Sister Networks

Meet Our Facilitators

Clark James Plexico

Clark

Clark James Plexico

Clark Plexico is President of Clark Plexico Consulting, Inc., a firm offering public policy and communications strategy for corporations, non-profits, and individuals; in addition, the company serves as advisor for international education efforts and legislative leadership development.

Based in Raleigh, North Carolina the firm works primarily with companies and non-profits helping them clarify their mission, sharpen their message, and achieve their public policy goals. By using political bestterm paper and business skills developed over twenty five years both domestically and internationally, Clark Plexico Consulting, Inc. also works with companies in preparing employees for overseas assignments by training them in understanding cultural differences between doing business in the United States and the companies’ targeted country. The firm is available to work with individuals and companies outside the United States who wish to open a business in North Carolina or other southern states, and need assistance in devising an appropriate public policy/communications strategy for that region.

Mr. Plexico serves on many state-wide boards in North Carolina including the World Trade Center NC (Past Chair), Advisory Council to the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Board of Trustees of Western Carolina University, World Affairs Council and International Visitors Center, the NC Progress Board (Executive Committee Chair), Partnership for Children (Vice-Chair), NC Museum of Art, Public School Forum, NC Citizens for Business & Industry (Chair of Education Committee), NC Council for Economic Education, and the Governor’s Education First Task Force.

Mr. Plexico was formerly the President of Law and Government Affairs for AT&T in North Carolina and South Carolina. In those two states he was responsible for all public policy decisions affecting AT&T, and directed the company’s legislative and regulatory efforts and corporate giving. In addition, Mr. Plexico was the Director of Political Organizations Advocacy in the nine-state southern region, and the national representative to the National Association of Attorney-Generals.

Clark Plexico is also a former State Senator in North Carolina and was the Chairman of the Education and Education Appropriations Committees in the North Carolina Senate, responsible for developing the state’s education budget. Mr. Plexico was elected to four terms in the Senate, serving on committees in both the Southern Legislative Conference and the National Conference of State Legislators before joining AT&T as their state president.

Prior to entering politics Mr. Plexico lived and worked abroad for over ten years. He was the owner of an international real estate company based first in Tehran, Iran and then London, doing business in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Before going into international business Plexico taught at Iranzamin, the Tehran International School.

Mr. Plexico earned his Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California (London, England Program), his B.A. in Political Science from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, is a graduate of Middlebury College School of Arabic, and has studied Middle Eastern history and politics at Tehran University and Islamic philosophy at the Royal Academy of Philosophy in Tehran, Iran. Plexico has also done work toward a PhD. in Government and International Studies at the University of South Carolina. Areas of Expertise My areas of strength where I may be helpful are the following:

Governmental leadership development (primarily legislative). Public policy and communications strategy for NGO’s and corporations. Working with policy makers and business leaders to improve their international skills and knowledge through cross-cultural training and international education initiatives.

William Starnes

Bill

William Starnes

 

Mr. Starnes joined the Society of International Business Fellows as a member of the Class of 1998. After serving as Texas State Membership Chair in 2000 and Vice Chairman for the 2001 IBF Program, he was selected to be Managing Director of SIBF effective July 2001.

From 1984 to 2000, Mr. Starnes was with the Trammell Crow organization. He became a partner in 1989 and Co-Managing Partner in 1997 of Trammell Crow International, which develops, owns, manages and leases real estate in Europe, Latin America and Asia with assets totaling over $350 million. Mr. Starnes was responsible for determining overall business strategy, opening new markets, entering into joint ventures, approving new investments, and selecting new partners as well as overseeing the overall administration of the business from its headquarters in Dallas, Texas. He has traveled extensively to Asia, Europe and Latin America, and oversaw the opening of new offices in Japan, China, the Netherlands and Hungary.

Mr. Starnes began his career in academics as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Williams College in Massachusetts. He also has taught at Rice University and the University of Houston. After leaving academia, Mr. Starnes spent three years in general management for a small, family-owned wholesale distribution company. Having joined SIBF in 1998, Mr. Starnes participated in the IBF Program to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Hong Kong. He also participated in the Fellows’ International Conferences to Southeast Asia in 1999 and to South America in 2000. In addition, he has attended Annual Summits in Quebec City, Colorado Springs, Seattle and Newport as well as the 2001 Washington Briefing and 2002 Cuba programs. Mr. Starnes has served as a trustee for the Profit Sharing Plan for the Employees of Trammell Crow Company and is a member of the Urban Land Institute, FIABCI and the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations. His personal interests include travel, reading and the movies. Mr. Starnes lives in Dallas with Donna, his wife for 28 years. They have one son, John. Areas of Expertise My background is in economics, international real estate, and nonprofit business associations. Based on my background, I can help with financial analysis and strategic planning for both businesses and nonprofits. I can also advise you on entering new markets, joint ventures, and alliances; planning educational programs; fostering networking relationships; and exercising influence without authority.

Mary Madden

M.Madden Mary Madden Mary is an experienced senior executive who has worked in numerous early stage, high growth and mature companies serving in such roles as CEO, President, COO and consultant. From 1981-1994, Ms. Madden was the President, Founder, and Co-CEO of Information America, the first company to offer on line access to public record data. She created the firm, raised over $8 million from angel investors and venture capital, grew profitable revenues to $25 million, took it public, and then sold the company to Westlaw delivering an attractive return to shareholders. Subsequent to Information America, Ms. Madden joined ChoicePoint as Vice President of Public Records. There, she oversaw the development of a system to collect, route, and track document orders; developed a marketing strategy for the legal market; and handled acquisition initiatives. Ms. Madden has worked with ValuBond, Inc. (sold), eAttorney (sold to Lexis), fabric.com (sold to Amazon), Miavendia.com, LVGRM, and LAWDOCS. She has done turnaround work with Grisanti Galef and Goldress. Ms. Madden has received numerous awards including: inclusion on Inc magazine’s 500 List for three years running, finalist for Inc’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Information Industry Entrepreneur of the Year. She is a member of the Committee of 200, CEO Netweavers, and the Society of International Business Fellows. She has traveled to Istanbul for leadership seminars for emerging leaders from Central Eurasia, and traveled to Belfast to mentor technology companies. She has served on private and public corporate boards. She is and has been on several advisory boards for TI:GER program at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Kennesaw University Center for Corporate Governance, the Grove, and the Global Foundation Network. She is co-founder of the Atlanta Chapter of Women Corporate Directors for women on public and private corporate boards. Ms. Madden received a BA in Math and Economics from Vassar College and an MLS in Library of Science from Columbia University.

Jim Crupi

Jim Crupi

 Jim Crupi Dr. James A. (Jim) Crupi is President and founder of Strategic Leadership Solutions, Inc. Jim is a recognized authority in international business, future trends, and leadership development and is an internationally popular speaker. Jim works with executives for the purpose of aligning strategy, enhancing productivity and competitiveness, and training of the management team. Jim has been featured on CNN, Fox Business Network with Neil Cavuto, National Public Radio, served as a TED speaker and quoted in many publications throughout the world. He received his B.S. degree from North Georgia College, M.S. from the University of Southern California, and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He has completed advanced work at the London Business School, Oxford University, and the International Management Institute in Geneva. Jim has served as a consultant to the Office of the President of the United States and does work for many Fortune 1000 corporations, including Coca Cola, Turner Broadcasting Corporation, AT&T, HP, Siemens, Intel, Phelps Dodge, Motorola, and IBM among others. He founded the International Business Fellows [SIBF] and the Middle East Leadership Academy [MELA] and serves on the board of CELA. Dr. Crupi resides in Plano, Texas with his wife Faye. Their daughter, Shannon, works in Atlanta, Georgia, and their son, Matthew, works in Dallas.

Vickie Neighbour

Vickie Vickie Neighbour

Vickie is a member of the second generation of the Cox family. Her father, William B. Cox, Sr. founded Cox Wood Preserving in 1952. Vickie retired in 2008 after 16 years with Cox Industries. She served in several capacities: Sales and Marketing, Palmetto Manufacturing, 1992-1998 Corporate Communications, Cox Industries, 1998-2006 VP of International Business Development, Cox Industries, 2006-2008 Corporate Secretary, Cox Industries, 1999 – 2008. She currently serves on the company’s Board of Directors, where one area of responsibility is the promotion of family continuity and communication. Vickie is a member of the SIBF Class of ’96 (Society of International Business Fellows) and currently serves on its executive board as well as on the board of SIBF’s philanthropic institution, GNF (Global Network Foundation.) Vickie is a facilitator annually for CELA (Central Eurasian Leadership Academy) at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey and MELA (Middle East Leadership Academy) which is also held annually in various locations in the Middle East. She is a graduate of Leadership SC, Class of 2001 and a sustaining member of the Junior Service League of Orangeburg, SC. Vickie served as a member of the Richland County Foster Care Review Board from 2004-2008 and continues to participate in its monthly Child Care Program, providing activities and meals for children while their foster and adoptive parents attend training. Vickie also serves on the executive board for Children Come First, an advocacy group for foster children. Vickie is a 2001 graduate of the University of South Carolina where she earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Golden Key National Honor Society) and was recently awarded the 2012 Outstanding Alumni Award by the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management. She attended Kennesaw State University (Beta Gamma Sigma) where she earned an EMBA with a specific focus on family owned businesses. Vickie completed the Cambridge Institute for Global Learning in Amman, Jordan in October 2012. Vickie lives in Columbia, SC, as do her two sons, Brian, 31, and Matthew, 29. She is married to Pete Neighbour, a professional jazz musician from London, England. She enjoys travel, tennis and reading/learning, and her 3-year old black miniature Schnauzer, Abby.

Brian Sadler

Brian Brian Sadler Brian Sadler co-founded and currently manages Sagitarius Capital Partners, a small private equity fund of funds. He also serves as an independent board director of All Metals, a steel service and logistics company. He also currently serves on the board of directors and is Co-Chair of the Georgia Chapter of SIBF.

Brian is a former investment banker and management turnaround consultant with over 20 years of corporate strategy, private equity, mergers and acquisitions and financial operations experience focused on middle market companies experiencing high growth, high leverage and/or turnaround situations allowing significant value to be created through financial and operational improvements. For the past six years, Brian has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Chamberlin Edmonds & Associates, Inc., the largest provider of government healthcare eligibility and enrollment services in the US. The company recently merged with Emdeon, Inc. (NYSE: EM), a leading US-based healthcare information technology services company.

Prior experiences include: four years as an independent turnaround management and financial restructuring consultant; eight years as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Legacy Investment Group, a Southeast-based investment and merchant banking boutique; four years as a corporate real estate debt restructuring officer at Citibank/Citicorp; and two years within the entrepreneurial services group at Price Waterhouse where he began his career.

Brian received an MBA from Cornell University and a BS in Commerce with Distinction from the University of Virginia along with a CPA from the State of Virginia. He is also a graduate of Citicorp’s Global Finance Institute. In 2009, Brian was awarded Atlanta Business Chronicle’s CFO of the Year for medium-sized private companies.

Brian is a cycling and triathlon enthusiast and he and his wife Karla of five years are avid travelers who are hoping to spend much of 2012 visiting the rest of the world.

Ginny Jackson

Ginny

Ginny Jackson

Ginny Jackson is Vice-President and significant shareholder of Statement Systems, Inc., an 18-year-old company in Dallas, Texas. SSI specializes in performing highly complex data parsing/processing and printing/distribution of complex, highly-personalized variable communications for clients such as Federal Express, JPMorgan Chase, Dell and many other Fortune 1000 companies.

Ginny is active in the SMU Tower Center Forum, World Affairs Council, CELA (Central Eurasia Leadership Academy), the Society of International Business Fellows, Dallas Social Venture Partners, Dallas Women in Philanthropy and is on the Board of the Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas. She graduated from Occidental College in Pasadena, CA, with a B.A. in Languages.

Ginny’s hobbies include cooking (as much as possible, as often as possible, for as many people as possible), reading and all sorts of sports and outdoor activities. She enjoys attending a wide range of arts and cultural events, especially dance and literary events. Ginny and her husband, Steven Raab, share their home with their three Golden Retrievers – Hudson, Cooper and Bo – and two cats.

John C. Mills

John Mills John Mills

John C. Mills is an entrepreneur who has been involved in multiple applied technology startups, focusing on bringing their technology to market. He has executive level experience in manufacturing, importing and exporting within the Americas, the Pacific Rim and the EU. He is currently Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of Green Star Group, Ltd. which he founded to provide environmentally beneficial products such as the Dragon Fire 888™ technology, a fuel combustion enhancing technology for which he holds a US patent and which has demonstrated significant fuel savings and pollutant reductions globally. This technology is currently rolling out in Southeast Asia, Middle East, North Africa and Central America.

As a CPA and certified mediator, Mills has provided testimony as an expert witness in disputes regarding business valuations and chemical damages. He has also provided due diligence for potential mergers and acquisitions of banks, defense contractors, international NGOs, and business associates.

Mills has served for eight years as a facilitator at the Central Eurasian Leadership Academy (CELA) at Koç University in Istanbul. He is also a founding Director of the Middle East Leadership Academy (MELA), assisting in curriculum development, program planning and serving as Managing Director of the Inaugural Program in 2011. Together these programs serve emerging leaders in over 20 countries. He provides continuing professional coaching and mentoring for emerging leaders in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

John is a member of Rotary International, Water & Sanitation Rotary Action Group, the Rotary Club of Dallas (Paul Harris Fellow), The Society of International Business Fellows, the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations, Financial Executives International, The Tower Center Forum at Southern Methodist University and has served on the Boards of the YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Symphony Association and The Dallas 500.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Mills attended Southern Methodist University and Texas Tech University, graduating with a BBA in Business Administration with High Honors.

His philanthropic interests include Dallas Social Venture Partners, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Predisan Rural Medical Clinics in Catacamas Honduras, the Global Network Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America. His recreational interests include sailing, SCUBA diving, fishing and travel. Mills holds a private pilot’s license and is Instrument-rated.

He lives in Dallas and is the proud father of two adult sons. He recently became a grandfather for the first time.

Karla Sadler

Karla Karla Sadler

Karla has over 20 years of broad experience in the retail industry, including buying, planning, and sales. She spent 15 years with Macy’s Department Stores (NYSE: M), the largest department store chain in the US with annual revenue exceeding $25 billion. She most recently served as a Divisional Vice President of Planning, managing its Better Women’s Clothing division, a $500 million annual revenue business. Previously, she served for six years as a Regional Sales Account Executive for Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ), a major international apparel brand.

Karla is very involved within the community and works with multiple non-profit organizations in Atlanta. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy and has chaired their major fundraiser event for the past two years. While at Macy’s, she served as Co-Chair for its Partnership Against Domestic Violence. In 2004, she was recognized as a YWCA Woman of Achievement.

Karla graduated with a BS in Marketing from the University of South Florida.

Karla’s other interests include travel and exercise. She is an eight-time marathoner and recently completed her first triathlon. She and her husband Brian of five years are avid travelers who hope to “travel the world” in 2012.

Shelby Grubbs

Shelby

Shelby Grubbs Shelby Grubbs is a lawyer and a partner in the Atlanta, Georgia office of Miller & Martin, a law firm based in the southeastern United States. He has over 32 years of experience in law practice which has included serving as lead counsel for Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 companies and as special master in litigations involving toxic tort claims and Medicare reimbursement programs. While Mr. Grubbs remains active as counsel in class and other complex litigation, his professional work today is largely focused on dispute resolution and dispute management. He has acted as an arbitrator or mediator in numerous business, construction and intellectual property disputes.

Mr. Grubbs’ interests and experience include international and comparative law. He is currently chairing the Litigation, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Section of the World Law Group, a network of law firms with more than 12,000 lawyers in 46 firms in 37 countries. He is editor of International Civil Procedure, a 2004 publication comparing litigation and arbitration procedure in 34 separate countries and jurisdictions.

A former president of the Chattanooga Bar Association, Mr. Grubbs is a 1975 graduate of the University Of Alabama School Of Law where he was a member of the Alabama Law Review. He has served on numerous civic boards including the Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Heart Association and the Audubon Society. He is Chairman-elect of the board of the Global Network Foundation and is active with the Greater Atlanta Heart Association. He is married to Lynne Dodge Grubbs, formerly of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. They have three grown children, Nathaniel, James and Elizabeth Victoria.

Stewart Mott Dansby

Stewart Stewart Mott Dansby

 

Stewart Mott Dansby is immediate past chairman of the Global Network Foundation, a supporting foundation to the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF). The foundation’s mission is to facilitate global philanthropy in partnership with foundations, institutions, corporations and individuals by leveraging the expertise of SIBF members to further global understanding. The Foundation focuses on projects that permit members to give of their time and expertise as well as their financial support.

Stewart’s career has included working in the urban planning division of a Birmingham architectural firm, two years in Detroit with an investment counseling firm, and five years with the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce where he was Manager of the Public Affairs Department. He later co-founded a GIS consulting firm, American Cadastre, Inc. (“AmCad”) that advises clients on computerized mapping. In addition to the United States, AmCad has done work in several countries including Russia, Armenia, Canada, Mexico and Kazakhstan. In 1999, the company was sold, and Stewart became the first Executive Director of the Vulcan Park Foundation. After serving as both president and chairman, he relinquished his management role in 2001 and joined the board of directors.

Stewart serves on the boards of several nonprofit institutions. In 1996, he had the honor of being named “Outstanding Civic Leader” by the Alabama Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives (now known as the Association of Fundraising Professionals).

Stewart was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, raised in Birmingham, and graduated from high school at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. He received a B.A. in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Biology from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in North Carolina. He later earned an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Stewart has two children: Stewart, Jr., and Susan.

Susan Sutterfield

Susan Susan Sutterfield

Susan J. Sutterfield has 20 years experience as a hospital nurse with a focus on physical rehabilitation and pulmonary medicine. She has a B.S. in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She continues her medical work part time on an international research study which focuses on Type 1 diabetes development in children.

Susan’s other main interests are international travel, history and politics and she also enjoys cooking and regular exercise. In addition to living in France, she has traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America. Through the Central Eurasia Leadership Academy (CELA) she has participated in all of the Academies, 12 of the 15 reunions and as a result visited all of the nine member countries from the South Caucasus through Central Asia.

Susan and Meade have four adult married children and are the proud grandparents of seven children.

John King

John King John King

 

John is the founding partner and CEO of Cultural Architecture, Inc., and the Cultural Architecture Institute. Cultural Architecture is an education oriented consulting firm focusing on leadership, strategy and cultural change issues, and the strategic training and development of key executives. Prior to founding Cultural Architecture, Inc., John was founding partner and president of CultureSync LLC, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing tactical solutions for mid and upper management. John is co-author of The Coaching Revolution, from Adams Media, presenting best practices in the field of business and executive coaching. His second book, the best selling Tribal Leadership, published by HarperCollins, underlies a web assisted training program entitled, Leadership Intensive, a rigorous multi-year training for leaders, executives and managers that leads to certification as an Associate, Member, and ultimately, Fellow & Examiner of The Cultural Architecture Institute.

John is in demand as a keynote speaker, and he is internationally recognized as a senior teacher, coach, and program leader. His executive clientele have been featured on all major television networks and in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. John is a facilitator of The Samurai Game®, conducts an intensive seminar regarding the establishment and sustainability of Communities of Honor, entitled, The Gatherings, and is currently developing his next book, Cultural Architecture: Building Stage 4 Communities of Honor. John lives in Cedar Crest, New Mexico.

Martha Deméré

MArta Martha Deméré

 

Martha is President and owner of Entec Stations, Inc., a 22 year old independent gasoline retailer located in Alabama. Entec is the only independent retailer in the Southeast with the TopTier rating indicating the ability to blend their own fuels for commercial sale. It has state of the art carwashes, the highest volume stations in the territory and is the largest female owned company in Montgomery, Alabama. Martha is a member of The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Committee of 100, Leadership Montgomery, and Immediate past Chairman of The Children’s Museum of Alabama, which is an emerging hands-on science and technology museum that she began. She is a trained mediator and Stephen minister. She graduated in Consumer Economics from University of Georgia. As a graduate in fine embroidery, with distinction, from The Royal School of Needlework, Martha is a published children’s clothes designer with published patterns and embroidery designs. Her work is frequently featured in many magazines dedicated to heirloom sewing, and she also teaches sewing at her local church. Martha is the mother of three grown children, raises orchids and enjoys pilates.

Charles Meade Sutterfield

Meade Charles Meade Sutterfield

C. Meade Sutterfield is a private equity investor primarily in emerging telecommunications and wireless communications entities. He currently serves as an advisor to Counsel Ventures and Antares Capital, as well as a director on the board of two companies among the 32 in which he is or has been an angel investor.

From 1985-1993 he was concurrently a founder and President of PowerFone, Inc., Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) carrier in the major markets in Michigan and Ohio, and Johnson Communications Corporation SMR carrier in the southeastern United States. These companies were merged into the rollup which created Nextel Communications as a nationwide company. He was previously President of AllianceWall Corporation in 1984 and at Kimberly-Clark, where from 1980-1984 he had held several positions leading to Vice-President and General Manager of the Service and Industrial Division. His initial career was Scientific-Atlanta, where he held a number of sales, marketing, operations and general management positions in Europe and America during his tenure from 1974-1980. Meade’s education includes a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1972 and a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard University in 1974, both with honors. In 1986, he was the President of the Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta. Meade is a Director of the Atlanta Technology Angels. He is a past Chair of the Alumni Association of the Georgia Institute of Technology and currently serves on the Institute’s Foundation Board, the Research Corporation Board and Capital Campaign Steering Committee, as well as the Advisory Board for the College of Engineering and the Flashpoint Incubator. He is a past Chair of the Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF) and is the Past Chair of the Global Network Foundation of SIBF. In 2002, he was one of the founders of the Central Eurasian Leadership Academy (CELA) and has participated in all none academies and attended almost every reunion, resulting in travel to every country in the region. He is also involved through SIBF in the Middle East Leadership Academy (MELA) which is beginning a parallel organization to CELA and SIBF for young leaders from the 13 Arabic states in the Levant, Arabian Peninsula and Egypt and has participated in all of those programs. He is married to Susan and they have four married children and seven young grandchildren.

Steven Raab

Steven Steven Raab

Steven Raab is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The InSource Group which provides a variety of Information Technology services and highly qualified Information Technology professionals to its commercial and federal government clients on a contract basis. As Chairman, CEO and one of the founders of The InSource Group, Mr. Raab is responsible for the current and future performance of the business including the strategic direction, profitability, board management and governance, and ultimately operational excellence. The Insource Group was a three time qualifier in the SMU Cox Business School of Business Dallas 100, has received numerous other awards, and previously was recognized as one Texas’ fastest growing Women Owned Businesses.

Mr. Raab began his technical career at IBM, where he held various line and staff management positions in sales and vertical industry markets over a period of 17 years. He also has been the founder and President of his own custom home building company, Executive Vice President of Real Estate and Real Estate Lending for Champion Savings & Loan, and EVP of Real Time Financial Systems, Inc.

He is the past President and current member of the board of The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, past Board Chair and Board member of Dallas Social Venture Partners, board member of Social Venture Partners International and board member of SIBF’s Central Eurasia Leadership Academy (CELA). He is serving as facilitator coordinator for the MELA program.

Steven is keenly interested in geopolitics, international security, and foreign affairs and in that pursuit he is a member of The Tower Center Forum at SMU, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Ft. Worth and Dallas Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Raab is also interested in social innovation, travel, motorcycle riding, hand and shot gun sports (particularly skeet/sporting clays), learning piano, and reading.

Steven is currently pursuing a Masters of International Relations at Southern Methodist University.

Donna Starnes

Donna Donna Starnes

Donna, a native Texan, has over 26 years of experience as a financial planning advisor and corporate executive. Her career includes experience as an audit manager at a major public accounting firm, an executive at an international financial services firm, and a financial advisor to executives, entrepreneurs and their families. In recent years, Donna has been actively involved in politics, including running for Dallas City Council and working on campaigns for other candidates. Donna strongly believes that abiding by principles such as personal responsibility and a focus on ethical means to achieve a goal are important characteristics in any leader in business, political or personal life. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband of nearly 40 years, Bill Starnes. She is a proud mother of one son and a 9-year-old granddaughter. She enjoys movies, Pilates, walking, trying new vegan dessert recipes and is learning to play bridge.

William Hough

Bill Hough William Hough

William R. Hough was born January 1, 1927 and in 1937 moved permanently to St. Petersburg at the age of 10. Graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1944. Served in the U.S. Navy V-12 Officer Training Program at the University of Miami and Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Graduated Miami University in 1947 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Received a commission as Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, resulting from participation in the NROTC Program, a continuation of Navy V-12. Received a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Florida in 1948. This was the first MBA degree conferred by the University of Florida. Entered the securities industry in 1948 and has been continuously active in that field throughout his career. Worked for A.M. Kidder & Co. in New York and DeLand, Florida as a securities analyst and account executive. Formed Freeman, Hough & Co. in Ft. Myers, a general securities business, in 1950. In 1951 formed Beil & Hough, Inc. a member of the Midwest Stock Exchange, a general securities firm. Formed William R. Hough & Co. in 1962, specializing in state, county and municipal bonds. This firm for many years has been the leading underwriter of Florida bonds in terms of the number of issues handled. The firm originates tax-exempt municipal bonds for all types and sizes of issuers within the State. William R. Hough & Co. has, in recent years, expanded into additional lines of business. In 1993 the firm founded The Hough Group of Funds which includes a tax free money market fund and a tax free short term fund both of which are designed as exempt from Federal income taxes and from the Florida intangibles tax. In 1994 the Hough TaxFree Money Market Fund had the highest yield among 360 tax-exempt money market funds in the United States. The firm has recently acquired “general securities” status, handles all types of stock transactions on behalf of customers and provides safekeeping for customer accounts including bonds as well as stock. A major portion of the firm’s business is categorized as “proprietary trading.” The firm has long been a dominant participant in secondary trading of Florida municipal bonds. In recent years it has become a major player in the secondary market trading of general market and actively traded bonds of all the states. The firm is presently active in proprietary trading in the following categories of securities: Florida municipal bonds, general market municipal bonds, general market health care related tax-exempt bonds, taxable U.S. Government Agency obligations, collateralized mortgage obligations, Florida bank and thrift stocks, small NASDAQ stocks, unit investment trusts, and listed closed-end funds. Hough recently stepped down and now served as Chairman Emeritus of William R. Hough & Co. Hough started an affiliated company, WRH Mortgage, Inc., in 1992 to trade in the commercial mortgage secondary market. In 1993 Hough & John W. Sapanski acquired controlling interest in Republic Bank of Clearwater. The Bank, now headquartered in St. Petersburg, was merged on April 15, 2004 through an exchange of stock into BB&T Bank of Winston Salem, NC. At the time of merger, Republic Bank had assets of $2,800,000,000 and approximately 75 branch offices. Mr. Hough’s Board memberships include University Of Florida Foundation; Salvador Dali Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, St Pete; Palladium Theatre; and Eckerd Collage. William R Hough & Co. merged into RBC Dain Rauscher Inc. on Feb 27 2004. RBC Dain is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, the largest Bank in Canada. RBC Dain is a full service financial services firm, member NYSE, operating nationwide and is a strong municipal bond firm, similar to William R Hough & Co. Hough’s hobbies are sailing, skiing and participation in triathlons. He and wife Hazel are avid travelers who share an enthusiastic interest in the arts.

Areas of Expertise Bill has experience in the following areas: Financial analysis and securities trading Corporate and non profit organizational leadership and governance Entrepreneurial enterprise – Formerly headed Investment Bank which financed US states, counties, cities with issuance of local bonds and loans Formerly was Chaiman of Republic Bancshares, a 2.8 billion $ commercial bank (not international) in Florida Presently Chairman of WRH Income Properties, a US holder of residential apartment projects Presently Financial Consultant with RBC Dain Rauscher Inc, a wholly owned Investment Bank of the Royal Bank of Canada.


W. Lucas (Luke) Simons

Luke W. Lucas (Luke) Simons

Luke Simons is a 42-year veteran of the securities industry who worked his way up through the business. He is presently an Advisor UBS Investment Banking and formerly Senior Managing Director with UBS Financial Services. Luke was Co-Senior Partner of J.C. Bradford & Co., Nashville, Tennessee (one of the Nation’s largest independently owned investment-banking firms before the UBS PaineWebber/J.C. Bradford merger in June of 2000.) Before joining J.C. Bradford in 1963, Luke, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management from Georgia Tech, a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Virginia, and served in the U.S. Navy. Luke is also active in the Nashville community. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement, Friends of Warner Park, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, (Chair of Development Council and member of the Executive Committee, Finance and Operations Committee and Collectors Council), most recently the Metro Nashville Arts Commission’s Public Art Committee and Belmont University. He is a member of Leadership Nashville, and a member of the Society of International Business Fellows. Luke and his wife, Susan, have three daughters, and six grandchildren.

Afghanistan

General Data
Area: 647,500 thousand square kilometers
Population: approximately 32,738,400 (the population of Afghanistan is divided into a wide variety of ethnic groups. Because a systematic census has not been held in the country in decades, exact figures about the size and composition of the various ethnic groups are not available. Therefore most figures are approximations only: Pashtun: 42%, Tajik: 27%, Hazara: 9%, Uzbek: 9%, Aimak: 4%, Turkmen: 3%, Baloch: 2%, Other: 4%)
Capital: Kabul
President: Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani
Official language: Pashto and Dari
Religion: Muslim (99%)

Armenia

General Data
Area: 29.74 thousand square kilometers
Population: 3,222,900 [97,2 % of Armenia’s population are Armenians. Minorities living in Armenia include Yezidis, Russians, Kurds, Assyrians, Greeks, and others.]
Capital: Yerevan
President: Mr. Serzh Sargisyan
Official language: Armenian
Religion: Christian (99%)

Azerbaijan

General Data
Area: 86.6 thousand square kilometers
Population: 9,356,500 (2013 estimate)
Capital: Baku
President: Mr. Ilham Aliyev
Official language: Azerbaijani
Religion: 93% Muslim, 4% Christians, 3% – other religions.

Georgia

General Data
Area: 69,700 thousand square kilometers
Population: 4,469,200 (84% Georgians, 6.5% Azeri, 5.7%, Armenians, 1.5% Russians, 2.5% others)
Capital: Tbilisi
President: Mr. Giorgi Margvelashvili
Official language: Georgian
Religion: Orthodox Christianity (82%)

Kazakhstan

General Data
Area: 2,724,9 sq. km
Population: 16,911,911 (2013 est.)
Capital: Astana
President: Mr. Nursultan Nazarbaev
Official language: Kazakh and Russian
Religion: Three main religions include Muslim 47%; Russian Orthodox 44%; Protestant 2%, other 7%

Kyrgyzstan

General Data
Area: 199,900 sq. km
Population: 5,550,239 (2011 est.) 68.9% Kyrgyz, 14.4% Uzbek, 9.1% Russian, 7.6% others.
Capital: Bishkek
President: Almazbek Atambayev
Official language: Kyrgyz and Russian
Religion: The Population of Kyrgyzstan is 75% Muslim, 20% Russian Orthodox and 5% other.

 

Tajikistan

General Data
Area: 143,100 sq. km
Population: 7,616,000 (2011 estimate) 79.9% Tajik, 15.3% Uzbek, 1.1% Russian, 1.1% Kyrgyz, 2.6% others
Capital: Dushanbe
President: Emomali Rahmon
Official language: Tajik
Religion: 85–90% of the population of Tajikistan is Muslim, mostly Sunni, roughly 4% are Christian, mostly Russian Orthodox, and less than 1% is Jews.

 

Turkmenistan

General DataArea: 491,210 sq. km
Population: 5,125,693 (2012 estimate)
Capital: Ashgabat
President: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
Official language: Turkmen
Religion: 89 Muslim, 9% adhere to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and for 2% others.

 

Uzbekistan

General Data
Area: 447,400 sq. km
Population: 29,559,100 (2012 estimate) 80% Uzbek, 5.5% Russian, 5.0% Tajik, 3.0% Kazakh, 2.5% Karakalpak, 1.5% Tatar, 2.5% others.
Capital: Tashkent
President: Islam Karimov
Official language: Uzbek
Religion: 90% Muslim, 6% Christian and 4% others.

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