Board of Directors
Every member of our team contributes to the Institute’s mission to improve the economic and social well-being of the people of the Americas.
IOA board members Malin Burnham, Siobhan MacDermott, Maria Sendra, Nelly Molina with U.S. Consul General Sue Saarnio (Center) and IOA President & CEO, Richard Kiy (far left).
Juan Martín BulgheroniBuenos Aires, Argentina Juan Martín Bulgheroni is currently the VP Upstream Strategy Planning for Argentina at Pan American Energy. Since 2012, he has also held other VP positions. Between 2003 and 2011, he has worked at Beusa Energy LLC, an EP company based in Houston where he developed Tight and Shale gas plays as Resource Development Manager; from 2008 on, he was the company’s Chief Financial Officer. During 1998 and 2000, he held positions in Partner Relations, Merger and Acquisitions at DLSArgentina Limited an Oil Gas drilling and well services Company. He is a member and past Director of IAPGH, Argentine Oil and Gas Institute of Houston and of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Member. Juan Martín is Board Member of Institute of America and he became a founding Board member of STEAM Sin Fronteras. He graduated as Bachelor of Science and obtained a degree in Petroleum Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. Also obtained an MBA at Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, USA.
San Diego, California, USA
Malin was born, raised and has lived in San Diego his entire life. He graduated from Point Loma High School, then received his B.S. Degree from Stanford in Industrial Engineering in 1949. He joined his father’s Real Estate Brokerage firm as employee number fourteen. Upon his father’s retirement in 1961, Malin purchased the business and lead it until he sold it to his managers in 1986.
During his ownership, the firm grew to over 350 personnel, including a Real Estate Investment Trust on the New York Stock Exchange and a Real Estate Partnership on the American Stock Exchange. After pivoting full-time into the Non-Profit world, his principle endeavors have included leadership roles with the U.S.S. Midway Museum, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute, Sanford Consortium for Stem Cell Research and Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at USD. Just last year, he established the Burnham Center for Community Advancement to be headquartered in UCSD’s ‘new downtown San Diego center. He has been active in several different sports, but most notably in the international sailing community. His victories include nine International Championships and returning the America’s Cup from Perth, Australia to San Diego in 1987.
Washington, D.C., USA
Co-Chair Nominations & Governance Committee, Institute of the Americas
Javade Chaudhri is a Washington-based international transactional lawyer, who has worldwide experience in helping private and public-sector companies transact business and undertake projects in a range of industry sectors and geographies. He advises companies and state-owned enterprises on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions and strategic alliances. He also advises companies with corporate governance, ethics, compliance, and internal investigations. He also handles complex international litigation and arbitration under the rules of many major arbitral institutions.
Javade is a member of the law firm of Jones Day, where he has served as the head of the Jones Day’s Middle East and Africa Practice. Javade rejoined Jones Day in 2013 after serving for 10 years as the general counsel, chief compliance officer, and chief environmental officer for Sempra Energy, a Fortune 250 company with gas and electric utilities in the United States, Mexico, and South America as well as fossil-fuel and renewable energy power plants, natural gas, and LNG businesses and a worldwide commodities and energy trading business. Prior to joining Sempra, Javade was the general counsel and corporate secretary of Gateway, a $10 billion global technology company, where he also managed the contracts department and compliance activities.
Javade has structured and negotiated infrastructure, manufacturing, technology, education, and healthcare transactions in many parts of the world on behalf of major multinational companies and state-owned enterprises. He regularly advises companies on regulatory and compliance matters, including governance and ethics investigations. He also advises governments, development agencies, and nongovernmental organizations on transactions, public-private partnerships and investor-state arbitration. He has been involved in numerous major international arbitrations conducted under the rules of the major arbitral organizations, such as ICSID, ICC, AAA, and the LCIA. He serves on a number of nonprofit boards working on education, development, and the rule of law, including the University of California’s Global Policy Strategy School, the Institute of the Americas, the Yale International Alliance, the US-Asia Institute, the San Diego Zoo Global, The Rumie Initiative, and Rule of Law for Development Program, Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Javade serves as a faculty member at the Loyola School of Law and the International Law Institute’s South Africa Centre for Legal Excellence. Javade received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Environmental Science degree from Yale University and a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University. He has received numerous awards from various legal organizations, including the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award and the National Asian Pacific American Association’s Trailblazer award.
Nelson W. Cunningham
Washington, D.C., USA
Co-Chair Nominations & Governance Committee, Institute of the Americas
Under Mr. Cunningham’s leadership, McLarty Associates has developed into a firm with global reach and over one hundred employees and advisors in 21 countries around the world. Mr. Cunningham is responsible for guiding our service to clients and is a skilled strategist on national and international policy issues. He travels extensively on firm business, helping ensure that we bring to our clients the broadest range of regional expertise and transnational perspectives.
Prior to co-founding McLarty Associates in 1998, Mr. Cunningham served in the White House as Special Advisor to President Clinton on Western Hemisphere affairs and as General Counsel at the White House Office of Administration. He previously served as General Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman Joseph R. Biden. Before moving to Washington, Mr. Cunningham served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1988 until 1994, having been hired by Rudolph Giuliani, and in 1984 he was a staffer on the successful Senate campaign of John Kerry. Mr. Cunningham is active on foreign policy and political matters and frequently speaks to audiences in the United States and abroad. He is a frequent commentator on legal and political issues, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, Fox, NPR and other news programs, and he has written for The Washington Post, POLITICO, and The Wall Street Journal, among many others. He is a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, a past member of the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, and past Chairman of the Export-Import Bank Advisory Committee.
He served as a volunteer advisor to the Biden For President campaign, and was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team and a foreign policy and trade advisor to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, as well as to several other Senate and political campaigns. Additionally, Mr. Cunningham serves as Acting Chair of the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU). He is a member of the boards of Yale-NUS College in Singapore, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the American Security Project, the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, and the Institute of the Americas. He is a member of the Yale President’s Council on International Activities, the Council of the Americas, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also on the national leadership council of the News Literacy Project. A lawyer by training, Mr. Cunningham is a member of the DC, New York, and Massachusetts bars. Mr. Cunningham is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale College and Stanford Law School, where he served as an editor of the Stanford Law Review. He was raised in Latin America and has lived in seven different countries throughout the region. Mr. Cunningham speaks Spanish fluently and French passably.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
He is the President-Founder of ESTRELLA, a business group formed by: Ingeniería ESTRELLA, contractor of civil works and roads; Acero ESTRELLA, market leader in metal constructions, and Consorcio Minero Dominicano, owner of Cemento brands PANAM and ConcreDom, which offer cement and high strength concrete.nnGraduated Magna Cum Laude in Civil Engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in 1983, from the Master in Business Administration in 1995 and Master in Corporate Finance in 2003.nnAs an entrepreneur he has diversified his business acquiring important participation in Multimedios del Caribe, the company that owns the newspaper El Caribe and the CDN radio and television stations, at the Metropolitan Hospital of Santiago, at the Cibao International Airport, at Ferretería Ochoa and at AES Dominicana , provider of energy solutions. Currently, he chairs the Dominican Domínico Americano Cultural Center and also the board of Cibao Fútbol Club, a team that represents Santiago in the Dominican Football League.nnFor ten years he was a professor in the structural area of the Department of Civil Engineering of the Pontifical Catholic University Mother and Teacher, institution of which today is a member of the Board of Directors.nnHe has been a member of the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic, the National Council of Private Enterprise, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Institutionality and Justice Foundation, EDUCA and the Association. de Comerciantes e Industriales de Santiago, of which he was president for three consecutive terms. For his leadership as a professional and entrepreneur he has received distinctions from renowned entities.
José Fimbres Mendoza
Ysidro, CA , USA
Mr. José B. Fimbres, is a member of the Board of Grupo Calimax S.A. de C.V. and also Member of the Executive Committee of Grupo Calimax. A privately held corporation that operates supermarkets. With more than 120 points of sale in Northwest México. Grupo Calimax also celebrates a joint venture agreement with Smart Final Stores, a U.S. based retailer. Mr. Fimbres also owns and operates Sojo Construction, a commercial and industrial real state development firm. Focused primarily on the development of grocery anchored retail shopping centers and Industrial Buildings to support the growth in the manufacturing industry.
Mr. Fimbres was born in Tijuana, B.C., México and was educated most of his life in the United States. He hold a B.A. in International Affairs from Holy Names College in Oakland, California. He has participated in many higher education programs, like “Leading The Family Business Program” at International Institute of Management Development School in Lausanne, Switzerland. Mr. Fimbres, believes strongly in his native country, and he has been instilled from a young age, that along with economic responsibility there is a social responsibility. With this in mind, he continues his economic support of CETYS University, a WASC certified University in Tijuana, which has founded by his late father Jose Fimbres M.
He strongly believes in the Cali-Baja region, its economic, social and cultural potential is without a doubt the most dynamic in the world, this is why he participates with the Smart Border Coalition, a Coalition made up of business men from both the San Diego, CA and Tijuana, B.C. region, specializing on border issues. Mr. Fimbres lives in Tijuana, B.C., México with his wife Sandra and three boys José, Diego and Alex Fimbres.
Dean of the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy, Caroline Freund is an expert in international trade and economic development.
Prior to joining GPS, she served as global director of Trade, Investment and Competitiveness at the World Bank. Freund also served as a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In addition, she has worked as chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank, after working for nearly a decade in the international trade unit of the research department. Freund began her career in the international finance division of the Federal Reserve Board and spent a year visiting the research department of the IMF.
The author of “Rich People Poor Countries: The Rise of Emerging Market Tycoons and their Mega Firms,” Freund was co-director of the World Bank’s flagship World Development Report 2020 on Global Value Chains. She has also published many articles on the effects of regional trade agreements and edited a volume on “The WTO and Reciprocal Preferential Trading Agreements.” Her work has appeared in academic journals, including: American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of International Economics and Journal of Development Economics.
Freund was also a member of the EXIM Bank advisory committee from 2014-16, and the scientific committees of CEPII (Institute for Research of the International Economy, Paris) and the Economic Research Forum (Cairo). She is a member of the Centre for Economic Policy Research and on the editorial board of the Economics and Politics journal.
Education and CV
Ph.D., Economics (with Distinction), Columbia University, 1997
B.A., Mathematics and Economics (with Honours), Bowdoin College, 1988
Caroline Freund Appointed Dean of UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy
March 29, 2021 | The leader at the World Bank is poised to take the helm of one of the world’s top professional schools in international relations and public policy.
Theodore Gildred III
Solana Beach, California, USA
Theodore E. Gildred III was appointed by the Institute’s Board of Directors to be Institute President in 2018 serving until 2020 when the current President & CEO Richard Kiy was hired. Mr. Gildred, a long-time Board Member of the Institute is also the President and CEO of The Lomas Santa Fe Group, a commercial real estate development company based in San Diego, CA and a Founding Partner of BV Resorts, LLC, a luxury hotel and residential development company with projects in Mexico and the Marshall Islands.
Mr. Gildred has worked in the commercial real estate development industry for over 25 years. Prior to joining the Lomas Santa Fe Group, Mr. Gildred worked at Morgan Stanley in New York and London as a member of the Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (MSREF) where he worked on commercial real estate transactions in Latin America and Europe. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Mr. Gildred was an Associate at ING Barings working in the Latin American Corporate Finance Group.
Mr. Gildred is also a partner at North of Now, a film production company based in Los Angeles, CA.Mr. Gildred has lived, studied and worked in the U.S., Europe and Latin America and holds a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from Columbia University. Mr. Gildred served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and was based in Okinawa, Japan for 3 years. In addition to being a member of the Institute’s Board, he has served on the San Diego Aerospace Museum’s Board and is a member of Young President’s Organization (YPO). Mr. Gildred is conversant in Spanish, French and English as well as Italian, Portuguese and some Japanese.
Rolando González Bunster
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Rolando founded the business in 1988 and has over 40 years of experience in project management and business development. He began his career at Gulf & Western Industries where he started out as a special assistant to chairman and founder Charles Bluhdorn, eventually becoming its youngest corporate Vice President and Head of International Operations. After Gulf & Western, Rolando went on to establish his own companies to acquire and operate assets in the region.
Rolando, Georgetown University College Class 1968, serves on many of his alma mater’s boards. He was Chair of the International Initiatives Board and is currently a trustee on the Board of Advisers of the Georgetown College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Latin American Board.
He is a Director and Trustee of the William, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. He is also a member of the Energy Committee of the Clinton Global Initiative, focusing on the development of clean and renewable energy. Rolando is proud to be a founding member of the Walkabout Foundation which has distributed 21,000 wheelchairs to date.
Richard C. Hojel
México D.F., México
Richard Hojel has been with Corporacion Frigus Therme since 1993 and in 1996 became its President and CEO. Corporacion is a group of companies based in Mexico, including the following business units: a manufacturing process equipment company that services the petroleum and petrochemical industry (Zeeco-Therme), a commercial refrigeration equipment company (Frigus-Bohn) and a business that rents capacity to transport and market natural gas (Igasamex). He is President and CEO of Algas Industries (a US company), a designer and manufacturer of liquid vaporizers and gas mixing solutions.
Richard began his career at Andersen Consulting and has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and a MBA from Harvard Business School. He has been a member of YPO since 1995. As a Partner of HM International, Richard works closely with and serves on the Board of Directors of Quality Sausage Company and American Innovations. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Algas-SDI, Frigus Bohn de Mexico, and Igasamex. Additionally, he participates as a Board Member of Corporación Zapata and Monte Xanic. Richard also serves as a board observer on the Essentium Board.
La Jolla, California, USA
Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla is an internationally renowned electrical and computer engineer recognized for his seminal contributions in secure software, intelligent robot systems, and design. As UC San Diego’s chief executive officer, Khosla provides vision and strategy, leading a campus of more than 40,000 students within seven undergraduate colleges and 12 academic divisions and graduate schools; a preeminent health system; and the prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Khosla has positioned UC San Diego to define the future of the public research university by activating the institution’s first-ever Strategic Plan and launching the Campaign for UC San Diego, an ambitious 10-year, $2 billion endeavor aimed at transforming the university physically, intellectually and culturally. $2.4 billion has been raised in eight years. The campus is currently undergoing a $2 billion-construction boom to expand classroom and research space and double the number of on-campus housing units. Under Chancellor Khosla’s leadership, UC San Diego has expanded college access and affordability for underserved students, initiated campus-wide interdisciplinary research initiatives to foster collaboration and solve societal challenges, created bench-to-bedside patient care, and strengthened research and community partnerships to drive regional impact.
New York, NY, USA
Siobhan MacDermott is Partner at Independence Point Advisors, where she advises CEOs and Boards on the nexus of global public policy, risk, cybersecurity and geostrategy.
She was previously Global Managing Partner at Tata Consultancy Services. Before that, she served as vice chairman in Global Corporate & Investment Banking at Bank of America as well as head of the Global Cyber Public Policy team, responsible for Bank of America’s participation in programs dedicated to improving cyber resiliency of the global financial system including thought leadership, engagement, geostrategic risk analysis and contingency planning.
Siobhan joined Bank of America in July 2016 after leading the Cyber Economics Practice at EY (Ernst & Young), and consulting to Fortune 500 boards on geopolitics and cybersecurity. Prior to EY, she was Chief Investment Officer for AVG Technologies in the Czech Republic, London and Netherlands and spent over 20 years working in Silicon Valley, running several IPOs and M&A deals. Siobhan helped direct strategy for a number of financial services and technology companies across the globe. In addition, she’s an accomplished author, having just published her sixth book. She has a degree in German Language and Literature from Temple University, an MBA from Thunderbird and a Masters Degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She speaks five languages and has worked in eight countries.
Current Board Seats/Appointments:
Board Member, Institute of the Americas, La Jolla CA
Vice Chair, Fund for Peace, Washington DC
Associate Fellow, Global Fellowship Initiative, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Geneva Switzerland
Board Member, Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World, Tufts University, Boston MA
Member, Advisory Council, Global Master of Arts Program, Fletcher school of Law and Diplomacy, Boston MA
Fellow, 2018 class, Finance Leaders Fellowship, Aspen CO
Member, Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN), Aspen CO
José Luis Manzano
Buenos Aires, Argentina
José Luis Manzano is an Argentine businessman with a deep understanding of Latin American public policy and global emerging markets. He possesses significant experience in the investment, media, energy and distress industries. He speaks frequently across the world on these issues. He founded the international firm Integra Capital, a private equity and merchant banking firm and together with his family, they are relevant shareholders of Phoenix Global Resources, a company engaged in the exploration and production of oil and gas with activity in Argentina. PGR is listed in the London Stock Exchange, AIM Market, and the Stock Exchange of Buenos Aires, produces 10.000 barrels of oil per day and has more than 60 million barrels of proven reserves and 300 million barrels of unconventional resources. Dr Manzano is also a relevant investor in Interoil, an exploration and production company listed in the Oslo stock exchange that produces 3600bopd in Colombia.
Dr. Manzano is the major shareholder of Integra Oil & Gas, an oil production company that produces 4000 bopd in Venezuela. He is also a major shareholder in Integra Gas Distribution in partnership with Mercuria Energy Trading. Integra Gas Distribution is a significant shareholder of Metrogas, the gas distribution company of Buenos Aires serving more than 10 million people. He is also a relevant shareholder of Edemsa, the distribution electricity company of the province of Mendoza, HIDROELECTRICA AMEGHINO, a hidroplant producing 60 megas.
Dr. Manzano is the co-controling shareholder of Stoneway 500 megas electricity generation company in partnership with Grammercy. Dr. Manzano and his family own Gualtallary Wines, a winery producer of premium wines in Argentina, under the brands Altus and Gualtallary. In mining, Integra has invested extensively in uranium exploration in the province of Chubut in Argentina and in lithium in Jujuy and Catamarca, at the lithium triangle where it is developing over 400.000 has. Integra is also an investor in copper exploration in San Juan in the José María Project.
He has developed activities with the climate change organization of Novel Awards Al Gore and the Clinton Global Initiative. He is also active with the UK Argentinean Chamber of Commerce and the Cámara de Comercio Argentino Norteamericana. He is a sponsor of the Chinese House of Culture in Buenos Aires. He was a member of the B20, the business group in support of the G20 Argentine presidency. Dr Manzano is a regular participant of the activities of the Council of The Americas and the Americas Society. Since 2019, he is also the Chairman of the European Chapter of the Eisenhower Fellowships. Dr Manzano is a member of the Institute of the Americas’ Energy Steering Committee, and a board member of the Institute’s Board of Directors.
San Diego, CA, USA
Nelly Molina is vice president of investor relations for Sempra Energy. In this role, Molina is responsible for communicating with the investment community about Sempra Energy’s disciplined focus on delivering long-term sustainable value. Previously, Molina served as chief financial officer for Infraestructura Energética Nova (IEnova), managing the company’s corporate finances, business planning, financial reporting, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, risk management, and information technology, among other areas. Prior to that, she served as vice president of finance for IEnova. Since 2013, Molina has led and completed a range of financing initiatives for IEnova, totaling $10.1 billion, including the company’s initial public offering. Before joining IEnova in 2010, she spent 13 years working in the energy industry at Kinder Morgan and El Paso Corporation in Mexico.
In 2020, Molina was recognized by Institutional Investor Magazine as the best overall chief financial officer among Latin America energy companies in the publication’s list of “Latin America’s Most Resilient Executives and Companies.” Molina is currently the chairman of the Issuers Committee of the Mexican Stock Exchange and vice president of the International Chamber of Commerce Mexico. She also is a board member and founding investor of NatGas Querétaro, a company developing compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Mexico. Molina holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Universidad de Sonora and a master’s degree in finance from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.
Houston, Texas, USA
Robert C. (Clay) Neff, Jr., is president of Chevron Middle East, Africa, South America Exploration and Production Company, based in Houston, Texas, a position he assumed July 1, 2020. He is responsible for Chevron’s oil and gas exploration and production activities in the region.
Previously, Neff was president, Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company (CALAEP), responsible for Chevron’s oil and gas exploration and production activities in Africa and Latin America and managing director of Chevron’s Nigeria/Mid-Africa business unit, where he oversaw the company’s oil and gas exploration and production activities in the area. While in Nigeria, Neff served as chairman of the Oil Producers Trade Section of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and was chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta.
From 2009 to 2014, Neff was part of Chevron’s Southern Africa strategic business unit, initially as Production Operations manager, where he oversaw the company’s shallow and deepwater operations, and later as Asset Development general manager, where he was responsible for exploration, development and new ventures activities in Angola, Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Prior positions include general manager of Operations for the Gulf of Mexico business unit; general manager of Asset Development for the San Joaquin Valley business unit; and manager of Chevron’s North American Midstream business.
Neff serves on the boards of the Houston Zoo, the Council of the Americas and the Corporate Council on Africa, among others. He is also a member of the University of Houston Energy Advisory Board and the Louisiana State University, College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council.
Neff joined Chevron in 1985 as a drilling engineer for the Gulf of Mexico business unit in Lafayette, Louisiana, after earning a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Louisiana State University.
Aventura, FL, USA
After working for decades as an executive leader in private industry and government, Mr. Jorge Rosenblut now works as an independent consultant to help clients incubate growth, encourage evolution from legacy practice, and transform business models to manage disruption and re-emerge in their industries. From 2000 to 2015, Mr. Rosenblut acted as president and held Chairman of the Board roles within Enel Group (Endesa Spain), a global energy leader.
One of his key accomplishments was helping to direct the $16 billion split of Enersis into two separate entities –Enersis America and Enersis Chile, the largest corporate split ever executed in Latin America. Prior to joining the ranks of corporate executives, Mr. Rosenblut held leadership roles in the Chilean government in the 1990s. He received his master’s degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School in 1985, and that year joined the World Bank in Washington, DC. Mr. Rosenblut has been a Member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of the Americas since 2014 and since November 2018 is serving as the Chairman of the Board. He is based in Miami, Florida, and is the proud parent of a daughter working in Miami and a son who is now exploring his early roots in Chile
East Palo Alto, CA, USA
Maria Sendra is CEO/CIO of the Making Waves Private Equity Fund. Maria has had a distinguished career in global corporate finance law that spans over 20 years formally with Greenberg Traurig.
Maria is a globally recognized thought leader for emerging and disruptive technologies with experience in the areas of blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning development over the course of her corporate legal career.
In 2018, while still a Partner/Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, Ms. Sendra’s role shifted from Outside General Counsel to Strategic Executive and Board Advisor when she founded Silicon Valley Global Scaling, a transformational technology consultancy. As the company’s CEO, she supports former and current founders, c-suites, and federal governmental transactional leaders of multi-sector projects ranging from multibillion- dollar Stem Cell Regeneration Medicine to Mobile Communications and Real Estate. In 2021, she also launched Sunshine Innovation Fund, where she serves as the CEO and CIO. Ms. Sendra has a background in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from her studies at Yale University, where she ran a research lab. She has also worked as a filmmaker at Harvard University. She also holds a Master of Arts with distinction from Indiana University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California Berkeley School of Law, earning the Award for Excellence in Written Advocacy.
Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon Jr.
Washington, D.C. USA
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. brings more than three decades of government service and diplomatic experience to his practice, providing strategic counsel to clients across a range of legislative, foreign policy, and national security issues.
Most recently, Ambassador Shannon served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the third highest ranking position at the State Department. Holding the personal rank of Career Ambassador, he was the highest-ranking member of the United States Foreign Service, the country’s professional diplomatic corps.
During his tenure as Under Secretary, Ambassador Shannon was in charge of bilateral and multilateral foreign policymaking and implementation and oversaw diplomatic activity globally and in our missions to international organizations.
He managed the State Department during the presidential transition, led bilateral and strategic stability talks with the Russian Federation, worked with our allies to oversee Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and expanded US engagement in Central Asia, among other things.
Prior to that appointment, he served as Counselor of the Department, where he acted as a troubleshooter and roving envoy for Secretary of State John Kerry. In that capacity, he focused on Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and led US support for the UN-sponsored peace processes in Yemen and South Sudan. Ambassador Shannon spent nearly 35 years in the Foreign Service and has served 6 US presidents and 11 secretaries of state.
Prior to his 2016 appointment by President Obama as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador Shannon was the United States Ambassador to Brazil. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Shannon served as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2005-2009. He served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council (2003-2005), Deputy Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Department of State (2002-2003), and Director of Andean Affairs (2001-2002).
From 2000-2001, he was US Deputy Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador. During his career, Ambassador Shannon served in the US Foreign Service at embassies in Guatemala, Brazil, South Africa, and Venezuela
Santiago T. Soldati
Date and Place of Birth: February 11. 1943 – Buenos Aires
Degree: Doctor in Economics, Fribourg University – Switzerland
Junior Achievement Argentina
AEA (Argentine Business Association)
CEAL (Latin American Business Council)
Academia Argentina de Ciencias de la Empresa
Chevalier Legion D’Honneur, France
Comendador Orden Rio Branco, Brasil
Comendador Orden de San Carlos, Colombia.
Comendador Orden de Bernardo O’Higgins, Chile
Isabel la Católica, España
Chairman and CEO of Ron Santa Teresa – founded in 1796 – producer of Venezuela´s oldest rum brand. He is the founder of Project Alcatraz, a rehabilitation program for criminal gangs in the County of Revenga in the state of Aragua, which has succeeded in dismantling eleven notorious gangs, dramatically reducing the incidence of violent crime. This initiative has become a benchmark for similar organizations in Colombia and El Salvador. Vollmer took part in the Police Reform Commission in Venezuela in 2006-2007 and has also played a role in various negotiations aimed at promoting the country’s exports and a more open economy. Since May 2017 he has chaired CONAPRI – the privately steered national investment promotion agency – members of which include most multinational and key national corporations.
Mr. Vollmer is Honorary Consul for South Korea in Venezuela since 2017, he sits on the boards of the Institute of the Americas in San Diego California, Domegas – natural gas distribution company, among others. Mr. Vollmer is also a fellow at Ashoka, a fellow YGL of the World Economic Forum, he’s a member of the Inter-American Dialogue and has been a member of YPO since 2007.
In 2013 he was awarded Best of Best worldwide for risk taking – “Paths to Freedom”. Vollmer is a Civil Engineer and has received executive training at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Chicago Booth School of Business, IMD, the Kellogg School of Management, IESA and the THNK School for Creative Design.
Ron Santa Teresa is the leading rum producer in Venezuela, with a heritage of 225 years with the purpose of being a tool for social transformation and a source of inspiration. Its products, manufactured at the Hacienda Santa Teresa, can be found in over 80 countries.
La Jolla, California, USA
Chair, Audit Committee, Institute of the Americas
Mary Walshok is a thought leader and subject-matter expert on aligning workforce development with regional economic growth. She has authored more than 100 articles, reports, and book chapters on regional innovation, workforce development and the role of research institutions in regional economies. As an industrial social scientist focused on the dynamics of regional economic development and transformation, Walshok has studied various communities across America. She has evaluated 13 WIRED regions funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, studied three innovative regions for a National Science Foundation-funded project and assessed one region’s efforts to grow an industry for a Lilly Foundation-funded endeavor.
As head of the continuing education and public programs arm of UC San Diego since 1981, Walshok oversees programs that educate more than 120,000 enrollees annually, which translates to more than 30,000 students in over 4,400 courses. Walshok has developed outreach efforts to help accelerate the San Diego region’s economic vitality, grow the region’s globally competitive talent pool and help college graduates transition to high-demand employment areas. She also helps provide access to a vast array of regional intellectual resources through the award-winning UCSD-TV and nationwide through UCTV.
During her tenure at UCSD, Walshok has played an active role in helping the University expand its local impact, national reputation and global reach. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Kellogg Foundation’s Leadership Fellowship and was inducted into Sweden’s Royal Order of the Polar Star. She currently serves on the boards of San Diego Connect (which she helped found in 1985), the La Jolla Playhouse, the United States-Mexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC), the Institute of the Americas (IOA), the San Diego Opera, the Smart Border Coalition and the Girard Foundation.
Walshok is a native of Palm Springs, California, she received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Pomona College in 1964, her master’s degree in sociology in 1966 and her Ph.D. in sociology in 1969 from Indiana University. She has been a visiting professor at the Stockholm School of Economics for many years and in 2004 held an international appointment in the Department of Continuing Education at Oxford University in England.
David R. Weaver
David Weaver founded BW Energy in 1997 and WebGen Systems in 2000 to address the business and social costs of energy consumption in office buildings. Today, his Boston and Miami-based company, Intercap Energy Systems, offers energy consulting services combined with patented energy optimization and control software to large consumers of energy, including universities, corporate campuses, hospitals, and airports.Weaver has been a member of the board of the University of Miami for 31 years. Currently a Senior Trustee of the University, he has served as Co-Chair of the Campaign for the University of Miami, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Vice Chairman of the Board, and Chairman of the University ’s Asset Management Corporation. He is currently Chairman of the Campaign for the Frost School of Music and Chairman of the Frost School’s Visiting Committee.Until February of 2015, Weaver was Chairman of the University of California’s Institute of the Americas. As its Chairman Emeritus he remains active in the Institute’s programs and relationships throughout Latin America. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on the board of the Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Weaver is a graduate of Andover and holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a master ’s from Harvard Business School. He resides in Miami, Boston, and Maine.
Charles J. Wortman
New York, New York, USA
Mr. Wortman has over 30 years of banking experience. He is Managing Director of J.P. Morgan Securities based in New York. He has been a part of the Global Corporate Bank responsible for coverage of large cap utilities and pipelines, as well as coverage of Canadian corporates. He assumed that position in July 2006, when a Corporate Banking Team was created within the Investment Bank.
Prior to that, Mr. Wortman was the Senior Country Officer for JPMorganChase in Brazil from late 2002 until mid-2006. Before this, he was responsible for JPMorganChase’s activities in the Energy sector in Latin America. He has significant experience working on power, gas and pipeline transactions ranging from acquisitions and privatizations to restructurings, project finance and other forms of capital raising.
He has been affiliated with the Institute of the Americas for many years and has been active in its Energy Program since its inception in 1991. He has served on the Institute’s board of directors since 2003.
Mr. Wortman received his B.A. degree in Economics from Yale College in 1980 and holds M.A. and M. Phil. degrees in Economics from Yale University. He was born in Cuba and grew up in Puerto Rico and London, England.