Ricardo J. Peláez, Deputy Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy – Madrid, Spain

Ricardo J. Peláez, Deputy Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy – Madrid, Spain

Ricardo J. Peláez is a career Foreign Service Officer and, in August 2017, began his assignment as the Acting Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain. He has 20 years of experience with the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service.

Prior to Spain, Ricardo served for four years as the Commercial Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru. During his tenure in Lima, Ricardo led the office to achieve notable accomplishments such as the establishment of a three-person Regional Intellectual Property office covering Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and Chile; closing the largest U.S. arms sale ($13.2 million) in a generation to the Peruvian National Police; and organizing three major Commerce-certified trade missions addressing critical infrastructure gaps in the renewable energy, healthcare and water resources sectors.

Prior to Peru, Ricardo served a two year assignment as a Commercial Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, China. In this capacity, Ricardo led a team of industry specialists responsible for China’s most dynamic sectors, including energy, environment, construction, and transportation.

Ricardo began his Foreign Service career by completing an intensive one-year Mandarin language training course at the Foreign Service Institute, followed by a three-year tour as a Commercial Officer in Taipei at the American Institute in Taiwan covering a range of sectors, including education, environment, publishing, consumer goods, and machinery.

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.

Juan Aguilar, International Director, Cámara de Madrid

Juan Aguilar, International Director, Cámara de Madrid

Highlights of Juan Aguilar's experience

  • Law degree. Complutense University Madrid (Spain)
  • International Private Law and Economy post-grade. Otto Friedrich Bamberg Universität (Germany)
  • Chambers of Commerce management. Charleston College, South Carolina (United States)
  • Director of the international department at the Madrid Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services
  • Lecturer on international relations and trade. Carlos III and Complutense Universities and CECO, IFE and Aliter business schools.
  • Foreign trade and investment advisor. Embassy of Spain in Turkey
  • Publications: Surveys on industrial and commodities sectors in Turkey. Guide for foreign trade. Articles about China, Russia, Turkey and international economy.

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.

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. 

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

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. 

Peter Petrik, Founder, Skvare, International Business Professor

Peter Petrik, Founder, Skvare, International Business Professor

Peter Petrik is an entrepreneur, business proprietor, and a frequent strategy consultant to business owners. He speaks five languages and with years of corporate, consulting, and entrepreneurial experience in the technology field, Peter is an expert in open source architecture as well as in the integration of third party database systems. 

Peter has both an MBA as well as a Master of International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Peter's experiences include international assignments and practical business knowledge in information technology, sales and marketing, finance, and business development. 

Peter regularly shares his knowledge and expertise as a School of Management professor at the University of Texas at Dallas as well as numerous top international business universities in Europe, Asia, and South America. He served as the founding board member of the Dallas AfterSchool Network and consistently continues to volunteer his time and efforts with local and national non-profit groups.

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

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.

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

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

Golf courses, resorts and retirement communities – if you think that’s all Greater Phoenix has to offer, then you’re not looking close enough! The number of businesses expanding operations or relocating to Arizona are at record levels. There is a bustling ecosystem of tech innovation and a higher education system that surpasses Harvard, MIT and USC in research and innovation. The history of our legacy industries has made our region the perfect location for Internet of Things and sensor technology companies to thrive. In this session, you’ll learn more about why businesses find our market appealing, the type of companies that have had success in our region, and how you can get involved in The Connected Place movement.

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.    

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.

Pablo Ruiz Correa, Head of Innovation at Liberbank

Pablo Ruiz Correa, Head of Innovation at Liberbank

Pablo has over 20 years of international experience with a successful track record for delivering business innovation and digital transformation for financial services organizations such as Liberbank, Banco Santander and JPMorganChase. As Head of Innovation at Liberbank, he is responsible for defining the Innovation digital strategy and deliver innovation through Liberbank´s Innovation Labs. 

As Former Head of Open Innovation at Banco Santander, he was responsible for managing global FinTech acceleration programs in Madrid, New York, San Francisco, London and Helsinki. Developed institutional partnerships with Trade and Investment Government Institutions and Venture Funds. Performed continuous scouting for FinTech startups and identify new technology and business trends to continuous develop the digital banking strategy. This included identifying solutions for innovating within retail mobile banking, customer experience, KYC onboarding, big data analytics, personal finance management, payments, loyalty, P2P lending and investment advisory platforms. 

As for my background, I am a computer science engineer by the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (ICAI) and a Masters in Business Administration by the IE Business School, intraentrepeneur, active startup mentor within the early stage FinTech ecosystem.

Joaquín de Aubeyzon, Entrepreneur Selection & Growth Manager and Investor Network Manager, Endeavor Spain

Joaquín de Aubeyzon, Entrepreneur Selection & Growth Manager and Investor Network Manager, Endeavor Spain

Joaquín serves as the Entrepreneur Selection & Growth Manager and Investor Network Manager for Endeavor Spain, a global accelerator of high-impact entrepreneurship.  He manages delivery of services for Endeavor portfolio companies, includes network connections, advisory meetings, fundraising and talent needs.  He also leads the Investor Network efforts, including the formation of PanEuropean Venture Capital network to facilitate access to capital to portfolio companies.

Manuel J. González, Miami Dade County, International Director

Manuel J. González, Miami Dade County, International Director

Manny Gonzalez is the Chief of Economic Development and International Trade for Miami-Dade County. Formerly, Chief of Miami International Airport Business Ventures, Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator office of the Mayor Miami-Dade County. He also served as Chief Operating Officer of the City of Miami International Trade Board, Executive Director of Miami-Dade County’s International Trade Consortium and Sister Cities Program. Managing Director, Miami Internet Alliance and President of Latin America for Emarketworld.

Other past activities include, Deputy Director, Free Trade Areas of the Americas, FTAA, Miami Host Committee, and Board of Directors International Adverting Association (IAA) Inter-American Chapter. Board Member South Florida Technology Association, Member, International Association of Business Communicators, Vice Chair, Global Initiatives Committee, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Manny is a results-focused International Business Leader specializing in providing world-class client relations, driving operations growth, analyzing key markets, partnering with C-Level executives, initiating cost-effective improvements, and cultivating a strong public image with 25 + years’ experience and tri-lingual skills along with intergovernmental and multi-cultural background. He is a graduate of The George Washington University, Washington DC, BA International Affairs and minor in international business. -International Economic Development Studies Washington DC. Certified Trade Specialist, International Trade Association, Strategic Planning Certificate from Michigan State University.

Xavier González, eMerge Americas, Founder

Xavier González, eMerge Americas, Founder

Gonzalez is helping lead the effort to establish Miami as the technology hub of the Americas. He has been engaged in the South Florida technology industry for over 10 years, previously serving in leadership capacities for both the Technology Foundation of the Americas and Terremark Worldwide. In 2014, Gonzalez was recognized by the Miami Herald as one of Miami’s 20 Under 40 leaders in the community. He is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee and serves on the Boards of Directors of The Beacon Council, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and Camillus House. Gonzalez received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Florida. He and his wife, Monique, have 2 children under the age of seven.

Laura Maydon, Managing Director, Endeavor Miami

Laura Maydon, Managing Director, Endeavor Miami

Laura is the Managing Director of Endeavor Miami, a non-profit organization that launched in September 2013 in the U.S., which searches and selects high-impact entrepreneurs to help them scale with the objective of building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in our community. Laura joined Endeavor with more than 15 years of experience identifying new business opportunities and driving growth in various industries, including payments and financial services.

Prior to joining Endeavor, Laura was a Senior Business Leader, Commercial Solutions for Visa in Latin America, where her main responsibilities included the development and management of new payment solutions for companies and governments in the region.

Earlier in her career at Visa, Laura was a Business Development Leader responsible for identifying, negotiating and structuring new business opportunities and alliances in the region and monitoring strategic investments.

Laura has a strong M&amp;A and private equity background. Prior to Visa, which she joined in 2003, Laura was Head of Investor Relations and a Senior Financial Analyst, Mergers and Acquisitions for Panamco, a US$3.6 billion Coca-Cola bottling Company sold to FEMSA. Laura also worked as an Associate for Bank of America Equity Partners in Chicago, a Latin-American private equity fund, and as an Analyst for Protego Investment Associates, an investment bank in Mexico.

Laura has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School (HBS) and a B.S. in Economics from I.T.A.M. in Mexico City, where she graduated with honors. Laura was a Member of the HBS Alumni Board from 2009-2013 where she was appointed to serve as Vice-President and Member of the Board’s Executive Committee. As a current Board Member of the HBS Club of South Florida, she has raised funds for scholarships for South Florida non-profit leaders to attend an executive program in HBS, for the past 10 years. Laura also serves on the Board of Advisors of Miami Dade College´s Idea Center.

Camilo Padron, Business Development TPG Group, Miami, Florida

Camilo Padron, Business Development TPG Group, Miami, Florida

Camilo acts as a senior marketing strategist for the TPG Group with a focus on digital marketing execution and new business development. He proudly sits on advisory boards including Idea Center and Puente at Miami Dade College and Miami Children’s Museum. As an advisor and mentor, Camilo has brainstormed, collaborated, developed and executed partnerships throughout the community. Camilo has an Executive MBA (Masters in Business Administration) from Florida International University. He is a member of the CMO Council and is often invited to speak at various meetings and conferences.

Camilo Padron is a strategic marketing specialist with over 20 years of experience in targeting, engaging and understanding the “customer journey”. His comprehensive knowledge of multi vertical marketing including brand positioning, cross- platform digital marketing, social media and traditional media planning is sharpened not only as a product of extensive experience, but more so by his instinct and passion for distinctive creativity. As a tech-savvy leader who also combines industry research, data analytics, and a genuine understanding of customer experience, Camilo’s “big-picture” approach to strategizing is highlighted by his proven ability to leverage high-potential opportunities and amplify revenues.

Camilo’s years of experience working in private equity has allowed him to broaden his knowledge in a vast portfolio of varied industries thus allowing him to gain experience and execute strategies to various audiences. As Senior Marketing Director for CIMA Group, Camilo established and led an in-house marketing department to serve CIMA and its various subsidiaries. He managed and influenced a broad spectrum of initiatives, including live event promotions, soft launch and teaser campaigns for new products, focus groups and beta testing for on-demand products, and the integration of all subsidiaries to social media maps to effectively maximize consumer awareness and engagement. As Chief Marketing Officer and VP of Sales for The Fresh Diet, Camilo served as a driving force on the executive team that undertook a comprehensive turnaround to elevate the business’s profitability and drive value for shareholders

José Carlos Díez, Professor de la universidad de Alcalá de Henares and International Trade Specialist

José Carlos Díez, Professor de la universidad de Alcalá de Henares and International Trade Specialist

José Carlos Díez es profesor de economía de la Universidad de Alcalá. Compagina su actividad académica con la actividad privada siendo Presidente de Global Economic Analysis empresa dedicada a la consultoría internacional. Anteriormente fue economista jefe de Intermoney desde donde ha asesorado a las principales empresas y entidades financieras españolas y ha participado con sus previsiones en el panel de expertos del BCE para la economía de la Eurozona y de Funcas para España. Según la Escuela de Negocios Esade Intermoney lideró el ranking de previsiones del panel de Funcas sobre España desde 2005 hasta 2011. Anteriormente fue director financiero de Estudio Lamela Arquitectos y responsable de la estrategia de internacionalización.

Es colaborador habitual de medios de comunicación nacionales e internacionales y es uno de los economistas más influyentes en las redes sociales con su blog El Economista Observador que ha recibido el premio Bitácoras y 89.000 seguidores en Twitter. Ha escrito dos best sellers. Hay Vida Después de la Crisis y la Economía no da la Felicidad y ha vendido más de 65.000 ejemplares.