UNIBusiness Global Trade Issues Conference

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

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Overcoming Trade Finance Challenges

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 BenboBrian T. Gordon, Senior Vice President & Manager, International Banking Group

Brian joined Commerce in May 2012 with a wealth of knowledge in the International Banking industry.  He started his banking career at National Bank of Commerce in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1989 while attending the University of Nebraska.  In 2000, he moved to Wells Fargo where he focused his calling in the 7 states surrounding Missouri as a business development officer calling on companies involved in international business.  He then joined Sovereign Bank in the MidAtlantic & New England markets to set up a structured trade finance group. Before returning to the Midwest to join Commerce he was with HSBC in New York City as an international business development officer covering CT, NJ, NY, PA, MD, VA, and Washington DC.

He has 25 years experience in trade services operations, trade finance, and structured trade finance areas and has also worked closely with global treasury and foreign exchange.  He serves on the board of the International Relations Council in Kansas City.  Both Brian and his wife Tammy are Nebraska natives. 


Please register here by October 25, 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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