Leadership Team

Kati Suominen

Founder & Interim Executive Director

Suominen serves as Founder & CEO of Nextrade Group that helps leading governments and Fortune 500s optimize public policies and investment in driving trade and digitization worldwide. She is also the Founder of TradeUp Capital Fund, a growth capital platform that helps globalizing tech companies raise growth capital from institutional investors, Adjunct Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management, and Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She is also a Senior Advisor to the CEO of the World SME Forum, a new initiative to bolster SME development worldwide, and Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Suominen is working on her 10th book Revolutionizing World Trade: How Disruptive Technologies Open Opportunity for All to be published with Stanford University Press in 2017. She has 20 years in international trade and digitization and public finance in trade and competitiveness, including as front-office executive with the Inter-American Development Bank.

Suominen is the idea woman behind such leading international initiatives as eTrade for All, launched with the United Nations in July to catalyze ecommerce in developing countries, and RTA Exchange, a global dialogue forum on regional trade agreement championed by the Inter-American and Asian Development Banks.

She has had high-level speaking engagements and ‎keynotes in trade, e.g. at Davos, World Trade Symposium, Global Trade Review conference, WTO, World Bank, and several others.

MBA, Wharton; PhD, University of California, San Diego.

Lucy Lawrence

Founder, Managing Director - Private Sector Engagement

Lucy has 20 years as ecommerce leader, most recently as Head of Thought Leadership Practice at eBay Enterprise, division of eBay Inc. Collaborator in digital innovations for clients including Rebecca Minkoff’s Connected Stores and Kate Spade’s Shoppable Windows. She served as Chair for eBay’s Executive Client Advisory Board.

Lucy joined eBay Inc as part of the acquisition of GSI Commerce, where she led growth programs in strategic areas such as B2B, fulfillment and marketplaces.

Her entry into eCommerce was the launch of Ashford.com, the first luxury e-tailer established in the U.S. in 1998.  Ashford was acquired by GSI Commerce in 2001. She has had extensive speaking engagements and keynotes on eCommerce retail strategies worldwide, with deep expertise in eCommerce in Latin America. She serves as a mentor in Mexico’s leading startup community Victoria47.

BA, MIS University of Houston.

Petra Hand

Managing Director - PPP Development

Hand is a global issues advisor, sustainability and development policy strategist and the founder of Petra Hand Consulting based in Los Angeles. She specializes in emerging market entry and public-private sector partnerships, creating unique opportunities for organizations to become “business as a force for good”, be proactive in their CSR initiatives as solutions to Sustainable Development Goals commitments of developing nations.

Hand is a veteran United Nations political, humanitarian and development affairs officer who spent the last 10 years as a technical and policy advisor in complex emergencies and conflict zones around the world – Darfur, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and the MENA region. She also held executive roles for private sector firms with operations in Haiti, East Asia and West Africa.

MA, Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy.

Candace Nkoth Bisseck

Director - Africa

15 years in business and ecommerce in Africa. Currently working on a Stanford University project on SME development in Africa. Has served as country manager of the ecommerce website Jumia Market (formerly Kaymu) in Cameroon, a venture part of the first continent’s “unicorn,” Jumia Group (formerly Africa Internet Group). Previously, she worked for l’Oreal and as a consultant in the fields of innovation, telecommunications and digital economy in Africa, Europe, and Asia.  Since 2014, has contributed to the digital literacy of thousands of Cameroonian traders, teaching them how to use the internet and digital tools to sell beyond their physical shop and beyond their city. This teamwork has allowed to citizens from more than 200 Cameroonian communities to embrace the comfort of online shopping from their phone or their computer, at home, at work or anywhere else. It also resulted in the form of recognition from the press and several key industry stakeholders. Frequent speaker and full-time advocate for eCommerce and Digital Innovation and a lever for development.