Global Chamber® Teams with U.S. State Department 

by Kim Bridges and Nia Febriyanti

Ms. Alexandra (Sasha) Shitova and Ms. Thongmala (Oi) Keola (left to right)

Ms. Alexandra (Sasha) Shitova and Ms. Thongmala (Oi) Keola (left to right)

This past fall, once again Global Chamber® was selected by the Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program (PFP) to host two more Professional Fellows from its program, designed to teach young leaders around the world about the U.S., and foster the creation of long-term business relationships and business opportunities that grow wealth on every side of every border.

This fall, we hosted Ms. Thongmala Keola (or, as she prefers to be called, Oi), trade official of the Trade and Product Promotion Department, Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Vientiane, Laos; and Ms. Alexandra Shitova (or Sasha), head of Microfinance Department, Nonprofit Partnership Rostov Regional Agency for Business Support in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

During this fall’s fellowship, Sasha and Oi worked alongside the Global Chamber team at our global headquarters in SkySong, where they gained experience in running global startup businesses. We’re not the only startup — each of our metros around the world is a startup, too. “Their knowledge and expertise of business practices in their respective metros was a tremendous asset to Global Chamber®,” says Doug Bruhnke, CEO and founder of Global Chamber, “and we hope that the lessons learned here will ultimately help them in their professional global business development.”

Oi’s main responsibilities back home in Laos are serving as a project coordinator of the U.N. Trade Cluster Initiative and as a specialist on international relations and exports strategy. “I hope to use what I’ve learned at Global Chamber® to help entrepreneurs in my region increase their volume of exports and build stronger brands on the international stage,” says Oi.

Sasha has a rich experience in business consulting and is very interested in the different approaches to business growth and cross-border trade and investment. “I hope that my experience with Global Chamber® will enable me to come up with new service opportunities for my organization to provide to our customers as they work to grow their business and foster community improvement,” says Sasha.

gc-teams-up-with-state-deptPFP is a two-way exchange that embraces the power of individual citizens to find creative solutions to challenges in their home communities. The program commences with a visit to the U.S. by a professional fellow — who has been selected from hundreds of applicants — to work within a selected U.S. business, and concludes with an exchange program that brings an individual from the U.S. to help implement a selected program in the fellow’s home country.

In fact, when Oi and Sasha arrived at Global Chamber, CEO and Founder of Global Chamber Doug Bruhnke was in Indonesia working on another professional fellow’s exchange program that was selected earlier this year. Nia Febriyanti, product manager of Bank Danamon Indonesia, a PFP alumnus whom Global Chamber hosted earlier this year, was awarded financing for her project entitled “Enhancing & Broadening Knowledge in Indonesia’s SME Sector to Grow Business Globally.” Bruhnke was ultimately selected to be the business leader implementing the program, which also resulted in a connection that is starting Global Chamber in Indonesia. It all works together.

Since 2010, more than 2,600 participants in the State Department program from more than 90 countries have taken part in PFP in cities across the U.S., with more than 1,200 American hosts having participated in reciprocal exchanges overseas. This is an important diplomatic program developed by the U.S. State Department, one that makes a difference in peoples’ lives, and Global Chamber is honored to be part of it. Contact us to learn more.

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