Add to Calendar 2024/04/30 2:15 PM 2024/04/30 3:45 PM America/New_York WITA Academy: Pathways To Opportunity – University of Delaware WITA Academy Webinar
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WITA Academy: Pathways To Opportunity – University of Delaware

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 2:15 PM - 3:45 PM (EST)
WITA Academy Webinar WITA Online Event

Pathways To Opportunity Series: Careers in International Trade, Textiles, Fashion, and Apparel

The WITA Academy Pathways to Opportunity program consists of a series of career pathways sessions hosted by trade professionals from the Washington D.C. policy community. The curriculum, divided between the public and private sector, utilizes the expertise of our members to highlight different roles and career paths that are available in Washington D.C. and around the world.

This one-and-a-half hour online event is open to ALL students from the University of Delaware, Fashion Institute of Technology, and all other Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) Member Schools (undergraduates and graduate students). Other students interested in learning about careers in international trade, textiles, fashion, and apparel are welcome to register too. Registration is free for students and faculty with their university email – students must use university email to register.

Students gain insight from trade professionals, pose questions to policymakers, and learn about exciting career opportunities in international affairs, political science, business, fashion, apparel, and trade. Students come away with an understanding of the trade policy-making community, the role of its key players, and the opportunities for internships and careers available to them.

For questions about the event, please contact the WITA Staff

Session Hosted by: 

University Outreach:



Additional Speaker to be Announced!

All times below US/Eastern 

2:15 PM – 2:20 PM ET: Welcome & Introduction


2:20 PM – 3:00 PM ET: Opportunities in the U.S. Public Sector

Felicia Pullam, Executive Director, Office of Trade Relations, Office of the Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection;

former Director of Strategy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; former Regional Manager, East Asia, Maryland Department of Commerce; former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, U.S. Department of Commerce, former Deputy Director, International Trade and Development, State of Delaware; former Practice Head, Asia, Corporate Responsibility, APCO Worldwide (A.B. Politics, East Asian Studies, Princeton University)

Katherine White, Chief Textiles and Apparel Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative;

former International Trade Policy Advisor, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives; former Management and Program Analyst, International Trade Administration; former Policy Advisor, National Economic Council at the White House (M.A. Public Policy, Duke University – B.A. Political Science & International Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Moderator: Nate Herman, Senior Vice President, Policy, American Apparel & Footwear Association;

former International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce (MPIA, University of Pittsburgh, B.A. in International Relations and Economics, University of Delaware)


3:00 PM – 3:40 PM ET: Opportunities in the Private Sector

Maristella Iacobello, Vice President, Global Customs & Trade Governance, PVH Corp (Fordham University)

Stephanie Lester, Vice President, Head of Government Affairs, Gap Inc.;

former Professional Staff, House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Trade (B.S. Multinational Business from Florida State University, M.A. US Foreign Policy from American University)

Sarah Thorn, Senior Director, Global Government Affairs, Walmart; former Senior Director, International Trade, Grocery Manufacturers Association;

former Consultant, PwC; former Washington Representative, International Relations, Public Affairs, AMP Incorporated; former Presidential Management Fellow, CTC/US Department of State (M.A. in International Relations and Affairs, The Fletcher School at Tufts University, B.A. in Comparative Literature, Duke University)

Moderator: Sheng Lu, Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, University of Delaware;

former Consultant, International Trade Centre (Ph.D. in Textiles & Apparel Management, University of Missouri- Columbia – M.S. & B.SC in International Economics & Trade, Donghua University)


3:40 PM – 3:45 PM ET: Closing Remarks



Nate Herman is Senior Vice President of Policy at American Apparel & Footwear Association. He oversees AAFA’s Policy department, managing the association’s lobbying, policy, and regulatory affairs activities. Nate leads AAFA’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, formulating and implementing CSR policy and representing AAFA and the industry on CSR issues before governments, NGOs, and other key stakeholders. In addition, Nate develops all apparel and footwear industry data and statistics as AAFA’s resident economist. Prior to joining AAFA, Nate worked for six years at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration assisting U.S. firms in entering the global market. Nate spent the last two years as the Department’s industry analyst for the footwear and travel goods industries. Nate received a Masters of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994 and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics from the University of Delaware in 1992.

Maristella Iacobello is the Vice President Global Customs & Trade Governance for PVH Corp. based in New York City.

PVH is a leading importer and retailer of men’s and woman’s apparel, accessories and footwear sold under a variety of owned international brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Warners, Olga, True & Co and various licensed brands . In her 35 plus years with PVH, Ms. Iacobello has held several positions within the Import /Logistics area.

In her most recent position, she is responsible for providing guidance and policy on Trade and all customs compliance matters including and not limited to Free Trade Agreements/preference programs, valuation, trade enforcement ,classification and Global regulatory labeling requirements. She is also a member of several government and trade association committees that support and guide governmental decisions and strategies in the international trade arena.

Stephanie Lester is Vice President, Head of Government Affairs at Gap Inc. In this capacity, she leads Gap Inc.’s trade affairs portfolio, including trade agreements, preference programs, and capacity building programs to contribute to communities in which Gap Inc. sources by utilizing trade to build sustainable apparel industries. Ms. Lester was previously Vice President for International Trade at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). In that role, she advocated on behalf of the largest, most successful retailers on international trade, customs, and product safety issues. From 2001-2006, Ms. Lester served as a professional staff member for the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. In that capacity, she advised members of the Committee on a variety of trade matters including free trade agreements, WTO negotiations on rules and dispute settlement, trade preference programs, U.S. trade remedy laws, and investment. Ms. Lester also worked as an international trade analyst at the U.S. Department of Commerce and later served as the Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary for Import Administration.

Ms. Lester holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Multinational Business from Florida State University, and a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. Ms. Lester has served on the WITA Board of Directors since 2006, and currently serves as Vice President.

Dr. Sheng Lu is an Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware. He also served as a consultant for the International Trade Centre (ITC) co-run by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN). With over 70 publications in academic and trade journals, Dr. Lu’s research focuses on the economic and business aspects of the textile and apparel industry, including international trade, trade policy, and the governance of the global apparel value chain. Dr. Lu received the 2014 Rising Star Award and 2019 Mid-Career Excellence Award from the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) to recognize his research and teaching excellence. He is also the multiple-time recipient of the Paper of Distinction Award at the ITAA annual conferences for his study on the textile and apparel specific-sectoral impact of mega free trade agreements. Several of his studies were cited by government reports such as the Congressional Research Service (CRS) studies prepared for members of U.S. Congress, U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) official assessment on the economic impacts of free trade agreements as well as the World Bank, International Labor Organization, and the United Nations research publications. Dr. Lu’s published works also have been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Thai and regularly featured by media outlet, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times (UK), BBC World News (UK), Nikkei Asian Review (Japan), Associated Press, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Los Angeles Times, Voice of America, and Forbes.

Felicia Pullam is the Executive Director of the Office of Trade Relations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection . She has more than 20 years of diverse experience, including nearly a decade in China working with Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, multilateral organizations, nonprofits, and governments. 

She has worked on trade and FDI from both the federal perspective at the U.S. Department of Commerce and the state perspective in Delaware and Maryland. During the Obama Administration, Ms. Pullam helped steer SelectUSA, a presidential initiative housed within Commerce, during a high-pressure start-up phase to promote the United States as the leading global destination for foreign direct investment. Ms. Pullam was then appointed to be Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, where she managed three offices to analyze and implement trade policy covering a large swath of the global economy. 

Prior to her government service, Felicia led the Asia regional Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability practice for APCO Worldwide, where she managed, trained, and motivated a multicultural team across 11 offices in six countries. She has engaged with stakeholders on a wide range of critical issues, including sustainability and environmental impact, foreign direct investment, labor standards, public health, and consumer safety. 

She got her start in 2000 through the Princeton in Asia program in Guangzhou, followed by a yearlong adventure as tutor and translator for Chinese superstar Zhang Ziyi.

Sarah Thorn is Senior Director of Global Government Affairs at Walmart. Sarah is primarily responsible for managing global government relations related to supply chain and trade issues at Walmart. In this capacity, she advocates for Walmart priorities in legislation and trade negotiations that impact the company’s worldwide sourcing, e-commerce and retail distribution rights. She also leads a team that drives global public policy in support of Walmart’s responsible sourcing commitments. Most recently, Sarah has expanded her portfolio to manage Walmart’s UK government relations, focused on BREXIT negotiations.

In 2011, Sarah led the strategy team that developed Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, which is focused on empowering women throughout Walmart’s global supply chain. She is actively involved in the implementation of the initiative, focusing primarily stakeholder engagement and global partnerships.

Before joining Walmart, Sarah worked for seven years at the Grocery Manufacturers Association where she led the food, beverage and consumer products industry advocacy on international trade issues. Sarah has also worked as a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers on business mobility issues and served as an international relations representative with AMP Incorporated. Sarah began her career in Washington as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Information Agency.

She holds a Master of Arts degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative area studies and comparative literature cum laude from Duke University. She has been recognized as a Top Lobbyist by The Hill magazine and serves as co-chair of the board of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and Secretary of the Board of the Washington International Trade Association.

Katherine White is the Chief Textiles and Apparel Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Ms. White joins USTR from the House Ways and Means Committee in the United States Congress where she served as International Trade Policy Advisor. In this capacity, she advised Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) and Democratic Members of the Committee on trade policy matters, shaped U.S. trade laws, and participated in the negotiation, implementation, and enforcement of U.S. trade agreements, including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). She has worked closely with the textile and apparel industry during the development of trade legislation.

Ms. White joined the Committee in January 2018 from the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce where she began her career in public service as a Presidential Management Fellow. She has worked on international economic and foreign policy issues at the National Economic Council at the White House and think tanks in Washington, DC.

Ms. White earned a Master of Public Policy from Duke University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Diego Añez is the Managing Director of the Washington International Trade Association (WITA) and the Executive Director of the WITA Academy. He is responsible for management of operations, policy programs, strategic engagements and member services for the organization’s 5000+ members and corporate sponsors across all 50 states and over 100 countries worldwide. He provides direction, with the WITA CEO and Board of Directors, to WITA’s portfolio of programming and capstone events, such as the Washington International Trade Conference and Annual Dinner.

Diego also spearheads the organization’s WITA Academy – a program of the Washington International Trade Foundation which strives to make trade education and career opportunities in international trade accessible to communities in the United States and around the world. The mission of the WITA Academy is to make the trade community itself more diverse and inclusive.

Diego is originally from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia and was raised in Mobile, Alabama. Diego graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with concentrations in International Political Economy and Comparative Politics.

Ken Levinson serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Washington International Trade Association (WITA) and Washington International Trade Foundation.

WITA is the world’s largest non-profit, non-partisan membership organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum for the open and robust discussion of international trade policy and economic issues. WITA and its affiliated groups have over 10,000 members, and more than 160 corporate sponsors and group memberships.

Ken has over 30 years of experience working with companies, associations, NGOs and governments, advocating innovative solutions to complex public policy challenges. Over the years, Ken has worked with clients in the technology, telecommunications, biopharmaceuticals, agriculture and food, financial services, retail, apparel, energy, and consumer products sectors.

Previously, Ken served as Senior Director for Global Government Affairs for AstraZeneca. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Ken served as Senior Vice President and COO at the Washington, DC consulting firm of Fontheim International. Ken joined Fontheim after spending six years on the staff of U.S. Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV. Ken advised the Senator on foreign policy and national security matters, and served as the Senator’s chief advisor on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, dealing with issues related to international trade and tax policy.

Ken received his Master’s Degree from New York University after doing his undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst. Ken also spent a year studying at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Ken and his wife, the Reverend Donna Marsh, live in Bethesda, MD, with their two daughters.

The mission of the WITA Academy™ is to make trade education and career opportunities in international trade accessible to communities in the United States and around the world, and to make the trade community itself more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

The WITA Academy works with trade leaders in businesses, law, academia, NGOs, embassies and the U.S. Government to help stakeholders, students, and others to better understand and navigate the U.S. and global trade policy apparatus.

Thank you to our WITA Academy Sponsors

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