Scott Blacklin is Principal and founder of Blacklin Associates, LLC, a specialized consultancy for businesses committed to developing and emerging countries. Blacklin Associates also provides accelerator and capitalization services for early-stage technology companies seeking to enter the U.S. market.
Mr. Blacklin has devoted virtually all of his professional life to furthering commercial and political ties between the United States and emerging markets, with particular experience in Russia and Eastern Europe. Mr. Blacklin began his career with the U.S. Department of Energy, where he managed energy technology issues and cooperative agreements with the USSR, Eastern Europe, and the Peoples Republic of China. He subsequently spent over ten years in Eastern Europe and Russia, leading the Moscow offices of several U.S. companies, including WJS Incorporated, Westinghouse Electric, and Motorola’s International Cellular Infrastructure Group. Mr. Blacklin culminated his work in Russia in 2001 as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.
In the U.S., Mr. Blacklin served as Director of the International Division of the State of Maryland, working to increase Maryland exports and attract foreign investment, and subsequently as Vice President for Cisco Systems Emerging Markets, and was responsible for driving sales of Cisco technology and services to public sector organizations in over 130 countries.
Mr. Blacklin graduated in 1975 from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and completed post-graduate work in Soviet Studies at The George Washington University. Mr. Blacklin also studied at Leningrad State University and speaks fluent Russian.
Sam has more than 15 years of investment banking, corporate finance and startup experience and provides capital structuring, financial modeling and investor due diligence support to growth stage technology and real estate companies. Sam is currently Finance Director at Olis Robotics, a Seattle-based startup developing next-generation software for pilot controlled robots. He is also a Director at Harvest Partners (HPCA LLC), a private equity and business advisory firm focused on technology enabled service companies. His diverse experience includes roles at Lehman Brothers, PwC, Expedia, Kymeta and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development where he managed finance functions and board level reporting for high profile investors including Bill Gates and Barry Diller. Sam received his BBA in Finance, summa cum laude, from The George Washington University and his MBA in Technology Management from the University of Washington.
Alex is an investment banker who worked for several premier investment banks, financial authorities and advisory firms:
• French, 24 years advisory experience
• M&A, financing advisory and emerging markets services
• Managing Partner and co-founder of Alexander Partners (Paris) - www.alxpartners.com
• Previously worked for Commercial Bank Qatar (Doha), Abu Dhabi Investment Company (Abu Dhabi), Rothschild (Paris, Abu Dhabi), Peregrine Capital (Hong Kong/Singapore), Lazard Freres (New York)
• HEC-ISA (MBA), Ms. ChE. Umass Amherst, Eng. ENSIC
• French, English. Notions of German, Russian, Arabic
• Implemented fundraising (2009-2010) for part of Sochi Olympic 2014 real estate developments and was in charge of the management of the 600M USD Qatar Pearl Real Estate Fund which developed the Qanat Quartier (2011-2013).
Michael assists clients with business strategy, organizational development and executive coaching. Michael has served as Senior Managing Director at Fujitsu Consulting and as the regional head of its financial services practice. At McKinsey & Company, he developed transformational leadership training and worked on corporate strategy. As Director of Strategic Planning at KPMG Asia Pacific, Michael developed strategy for building KPMG’s consulting practice in Asia and served as an adviser to business and government leaders. As Executive Vice President of Twenty First Century Venture Partners, Michael invested in and advised early stage technology companies.
Michael advised the major political parties in Taiwan, and organized and moderated that nation’s first election debate. He was a major party candidate for the United States Congress from New York. Michael has worked with several notable visionaries including Buckminster Fuller and Dr. Jonas Salk, and has provided policy advice to U.S. political and economic leaders during the recent near collapse of the financial sector.
Michael was awarded a B.A. with honors in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he was the President of the Student Government. He also has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Andreas is a former Deloitte & Touche Europe, Director in Corporate Finance focusing on acquisitions, capital-raising, and financial consulting. Outside consultant on project by project basis with such institutions as Abu Dhabi Investment Company (ADIC)/InvestAD, Deloitte, and good working relationships with the principals of European, Canadian, Chinese and American public companies as well as with boutique investment banks in Europe and Asia.
Academic work includes undergraduate and graduate studies in international relations and economics from the School of International Service (SIS) / American University, in Washington, D.C (both thru the Fulbright program).
Andreas set up a small foundation (non-profit initiatives which are supported entirely by him and without any financial benefit or outside funding):www.andreaskaras.com
Andreas has CFA Level II passed and his main hobby is learning languages: Greek (native); English and Russian (fluent); French and Spanish (well); Portuguese, Arabic and Chinese (basic).
Mr. Kohler is president of Ridge Global and has served in the past in a number of roles for its affiliates including as Chief Innovation Officer for Ridge Global and Risk Cooperative and prior to that as Chief Executive Officer for Ridge Global Solutions and principal advisor to the strategic consulting practice. He previously served as the first president of Space Florida, a Florida Special District focused on economic development within the aerospace economic sector including the implementation of educational initiatives for students and educators centered around science, technology, engineering and math STEM using space-based technologies as the focal point. Before that, Mr. Kohler was the president of Winner Global Defense, a privately held company focused on military and non-military applications of aircraft countermeasures based on laser based detection technologies. Earlier, he served as senior vice president for Corporate Advisory Services for CB Richard Ellis/Pittsburgh. Mr. Kohler also served, then-Governor Ridge as Director the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team, where he was responsible for the Team’s configuration of financial incentive programs for industrial and business expansion projects throughout the Commonwealth. He holds a BA in Urban Studies from Edinboro University (Edinboro, Pennsylvania).
Karen is CEO and Founder of Konscious Konsulting LLC and a Managing Partner at Akon Global LLC responsible for accelerating the Akon Smart City initiatives through strategic partnerships and identifying new opportunities for business growth. Karen promotes the business paradigm that focuses on people, planet, purpose and prosperity. She has over 20 years’ experience working with global brands including managing projects for celebrity brands such as George Foreman, Bob Marley and Akon. She is an MBA graduate of Thunderbird – School of Global Management, is bilingual and has travelled to over 70 countries. In 2014, Karen launched her own consulting company to support organizations with business development, sustainability strategies, marketing and communications, events and strategic partnerships. One of her first projects included a C-suite position at Akon Lighting Africa, which brought solar energy solutions to over 1 million rural households in over 10 countries. Here she managed communications, strategic partnerships and was the connector between governments, Heads of State and businesses to create public private partnerships. Karen is passionate about supporting scalable technology solutions such as those impacting clean energy and ocean plastics. She has attended the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) on Sr. Richard Branson’s Necker Island and she is an Ambassador for the Global Blockchain Business Council. One of Karen’s many skills is her ability to foster strategic partnerships between like-minded organizations. In her spare time, Karen supports youth education and entrepreneurship programs such as the Tony Robbins Global Youth Leadership Summit and the Cherie Blair Foundation providing training for 100,000 female entrepreneurs.
Larisa studied English and Political Science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. After her studies, she worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the Secretary of Agriculture, and later for the Governor of Pennsylvania, specializing in public policy. Larisa has spent the last several years working for the Royal Family in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in several capacities. She was responsible for business development with a focus on sustainability, as well as building a large non-profit foundation, working with children in refugee camps in the Middle East and Africa.
Larisa now serves as CEO of Phoenix Global, a business consulting firm, working with companies, foundations, non-profits and government agencies around the world, focusing on sustainable business planning and development, marketing strategies, developing breakthrough business models, reputation management, sustainability reporting, market analysis, etc. Understanding the potential and importance of sustainable development in Africa, Larisa works with the leaders of several African nations (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Zambia and Ghana, specifically) to explore beneficial development, infrastructure and business opportunities. Additionally, Larisa is the founder of Global Impact Africa, a non-profit organization, which focuses on the promotion of education, entrepreneurism, apprenticeship and vocational education programs for youth in Africa.
Mr. Dejan Štancer was the initiator and founder of the Kazakh-Slovenian Business Club (KSBC), together with entrepreneurs from Slovenia and Kazakhstan. Mr. Štancer has been a Secretary General of the KSBC for more than 5 years and currently is a President of the organization.
Mr. Štancer has many years of international business experience and rich entrepreneurial experience including as an advisor to various European Union and global entities. KSBC has become the Official Regional Representative Office of Kazakh Invest in region of Central and South-Eastern Europe, having Mr. Štancer as its Chairman with the goals to help establish strong business and investment links between Europe and Kazakhstan.
Other recent activities include: Lead an international business delegation and was honorable speaker at the opening ceremony of the business forum at EXPO 2017 in Astana. Keynote speaker at “How to do business in Kazakhstan” conference, organized by the Slovenian and Kazakh governments (April 2018). Honorable guest or speaker to events such as: Intercontinental conference about the modern technologies on behalf of the Republic of Kazakhstan organised by the Government of Slovenia, Ministry for Economic cooperation and Technologies. (2018). Industrialization Day invited by the President Nursultan Nazarbayev (December 2017). Honorable keynote speaker at the Bosphorus Summit (November 2019).
Conference held in Ljubljana at the occasion of the establishing diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Slovenia (September 2017). The Global Business and Investment forum in Tbilisi, Georgia, (October 2018). Astana, city of peace - 20th anniversary of Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.
Was co-organizer of the Intergovernmental session between the governments of Kazakhstan and Slovenia, in Astana (June 2018). Global Investment Roundtable and Astana Economic Forum, every year since 2017.
Award of Appreciation (December 2018) From the MFA of Kazakhstan; Silver Coin Medal of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan (April 2018).
Media: - Chief editor of The KSBC Times. - multiple interviews for Slovenia Times, The Astana Times, Euroactiv, CNBC (Arabia), Kazakh TV, Kazahstaskaya Pravda, Business media Georgia, Forbes (Georgia), Kazinform, Regional Focus KZ. Live interviews on Kazakh TV, Atameken TV
Languages: Slovenian, English, German, Russian, Italian, Croatian, Serbian
Dr Nebojša Stanković is Attorney at Law https://nebojsa.com/NebojsaStankovicPhD.htmlthe founder and principal of Stankovic & Partners Law Office, Niš. www.stankovicandpartners.com is a pioneer in promoting international business and law in Serbia & South East Europe, the recommended law firm in Nis by the US Embassy, representing some of the largest foreign companies working in Serbia, including several banks (https://nebojsa.com/references.html). Almost 30 years of extensive experience in IT law, banking, corporate, commercial, litigation and finance law are confirmed by results in various proceedings under Serbian and international jurisdiction. Nebojša participed in projects of the World Bank Group, EBRD, the World Justice Project, ECHR and is a member of: AmCham Serbia, the Deutsch-Serbischen Wirtschaftskammer (AHK) and the Camera di Commercio Italo-Serba (CCIS). University of Nis award for the best graduated student of generation at Faculty of Law. Lecturer at the Academy of the Bar Association of Serbia.
Languages: Serbian, English and French. More on www.nebojsa.com
Ivan is a New York based architect, entrepreneur, professor, scholar and curator. He is a pioneer in online education and founder of the BUILD ACADEMY, providing professional education for the building industry.
He graduated with masters degrees from ETSA Barcelona, University of Florence, and Harvard University GSD, as a Fulbright scholar. He earned his PhD in Architecture in 2009 at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Columbia University GSAPP, as fellow of the Fondation Le Corbusier. Dr. Shumkov has taught at NYU, Harvard University GSD, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Parsons the New School for Design, International University of Catalonia, and ETSA Barcelona.
He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard Alumni Association 2011-14 and as founding president of Harvard Architectural and Urban Society Alumni 2008-14. Dr. Shumkov is a licensed architect in Spain and Italy and principal of ISA – Ivan Shumkov Architects, a company working in the fields of architecture, urbanism, landscape and design with offices in New York. He has worked, lectured and exhibited his projects and research in Europe, Brazil, Colombia, China, and the USA.
Ivan business experience / knowledge is in the hospitality industry. He brought the Vidakovic family together and authorized to represent the family in the pursue to recover the substantial land in the center of Skopje that was confiscated after World War II by the Tito regime. His capacity to persuade and rally business and other professionals to support him have led to the team behind the Skopje Technology Park.
Charles Waterman is the Chief Executive Officer and founding member of Jefferson Waterman International. Mr. Waterman’s decades of experience in the international arena translate into an exceptional ability to forge favorable political environments for clients’ political and commercial ventures. At JWI, Mr. Waterman both oversees firm-wide operations and directly manages client representation, particularly those related to his areas of special expertise. These include Africa and the Middle East, as well as petroleum and mineral resources.
Before founding JWI, Charles Waterman held several leading positions within the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. As Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, he oversaw production of intelligence estimates on global issues to support Cabinet-level economic, political and military deliberations. As National Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, Mr. Waterman coordinated the intelligence input to policy deliberations in the Near East and South Asia. As a member of the Foreign Service, Mr. Waterman spent many years living and working overseas in Kuwait, Cairo, Beirut, Amman and Jiddah.
Mr. Waterman was awarded the CIA Intelligence Star and Medal and the CIA Meritorious Officer award. A recognized expert in the Middle East, Mr. Waterman has functional expertise in defense and petroleum industries, and has published extensively in foreign affairs journals.
Mr. Waterman holds degrees from Brown University in Rhode Island and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in the Middle East and was awarded the Christian Herter Fellowship for outstanding academic performance. He speaks Arabic and French.
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