WITA Board of Directors
- Steve Lamar, American Apparel & Footwear Association
- Vice President: Stephanie Lester, Gap, Inc.
- Treasurer: Donald Eiss, USTR
- Secretary: Sarah Thorn, WalMart Stores, Inc.
- Craig Albright, BSA I The Software Alliance
- Nicole Bivens Collinson, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg P.A.
- Ralph Carter, FedEx Express
- Paul H. DeLaney, III, Kyle House Group
- Dorothy Dwoskin, Microsoft
- Kimberly Ellis, Monument Policy Group
- Audrae Erickson, Mead Johnson Nutrition
- Ed Gresser
- Timothy Keeler, Mayer Brown LLP
- Katrin Kuhlmann, New Markets Lab
- Sophia Lafargue, Office of Congressman Gregory Meeks
- Linda Menghetti Dempsey, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
- Alexander Perkins, FCA US LLC
- Lisa Schroeter, The Dow Chemical Company
- Kaitlin Sighinolfi, Office of Congressman Charles W. Boustany
- Michael Smart, Rock Creek Global Advisors
- Kenneth Smith Ramos, Trade and NAFTA Office
Craig Albright is the Vice President of Legislative Strategy at BSA I The Software Alliance. He was formerly the World Bank’s Special Representative for North America, responsible for managing the World Bank’s relations with the United States and Canada, including governments, the private sector, think tanks and other organizations. Craig has also spent over 12 years working in the US government. In the White House (2005-2008), he served as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs and Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for Legislative Affairs. In Congress (1997-2005, 2008-2010), his positions included Chief of Staff for former Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Kay Granger. His primary focus throughout his career has been on international economic issues including trade, foreign assistance, sanctions and others.
Nicole Bivens Collinson leads the International Trade and Government relations practice of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., and serves as managing principal of the Washington, D.C., office. Ms. Collinson has over 25 years of experience in government, public affairs and lobbying. She has drafted and guided the successful implementation of several pieces of key international trade legislation positively affecting the bottom line of many U.S. companies. Clients have saved millions of dollars through the successful drafting, guidance and passage of legislation that reduces or eliminates duties — crafting creative measures to benefit clients such as blocking changes to the First Sale doctrine, Miscellaneous Tariff Bills, specific trade preference legislation, the Generalized System of Preferences, etc. Such a track record demonstrates her ability to effectively move your agenda forward. Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Collinson served as assistant chief negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, responsible for the negotiation of bilateral agreements with Latin America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, the Sub-Continent and Africa. She also served as a country specialist in the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce, where she was responsible for the preparation of negotiations on specific topics between the U.S. and Latin America, Eastern Europe, China and Hong Kong, as well as the administration of complex textile agreements.
Ralph Carter is Managing Director of Legal, Trade & International Affairs at FedEx Express. Mr. Carter is responsible for FedEx regulatory and international affairs including trade policy. Mr. Carter’s team advocates for simpler, more open trade rules that reduce barriers and help FedEx customers expand their international business. Mr. Carter is a frequent speaker and contributor to international trade events and initiatives including at APEC, the WTO, World Bank, World Economic Forum and the Business 20 (“B20”). Mr. Carter’s work has helped FedEx become a respected global leader in the trade policy community. Before establishing the FedEx Legal, Trade & International Affairs office in Washington, DC, Mr. Carter was Managing Director in the legal department of FedEx’s Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Brussels Belgium. Prior to FedEx Mr. Carter served in the State Department as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.
Dorothy Dwoskin is the Senior Director of Global Trade Policy and Strategy at Microsoft, and a member of its Federal Government team in Washington D.C. She is responsible for leading the company’s policy efforts to promote open markets and fair trade in software and services, collaborating with government agencies, Congress, international organizations, and foreign governments. Dorothy previously served as the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Multilateral Affairs at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). In that position she was responsible for trade negotiations and policy matters before the WTO, including the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations and the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations. She served as lead U.S. negotiator on a variety of trade policy issues, including the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), and led the negotiating teams setting the terms of membership for countries acceding to the WTO. She led teams resulting in successful bilateral WTO market access agreements with Russia and the Ukraine, and concluded membership negotiations for the accession of Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Dorothy graduated cum laude from the School of International Service at American University. She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington.
Paul H. DeLaney, III is a Partner at the Kyle House Group (KHG), a strategic business, political and communications consulting firm. He brings his extensive private sector and public service experience to KHG, where he leads the firm’s international business counseling and dispute resolution efforts as well as trade, investment, and customs policy advocacy. Prior to joining KHG, Paul served as International Trade Counsel to Ranking Member Orrin G. Hatch for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and advised Senators and their staff on a range of trade, investment, and international economic issues. Before serving on the Finance Committee, Paul worked as a Senior Attorney for Trade and International Affairs at FedEx Express, where he advocated on trade policy and international regulatory issues before the U.S. and foreign governments, as well as represented the company in industry and trade associations. Prior to FedEx Express, Paul worked at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative,and served as Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Trade Representatives Rob Portman and Susan C. Schwab. Before serving at USTR, Paul was a litigation associate at Vinson & Elkins, LLP in Washington D.C. Paul received his B.A. in Political Science from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Donald Eiss has been a member of the WITA Board of Directors since 2000, and currently serves as WITA’s Treasurer. He works at Office of the United States Trade Representative; he has been at USTR since 1985. His current responsibilities include supervision of the Executive Branch trade policy coordination system and USTR’s liaison with the International Monetary Fund and the United States Government Accountability Office. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities, Mr. Eiss served as Acting Assistant USTR for Industry, during which time he was responsible, inter alia, for international energy policy. He coordinated the development of initiatives to liberalize trade in energy commodities, energy-related services and equipment in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and has also been responsible for investment issues, international high technology concerns and subsidies negotiations in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Prior to joining USTR he worked in the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce from 1980 to 1985, the Department of the Treasury from 1977 to 1980 and in the Trade Adjustment Assistance office at the Department of Labor from 1975 to 1977. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
Kimberly Thompson Ellis is Vice President at Monument Policy Group. Kimberly works closely with the firm’s clients as they navigate issues before key Congressional committees, including the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees, and federal agencies. She has worked extensively on corporate tax reform, communicating the impact of specific provisions, monitoring developments, and guiding clients through the maze of legislative efforts. Kimberly also advocates for clients engaged in major trade negotiations, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and Congressional renewal of the Trade Promotion Authority and other pending trade legislation. Prior to her current position, she served as Legislative Director to Congressman Kevin Brady; Congressman Brady is the Chairman of the Trade Sub-Committee of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Vice Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, and Deputy Republican Whip. Ms. Ellis oversees the Congressman’s comprehensive legislative agenda and advises him on key issues before the United States Congress, including on trade. In her capacity as Legislative Director, she supports such priorities as passage of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, and the Congressman’s leadership on the Congressional Services Caucus, the Caucus for World Bank Dialogue, and the Caucus for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, Ms. Ellis served at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as Confidential Assistant and Deputy Executive Secretary to Ambassador Robert B. Zoellick, and as Trade Advisor in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg, P.A. Ms. Ellis was named one of the Top Ten Trade and Tax Staffers of 2009 by Roll Call. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in history. She and her husband Rich have one child and live in Arlington, VA.
Audrae Erickson is Vice President at Mead Johnson. She has served on the WITA Board of Directors since 2002. Audrae Erickson joined Mead Johnson Nutrition in January 2013 as its Vice President, External & Public Affairs. In this role, Erickson will develop strategies to address external regulatory, policy and public environment issues affecting the company in the United States and global markets. Prior to joining Mead Johnson Nutrition, Audrae Erickson was the president of the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) based in Washington, D.C. Before joining the CRA, Erickson served as the senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), where she specialized in agricultural trade issues including trade policy, negotiations, dispute settlement, trade promotion authority and matters involving the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). In 1999, Erickson founded the Ag Trade Coalition to promote U.S. agricultural interests on WTO negotiating objectives. Prior to her tenure at AFBF, Erickson served as director of agricultural affairs at the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office. Erickson was responsible for oversight of all trade issues pertaining to sweeteners, horticultural crops, biotechnology, and sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to trade. She also oversaw agriculture policy matters related to the FTAA and the North American Free Trade Agreement and represented USTR at the WTO Committee on Agriculture meetings. Before taking the position at USTR, Erickson served as an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service where she specialized in trade and environment issues. Erickson earned a Master of Arts degree in economics as a Rotary scholar from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics/business and French at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. Erickson resides in Maryland with her husband and three children.
Ed Gresser joined the GlobalWorks Foundation as Director of the ProgressiveEconomy project in February, 2011, and is Senior Advisor to Fontheim International. He is one of America’s best-known and most influential trade policy researchers, having conducted path-breaking research on the American tariff system and its effects on low-income American families and poorer nations, trade relations with the Muslim world, Asian economic integration and other topics. Gresser came to GlobalWorks after two years at the Democratic Leadership Council, where he served as Trade and Global Markets Director and as interim President. Before joining DLC, Mr. Gresser was Trade and Global Markets Director for the Progressive Policy Institute from 2001 to 2009. From April 1998 through the close of the Clinton Administration in 2001, he served as Policy Advisor to U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky. Earlier, as Legislative Assistant and then Policy Director for Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) between 1993 and 1998, Mr. Gresser was responsible for trade and foreign policy, with particular focus on relations with China. Mr. Gresser graduated from Stanford University with Distinction in Political Science in 1984. He earned a Master’s Degree from Columbia University and a Certificate from the Averell Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union in 1987. He is married to Siriporn Gresser, and they have one son.
Tim Keeler, an attorney in the Government and International Trade Group, joined Mayer Brown in 2009, and brings an in-depth knowledge of international trade law and economic policy matters, and a history of working in the Executive Branch and Congress on major economic, legislative and regulatory issues. Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Tim served in a variety of senior positions in the U.S. Government for almost 12 years. Most recently he was the Chief of Staff in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) from 2006 – 2009, where he oversaw implementation of U.S. policy, strategy and negotiations involving all aspects of international trade and investment matters. He worked on a number of key issues including: climate change and trade; US and China relations; WTO negotiations and litigation; free trade agreement negotiations and implementation; and CFIUS decisions. In recognition of his government service, Tim was awarded the USTR Distinguished Service Award, the Treasury Distinguished Service Award, and the Treasury Secretary’s Honor Award twice.
Katrin Kuhlmann is President and Founder of the New Markets Lab, an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and a Senior Advisor at the Corporate Council on Africa. She is a fellow with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, where she chairs a Legal Working Group for the social enterprise sector, and a fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Harvard Law and International Development Society (LIDS) and is the Director of the Trade Innovation Initiative through LIDS. She serves on the boards of the Washington International Trade Association and the Malaika Foundation and has been selected by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as a member of the Trade Advisory Committee for Africa. Katrin was a 2012-13 Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School. She has served as President of TransFarm Africa (now part of the New Markets Lab) and was previously a Senior Fellow and Director at the Aspen Institute. She has held several other senior positions in the non-profit sector, including President of the Trade, Aid, and Security Coalition and Senior Vice President of the Women’s Edge Coalition. Prior to joining the non-profit sector, Ms. Kuhlmann served for six years as USTR’s Director for Eastern Europe and Eurasia. She has practiced law in New York and Washington, DC. Ms. Kuhlmann holds degrees from Harvard Law School and Creighton University, and she was the recipient of a Fulbright grant in 1992.
Sophia Lafargue is Chief of Staff to Congressman Gregory Meeks (NY-05). Her policy portfolio includes all international trade and foreign affairs related issues with special emphasis on trade capacity building in emerging economies, and the linkages between geopolitics and economic policy. For over a decade, Ms. Lafargue has actively supported the advancement of all major trade legislation in Congress. Since 2005, Ms. Lafargue has been the top trade advisor and primary leadership liaison for Representative Meeks who is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee; Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats; and Co-Chair of the Friends of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Caucus. Ms. Lafargue is known for her bipartisan approach to legislating, and her understanding of the real world implications of policy making. She is a well-traveled and highly regarded foreign policy expert that is often at the table with think tanks, non-government organizations, the private sector, and government stakeholders alike. She works collaboratively with U.S. entities globally to promote American interests abroad. Her ties extend beyond Capitol Hill. With strong political connections to New York, she has effectively leveraged her influence toward fortifying the services sector in challenging times, and to benefit New York City and State’s economic development. Ms. Lafargue is a graduate of Queens College – City University of New York, and Harvard University.
Steve Lamar is the Executive Vice President for the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the national trade association of the US apparel and footwear industries. In this capacity, Mr. Lamar represents the apparel and footwear industries on a variety of international trade, customs, and economic policy issues. Before joining AAFA, Mr. Lamar was a Senior Vice President at Jefferson Waterman International where he advised foreign government and US corporate clients on lobbying strategies for a series of issues relating to trade legislation and US Government export finance programs. Previously, Mr. Lamar worked in the Commerce Department, where he counseled US firms on doing business in Africa and the Middle East. From 1996 to 2003, Mr. Lamar chaired the diplomatic series committee for WITA, and was Vice President in 2003 and 2004. He now serves as President.
Stephanie Lester is a Director of Government Affairs at Gap Inc. In this capacity, she leads Gap Inc.’s trade affairs portfolio, including trade agreements, preference programs, and capacity building programs to contribute to communities in which Gap Inc. sources by utilizing trade to build sustainable apparel industries. Ms. Lester was previously Vice President for International Trade at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). In that role, she advocated on behalf of the largest, most successful retailers on international trade, customs, and product safety issues. From 2001-2006, Ms. Lester served as a professional staff member for the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. In that capacity, she advised members of the Committee on a variety of trade matters including free trade agreements, WTO negotiations on rules and dispute settlement, trade preference programs, U.S. trade remedy laws, and investment. Ms. Lester also worked as an international trade analyst at the U.S. Department of Commerce and later served as the Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary for Import Administration. Ms. Lester holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Multinational Business from Florida State University, and a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. Ms. Lester has served on the WITA Board of Directors since 2006, and currently serves as Vice President.
Linda Menghetti Dempsey is Vice President, International Economic Affairs National Association of Manufacturers. Prior to assuming her current role, she was Vice President of the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT), an organization of leading U.S. companies that promote economic growth through expansionary trade and investment policies. She worked with ECAT companies and the broader business community to support trade and investment legislation and policies, WTO negotiations, bilateral and regional trade agreements, and bilateral investment treaties. Ms. Menghetti is noted for her trade and investment policy expertise and leadership in broad coalitions. Previously, Ms. Menghetti was Chief Minority Trade Counsel and Minority Trade Counsel (1996-2000) for the Senate Finance Committee where she advised the Ranking Member (Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) and Members of the Committee on international trade issues. She also served as Legislative Assistant to Senator Bill Bradley (Democrat-New Jersey) (1995-96) and at the law firms of Dewey Ballantine (1992-1995) and McKenna & Cuneo (1990-1992). Ms. Menghetti received her law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley and an honors degree from the Pennsylvania State University. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa and is the recipient of an International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations (1995-96) and the Women in International Trade (WIIT) Woman of the Year Award (2007-08).
Alexander Perkins is a Senior Manager of International Government Affairs at Fiat Chrysler Automobile Group (FCA) LLC. Alex joined FCA in 2012 after working for fifteen years in politics, government service and law. Prior to joining Chrysler in 2012, Alex served as Trade Counsel on the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, managing a wide range of trade-related issues. Alex chairs the National Association of Manufacturers Customs Working Group and co-chairs the American Association of Exporters and Importers Trade Policy Committee and the Business Coalition for Transatlantic Trade Customs Working Group. He also serves on the National Foreign Trade Council Board of Directors. Alex resides in the Washington D.C. area with his wife and two daughters.
Lisa Schroeter is currently the Global Director, Trade and Investment Policy at The Dow Chemical Company. She graduated from George Washington University. She also studied at Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. As Global Director, Trade and Investment Policy she is responsible for developing corporate trade and investment policy, managing investment and risk assessment strategies for emerging economies, and engaging with business development teams to promote key investment projects. Specifically, she is responsible for defining advocacy strategy for major trade negotiations including TPP, TTIP, and ASEAN driven regional programs.
Kaitlin Sighinolfi currently serves as Trade Policy Advisor for Congressman Charles W. Boustany (R-LA), who sits on the Ways and Means Committee and is also a member of the Subcommittee on Trade, which has jurisdiction over all international trade issues. Rep. Boustany also co-chairs the Friends of Trans Pacific Partnership Caucus. Kaitlin’s legislative portfolio includes trade, energy, transportation, foreign affairs, environment and fisheries. A native Mainer, Kaitlin previously worked for Senator Olympia J. Snowe for 6 years before the Senator announced her retirement in March 2012.
Michael Smart is Vice President of Rock Creek Global Advisors. Prior to his current position, he was International Trade Counsel on the Democratic Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. His areas of responsibility included World Trade Organization negotiations and dispute settlement, trade enforcement, agricultural trade, and trade and the environment. Before joining the Finance Committee, Mr. Smart was Director for International Trade and Investment on the staff of the National Security Council. Mr. Smart was previously an associate at the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP and the Legislative Director for Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). Mr. Smart received his B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. He joined the WITA Board in 2011.
Kenneth Smith Ramos is currently the Head of the Trade and NAFTA Office of the Ministry of the Economy of Mexico, in Washington, D.C. This office is in charge of promoting the trade relationship between Mexico and the United States as well as ensuring proper implementation of the NAFTA. It engages with relevant stakeholders from the academic, private, and public sectors on the key trade issues that affect the bilateral relationship and also addresses global issues that are relevant to the NAFTA region. Prior to serving in his current post, Mr. Smith was Coordinator General for International Affairs at the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), where he was responsible for agricultural trade negotiations and international cooperation. He managed six Foreign Agricultural Offices of Mexico, that play a key role in the promotion of Mexican agricultural exports through the participation in international trade shows, and trade missions. Previously, Ken Smith worked at the Mexican Federal Competition Commission, as Director-General for International Affairs, as well as in the Ministry of Economy, where he was Director-General for Assessment and Monitoring of Negotiations. He started his professional career working for Mexico’s NAFTA negotiating team. Mr. Smith has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University, and a Master’s Degree in International Economy from Johns Hopkins University.
Sarah Thorn is the Senior Director of Federal Government Relations for Walmart, where she is primarily responsible for international trade and investment issues. She is involved in legislative initiatives and trade negotiations (both regional and WTO) that affect Walmart’s retail and distribution rights overseas. In addition, she works to eliminate import and export tariff and non-tariff barriers that impact Walmart sourcing. Sarah also manages office administration, strategy and planning. Before joining Walmart, Sarah worked for seven years at the Grocery Manufacturers Association where she led the food, beverage and consumer products industry advocacy on international trade issues. Sarah has also worked as a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and served as an international relations representative with AMP Incorporated. Sarah began her career in Washington as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Information Agency. She holds a Master of Arts degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative area studies and comparative literature from Duke University.