Laurel Delaney

LJD20152Laurel J. Delaney is founder and president of Chicago-based, a management consulting company that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses go global. The United States Small Business Administration has recognized Ms. Delaney as a world-renowned global small business expert by naming her the Illinois Exporter of the Year. She is the author of Start and Run a Profitable Exporting Business, Exporting:  The Definitive Guide to Selling Abroad Profitably (2013; 2nd edition 2016) published by Apress Media, and most recently Exporting Essentials:  Selling Products and Services to the World Successfully (2014) also published by Apress Media. In addition, she has written numerous articles that have appeared in international and scholarly publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Conference Board.

She is the creator of The Global Small Business Blog, which is ranked No. 1 in the world for entrepreneurs and small businesses interested in going global, the Founder of the Global Small Business Forum, formerly serves as the Import & Export Expert, is a charter member and a board member by appointment of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, and is a member of the International Council for Small Business.  She also serves as the Chicago Chapter Chair for the Women Presidents’ Organization.

Ms. Delaney’s passion for going global goes back to 1985 when she first started her business. Since then, she has devoted more than 70,000 hours of work in the area–from consulting to writing to teaching.

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Laura Fairman

team_lauraFairmanLaura Fairman is the Founder and Lead Designer of Blue Canvas, a web and graphic design consultancy. For 14 years Laura has enabled small and mid-size businesses to have confidence in all facets of their online and printed marketing. Laura is motivated by the unique challenges independently owned businesses face and takes pride in building long-term working relationships with her clients.

Laura received a Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University in 1999. She majored in Art and double-minored in Music and European Studies.

Laura lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

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Patti Ross

Patti Ross 2016Patricia Ross is President and Founder of Patricia Ross & Associates, Inc. (2009 – present), a consulting company that provides one-on-one coaching to individuals who are interested in building key business relationships and strengthening their leadership skills. She helps clients create and implement a strategy for successful career growth.

Ms. Ross was formerly Market Executive – Global Women’s Market for IBM Corporation (March 1974 – March 2009) where she led the women’s global business initiative and helped cracked open new market channels for IBM.

Her IBM experience and extensive background in technical services, business development, personnel, marketing, sales, customer service, communications and management are some of key business areas that she offers her clients.

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Nancy Stachnik

NancyHeadShot2.20.16While working her way through Mundelein College as a bank teller, Nancy discovered she had a knack for numbers. This led to a long and rewarding career as a community banker in Chicago. A seasoned veteran of the rollicking financial M&A activity of the 1980’s and 90’s, she believes her sense of humor, resilience and internal fortitude (learned while growing up on Chicago’s Northwest side) kept her landing on her feet. Nancy lives in the Norwood Park neighborhood of Chicago with an interesting-looking dog named Blue. She usually has a home-repair project in process and her garden is her “health club.” A voracious reader, she also enjoys drawing and painting, and recently completed portraits of her grand-nieces.

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Kati Suominen

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 3.11.24 PMDr. Kati Suominen is Founder and CEO of the trade research firm Nextrade Group, LLC. She is also Adjunct Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management and Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

She previously served as Fellow at the German Marshall Fund and Trade Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank. She has published over 80 articles and 9 books, and is now authoring her 10th, Globalization 4.0: How Disruptive Technologies Reshape Business and Policy in the Hyperconnected World. She has provided commentary in such media as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, BBC, CSPAN, CNN, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Politico, USA Today, Time, Economist Intelligence Unit, and U.S. News and World Report.

Dr. Suominen chairs a global expert group on regional trade agreements for the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development and World Economic Forum, and is the idea woman of, a new dialogue forum on trade agreements. She also serves on global expert committees on global value chains and on digital trade.

Graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (MBA) and University of California, San Diego (PhD), she is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and American Assembly’s Next Generation Fellow. She serves on the advisory boards of trade-related groups, New Markets Lab, Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global, and National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade.

Her blog Globalization 4.0 is at:  //

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Chantal Wittman Meier

ChantalWittman2016BChantal Wittman Meier is Vice President International Trade Banking, MB Financial Bank. She is charged with international trade service sales as well as business associated with short and medium term trade finance products used by MB Financial Bank. MB Financial Bank has a national footprint but a Midwest history.

A seasoned trade finance professional, Chantal began her international career with the Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FCIA) which later merged into the Export Import Bank of the U.S. (Eximbank). Much of her history has been spent working with small and medium sized exporters, assisting them in navigating risk mitigation and credit tools designed to support their export growth. Prior to joining MB Financial Bank in 2014, Chantal had worked for LaSalle National Bank, London Forfaiting plc and First American Bank in international sales and management roles.

Chantal has been on the Board of the Illinois District Export Council since 1996. She is a member of the International Trade Club of Greater Chicago, the Association of International Credit and Trade Finance Professionals, the Wisconsin ICE Group and BAFT.

Chantal is a graduate of Clemson University and has a MBA in International Business from DePaul University. Her favorite career title was that of “Ambassador of Goodwill” as a Rotary Scholar in Mons, Belgium.

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Susan Meyer

Susan Meyer advises businesses in the areas of intellectual property, franchising, and distribution, drawing on her experience as a former business owner to provide practical, value-driven legal counsel. She represents companies in the U.S. and internationally in every stage of development.

Susan handles intellectual property prosecutions, licensing, and dispute resolution and has extensive experience in trademark law, representing clients before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. She also works with franchisors on compliance issues and serves as outside general counsel for businesses on general business matters.

Susan frequently advises companies on matters related to commerce between the U.S. and Norway. She is president of the Chicago chapter of the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce and twice attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit on international trade opportunities as a member of the Norwegian delegation.

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Genevra Knight

genevra-knightGenevra is a Partner at Porte Brown with more than seventeen years of experience providing tax consulting and accounting services to individuals and closely held businesses. She is the partner-in-charge of the paperless audit process and the firm’s quality control procedures.

Genevra is one of the leaders of Porte Brown’s Audit, Not-for-Profit, and Construction Practice Groups.  Her expertise covers:  Federal & State Income Tax Preparation; Preparation of Financial Statements; Compilations & Reviews of Financial Statements; Certified Audit; Not-for-Profit Trade Associations; Not-for-Profit Charitable Organizations; Not-for-Profit Yellowbook, OMB, and HUD Auditing; and Construction Industry Services

She has a B.S. in Accounting, Bradley University and is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional.

Her professional and civic involvement entails:  Board Member of Schaumburg Business Association; Federation of Women Contractors; Member of Illinois CPA Society Audit & Assurance Committee; and Member of AICPA.

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Akanksha Gupta

Akanksha completed her second Masters degree in Information Technology (Analytics and IT-Marketing) from Northwestern University and graduated in December 2018. She has an MBA in IT and Marketing and enjoys her work. She has been nominated for “Top fifty for the future” Award by Illinois Technology Foundation.

Prior to this, she has extensive experience in IT business analysis and marketing in E-commerce, banking and logistics industry and hands on data analytics experience. She worked as an Analytics Consultant with InfoTrust llc helping clients with designing their digital analytics architecture. She has also helped clients to make informed data driven decisions for business optimization. Akanksha also has 5 years of experience with Bank of America (BOA) as Business Analyst. At BOA, she was involved in strategical product design consultation, identifying improvement areas and suggesting process enhancement, client relationship management, documentation and reporting, audit and client training.

She also worked as an event manager for a non-profit organization – International Dual Career Network (IDCN), working closely with HRs of multi-nationals, facilitating job search and career information sharing through member companies networks. With IDCN, Akanksha has build a strong network with corporate and understands the Dubai market, something she leveraged for devising the strategies for Move10X.

e-Mail Akanksha Gupta


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