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GBF 2012 Speakers

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Forum Speakers

(listed alphabetically by surname)


Michelle Bachelet (video comments)


Michelle Bachelet is the inaugural Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, established in 2010 by the UN General Assembly. UN Women leads, supports and coordinates work on gender equality and the empowerment of women at global, regional and national levels.

Ms. Bachelet served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010, the first woman to be elected President in the history of the Republic of Chile. A long-time champion of women's rights, she has advocated for gender equality and women's empowerment throughout her career. As President, she set a high priority on issues such as pension reform, social protection for women and children, and research and development. Under her watch, Chile tripled the number of free early child-care centers for low-income families and completed construction of about 3,500 child-care centers around the country.

Ms. Bachelet also held ministerial portfolios in the Chilean Government as Minister of Defense and Minister of Health. As Defense Minister, Ms. Bachelet introduced gender policies intended to improve the conditions of women in the military and police forces. As Minister of Health, she implemented health care reform, improving attention to primary care facilities with the aim of ensuring better and faster health care response for families.


Barbara Barrett

Barbara Barrett
is Interim President of the Thunderbird School of Global Management and CEO of Triple Creek Guest Ranch in Montana. During 2008-2009, she served as U.S. Ambassador to Finland, following a term as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. She has advised five American Presidents on trade, diplomacy and defense policy. Barrett has served in the leadership of a long list of major corporations, public agencies, and educational institutions. These include, for example, the American Management Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board, Raytheon Corporation, the Mayo Clinic, the Smithsonian Institution, and Harvard's Institute of Politics.

Barrett was President of the International Women's Forum and national Chairman of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce's Export Conference in Washington, DC. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been a frequent participant with Club of Madrid and the World Economic Forum. In her community, Barrett was Chairman of the Arizona District Export Council, World Affairs Council, Economic Club of Phoenix and Thunderbird. She was a candidate for Governor of Arizona.

Barrett earned her bachelor, master and law degrees at Arizona State University. Honorary doctorates have been conferred by ASU, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Thunderbird, and the University of South Carolina.

An instrument-rated pilot, Barrett was the first civilian woman to land in an F/A-18 Hornet on an aircraft carrier. She climbed Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro in August 2007 and bicycled 900 kilometers around Finland while Ambassador. She has trained as an astronaut, and was the backup for a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station.


Sano Blocker

Sano Blocker
is Senior Vice President of the Public Affairs department of Energy Future Holdings, a privately held energy company with a portfolio of competitive and regulated energy subsidiaries. TXU Energy, Luminant and Oncor, EFH's primary businesses, serve the high-growth Texas electricity market, which is one of world's largest and among the nation's most successful competitive markets.

Previously, Ms. Blocker was Executive Director for EDS Global Government Affairs and worked for 25 years in a variety of capacities at EDS including marketing, human resources and business development. She was responsible for political relations in the 50 United States and relations with some international governments, managing a team of five regional directors and 30 political consultants throughout the United States focused on issues related to health and welfare, information technology, tax and fiscal issues, purchasing and procurement, homeland security, and financial services. She served on the EDS Political Action Committee working group where she was responsible for regional employee civic action programs.

Ms. Blocker is a board member of the NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures where she serves as chair of the development committee and on the international affairs committee. She is on the Private Enterprise Board of the American Legislative Exchange Council and serves on the Corporate Advisory Board of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation. Ms. Blocker is a member of the Dallas Volunteer Center's Advisory Committee. Ms. Blocker was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and Spanish.

Frieden
Paula Caldwell St-Onge


Paula Caldwell St-Onge
is Consul General of Canada to Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. She was appointed to this post in the summer of 2010. She was Minister Counselor and Senior Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City from 2008 to 2010. She served as Senior Trade Commissioner at the Consulate General of Canada in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 2005 to 2008. Formerly, Ms. Caldwell St-Onge was Director General of National Programs (Enforcement, Emergencies/Security and Environmental Assessments) at Environment Canada.

Ms. Caldwell St-Onge began her career in the Public Service with the Federal Environmental Assessment Agency in 1989. She held progressively senior positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Privy Council Office and Environment Canada. These included Program Manager, Senior Advisor, Senior Communications Officer, Director and Director General, respectively. She has also been the recipient of the Head of the Public Service Award (Excellence in Policy) and has served on two international boards on environmental enforcement. Prior to the Public Service she helped Central American refugees integrate into Canada and headed an endangered species program for turtles in the Caribbean.

Ms. Caldwell St-Onge was born in Colombia. She received a Bachelors degree (Honours) in Sciences at Queen's University and speaks English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. She is married to Daniel St-Onge and they have one daughter.


Amy George

Amy George brings 20 years of experience in business, marketing, sales and sustainability to the role of Chief Ozone Officer for BlueAvocado, a firm that distributes lifestyle products with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. George helped create BlueAvocado's triple-bottom line vision, secured early adoption by major retailers including The Container Store, Whole Foods, and Bloomingdales, and defined the company's "One Planet" sustainability charter. As a Board member with the Sustainable Food Center, George was instrumental in founding the Austin Farmer's Market, ranked one of the top 10 markets in the country.

Since its inception, BlueAvocado has invested 1% of its sales in support of women micro-entrepreneurs around the world. In partnership with Whole Foods Whole Planet Foundation, BlueAvocado created a line of reusable bags where $1 from each bag is invested in female micro-entrepreneurs, accounting for more than 200 loans during the first 5 months. To date, the BlueAvocado has helped thousands avoid more than 40 million disposable items and upcycle more than 1.8 million post-consumer bottles into products.

Nominated for Austin Under 40 and Barbara B. Jordan award for community service, George holds an M.B.A from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Arts in English from The University of Florida.


Cecilia Ochoa Levine

Cecilia Ochoa Levine has been President of MFI International Mfg., LLC, headquartered in El Paso, Texas, since 1990. MFI is a contract assembler, producing diversified products for industries such as automotive, juvenile, home furnishings, pet and ladies accessories and apparel sectors. MFI also is a provider of manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and shelter and consulting services with offices and plants in Mexico and the United States. Through MFI International's Shelter division, Levine has worked with major companies including Kimberly Clark, Hasbro, Sara Lee, Pierre Deux and Evenflo to establish manufacturing operations in Mexico and in the United States.

Levine has extensive experience in manufacturing, establishing world-class production processes such as ISO certifications, continuous improvement programs and management skills processes, international trade, cross bordercultural relationships and economic development. She also is Chairman of Green7 de Mexico-an antimicrobial agent distribution company in Mexico-and a partner in Innovei Asia with offices in Taiwan and with relationships with manufacturing plants in China.

Prior to joining MFI, Levine was President and Founder of Ceci Inc. in El Paso and Contratistas de Confeciones, Juarez, Mexico. As a member of the President's Export Council, Levine participated in a fact-finding trips to China and Mexico with Secretary of Commerce Don Evans and was named Chairman of the US/Mexico Border District Export Council by Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. She also has served as a board member and chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, El Paso branch.

Levine was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, moved to the United States in 1966 with her parents, and became a naturalized U.S. Citizen in 1982. She and her husband, Lance R. Levine, have four children.


Laura Sherbin
Laura Sherbin is Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Center for Talent Innovation where she heads up CTI's survey research. She is an economist specializing in work-life issues and gender. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University teaching "Women and Globalization."

Sherbin is a coauthor of Harvard Business Review articles "How Gen Y and Boomers Will Reshape Your Agenda," "Off-Ramps and On-Ramps Revisited" and Harvard Business Manager article "Letzte Ausfahrt Babypause" as well as the Harvard Business Review Research Reports, "The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology" and "The Sponsor Effect: Breaking Through the Last Glass Ceiling."

Sherbin is a graduate of the University of Delaware and earned her PhD in economics from The American University.


Chia Stewart
Chia Stewart is the founder and owner of Table Occasions, a firm that provides support for weddings, political galas, corporate and charitable meetings, and other special events with an inventory of more than 10,000 tablecloths and other decorations, supplied by artisans in the borderlands of El Paso.

She also is president of the El Paso Pro Musica Guild, a member of the El Paso Del Norte Group, and serves on the boards of the El Paso Diabetes Association and Junior Achievement of the Desert Southwest. An alumna of Baylor University, she majored in entrepreneurship and international business. After her graduation from Baylor, she also studied at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Academy in Paris and launched several entrepreneurial ventures.


Michelle Vaca-Senecal
Michelle Vaca-Senecal is an international trade consultant who has experience on the staffs of the U.S. International Trade Commission, The Executive Office of the President/Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and The U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ms. Vaca-Senecal is also an active associate member of the El Camino Real District Export Council (DEC) and the Free Trade Alliance both based in San Antonio, Texas. She received her M.A. in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and her B.A. in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Ms. Vaca-Senecal serves as a presenter and mentor for Latinas Learning to Lead, NHLI's annual youth leadership program. She has conducted training on how to successfully meet with high level officials in the professional arena and how to organize a speech. Additionally, Ms. Vaca-Senecal has served as a leader for faith-based youth programs, and volunteers her time for various Hispanic initiatives, such as the Hispanic College Fund.

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