Thought Leaders

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Robert Allen Davis, Jr.
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Robert Allen Davis, Jr.

Director, Office of Language and Cultural Education

Robert A. Davis Jr. was born in Chicago’s south side and graduated from Northern Illinois History, where he studied Chinese art history, Chinese philosophy and Chinese language. In 1997 Robert moved to Xi’an in central China where he lived for two years and taught English to adult scientists and researchers at the Xi’an International Studies University. During this stay in China, Robert traveled extensively throughout the region and developed a keen interest in contemporary Chinese culture, especially the education system. In 1999 Robert returned to Chicago and became the first Asian world languages program coordinator for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He now serves as the Director of the Confucius Institute in Chicago and the CPS Chicago’s Chinese Connection Program. In 2002 he was awarded a full scholarship from the Chinese government to study Chinese language and culture at Peking University. He has lead 9 education cultural immersion programs to China, with over 100 teachers and administrators having participated. In October 2004 Robert accompanied Mayor Richard M. Daley to Shanghai and Shenyang, China as his education representative, and facilitated in the signing of an Agreement of Cooperation between the Chicago Public Schools and the Chinese Ministry of Education. In May 2006 he returned to China with Mayor Daley to expand collaboration between Chicago and China, which included meetings with Minister of Education, Zhou Ji. He is a frequent lecturer on the subject of Chinese language education development in the United States, and has spoken at the Asia Society in New York, The First World Conference on the Teaching of Chinese as a Foreign Language (Beijing), The Institute on International Education (Washington DC), the University of Chicago and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (several occasions). Robert is an avid supporter of language education and an advocate for an increase in International education programs in America’s public schools.

 
 
Tristan B. de la Rosa
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Tristan B. de la Rosa

President & CEO

Tristan has over three decades of leadership and management experience, working with the world’s largest and most respected consumer goods companies. Starting out as brand manager at Procter & Gamble in the Philippines, Tristan has risen to senior marketing and eventually country executive and board level positions in companies that include Kraft Foods, Johnson & Johnson, and the Wm Wrigley Jr Company. He has been posted in some of the world’s most important and fastest growing markets - including China, India, the tiger economies of South East Asia - as well as in the United States. His latest foreign assignment was in Vietnam as General Director for URC, a subsidiary of JGSummit Holdings, one of Asia’s largest and most respected business conglomerates. In these assignments, Tristan successfully led and managed organizations in meeting every imaginable challenge: from overseeing start-ups to turning around problem ventures; from launching brands in a single market to orchestrating complex marketing and business campaigns across an entire region. Most recently, Tristan moved to Chicago where he founded and is now President & CEO of Banyan Way, an Executive Coaching & Development company dedicated to helping marketing executives further improve their leadership and management skills.

 
 
Joe Hester
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Joe Hester

Senior Attorney
Microsoft

Joe Hester is a senior attorney at Microsoft where he has supported the worldwide Services business. He helped establish Microsoft’s new managed desktop business and reengineered the process for the localization of Microsoft’s standard agreements around the world. Previously, Joe worked for Accenture and Electronic Data Systems Corporation.

Microsoft
 
Valentine Judge
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Valentine Judge

former Director of International Programs with City of Chicago
Microsoft

Valentine has served the city of Chicago for over a decade including as Director of International Programs.

Microsoft
 
Louise Kern
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Louise Kern

Managing Director
Microsoft

With over twenty years of international experience, Louise M. Kern began working in the business information industry in 1996. In 1998 she moved to Vienna, Austria as the head of European Operations for a top US business information company. Ms. Kern returned to her native Chicago in 2000 to head the International Division of the same company, expanding their coverage to include data on international companies. Seeing the surging need for high quality business information in the increasingly global economy, Ms. Kern founded Global Business Information Services, Inc. (GLOBIS) in 2003 to cater particularly to the growing number of small and medium sized enterprises expanding internationally.

Initially focusing exclusively on China business information, Globis forged partnerships with leading Chinese private and quasi-governmental credit reporting and market research enterprises, beating venerable international business information companies to win the US Commercial Service’s contract as its source for International Company Profile (ICP) reports on Chinese companies in the fall of 2004. In April 2005 Globis expanded its coverage to include information on businesses and individuals in over 200 countries.

Ms. Kern has lived in mainland China, Austria, Germany, and France. She speaks fluent Mandarin and German, and is conversant in French. She has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a graduate diploma from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Nanjing University campus. She is a Board Member of the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago, a member of the International Women Associates, the Chicago Sister Cities China Committee, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs China Roundtable, and the International Visitors Center of Chicago.

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Microsoft
 
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