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2015 Board of Directors

President
Lilia Navarrete
LKN Global Enterprises, Inc.
T: (626) 862-3292
E: lilianavarrete@lknglobal.com

View Bio

Lilia Navarrete, is the founder and President of LKN Global Enterprises, Inc, whose vision is dedicated to empowering LKN Global’s clients to create a future of sustainable success and exponential growth by addressing their challenges and assisting them in securing a successful position within the global marketplace.

Ms. Navarrete built the company from the ground up as a business-to-business consulting firm assisting companies of all sizes succeed in penetrating and expanding into global markets. LKN Global’s strategic consulting services are designed to take projects through the entire business pipeline and all its commercialization phases. Lilia Navarrete draws on more than 20 years of experience identifying leading trends in the global marketplace and their impact on business to help companies use innovative ideas to enter new markets.

During her career, Ms. Navarrete’s catalytic leadership style has enabled her to contribute to the growth of several organizations involved in international business and trade. In addition to background in international transportation in the U.S. and abroad, her expertise in cross-cultural communication, in media advertising and on-site studies worldwide has also contributed to her understanding of the global consumer. She practices high ethical standards both personally and professionally. Her integrity is solid and demonstrates commitment to ethical values in all of her work.

Ms. Navarrete is a world class dynamic speaker. Her recent speaking engagements have been throughout the Americas in Peru, Chile, Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, including the APEC Ministerial summit in Peru on the topic of Globalization and Capacity Building across Organizations as well as at the Global Women’s Summit in Chile on the topic of Global Business Ethics. Ms. Navarrete speaks on a variety of internationally related topics including: multi-cultural issues; international affairs, sustainability, capacity building; marketing internationally, doing business in California and the U.S.; doing business with Mexicans, Americans, Canadians, capacity building across women’s organizations; business ethics in a technological world.

Recognizing the importance of offering corporate training programs, Ms. Navarrete established the LKN Global Executive Institute, as a division of LKN Global Enterprises, Inc., with over twenty-five years imparting seminars and corporate training in Spanish and English for cross-cultural participants. As an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business & Management in Malibu, California, she has imparted business classes in Spanish to MBA students preparing them to work in Latin America and Spain. Ms. Navarrete also taught the Global Management Graduate Program at the University of Phoenix, Southern California Campus.

Lilia Navarrete has served on various Board’s and International Committees. Ms. Navarrete’s contributions are highly respected within the international trade community worldwide. She currently serves as President of WIT-LA (Women in International Trade—Los Angeles) and has served on the WIT-LA board for over ten years.

Ms. Navarrete recently served as Chairman of the Board for the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) and previously served two terms as President and CEO and one term as Executive Vice President. OWIT is a network of members with more than twenty five chapters around the world and is the only global business association dedicated to helping women and men excel in international trade. As well, she is currently on the board of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) as Vice President. TIAW is an umbrella organization for over 35 organizations worldwide that provides mentorship and networking initiatives to advance economic opportunities to women around the world.

Lilia Navarrete has served on the World Trade Week Committee of Los Angeles for several years and she has been invited to continue to serve on the World Trade Week Committee of Los Angeles in 2013. Realizing the importance of minimizing poverty and increasing education to women and girls in the most underprivileged regions of the world, Ms. Navarrete avidly supports and is on the leadership team in Los Angeles for Room to Read, a non-profit organization that believes in providing the opportunity of education to all children.

Ms. Navarrete is also a member and active supporter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and a member of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Navarrete holds an international MBA in Finance and Marketing from Loyola Marymount University together with an undergraduate degree in International Business Management and Economics from CS University Los Angeles. Studies in Multi-Media validate her passion for e-commerce and virtual trade. She has lived and worked in Latin America for more than ten years. Ms. Navarrete currently resides in Pasadena, California.

Lilia has served on the WIT-LA Board since 2001

Vice President
Christel Vilogron
IEBP Global Trade Compliance
T: (949) 642-4587
E: christel@iebpglobal.com

View Bio

Christel Vilogron leads IEBP Global Trade Compliance. She has completed hundreds of ITAR/EAR compliance audits, each time demonstrating proven expertise. In her leadership roles at the government and at Fortune 500s, she has traveled worldwide to implement and improve export compliance programs that averted fines and penalties. On a regular basis she provides export advice and solutions on exporting defense articles & services, dual-use commodities, technical data, technology & software subject to the EAR, ITAR, OFAC and the FTR. She advises companies of all sizes on compliance matters that include licensing, documentation, classification, commodity jurisdiction, export screening, sanctions, deemed exports, voluntary self-disclosures, Export Control Reform transition plans, and develops Export Compliance Programs, Technology Control Plans, Policies and Manuals.

Christel is a past member of the President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration. She currently serves on the District Export Council of Southern California, the Board of Director of the Foreign Trade Association and of Women in International Trade, Los Angeles. She is a member of the Society for International Affairs, International Compliance Professionals Association, and the National Association of Professional Women. – She has a B.A. in International Relations and is fluent in German.


Treasurer
Communications Chair

Roberta Yang
E: robertamyang@gmail.com

Secretary
Janice Whitaker
Raytheon
T: (310) 647-2691
E: JWhitaker@raytheon.com

View Bio

Janice Whitaker is an International Trade Manager and Licensed Customs Broker with 20+ years of experience at Intel Corporation and currently with Raytheon Company, a general defense contractor. In this capacity, she leads the development, management and oversight activities related to a variety of global trade controls for commercial, unclassified and classified defense programs to include: export/import compliance and licensing, integrating international regulatory requirements to operational business processes, and implementation of effective assessment methods to assure compliance in executing global business activities. Ms. Whitaker brings a unique combination of knowledge and experience to the trade controls profession, having expertise with the Commerce Department's Export Administration Regulations, the State Department's International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and the Department of Homeland Security's Customs Regulations.

She is a member of the Society for International Affairs and on the Board of Directors for Women in International Trade - LA Chapter.

Ms. Whitaker received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Southern Oregon State and a Masters of Business Administration from Colorado State University.


Parliamentarian

Gina Thomas Patterson, CISR, CPIW, DAE
Roanoke Trade
T: (562) 256-1914
E: gina.patterson@roanokegroup.com

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Gina Thomas Patterson, Assistant Marine Manager, Western Division with Roanoke Trade in Long Beach, CA and is an approved Lloyd’s coverholder and presently holds underwriting authority for the Watkins Syndicate. Roanoke Trade is a subsidiary of Munich Re and an affiliate of Watkins Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London.

Gina is the current President of the South Bay Association of Insurance Professionals (a DBA of the South Bay Chapter of NAIW) and has held that position since July 1, 2011. She is also South Bay’s Education Director with the State of California Department of Insurance, and fulfills the duties of Education and Awards Co-Chairs. Patterson has served in various capacities including president-elect, vice president, webmistress, education co-chair and communications chair for the association. In 2009, she was instrumental in developing SBAIP’s Mentors & Protégés program which has been adapted for use for the CA Council of IAIP, Region VIII of IAIP as well as at the international level, and was instrumental in developing South Bay’s first-ever website and implementing the association’s electronic storage and communications. She has served on the public relations team with the California Council of IAIP since 2008 in various capacities, served as instructor at IAIP’s 2011 international annual convention held in Las Vegas, and has served on the International Education Task Force since 2012.

Patterson joined Roanoke Trade in 2002 and is a licensed insurance broker with the State of California. She has earned the professional industry designations of Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) with The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research; the Certified Professional Insurance Woman (CPIW) as well as the Diversified Advanced Education designations with the International Association of Insurance Professionals, and is currently working on the Certified Leadership Professional (CLP) designation with IAIP as well as the CISR Elite designation with The National Alliance.

Prior to joining Roanoke Trade, Patterson founded and developed a successful word processing firm, Unlimited Concepts. An award-winning ceramist and former member of the Lakewood Artist Guild, she served on LAG’s board of directors for 15 years as newsletter editor, student art show chairman, vice president-crafts, and president from 2003 through 2007. As student art show chairman for LAG, she worked closely with Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Don Knabe’s Art and Education grant program.

Gina has served on the WIT-LA Board since 2012


Membership Chair

Sarita Jackson

Global Research Institute of International Trade
T: (310) 912-7950
E: sarita@griit.org

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Sarita D. Jackson, Ph.D. is the founder, president and CEO of the Global Research Institute of International Trade (GRIIT), a think-tank/consulting firm focused on international trade.

Prior to founding GRIIT, Dr. Jackson was a tenured associate professor of political science at North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T). She designed and taught advanced-level courses related to international trade such as “The Politics of Free Trade” and “Latin American and Caribbean Political Economy”. Her efforts to expand the political science curriculum for the benefit of the students earned her the Junior Faculty Teaching Award in 2010.

In 2010, she received the Fulbright Scholar/Lecture Award to the Dominican Republic to teach a seminar on free trade negotiations, conduct research on the US-Dominican Republic free trade negotiations, and share her research with business owners, industry representatives, students and government officials.

Her studies on bilateral free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization have been published in a number of top peer-reviewed academic journals both nationally and internationally.

Furthermore, Dr. Jackson worked as a trade policy consultant on projects funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Some projects included advising governments and small business associations on boosting their trade competitiveness and taking advantage of trade agreements throughout the Eastern Caribbean and Southern African regions.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish at the University of Southern California and a Master’s and Doctorate in political science at Brown University.


Sponsorship Chair

Arash Raminfar

ClearPoint International
T: (323) 780-3635 x 109
E: araminfar@clearpointint.com

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Arash Raminfar is the owner of Clearpoint International, a full service Customs broker, and the President of Clearpoint Intermodal, a full service drayage –trucking company servicing local FCL and trailer moves within Southern California.

During the past decade, Mr. Raminfar has served in numerous capacities for consulting firms, express consignment carriers, importers, and the government. Prior to establishing ClearPoint International, Arash Raminfar was a Supervising Senior Tax Specialist, for the KPMG Peat Marwick’s Trade & Customs Practice, a Big Four Accounting Firm providing import compliance consulting services to the firm’s clients, based in KPMG’s Los Angeles office. While at KPMG, Mr. Raminfar advised U.S. Fortune 500 and multinational companies on a host of customs-related issues.

Before joining KPMG, Mr. Raminfar was the Senior Customs Compliance Administrator for DHL Airway’s in-house customs brokerage department. Previously, he has worked for the US Customs Service, in the Fines, Penalties & Forfeiture Office. He has also served as the Customs Administrator for Warner Bros. Studio Stores, a consumer products retailer having over 150 stores nationwide. Mr. Raminfar has also worked as the Customs Manager for Shason, Inc., a textile piece goods importer.

Mr Raminfar excels in the field of duty drawback. He has successfully managed two Compliance Assessments conducted by US Customs Regulatory Audit while at Warner Bros. Studio Stores and Shason, Inc.

Mr. Raminfar is a Licensed Customs Broker. He was a member of Omnicron Delta Epsilon; Economics Honor Society during the period he earned his B.A. in Economics from the University of Southern California.


Outreach Chair

Kourosh Hangafarin

USGTG, Inc.
T: (310) 538-4000
E: kourosh@usgtg.com

View Bio

A Persian native and businessman, Kourosh Hangafarin is a powerful force of influence. He is experienced and successful in the economic, political, and social scenes. As an energetic operations and public affairs professional, Mr. Hangafarin has amassed over 25 years of knowledge and skill in private enterprise and political organizations, resulting in increased profits, advanced technologies, and improved efficiency for them under his leadership. Kourosh is effective in research, market analysis, and strategic planning for business development, and holds many valuable business relationships pertinent to the advancement and growth of all his client companies.

Mr. Hangafarin serves on several prestigious Board and Commissions

  • Board of Director, California Chamber of Commerce(CalChamber)
  • South Bay Workforce Investment Board of Directors
  • Commissioner, Economic Development Commission, City of Carson
  • Member of the Executive Board of Directors, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation ( LAEDC )
  • Member of Board of Directors Women in International Trade
  • Member of Carson Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
  • Advisory Board, California State University Dominguez Hills, School of Business & Public Policy
  • Los Angeles Harbor College, Business Advisory Board Member
  • Member of Board of Directors, New Majority Los Angeles
  • Member of the Board of Managers, Carson-Gardena YMCA
  • Member of Carson Chamber of Commerce Legislation Action Committee
  • Member of California Chamber of Commerce, Council for International Trade
  • Member of California Coalition for Free Trade
  • Members of the Regulations Action Team, California Economic Summit


Program Co-Chair

Carrie Chen
PricewaterHouseCoopers
T: (213) 356-6517
E: carrie.x.chen@us.pwc.com

View Bio

Carrie is a licensed customs broker and a senior associate with PwC’s Customs & International Trade practice. Carrie has years of experience in implementing global compliance programs, conducting import audit, performing supply chain security assessment, and analyzing preferential free trade agreements. She has assisted numerous clients in completing ACS Reconciliation submissions, implemented First Sale for Export duty savings program, obtained refund under the duty drawback programs and analyze the customs pricing between related parties. Her other experiences include working on a number of engagements identifying cost savings opportunities, increasing customs operational efficiencies and reducing internal control and compliance risks for clients. She has also worked on projects for a broad range of industries including automotive, pharmaceutical, retail manufacturing, electronic sectors and many more.


Program Co-Chair

Denise Walker

Navigant Consulting
T: (213) 670-3257
E: dwalker@navigant.com

Program Co-Chair
Christina Hernandez
FCL Logistics

Chair of the Board
Bruce Leeds
Braumiller Law Group PLLC
T: 310-662-1723
E: bruce@braumillerlaw.com

View Bio

Mr. Leeds is an attorney at law and of counsel to Braumiller Schulz LLP, a Dallas-based law firm. He works from Los Angeles and concentrates on export and import compliance matters.

Prior to Dec. 1, 2009, Mr. Leeds was a Senior Export/Import Advisor in the corporate Global Trade Controls organization of The Boeing Company. His primary assignments included training, bonds and powers of attorney, Customs disclosures and enforcement issues, and handling export, import and Customs related regulatory and legislative matters. Mr. Leeds assisted with implementation of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), ACE Portal and Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) programs within Boeing. He also provided technical assistance on US and non-US export and import compliance and supply chain security issues.

During his career in industry Mr. Leeds held export and import compliance positions at Hughes Aircraft Company, Hughes Space and Communications Company, and Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc. He started his career with U.S. Customs in Los Angeles, holding Import Specialist and Team Leader positions at LA/Long Beach Harbor and LAX. Mr. Leeds is a US Army veteran.

Mr. Leeds holds a B.A. from California State University Los Angeles and a J.D (Cum Laude) from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. He is a member of the California State Bar Association, holds a Customs Broker license and a Certified Customs Specialist designation. He has taught customs broker courses and other classes for the Foreign Trade Association for 28 years.

His experience and appointed positions include Past President of the Export Managers Association of California and Foreign Trade Association of Southern California; Former Chair of the Departmental Advisory Committee on the Commercial Operations of US Customs & Border Protection (COAC); Member of the Private Sector Consultative Group to the World Customs Organization; Member of the Board of Governors of the American Association of Exporters & Importers; and General Counsel to Women in International Trade – Los Angeles


OWIT Representative

Lilia Navarrete
LKN Global Enterprises, Inc.
T: (626) 345-8919
E: lilianavarrete@lknglobal.com

View Bio

Lilia Navarrete, is the founder and President of LKN Global Enterprises, Inc, whose vision is dedicated to empowering LKN Global’s clients to create a future of sustainable success and exponential growth by addressing their challenges and assisting them in securing a successful position within the global marketplace.

Ms. Navarrete built the company from the ground up as a business-to-business consulting firm assisting companies of all sizes succeed in penetrating and expanding into global markets. LKN Global’s strategic consulting services are designed to take projects through the entire business pipeline and all its commercialization phases. Lilia Navarrete draws on more than 20 years of experience identifying leading trends in the global marketplace and their impact on business to help companies use innovative ideas to enter new markets.

During her career, Ms. Navarrete’s catalytic leadership style has enabled her to contribute to the growth of several organizations involved in international business and trade. In addition to background in international transportation in the U.S. and abroad, her expertise in cross-cultural communication, in media advertising and on-site studies worldwide has also contributed to her understanding of the global consumer. She practices high ethical standards both personally and professionally. Her integrity is solid and demonstrates commitment to ethical values in all of her work.

Ms. Navarrete is a world class dynamic speaker. Her recent speaking engagements have been throughout the Americas in Peru, Chile, Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, including the APEC Ministerial summit in Peru on the topic of Globalization and Capacity Building across Organizations as well as at the Global Women’s Summit in Chile on the topic of Global Business Ethics. Ms. Navarrete speaks on a variety of internationally related topics including: multi-cultural issues; international affairs, sustainability, capacity building; marketing internationally, doing business in California and the U.S.; doing business with Mexicans, Americans, Canadians, capacity building across women’s organizations; business ethics in a technological world.

Recognizing the importance of offering corporate training programs, Ms. Navarrete established the LKN Global Executive Institute, as a division of LKN Global Enterprises, Inc., with over twenty-five years imparting seminars and corporate training in Spanish and English for cross-cultural participants. As an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business & Management in Malibu, California, she has imparted business classes in Spanish to MBA students preparing them to work in Latin America and Spain. Ms. Navarrete also taught the Global Management Graduate Program at the University of Phoenix, Southern California Campus.

Lilia Navarrete has served on various Board’s and International Committees. Ms. Navarrete’s contributions are highly respected within the international trade community worldwide. She currently serves as President of WIT-LA (Women in International Trade—Los Angeles) and has served on the WIT-LA board for over ten years.

Ms. Navarrete recently served as Chairman of the Board for the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) and previously served two terms as President and CEO and one term as Executive Vice President. OWIT is a network of members with more than twenty five chapters around the world and is the only global business association dedicated to helping women and men excel in international trade. As well, she is currently on the board of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) as Vice President. TIAW is an umbrella organization for over 35 organizations worldwide that provides mentorship and networking initiatives to advance economic opportunities to women around the world.

Lilia Navarrete has served on the World Trade Week Committee of Los Angeles for several years and she has been invited to continue to serve on the World Trade Week Committee of Los Angeles in 2013. Realizing the importance of minimizing poverty and increasing education to women and girls in the most underprivileged regions of the world, Ms. Navarrete avidly supports and is on the leadership team in Los Angeles for Room to Read, a non-profit organization that believes in providing the opportunity of education to all children.

Ms. Navarrete is also a member and active supporter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and a member of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Navarrete holds an international MBA in Finance and Marketing from Loyola Marymount University together with an undergraduate degree in International Business Management and Economics from CS University Los Angeles. Studies in Multi-Media validate her passion for e-commerce and virtual trade. She has lived and worked in Latin America for more than ten years. Ms. Navarrete currently resides in Pasadena, California.

Lilia has served on the WIT-LA Board since 2001