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Meet the Economic and Commercial U.S. Government Diplomats

Trade Winds-Africa provides unparalleled access to U.S. Senior Diplomats from the U.S. Commercial Service and U.S. State Department located throughout Africa. During Trade Winds, these U.S. Diplomats will present the latest market intelligence and recommendations for strategic growth for 21 countries across the region including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritus, Namibia, Senegal, Swaziland, Uganda, Guinea and Zambia. Trade Winds participants will engage in one-on-one meetings with our Diplomats to discuss unique business issues, explore untapped markets and evaluate product and service offerings for the region. 

Only at Trade Winds-Africa are you able to explore this vast region from the strategic location of South Africa.

Once you register for Trade Winds-Africa and your company is accepted, the Trade Winds Team will send you information on how to sign up for one-on-one meetings with the U.S. Diplomats listed below.

More bios to come!

     

Alexander Gazis
Economic-Commercial Chief
U.S. State Department – Dakar, Senegal

A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad, Alexander worked for 10 years on rural development projects and promotion of trade and investment in Africa before joining the Foreign Service in 2004.

     

Donald G. Nay
Regional Senior Commercial Officer
Sub-Saharan Africa
U.S. Commercial Service - Johannesburg, South Africa

Donald oversees CS operations in 8 African countries along with the CS/U.S. State Department Partnership Program, which supports U.S. Embassies’ commercial services for U.S. companies in 25 countries in Africa.

   

Brent Omdahl
Deputy Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service - Johannesburg, South Africa

Prior to government service, Brent worked for nine years in the pharmaceutical and enterprise software industries.

   

Paul Taylor
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service – Accra, Ghana

Paul brings to this position more than twenty years of international business experience and is recognized within the U.S. business community as a thought leader on IT and telecom policy issues faced by foreign companies operating in China.

   

Caroline Dow
Economic Officer
U.S. State Department - Monrovia, Liberia

Prior to the State Department Caroline worked for a number of years as an internet consultant, most notably building websites for Renault in France.

   

Heather Dresser
Economic-Commercial Chief
U.S. State Department – Lilongwe, Malawi

Before joining the State Department, Heather worked at a public policy research institution in Washington, DC; on an HIV/AIDS assistance project in Tanzania; and taught introductory economics.

   

Kristen Grauer
Political and Economic Section Chief
U.S. State Department - Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Before Abidjan, Kristen covered macroeconomic policy and financial affairs in the Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France. She covered economic issues at the embassies in Baghdad, Iraq and Moscow, Russia and political issues in Monrovia, Liberia and Cotonou, Benin. 

   

Tanya Cole
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tanya joined the U.S. Commercial Service in 2006 as a Foreign Service Officer after more than 20 years of experience in the private sector working on engineering and environmental infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

   

Francis "Chip" Peters
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service – Nairobi, Kenya

Prior to his government service, Chip worked for 15 years as a marketing and sales executive in the U.S., Malaysia, and Thailand with AT&T, Dell, and several high-tech start-ups. Chip also taught four years as an adjunct professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin and served two years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa.

   

Robert J. “RJ” Donovan Jr
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service – Dar es Salaam

RJ began his Federal government career in 1993, as a policy analyst on Vice President Gore’s “Reinventing Government” task force. In that capacity, he developed and delivered recommendations to the Vice President on how to better coordinate and deploy U.S. trade promotion and finance programs.

   

Julia Rauner
Senior Commercial Officer

U.S. Commercial Service – Luanda, Angola

Julia’s career with the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration since 1987 includes both Foreign Service and Civil Service assignments in Angola, San Diego, Sao Paulo and Washington D.C.

   

Brian McCleary
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service – Lagos, Nigeria

A career Foreign Service officer, Brian previously served as SCO in Pakistan, in Iraq, and at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C.; as Regional SCO in Finland (overseeing programs in Norway and Estonia); and as Deputy SCO in Russia, Italy, and Saudi Arabia.

   

Chansonette Yun
Economic/Commercial Officer
U.S. State Department – Gaborone, Botswana

Chansonette Yun previously served as the Trade and Investment Officer at U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Political Military Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Seoul, and Consular and Political Officer at U.S. Embassy Caracas. 

   

Ivan Rios
Economic/Commercial Officer
U.S. State Department – Windhoek, Namibia

Ivan received his Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He also holds a Masters of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in Chemistry from Boston University. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

   

Daniel B. Kobayashi
Economic/Political Officer
U.S. State Department – Maseru, Lesotho

Before joining the State Department, Mr. Kobayashi served for four years as Director of the Workforce Solutions Group, a non-profit dedicated to improving the workforce development system in his home state of Massachusetts.

   

Jane Kitson
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service – Maputo, Mozambique

Ms. Kitson joined the U.S. Commercial Service in 2006, after a career in the ICT private sector focused on international business development, with a strong emphasis on emerging markets.

Shariff Jathoonia
Senior Economic/Commercial Specialist
U.S. State Department - Port Louis, Mauritius

Mr. Jathoonia has been supporting and promoting U.S. business in Mauritius for the past 37 years that he has been with the Embassy. Heserved as member of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Mauritius in 2011 and has represented the Embassy in various other local committees dealing with U.S. and Mauritius commercial relations

   

Lilieth Whyte
Commercial/Economic Officer
U.S. State Department - Morovia, Liberia

Ms. Whyte is responsible for monitoring Liberia’s maritime affairs, agriculture and food security, non-petroleum extractive, and timber industries and related transparency initiatives.

   

Joseph Gibson Jr.
Commercial Specialist
U.S. State Department - Lusaka, Zambia

Prior to this position, Mr. Gibson served as the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Analyst at Eagle Bank in Silver Spring, Maryland. His 18 plus years of banking experience ranged from serving at small community banks to large multinational banks in Washington, DC.

   

Omar Farooq

Economic/Commercial Officer
U.S. State Department - Kampala Uganda

Omar previously worked as a mining engineer and has Bachelor’s Degree in Mining Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

   

Rachel Meyers
Commercial/Economic Officer
U.S. State Department - Harare, Zimbabwe

Ms. Meyers joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer in 1998 and has been posted to Jamaica, Greece, Bosnia, Washington DC, Kenya, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe. She has a BA in history from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and a JD from Hastings College of the Law, a University of California law school in San Francisco.

   

Christopher Corkey
Commercial/Economic Officer
U.S. State Department - Harare, Zimbabwe

Mr. Corkey spent five years working as a financial analyst, and one year traveling and working as a volunteer in Ecuador. He was a Presidential Management Fellow at the Drug Enforcement Agency before joining the State Department in January 2007.

   


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