James Costos, Former US Ambassador to Spain

James Costos, Former US Ambassador to Spain

James Costos, an American diplomat and former U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and Principality of Andorra, has dedicated himself to building the important relationship between the United States, Spain and Andorra after being sworn in on August 22, 2013 and continues to serve his country as a private citizen.

During his tenure as Ambassador, Costos worked in support of shared goals, including increased prosperity, improved security, and respect for human rights. 

Ambassador Costos remains focused on supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, illustrated by the launch of the annual “IN3 -INCUBED” Innovation and Tech Conference he founded in 2014 and hosted in Madrid to promote President Obama's entrepreneurship agenda to increase bilateral investment and trade, create jobs and encourage the creation of next-generation enterprises for Spanish, Andorran and U.S. youth. Ambassador Costos merged IN3 with endeavor.org in 2017, and for his work in this field, he was named The Honorary Chairman of The Chamberi Valley Association, a Madrid based non-profit initiative created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.    

Ambassador Costos received the Sorolla Medal for excellence and contribution to Hispanic arts and culture from the Hispanic Society of America and he received the Medalla de Oro de Canarias from President Fernando Clavijo Batlle for his work promoting the Canary Islands as a platform for American investment and audio visual production.

His efforts on Intellectual Property Rights protection and overall support of the film and TV Industry, both in the U.S. and Spain, earned him being named Honorary Chairman of the Spanish Film Commission.

Shortly before completing his term in Spain, Ambassador Costos received the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest award which can be bestowed upon a civilian by the Secretary of the Navy for exceptional outstanding service and long-term benefit to the Navy, Marine Corps and Department of the Navy.

Ambassador Costos was born in 1963 and grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. He is a second-generation Greek-American, whose father served as a U.S. Marine and was stationed at Camp David during the Truman administration. He is the first in his family to graduate college. He earned a degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 1985.

Ambassador Costos was a corporate leader and executive in the international retail and international entertainment industries, most notably at HBO and Tod's. His responsibilities included global positioning, external relations, marketing and communications. He is a passionate supporter of humanitarian and cultural organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and the Whistler House Museum, and is a strong advocate for cultural diplomacy, as reflected in Ambassador Costos' one-of-a-kind “Art in Embassies” collection housed in the Ambassador’s residence in Spain. He served on the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States, the country's largest animal protection organization and adopted 2 Spanish dogs during his tenure as Ambassador.

In February 2017, Ambassador Costos joined the Board of Directors of PJT Partners, an advisory-focused investment bank and is a Senior Advisor at INCUS CAPITAL, a Madrid based Pan-European credit fund targeting special lending, real estate credit, receivables and distressed debt for SME's.

Adrian Garcia-Aranyos, Managing Director, Endeavor Spain

Adrian Garcia-Aranyos, Managing Director, Endeavor Spain

Adrian Garcia-Aranyos is Managing Director at Endeavor Spain, a non-for-profit focused on scaling high-impact entrepreneurs. He is also Investor and Member of the Board on N Capital (Madrid) and InTrustGlobal (Washington DC), as well as an investor in several start-ups, such as: Protected Media (Israel) BankFacil (Brazil), The Digital Marvels (USA), DelSuper (Madrid), Alleycats (Sevilla) and intoSpain (which he co-founded). Prior to his role at Endeavor he was Vice President of Media Relations for Latin America at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, from 2011 to 2014; Americas Marketing Director and Latin America co-head for The Economist Newspaper Group, since 2006; Foreign Trade Manager at the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce from 2005 to 2006; and Foreign Exchange and Money Markets Broker at CM Capital Markets in Madrid, from 2000 to 2003. before 1999 he held several summer internships at: Iveco-Pegaso (Fiat Group), QFC Marketing and The Rauch Foundation.

In 2013 Poder magazine named him one of the "40 under 40 influential Latinos in the US"; in 2010 the Inter American Development Bank awarded his INDI Fund (by InTrustGlobal) the BeyondBanking Award for most socially responsible investment.

Since 2004, Mr. Garcia-Aranyos serves as board member at Thune Eureka, an industrial engineering firm specializing in capital goods and focused on deep-sea oil drilling components, paper industry parts and defense mechanisms.

He obtained his BA in Political Science from Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2000); Banking and Finance Certificate at IEB - Madrid (2001); Masters in Trade & Commerce at CECO - Madrid (2003-04); Marketing Certificate at Kellogg - Chicago (2010); SEP at IESE - NY/Miami (2013-14); Management Training at Peter Drucker Institute - NY (2014); and Scaling Entrepreneurial Ventures Certificate at Harvard Business School (2015).

Ramón Mullerat, Partner, PWC

Ramón Mullerat, Partner, PWC

Ramón Mullerat joined PwC New York in September 1992 and in 2000 he became a US partner; also in 2000, he joined PwC Spain on secondment from PwC New York and as from July 2007 is a partner of PwC Spain.

Ramón has over 25 years of experience in international inbound and outbound projects with a focus on international tax consulting.

Ramón is the partner in charge of PwC Spain’s Integrated Global Solutions, which comprises International Tax Services and Transfer Pricing, and also heads PwC Europe’s Latin American Centre of Excellence.

Ramon’s academic qualifications include the ITP Degree from Harvard Law School (1992), an LLM Degree in International Law from Notre Dame School of Law (1989), a Certificate in European Law from the College of Europe in Bruge (1988), and an LLB Degree from the University of London, Faculty of Law (1988).

Ramón is a frequent contributor of articles to international tax magazines and the Spanish correspondent for Tax Analysts’ Tax Notes International; he is also a co-author of Bureau of National Affairs’ Tax Management’s Business Operations in Venezuela (1st, 2nd and 3rd editions) and Business Operations in Chile (1st and 2nd editions). He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the US-Spain Chamber of Commerce from 1994 to 2000. Ramón is also a professor on International Taxation at Instituto de Empresa (IE) as well as in Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía (ISDE).

Sandra Correia, Founder, Pelcor

Sandra Correia, Founder, Pelcor

Sandra Correia is a young entrepreneur and business woman.  She has been surrounded by cork oak since she was little and knows the industry inside-out. She is third generation of a cork industry family “Novacortiça, S.A.”, and it was her curiosity and perseverance that led me to create her own brand, Pelcor®. Sandra innovated the cork industry in the world, making cork a fashionable material, turning it into stylish products. In 2016, Sandra sold Pelcor® and is developing new projects and new businesses based on #happiness.

Achieved Awards:

  • 2016 – “Enterprising Women of the Year Award” by American Enterprising Women Magazine/USA
  • 2016 – “Female Business Personality of the Year” by LUX Magazine/Portugal
  • 2015 – “Best International Business Women 2015” by WOP – Women’s President Organization/IWEC
  • 2012 – “Best Business Women in Portugal” by Máxima Magazine & Jornal de Negócios.
  • 2011 – “Best Female Entrepreneur of the Year for Europe” by the European Community and European Council of Women Entrepreneurs


In 2017 February, Sandra gave birth to a new project for Portugal “Women’s Club”.  This new project meets every month, inviting all women (and men) to come together for two hours of networking and connections. This project is open to all women of society, without stereotypes, to promote more equality, more voice, more lobby, more business, more unity, more women and more LOVE <3

Miguel Arias, COO at CARTO

Miguel Arias, COO at CARTO

Miguel Arias, proud dad, entrepreneur and angel investor, is a prominent entrepreneur and stakeholder in the Spanish ecosystem. He has over 15 years of experience in building technology-based startups with a global reach.

His expertise encompasses various tasks and challenges, from the vision and strategic definition to product management, with special dedication to startup funding and investor relations.

As COO at CARTO, he is currently leading the sales, financial, and operational efforts from its NY, DC, London and Madrid offices, managing the company's growth and scaling-up. CARTO, a leading location intelligence platform (http://Carto.com) , has raised $30 million to date, by renowned investors like Accel Partners and SF Ventures, and has over 100 employees in the US, Spain, UK and Estonia.

In 2004, he co-founded IMASTE, the leading virtual environments and webcasts platform in Europe, until its acquisition in 2012 by ON24, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based multinational.

Trying to enhance the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem, he co-founded and presides over Chamberi Valley, the main Madrid-based networking initiative for startups with over 1 million € revenue or 1 million € in investment. Chamberi Valley acts since then as a qualified liaison in the relations between the actors in the Spanish ecosystem: Policy makers, Investors, Entrepreneurs,

 Miguel is also an entrepreneurship teacher at the IE Business School Venture Lab, MIB and the Seedrocket Campus. 

Tom Reott, Counselor for Economic Affairs, Embassy of the United States, Madrid, Spain

Tom Reott, Counselor for Economic Affairs, Embassy of the United States, Madrid, Spain

Tom joined the U.S. Department of State in July 2001 and has held overseas assignments in India, Mexico, Colombia, Afghanistan, and most recently in Brussels at the U.S. Mission to the European Union.  In Washington D.C., Tom has served as Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and as Deputy Director in the Office of Afghanistan Affairs.  Prior to joining the Department of State, Tom worked in the private sector, first in brand management at Procter & Gamble and then helping to launch Imagitas, a start-up marketing company that formed a public-private partnership with the U.S. Postal Service.  From 1993-1995, Tom was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lithuania, working as a business consultant to advise entrepreneurs and former state-owned enterprises struggling to adapt to a post-Soviet, market-based economy.  Tom holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and International Business from Miami University.  Tom is married with two daughters, and is an avid golfer.  

Josh Balster, Executive Vice President, Avitus Group

Josh Balster, Executive Vice President, Avitus Group

Josh Balster is the Executive Vice President at Avitus Group and has been with the company for over 13 years. Josh studied at Rocky Mountain College and proceeded to work in a fast, upscale environment at Avitus Group; first taking care of new clients, then selling their services, and most recently running the sales team as the Vice President of Sales and growing Avitus Group’s client base over 500% in the last 4 years. Avitus Group has partnerships and locations throughout the United States, as well as globally. Josh and the International Team at Avitus Group focus on assisting business owners expand their companies into the United States by covering them from all angles as they make their US entry. Josh lives in Montana and works out of the company’s Operational Headquarters in Billings, Montana.

Daniel Romero-Abreu, President and Founder, Thinking Heads

Daniel Romero-Abreu, President and Founder, Thinking Heads

Daniel Romero-Abreu Kaup (Cádiz, Spain. 1979) is a young entrepreneur, when he was just 23 years old, and finishing his degree in Law and Business Administration at ICADE, he created and developed a completely new business model in Spain and Southamerica: the professional management of lectures. That adventure was the origin of the Thinking Heads Group, the first speaker agency in Spanish speaking world with over 7,000 lectures managed in the last years.

In these years of entrepreneurial journey, Thinking Heads' concept has evolved into the leading global operator in the Marketplace of Ideas helping the world's leading thinkers, CEO, Economist, etc to develop their knowledge, package it and distribute it to different audiences in order to increase their influence and relevance, generating a dramatic increase in their reputation.

To fulfill this goal, Daniel created a unique methodology that transcends the usual personal branding tools. Thinking Heads' Leader Positioning Strategy (LPS) is a unique system of managing your own personal brand using the knowledge that you are able to create as the basis in opposition to the traditional systems based only on image. Among his clients there are a wide number of great thinkers of international recognition such as writers, former politicians, economist, prominent CEOs, etc.

Daniel has served as an investor, counselor and advocate in other business projects as well. He took part in Avalon Experts Network, a startup that sells services, he also has been a member of the advisory board of the software company Noteges. Daniel has been member of the Board of the German Hispanic Circle of Young Managers in Madrid and member of the Board of Governors of the Icade Alumni Association. He is also the youngest and first non Anglo Saxon President and board member of the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB) the global business association of one of the sector where Thinking Heads operates. 

Alberto Gomez, Managing Partner, Adara Ventures

Alberto Gomez, Managing Partner, Adara Ventures

Alberto is a co-founder and a Managing Partner at Adara Ventures, one of the leading Deep Tech investors in early-stage technology start-ups in Spain and Europe.  Alberto sits on the boards of AlienVault, Stratio, 4iQ, CounterCraft, Openbravo, and Playgiga, and has sector focus on the Cybersecurity and Big Data/Machine Learning sectors.

Alberto has been investing in the deep tech arena for over 15 years and combines his engineering and technical background with strong financial and biz dev experience.  More important, he is passionate about entrepreneurship, company building, and team development.

Before Adara, Alberto was the Managing Director of Telefónica's Corporate Venture Capital unit, and from 1992 to 2001, Alberto was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, where he was Executive Director in their New York headquarters. Previous to that, Alberto was a consultant in the technology sector with Booz, Allen & Company.

Alberto holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Gonzalo Arance, Deputy Director, Enterprise Florida Spain

Gonzalo Arance, Deputy Director, Enterprise Florida Spain

Gonzalo Arance has been the Deputy Director of Enterprise Florida Spain since 2003.
He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of EFI’s office which is situated in
Madrid. Gonzalo organizes business development missions from Florida to Spain and
has worked with Spanish companies that have or plan to invest in Florida advises them
regarding how to set up the company, business opportunities and how to fulfill their
business objectives. He promotes Florida’s business nationwide in Spain and Portugal.
Gonzalo generates both foreign direct investment and trade leads for Florida.

Before joining Enterprise Florida, Mr. Arance spent three years managing portfolios and
providing fiscal and financial advice regarding structured financial products, European
markets equities and investment funds for HypoVereinsbank, the second largest bank in
Germany.

Gonzalo Arance was born and raised in Leon (Northern Spain) in 1972. He graduated
from Complutense University of Madrid with a Law degree and a Bachelor’s degree in
Business Administration. He also obtained a Master’s degree in Corporate Finance and
Investment Banking. He currently resides in Madrid, Spain

Stephane Frijia, Senior Vice President, Global Investment , Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Stephane Frijia, Senior Vice President, Global Investment , Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Stephane Frijia joined the Greater Phoenix Economic Council in 2011. As Vice President Business Development at GPEC, Stephane Frijia works primarily with international businesses and stakeholders to position the region as a global leader for foreign direct investment and trade.

Mr. Frijia is responsible for developing and overseeing GPEC’s international strategy, in coordination with the International Leadership Council composed of prominent business leaders and elected officials. In this role he provides support to international companies with market analysis and site-selection assistance as they expand into the region and manages foreign-based contractors for business development in key target markets. Mr. Frijia is a strong advocate for a more globally fluent and internationally diverse local economy; and through his work encourages others to do the same.

Mr. Frjiia was the project manager for the development of the Phoenix Metro Global Investment Plan – a 10 months project in collaboration with the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase Global Cities Initiative. The project aims at creating additional awareness among community leaders and elected officials about the importance of attracting foreign-direct-investment (FDI) and to expand the level of resource currently devoted to FDI attraction.  Mr. Frijia continue to lead GPEC ’engagement for other Global City Initiative projects.    

NARBELI GALINDO, EDC DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS / UMKC PROFESSOR

NARBELI GALINDO, EDC DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS / UMKC PROFESSOR

Narbeli is an accomplished international marketing and finance professional with over 25 years of international business experience.  She has developed and implemented successful international and domestic marketing strategies, and has led all facets of the marketing plan execution process.  Her expertise includes strategic market analysis, forecasting, planning and building brand awareness.

As of January 1, 2015, she became the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Director of International Affairs responsible for all global aspects of the Kansas City, Missouri development under Mayor Sly James.  Previously she was the Managing Director of her own importing business, Narbeli’s Imports LLC founded in 2003.  Additionally, she is an UMKC International Business and Finance professor teaching undergraduates and graduates on international Management, Marketing and Finance, directing study abroad programs to Spain, and training corporations on how to successfully expand their companies’ product and services globally. Narbeli also served as the 2014 Past President of The International Trade Council of KC and current serves as Board of Director for the International Relation Council.

Brett Bruen, President, Global Situation Room

Brett Bruen, President, Global Situation Room

During twelve years as a U.S. diplomat, Brett became a specialist in using strategic communications to influence the course of crisis and conflict. As Director of Global Engagement at the White House, he created some of the government’s most innovative international programs for reaching new audiences around the world. While at the White House, he was responsible for public diplomacy programs, international media, crisis communications, and global entrepreneurship programs. Brett coordinated the United States’ response to Russian propaganda, developing the first interagency communications taskforce to push back against misinformation. Brett also unified public and private entrepreneurship programs for the first time under one banner, as part of the President’s Spark Global Entrepreneurship initiative.

While in the diplomatic service, Brett worked in the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Guinea, Iraq, Venezuela, Argentina, Zambia, and Eritrea. In his current role as President of the Global Situation Room®, he runs a consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, international public policy, and crisis management. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member of the Federal Executive Institute, where he trains senior U.S. Government leaders on strategy and world affairs. Brett graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in International Relations and Political Science. He holds a Masters in Global History from the London School of Economics. Brett speaks fluent Spanish and French.