UNIBusiness Global Trade Issues Conference

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
UNI Commons
8:30 am - 1:00 pm

Register Now


Overcoming Trade Finance Challeneges

UNIBusiness will host the 2019 Global Trade Issues Conference on October 30th. The free of charge one-day conference sponsored by John Deere addresses issues of concern in the current global environment and features speakers from businesses involved in international trade. The conference is intended to offer information for Iowans doing business internationally, provide an opportunity for networking with others engaged in international business operations, and offer a chance for UNI students and faculty to gain cutting edge insights into global trade practices and issues.

Conference check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. and the conference agenda will include approximately three main speakers, and networking time.


The Speakers

Headshot of Devorah KaufmanAerek N. Stephens, Export Finance Manager, Minority and Women Owned Business & Multiplier Outreach Division, Export-Import Bank of the United States

Aerek Stephens, a native of Chesapeake Virginia, is Program Manager of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) Regional Export Promotion Program (REPP), which brings together state, county, and local nonprofit economic development entities with EXIM Bank in an alliance designed to expand export opportunities for small businesses. Membership has grown from 36 members to 55 members since the relaunch in August 2016. We currently have members in 34 states and 2 U.S territories. REPP Members are the frontline of connecting small business exporters to the global economy, which is why EXIM and REPP relationship management is critical to our mission.

Mr. Stephens has more than 20 years of banking experience with Wells Fargo and Citigroup. He has held leadership positions in Project Management, Relationship Management, and Lending and Collections.

Mr. Stephens a holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Elizabeth City State University.


Headshot of Ralph InforzatoLaurie Wolff, Academic Economist

Laurie Wolff, CGBP, is an academic economist who has taught literally tens of thousands of students over the last 30 years the basics of exchange rates at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.   She is a Distinguished Fellow for NASBITE International and a certified CGBP trainer.  She tries to bridge the gap between businesses, educators, and government business assistance centers, trying to connect students with employers, training with business needs, and available help with businesses that need to use it.  She especially likes to teach about competitive trends and ways to manage risk in international trade and has been a featured speaker at industry trade shows.  Her mission is to improve the practice of global business.


Headshot of Ryan BenboLeslie A. Bergland, Principal, Trade Acceptance Group, Ltd.

Leslie, along with Curtis Hanson, founded Trade Acceptance Group, Ltd. in June 1996 as a brokerage of export credit and political risk insurance as well as an arranger of trade finance transactions.  Since then TAG has assisted its clients with their risk mitigation and financing needs via trade credit insurance issued by EXIM Bank, AIG, Atradius, Coface, Euler Hermes, FCIA, Tokio Marine HCC, QBE, among others.    Trade Acceptance Group has been named 3 times as EXIM’s “Small Business Broker of the Year” in recognition of its advocacy for small business exporters.  During 2012 Leslie served on the Advisory Committee to Ex-Im Bank’s Board of Directors, representing small business.  In 2015 TAG earned the President’s “E” Award for Export Service. 

Prior to founding TAG, Leslie spent 20 years in international trade banking as Vice President with Norwest Bank (now Wells Fargo) as well as First Bank (now US Bank).  Leslie received her Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Spanish and Business Education from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, and she pursued graduate studies in Spanish Linguistics and Culture at Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico


Please register here by October 16, 2019. Pre-registered off-campus participants will receive a parking pass and map prior to the conference. This conference is offered free of charge thanks to a grant from the John Deere Foundation and the Bradford Chair in International Business. We thank our generous donors.

Inquiries should be directed to Chris Schrage, at 319-273-2126 or schragec@uni.edu.

Hosted by:

Global Business Club Logo

Partnered with:

John Deere logo


UNIBusiness logo


This event qualifies for NASBITE 4.5 Continuing Education Units. 

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