and coach for both of his sons’ basketball and baseball teams.


A graduate of Marathon High School, Bob furthered his education through numerous short courses and seminars to advance his Dairy Nutrition career and Sales Manager position.


In his free time, Bob enjoys spending time with his wife of 33 years, Carol, his family, sports, hunting and fishing.

Bob Nienaber

CEO, benefitRFP

Bob has the responsibility of heading up one of the most prolific cloud-based Artificial Intelligence service providers in the financial services industry. benefitRFP continues to capture awards for their A.I. technology and client-centric consulting processes. Most recently they won the highly coveted Celent Award for risk and wealth management technology which they share with thousands of public, private, and not-for-profit plans.


In addition to his role at benefitRFP, Bob currently serves on multiple boards and works with the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means committees as an ambassador through Leadership for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU). Prior to co-founding benefitRFP, Bob has had the opportunity to assist in creating the platforms and sales operations for many of the leading insurance and investment firms. The company is headquartered in Sacramento, California.


Bob lives near Lake Tahoe with his wife of 27 years and recently saw his daughter off to her new IT job in Prague, Czech Republic.


Bob’s hobbies include car racing, downhill mountain bike racing and escapes to the country by way of his Kentucky horse farm, Dashaway Farm. Bob has authored several books. The most recent, an historical fiction novel titled American Bloodline – the rightful heir reclaims Europe, has been picked up for a Hollywood treatment to become a Netflix adaptation.

Brandon Kent

Vice President, Sales and Marketing, TDG - Telemark Diversified Graphics

Brandon holds a B.S. from the University of Toledo and brings 20 + years of printing and paper experience to TDG - Telemark Diversified Graphics.  Through his 17 year career with TDG he has progressed through various roles including New Business Development, Sales Manager, to Vice President of Sales and Marketing.  Brandon holds vast industry knowledge in Commercial Print, Business Forms, and Direct Thermal Markets.  In his spare time, Brandon enjoys spending time with his wife & 15 year old son,  riding motorcycles and scuba diving as part of the St. Joseph County Search and Rescue Team.

Bryan M. Kagel

Regional Director, Meridian Finance

Bryan Kagel is a Regional Director at Meridian Finance Group, a company providing credit, insurance, and trade finance tools that companies use to expand their U.S. and international sales.  Bryan has territorial responsibility for the Midwest and is located in Cleveland, OH.


Bryan entered the trade credit insurance industry in 2013 and uses his over 30 years’ experience in finance and cash flow management to assist his clients.  Prior to Meridian Finance Group, he was Vice President of Sales for Coface North America.


Meridian Finance Group is headquartered in Los Angeles with regional offices located throughout the US.  Through its partner, Texel Finance Limited, Meridian also has a global presence with locations in London and Singapore.

Christian G.A. Zeller

Austrian Honorary Consul, West Coast of Florida & Managing Partner - Maney | Gordon | Zeller

Christian G.A. Zeller is the Managing Partner at Maney | Gordon | Zeller, P.A. where he limits his practice to Immigration and Nationality Law. Mr. Zeller offers expert representation in the areas of immigration solutions for businesses, I-9 worksite compliance, all business visa categories, consular processing, appeals and immigration-related federal court litigation.


Mr. Zeller is individually AV rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest rating an attorney can attain in the areas of legal ability and ethical standards. Mr. Zeller is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in U.S. Immigration & Nationality Law and he is admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales. Mr. Zeller serves as an Honorary Consul to the Republic of Austria.


Mr. Zeller has authored numerous articles on Immigration & Nationality Law topics, and he is a frequent speaker at bar associations, universities, and private sector interest groups.

David Levine

Counsel, McDermott, Will and Emery

David J. Levine focuses his practice on all aspects of international trade and related regulatory matters. He counsels clients on import relief, customs, export controls, trade sanctions, anti-boycott and anticorruption laws, national security reviews of foreign investments, and related trade laws and procedures. David advises and represents clients on antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings, trade controls and customs proceedings, national security (CFIUS) reviews of foreign investment in the US, trade-related legislative and rulemaking proceedings, and trade negotiations.


Prior to joining McDermott, Will and Emery, David was an international trade analyst with the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and a law clerk in the Office of the US Trade Representative.

David Luna

VP Marketing/Regional Manager, Orion Fans & Knight Electronics

With 35 years of experience in sales and marketing management, David served over 30 years with SW Marketing Electronics Manufacturing Representatives, five years as Regional Manager with Raltron Electronics, and for the past 17 years as VP of Sales and Marketing and International Sales Manager with Knight Electronics - Orion Fans and Io Audio Technologies divisions.


David holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University. Currently, he is a member of the board with the NTDEC (North Texas District Export Council) appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. David is also involved with the Global Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Commercial Service Group of the USDOC, and the ITC (International Trade Council). Recently through his efforts, ORION Fans/Knight Electronics won the Exporter of the Year from the Global Chamber of Commerce for 2018.

Dimitris Petropoulos

Counsellor at Greek Consulate in Chicago

Dimitris Petropoulos was born in Thessaloniki, in Northern Greece in 1969. He holds an LLB from the University of Thrace in Greece, an Executive MBA from the Athens School of Economics and Business, and has been an Erasmus Scholar of the European Union at the University of Essex, UK, where he read English and European Law. After military service and 6 years of legal practice in civil and commercial law, Dimitris entered the National School of Public Administration, a government training establishment for top civil servants. Graduating in 2002, he has served in economic and trade promotion roles in Greek Embassies in Bucharest, Romania, Berlin, Germany, and Kiev, Ukraine. In between he served in Business Development in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens. Dimitris is fluent in English, German and Russian and has a working knowledge of Romanian and French. He enjoys traveling, photography, and cooking.

Jackie Fett

Ellen Machenheimer

Global Due Diligence Consultant, Kreller Group

Ellen has been with Kreller for 4 years and works with a variety of Fortune 500 companies including those in the Energy, Defense, Franchising, Financial, Technology, Retail, Petroleum, Manufacturing and Infrastructure sectors.


As a Global Due Diligence Consultant with Kreller, Ellen is responsible for providing third party due diligence solutions on behalf of her clients as well as proactive consulting to address due diligence objectives, customizing due diligence programs for new clients, analyzing current trends regarding regulatory compliance and working closely with Kreller's domestic and international investigators to keep current on security issues.

Emily Wagner

Director of International & Domestic Credit, Kreller Group

H.E. Ambassador Keith Azzopardi

Ambassador, Embassy of Malta

Keith Azzopardi has been appointed as Ambassador of Malta to the USA in September 2018 and as non-resident High Commissioner to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and Canada since February 2018 and July 2019 respectively. Prior to his current appointment, he served as Malta’s Ambassador to Austria and as Permanent representative to the International Organisations in Vienna between September 2013 and August 2018.


During his term in Austria, Ambassador Azzopardi was accredited to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), during which he chaired the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) between January and April 2014 as well as a number of FSC-Permanent Council meetings during the same period. He also served at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), the UN International Development Organisation (UNIDO), the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNOCD), the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Wassenaar Arrangement and others. From January to June 2017, Ambassador Azzopardi served as the Representative of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Austria.


Prior to his diplomatic career, Ambassador Azzopardi worked for a number of years as an Administrator and political advisor for the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. During his time in Brussels, he worked in the Enlargement and Eastern Partnership Unit, being mainly responsible for relations with Ukraine and Moldova, in the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Committee, the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, the NATO-EU Parliamentary Assembly, the Inter-parliamentary Conference on CFSP and CSDP as well as the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Sub-Committee on Security and Defence,


Ambassador Azzopardi held different position in a number of youth organisations both in Malta and abroad. In 2014, he was appointed as an Honorary President of the Malta-Austrian Friendship Association and as Honorary Member of the Union League of Philadelphia in 2019.


Ambassador Azzopardi holds a Bachelor (Hons) degree in International Relations from the University of Malta and a Masters Degree in Diplomatic Studies from the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies. He is married to Daoruang Pimpila and has a daughter.

Jackie Fett

Jackie Fett

Executive/Marketing Director, Ginseng Board of Wisconsin

With more than 16 years of experience in the natural products industry, Jackie is passionate about educating people on the value of whole foods. She has a contagious enthusiasm for bringing people together to achieve success.


Jackie is the Executive/Marketing Director for the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin. The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin (GBW) is dedicated to research, education, and promotion of Wisconsin ginseng. Jackie is responsible for implementation, coordination and management of all GBW activities.


Previously, Jackie worked for Standard Process, a whole food supplement manufacturer, holding a variety of roles in marketing, professional development, and management. During her 16-year career with Standard Process, Jackie had the opportunity to live, breathe, and market the value of whole foods. Jackie was instrumental in the launch of more than 50 new products, oversaw the day-to-day operations of three product lines, built marketing and educational campaigns that drove success, and inspired her team and co-workers to become more valuable contributors to the organization.


Jackie graduated Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. In her free time, Jackie enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, working in her garden and flower beds, and reading.

Jennifer Sheets

Jennifer Sheets

CEO, Masterstaff Inc

Jennifer Sheets is a talented and exceptionally resourceful senior executive with more than 16 years of excellence in staffing and employment, working with an exhaustive array of different industries. Jennifer is a resilient businesswoman with a long track record of repeated success in overcoming business and personal adversity. With extensive expertise in project management, vendor-client relationships, human capital management and human resources, Jennifer’s unique insight in all aspects of human resources would surely prove invaluable to any board of directors wishing to optimize their staffing and HR practices. Jennifer is a strongly motivated leader who is keenly adept at managing complex situations and has a strong inner drive towards growth and innovation.


Jennifer Sheets is the founder and CEO of MasterStaff, Inc., one of the country’s fastest growing staffing agencies, offering employment-related services tailored to meet the needs of businesses, large or small. As CEO, Jennifer oversees all business operations, including vendor and client contracts, all financials, legal matters, and employer relations. She has partnered with large corporations such as Bridgestone America and Hot Topic in finding qualified staff, and was brought into sizable companies including Asurion, New York Life, Colgate Palmolive and Macy’s to fulfill staffing needs with remarkable success. Over the past 15 years since founding MasterStaff, Jennifer has facilitated and overseen impressive sustainable growth, as the company has achieved over $5 million in sales annually since 2003, with current sales figures of over $12 million. In light of its recent achievements, Master Staff was named by the Nashville Business Journal as the 16th Largest Female-Owned Corporation in Middle Tennessee. Jennifer is member of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), Women in Technology (WIT), the National Defense Industry Association, Youth for Christ, the National Association For Women Business Owners Nashville (NAWBO), the Better Business Bureau Advisory Board, and the Women’s Enterprise National Council.

James S. York

Director of US Business & Innovation, Enterprise Estonia

James S. York began his career in New York in finance and real estate, having graduated from Polytechnic University (NYU). Today, Mr. York serves as the Director of US Business & Innovation for Enterprise Estonia, working from the offices of the Consulate General of Estonia in New York. He comes to the role after nearly a decade of working with startup and innovation companies in Estonia, the UK and US in both senior management and consultative capacities.


At Enterprise Estonia his focus is on developing greater business and investment ties between Estonia and the US, working to foster increased Trade Development and Foreign Direct Investment.


Enterprise Estonia (EAS) is an agency of the Government of Estonia, EAS promotes business and regional development in Estonia. It is one of the largest institutions within the national support system for entrepreneurship, providing financial assistance, advisory, cooperation opportunities and training for entrepreneurs, research establishments, public and third sector.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix

President, Shikatani Lacroix

When it comes to the design industry, President Jean-Pierre Lacroix is always one step ahead. A visionary design thinker, author and speaker, JP maintains an unwavering focus on the latest and emerging trends. Driven to produce measurable results through strategic insights, he is committed to helping brands own the consumers’ “at-purchase moment.”


JP’s past industry involvement as a board member with the Packaging Association of Canada, Design Industry Advisory Committee, Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Marketing Association, Signs Canada, the Society for Environmental Graphic Design and the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario has enabled him to assist clients in identifying the leading packaging, retail and digital trends that affect their branding initiatives.


Since opening the Shikatani Lacroix Design doors more than 25 years ago, JP has grown this company into one of the most respected and sought-after multidisciplinary strategic design agencies in the world. Along the way, he has developed a reputation as a true innovator and first-rate problem-solver, with expertise in providing clients with unique, results-driven solutions for their product and service needs.

Jennifer Patterson

Sr. Business Development Consultant – Investment & Trade, Invest in Hamilton

As the Sr. Business Development Consultant working predominately on Investment & Trade for the City of Hamilton’s economic development team, Jennifer is mainly focused on relationship building, facilitating strategic partnerships, coordinating industry and sector initiatives, and forging substantive collaborations between the public and private sectors.  Jennifer has been working in the economic development industry both internally and at arms-length for over 20 years.


Jennifer is responsible for development & implementation of the City of Hamilton’s Foreign Direct Investment Strategy and is the team lead on investment attraction and trade.  Jennifer has led and is an active participant in a number of globally focused economic development initiatives, including the Consider Canada City Alliance; the Invest Hamilton-Niagara Partnership; The Ontario Investment Alliance; the Ontario Food Cluster; the Ontario Manufacturing Communities Alliance; and the former Ontario Clean Technology Alliance; all activity that focus on investment attraction and trade for the City of Hamilton.


In 2008, Jennifer led the initial development and implementation of the economic development team’s CRM System as well as their “After Care” Program - “Hamilton Calling”.  Hamilton Calling has since been recognized at many levels as a best practice.  The teams work plan targets existing and new companies in the city by providing relevant information, statistics, facilitating introductions to key resources with expert advice and promoting opportunities for further investment and trade - i.e. in 2017 the team led two trade missions: one to Leipzig, Germany and a second one to Colombia.  The Hamilton Calling initiative has proven to be strategic for local industry, community partners, and has contributed to the economic growth of the city of Hamilton.


Jennifer is a big advocate for economic development, as a past President of the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), she remains an active member of the organization through committee work, adjudicator for the Marketing Ec Dev Awards, and mentor to new economic development professionals.  She supports the Economic Development Association of Canada (EDAC) and holds an “Economic Development” designation from the University of Waterloo.  More recently she is an active member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) with who she has obtained her “Certified Economic Development" designation and she sits on the International Advisory Committee.

Jerry Edinger

President and Chairman of the Board, CSDP Corporation

As President and CEO and Chairman, Jerry Edinger is responsible for leading the strategic vision and growth of CSDP. He joined the company in 2008 after 30-plus year career at IBM, where he held several management and executive positions in IBM’s global services and support businesses. His background and expertise in leading organization in IBM services and support practices also provides a significant advantage in managing CSDP’s consulting and advanced services practice. In addition, he manages the day-to-day business operations of the corporation. Jerry serves as Executive Vice President and Treasurer of the Service Industry Association (SIA).

John Alderdice

Manager Business Retention & Expansion, City of Toronto (Economic Development & Culture)

Jose David Murillo

Consul General, Consulate General of Costa Rica

Since october 2017, José David Murillo has been appointed as Consul General of the Republic of Costa Rica in the city of Chicago, serving the states of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana, and Wisconsin.


José David Murillo is a career diplomat that joined the Foreign Service in March 2010. He has a solid experience at the Foreign Policy Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, being responsible for various positions like the Central America desk, European Union desk, Environmental Protection desk and the Cooperation with the United Nations System in Costa Rica. In 2012, he was promoted to Assistant to the Foreign Policy Director.


From 2012 to 2017, Mr. Murillo served as Counselor for the Costa Rica Embassy in the People's Republic of China, where he was responsible for the political section. During the year 2015, he was Charge d' Affairs of the Embassy during The First Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, where Costa Rica had the Pro Tempore Presidency. The Forum was the first grand political platform for political consultations between Ministers of Foreign Affairs.


During his tenure, He contributed to strengthen the Costa Rica-China cooperation in Political Consultations, Commerce, Investment and Tourism and actively participated in the promotion of arts; especially in Costa Rican modern films and music.


Consul General Murillo´s education background comes from international fields. He majored in International Affairs, completed his Masters in Diplomacy from Universidad de Costa Rica and has advanced studies in Business Administration with emphasis on International Commerce.


He has also relevant teaching experience, focused on history and politics of Costa Rica, as well asspanish for business to foreign students. Mr. Murillo has also received several invitations to deliver keynote speeches in universities in his home country, especially about Diplomacy and about China. José David Murillo has lived in countries such as México, Honduras, Denmark, and China; also, he has accumulated international experience in the private fields working in managing positions at corporates such as DHL and IBM.

Jose Luis Cabascango Santillan

Trade Commissioner of Ecuador in Chicago

Several Master Degrees carried out in Ecuadorian and foreign universities in international relations, business administration, SME management, territorial planning and regional development. Managerial experience in public and private institutions related to social matters, planning, promotion of commercial competitiveness and exports.

Participation in projects with the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB, and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, AECID, on topics related to productive development and integral development plans with a commercial emphasis.

In the private sector, since a very young age, he has worked as an independent entrepreneur, managing commercial relationships with US and European countries.

During 2012 and July of this year, he served as the Trade Commissioner of the Trade Office of Ecuador in Spain known as Pro Ecuador, achieving in this period to diversify the presence of Ecuadorian products, substantially increasing the level of imports, as well as, improving the level of investments of Spanish companies towards Ecuador. As of August 1st, he accepted the position of Ecuador’s Trade Commissioner in Chicago

Lauren Pittelli

Principal, Baker Logistics Consulting Services

Lauren is the founder and Principal of Baker Logistics Consulting Services, Inc, a consulting firm focused on addressing international transportation, trade and customs consulting needs. Her consulting services focus on 3PL selection and management, international air and sea transportation and customs and trade compliance.


Prior to starting Baker, Lauren spent thirty years in senior roles at leading international freight forwarding firms managing international transportation, customs and contract logistics activities in the midwest.


Lauren is a graduate of Harvard College and a licensed U.S. Customs House Broker. A frequent contributor to industry publications, she has written for IndustryWeek, Thomas, Supply and Demand Chain Executive and Material Handling & Logistics.

Made P. Sentanajaya

Consul for Economic Affairs, The Indonesian Consulate General in Chicago

Mr. Made P. Sentanajaya joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia in 2000. Prior to his assignment in Chicago, Mr. Made was assigned as a Protocol and Consular Officer at the Indonesian Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia (2005 – 2009) and, from 2012 – 2016, as an Education, Social and Cultural Officer at the Indonesian Embassy in Helsinki, Finland.


Mr. Made served as the Deputy Director for Economic and Development for Countries in the East and Central Europe region from 2016 till end of August 2019. Prior to that, he worked in various different fields within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs such as in the media, auditing and handling international issues.


Mr. Made earned two Master degree titles from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. His first Master Degree title is in Master of International Affairs and his second Master Degree Title is in Master of Diplomacy. He received his Bachelor degree in International Relations from the Airlangga University in Surabaya, Indonesia.


Mr. Made has a passion for learning and finding ways to have a mutual beneficial relationship for Indonesia and the host country. He looks forward to work with business communities, associations, and chambers of Commerce of Chicago and of Greater Chicago and will be looking for recommendations on how to take Indonesia and the Midwest particularly Chicago economic relationship further in the future.

Mr. Marco Saladini

Italian Trade Commissioner in Chicago

Mr Saldini manages the Chicago, Illinois office of the Italian Trade Agency, tasked with developing bilateral trade and investment relations between USA and Italy in machinery, food and publishing.


Prior to his current position he was with the Italian Trade Agency's Innovation and Start-up Companies Team (2014-2015), held the position as the Chief Representative of the Italian Trade Agency in Vietnam (2006 - 2011) and was an advisor to the Executive Director for Italy and other countries as the World Bank Group (2000-2005).


Mr Saldini is a trained economics practitioner with expertise in macroeconomic and sector analysis, statistical databases and internationalization support policies. He posesses a Master's degree in Political Sciences from La Sapienza in Rome, a Certificate in Emerging Markets from Johns Hopkins’ SAIS, is a member of the Italian Journalists’ Guild and is married with two children. Socially Mr Saldini is into music, mountaineering, cooking, traveling and photography.

Ms. Larysa Gerasko

Consul General, Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago

Nithya Nagarajan

Partner at Husch Blackwell

Nithya’s experience working in federal government agencies provides critical perspective as she advises clients on U.S. trade and trade remedies.


Her previous roles at the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Court of International Trade give Nithya an insider’s perspective as she counsels clients on administrative and regulatory acts before Commerce, the International Trade Commission and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Nithya also defends appeals in the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, NAFTA panels and the World Trade Organization.


Nithya’s focus is trade-remedy strategy and antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings. Nithya has advised foreign manufacturers in India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea and Vietnam in handling trade and supply chain issues associated with exports to the United States. As a result of this experience, Nithya has a wide-ranging understanding of the business regulatory, financial recordkeeping, and other trade and supply chain issues unique to each of these countries. She has deep experience with all levels of trade remedy proceedings, having led and participated in numerous such proceedings conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Ministry of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China, the DGFT in India and the European Commission. She has conducted trade consultations and negotiations with foreign governments including India, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine, and negotiated several bilateral trade agreements (suspension agreement or undertakings) on behalf of the Department of Commerce in the settlement of antidumping duty investigations.


Nithya advises clients to choose preventive medicine instead of a bandage by calling her to avert problems when they start new investments or become mandatory respondents in trade remedy proceedings. As a licensed U.S. Customs broker, she handles classification and entry analysis, prior disclosures and protests.

Pablo Ferrero

President, Flat World Communication

Pablo Ferrero has worked in the design and communication fields for over 20 years. After graduating from university, he gained experience by working at all levels of marketing and advertising production. During this time, he got to work in several different countries, an experience that helped him develop an open-minded approach to solving problems and communicating with people from other cultures.


Ferrero currently owns his own Flat World Communications LLC, that specializes in marketing, web and multimedia platforms, e-learning systems, e-commerce solutions, branding, publishing, and other services that have become pertinent in today's tech-savvy business environment.


Ferrero continues to learn from other cultures. FWC has offices in Miami, Bogota, and Buenos Aires. FWC has partners in Madrid, Dublin, and Mexico City. The company's team has associates working in locations around the globe. Ferrero and FWC have created designs, communications, and branding materials for companies including Oracle, Ford Motor Company, McDonald's, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Edelman, and others.


Pablo Ferrero is also director of NAVIS Luxury Yacht Magazine, ASPIS Superyacht Security Magazine, and CEO of ASD Superyachts. He is a water sports enthusiast, advanced sailor, and experienced diver. His connections in the luxury and superluxury industry give him access to some of the world's top products and designers.

Petra Söderling

Senior Advisor, Business Finland, Invest in Finland

Petra Söderling is a Senior Advisor at Business Finland, the Government Funding Agency for Research and Technology Development in Finland. Business Finland serves under the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

Ms. Söderling enjoys an extensive career in Technology and Innovation.

She has successfully launched two startup companies, one in Mobile App Development and one in Real Estate Technology.

For over a decade Ms. Söderling served at various senior positions at Nokia, including Head of Open Source, Head of Technology Marketing, and Director of Product Development.

Ms. Söderling sits on the IT Advisory Committee of Herzing University in New Orleans, LA, and has been granted several Innovation and Design Awards including Red Dot Best of the Best.

She holds a Master of Business Administration from Helsinki University of Technology, with Executive Education at Harvard Business School and Stanford University.

Piotr Janicki

Consul General at Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago

Before taking office in Chicago Piotr Janicki worked for commercial banks in New York and New Jersey. He also served as Vice-Consul for legal affairs and consular protection at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York. Previously, he was Deputy Mayor of Praga Północ, a district of Warsaw. He studied law, graduating with a Master's degree from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He also has postgraduate degrees in Management of Public Administration from Leon Koźmiński Academy in Warsaw and Financial Planning from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

Ambassador Reyna Torres Mendivil

Consul General of Mexico in Chicago

Ambassador Reyna Torres Mendivil assumed as Consul General of Mexico in Chicago on June 14th 2019.  Before assuming her current position, she served as Consul General in San Antonio. The Ambassador has also held the positions of General Director for Protection of Mexicans Abroad, Consul of Mexico in Fresno, California, and General Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Ambassador Torres was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the Mexican Embassy in the Czech Republic, and a political analyst and liaison with Congress, federal authorities, and civil society in the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C.


Ambassador Torres Mendivil was a resident Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and she represented her country in the Hemispheric Security Program at the Inter-American Defense College. She graduated from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM) and holds a Masters degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Ranjani Rangan

Director/ COO, CPA Partnership

Ranjani is a MBA professional with over 17 years of international account management experience in the areas of banking. Her meticulous formula of 80% execution (do it), 15% Position (Stick to it) and 5% (Plan it) along with her natural instinct to cross-sell has led to steady growth at all of the organizations she has served. She is an expert closely committed to a solution based approach and has a reputation for integrity, satisfaction and results. Ranjani plays an integral role in developing and maintaining senior level partnerships across a diverse range of industries that include financial institutions, consulting companies, corporates and individuals. She also provides advisory services and feasibility studies in her areas of expertise that includes business advisory and compliance. Some of her key achievements has been to bring a well known reputable remittance company in Singapore, a first in more than 3 years for this industry and is on the board to provide advisory services. She has also brought reputed companies established in overseas countries to Singapore and assists them on an end to end basis. She is a corporate manager with the International Trade Council and is also on the board of several well reputed companies in Singapore. Due to her her history as a deputy-country head of Wells Fargo, Ranjani has a keen sense of product knowledge in cash management, trade finance, credit, factoring, asset management, asset distribution, FX, AML and financial crime. She also has the unique skill of being able to sell with risk n mind and is trained to provide AML advisory services as well as mitigations on the identified risks.

Raoul Davis

Founder & CEO, Ascendant Group

Raoul Davis helps businesses increase their top line revenue. Known as one of the world’s foremost experts on CEO branding Davis helps CEOs increase their visibility with their target audience and become recognized industry experts. He has regularly contributed for Forbes.com, writes a monthly branding column for American City Business Journal’s 3.7 million C-suite readers, and provides commentary on small business issues for the likes of Fox Business, Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and Inc.


At Ascendant, Davis has built a private executive client list that has included the likes of fortune 50 executives, CEOs at middle market companies, retired and current athletes building a business brand, and NY Times Best-Selling Authors. Under his leadership, the company has helped clients generate significant business deals, speak at Ivy League institutions, win recognition from elected officials, receive invitations for White House sponsored events and secure national media.

Richard DeBoer

Richard DeBoer

SVP of Sales, Carter Logistics, LLC

Richard DeBoer is the SVP of Sales and is responsible for the Sales, Pricing, and Marketing functions of the organization. Richard joined the organization in 2010 after serving fourteen years as a Chief Financial Officer of a publicly traded transportation Company and more recently twelve years as Chief Operating Officer of two mid-sized transportation companies. Richard has been instrumental in Carter’s revenue growth of over 145% since his joining the Company. In addition, Richard has driven the expansion of services and revenues within the borders of Mexico.

Richard DeBoer

Richard M. Wortman

Partner, Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt

Richard M. Wortman is Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office of Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP (GDLSK), whose practice is limited to Customs and international trade law. Richard is a regular speaker on Customs law matters before many trade groups. He is former chair of the Customs Section of the Los Angeles Bar Association and is counsel to the Northern Border Customs Brokers Association. Richard is a member of the New York and California Bars, The Supreme Court, The Court of International Trade, The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and various district courts.


Richard regularly appears before the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Commerce, Food & Drug Administration, and other agencies that regulate the international trade in goods. His practice frequently involves trade in regulated articles, rules of origin, preferential trade agreements (e.g., NAFTA, AGOA, CBTPA, etc.), marking and labeling, valuation, tariff classification, trademark and copyright protection, Fish & Wildlife restrictions, and similar matters. Richard represents clients in all areas of customs procedure and administration, such as audits, investigations and penalty cases, and antidumping and safeguard remedies.


Richard was born in Far Rockaway, New York. He holds a B.A. with honors in Psychology from Boston University and Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University (Law ’87). He is also an S. O. B. (Son of a (Customs) Broker).

Roland M. Potts

Roland M. Potts

Partner at Diaz, Reus & Targ, LLP

Roland M. Potts has an extensive background in litigation, arbitration, and appellate matters, representing multinational clients on issues of construction defects, products liability, and breach of contract claims.


His experience includes litigating claims, drafting legal filings, and communicating with clients and experts in both English and Spanish, and is conversational in Portuguese.

Mr. Potts is admitted to practice in Florida and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida and has successfully arbitrated cases in the International Court of Arbitration for the International Chamber of Commerce and the American Arbitration Association.


Over his years in practice, he has also advised on matters in federal and state court regarding the Civil Rights Act, Florida Civil Rights Act, attorney malpractice, defamation, and premises liability claims.

Solomon Addai

Managing Director, Modern World Logistics

Solomon Addai is the CEO/Managing Director of Modern World Logistics Ltd and is responsible for the day – to – day running of the business; with an emphasis on sales and business development.


Mr Addai has immense experience in Freight forwarding and Logistics especially in the African Market spanning over a period of 15 years, having served in various capacities within the industry. Solomon currently serves as the Country Chairperson for the International Trade Council (Ghana), the Deputy Delegate of Customs Affairs Institute at International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), a Licentiate member of Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) and he served as a Vice Chairman and Assistant Secretary at K.I.A District of the Institute.

Stuart Atkins

Owner & Founder, Atkins Marketing Solutions

Stuart Atkins is the Owner & Founder of Atkins Marketing Solutions, a digital marketing agency located in Orange California. Stuart is a paid search marketing specialist, speaker, author, and adjunct professor of digital marketing at the largest school of business in California, Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business & Economics. After working in corporate marketing for over 20 years with companies such as Toshiba America and Kingston Technology, Stuart founded Atkins Marketing Solutions in 2008, (https://www.atkinsmarketingsolutions.com) . Since founding his agency, he has worked with over 250 companies. He is the author of two books: Winning the Battle for Attention: Internet Marketing for Small Business and Small Business Marketing: A Guide for Survival, Growth, and Success.

Tim Reynolds

Manager, Trade & Investment, Niagara Economic Development

Tim’s primary responsibility with the Niagara Region’s Economic Development Department is Foreign Direct Investment.


Tim arrived in Niagara in 2014, following a career as a principal and partner in Whyte Reynolds International Inc., a management consulting firm.   Throughout its 30-year existence, the company specialized in private sector development consulting to both the private and public sectors in Canada and both emerging and advanced countries.   Much of Tim’s experience in business has been acquired working for banks and trustees on work-outs and bankruptcies.  This experience was embellished by 16 years of structuring joint ventures and building supply chains for international trade deals.


Tim’s international experience includes private sector development project management in Russia and South East Asia, which has kept him out of North America for most of 21 years, prior to his move to Niagara.  The central theme of Tim’s career has been sustainable economic development.


Tim is also a Certified Management Consultant [CMC] and Ec.D., and holds both a B.A. [Hons.] and a Master’s Degree from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario.

Tonya McNeal-Weary

Managing Director at IBS Global Consulting

Tonya McNeal-Weary is an Accredited Management Consultant, multi-award winning entrepreneur and international business expert. She is the Founder and Managing Director of IBS Global Consulting, Inc., a global management consulting firm that specialize in helping small and medium-sized companies expand internationally.


As Managing Director at IBS Global Consulting, Tonya leads and manages consulting projects across multiple industry sectors and regions. She also organizes and leads business delegations to both emerging and developed countries and facilitates international business and investment partnerships. She has worked on multi-billion dollar projects for international institutions, including the European Commission.


For over a decade, Tonya has built an excellent reputation as a global thought leader and influencer with a passion for helping entrepreneurs, small business owners and investors connect to global markets. She travels to countries around the globe helping entrepreneurs and small business owners develop disruptive marketing strategies that sets them apart from the competition. With her blog Think Global, Tonya shares her expert advice and perspectives on international business issues. She is also the Publisher of The Global Business Advisor Magazine™, a digital publication that provides entrepreneurs and SMEs with practical ideas and strategies for succeeding in today’s global marketplace.

Tyson McMann

Business Development, City of Guelph

Tyson is currently the investment attraction and site selection lead for the City of Guelph. A mid-sized city situated just outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and among one of the fastest growing economies in Canada. In this role, Tyson supports incoming investment by providing site selection services as well as acting as the point person for their interactions with City Hall. Since taking over the role, Tyson has established an extensive network of realtors and site selectors that has been extremely beneficial in supporting foreign investment. Tyson is also responsible for the analyzing and reporting of economic performance for the City of Guelph.

Vincent L DiCianni

Vincent L. DiCianni

President of Affiliated Monitors

Vincent DiCianni is President and founder of Affiliated Monitors Inc. “AMI”, an independent monitoring and assessment firm that evaluates businesses for compliance with statutes and regulations.  Before launching Affiliated Monitors in 2004, Mr. DiCianni served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in private practice representing businesses and professionals.  In addition to overseeing Affiliated Monitors, and serving as an independent integrity monitor, Mr. DiCianni regularly conducts ethics and compliance assessments for clients in diverse fields, such as construction, corrections, financial services, education, and healthcare.  He works with clients to craft appropriate compliance measurement tools and to implement long-term strategies for supporting a culture of compliance within organizations.  AMI provides monitoring services for the United States Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation and many other federal agencies. In addition to AMI’s monitoring and consulting engagements, AMI works with multi-national companies in designing, implementing and strengthening their programs.

Widalis Muñoz

Attorney /Founder of Muñoz Law Firm

Widalis Muñoz is a Puerto Rican native of New York City where she was born and raised. She speaks Spanish fluently and has earned her Bachelors Degree from John Jay College in New York in 2001. During that time, as a result of her strong interest in International Law and other cultures, she decided to study abroad in Japan. In Japan, she learned how to speak Japanese and how to effectively do business internationally. Soon after graduating from College, Ms. Muñoz attended Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida and obtained her Law Degree. Throughout her educational and professional career, Ms. Muñoz has worked in a variety of positions within the legal system. Some of her professional experience include working for a Non-Governmental Organization where she was part of multi-level decision making process within the United Nations; working as a Law Clerk for a Circuit Court Judge as well as representing clients in Real Estate, Bankruptcy, Family and Personal Injury Law.


After working in different areas of the law, she founded Muñoz Law Firm because she wanted to give personal attention to her clients. She has also recently founded 24/7 Immigration under Munoz Law Firm which is dedicated to helping Businesses and Families on a global scale with their Immigration needs. Overall, Ms. Muñoz has represented numerous clients with a myriad number of complex legal problems and has a wealth of legal knowledge. She is highly skilled at representing people at all levels of litigation and protection. More importantly, Ms. Muñoz understands how emotional and important each case can be for an individual or business, therefore, she strives to give unparalleled attention and detail to her clients in each and every case.

Douglas M Bell

Global Trade Policy Leader, Ernst & Young

Douglas serves as the EY Global Trade Policy Leader. Prior to joining the EY organization in February 2019, Douglas worked with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, most recently serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade and Investment Policy. In this role, he led the Department’s trade policy development efforts, with an emphasis on the financial services sector and matters relating to China and the European Union. While with the Treasury Department, Douglas worked closely with federal regulators on trade policy matters and managed Treasury’s involvement in free trade agreement and bilateral treaty negotiations.


Prior to his time at Treasury, Douglas managed trade policy and economics at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as a Counselor and Assistant USTR, overseeing market-access and rule-of-origin chapters in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.


From 2009 to 2011, Douglas served as the Director for Trade and Investment for the White House’s National Security Council, advising the President, the National Economic Director and other senior officials on trade and investment issues. While there, he helped develop the Administration’s trade agenda and managed policy and the coordination of economic agencies in support of the President’s objectives. Douglas began his federal government career as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State and also served in Deputy Assistant USTR regional positions in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.


Douglas holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.

Please join us in thanking these amazing organizations which have helped us host this years Think Global Conference!

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Get in touch!

Affiliated Monitors - ponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
CSDP - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
IBS Global Consulting - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Master Staff - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Modern World Logistics - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Ascendant Group - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Daiz Reus & Targ LLP - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Ginseng Board of Wisconsin - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Munoz Law Firm - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Atkins Marketing Solutions - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Carter Logistics LLC - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
International Logistic Express - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
CPA Partnership - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
Husch Blackwell - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
International Trade Council Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference
MWE - Sponsors of the International Trade Council's 2019 Think Global Conference