YTP Leadership

The YTP Executive Committee consists of nine members, who administer the logistics of the organization, coordinate YTP events and maintain member relations. Members are invited to serve either as officers or in supportive roles. Officer elections take place annually in September, and ad-hoc requests to support leadership are accepted at any time—just send an email to the officer with whom you’re interested in working.

YTP Executive Committee:

Executive Director: Diego Añez

President: Laurel Parker

Vice President: Jessica Weeks

Secretary: Nicole Podesta

Officer At Large: Adriana Campos-Korn

Officer At Large: Jack Herron

Officer At Large: Collin Janich 

Officer At Large: Celeste Marshall 

Officer At Large: Zach Sentementes

Advisory Council: Madelyn Cunningham

Advisory Council: Jash Desai

Officer Roles:

President The President is responsible for coordinating YTP leadership, calling for executive committee meetings, representing YTP externally and maintaining YTP’s relationship with WITA.

Vice President The Vice President is responsible for presiding over YTP in the absence of the President, as well as working closely in conjunction with Budget and Organizational Development Officers on their tasks.

Secretary The Secretary is responsible for keeping meeting minutes, assisting the President with meeting agendas, presiding over YTP in the absence of the President and Vice President, and supporting the organization’s programming and development.

Membership Outreach The Membership Outreach Officer is responsible for integrating new members into the organization and enlarging the existing membership base. The Committee is also responsible for cultivating and expanding YTP’s relationship with other Young Professional groups in and around Washington DC. Responsibilities include:

  • Expanding YTP’s membership and helping new members integrate into the organization
  • Maintaining YTP’s social networking sites
  • Liaising with other professional groups in Washington to identify opportunities to collaborate

Budget The Budget Officer is responsible for all of YTP’s budgetary matter. Responsibilities include:

  •  Drafting YTP’s annual budget within one month of fund allocation from WITA
  • Ensuring YTP’s adherence to the budget, including submitting new items to the Executive Committee for approval

Organizational Development The Organizational Development Officer is responsible for increasing the efficiency and efficacy of YTP, as well as ensuring that the transition of leadership after election is fluid. Responsibilities include:

  • Developing YTPs working plans and strategic goals
  • Building leadership through experience managing the organization
  • Coming up with creative ideas for increasing efficiency

Programming The Programming Officer is in charge of managing YTP’s events calendar. The Programming Committee suggests forum speakers and topics, and determines venues for forums, meetings and happy hours. Responsibilities include:

  • Shaping YTP’s calendar, including forums and happy hours
  • Maintaining contact with forum speakers and coordinate topics for forums
  • Setting up events that would provide YTP members with exclusive insight into trade inner-circle

Communications The Communications Officer is responsible for maintaining and expanding YTPs membership, largely through external relations and internal communication. Responsibilities include:

  • Developing YTP’s marketing strategy to attract new members
  • Reaching out to organizations around Washington whose employees may be interested in YTP
  • Acting as YTP’s external wing, and establishing professional contacts around Washington

Officer Biographies:

Laurel Parker, President Laurel is the Manager of FIVS-Abridge, working heavily on international wine regulatory and trade agreements matters. Her role also includes providing guidance on international trade policy and compliance matters impacting the global alcohol beverage industry. In this capacity, she works closely with international producers and government regulators from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Wine Regulatory Forum and the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG). She received her Juris Doctorate from the George Washington University School of Law in Washington DC, and a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in International Relations and Spanish, from the University of South Carolina. Recently, Laurel earned a Diploma in Wine Law (focus on Trademarks & Geographical Indications for Wines & Spirits) from the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne in France. She has also authored articles on WTO law and compliance. In addition to serving as the President of YTP, she is currently serving a two-year term on the Executive Board of Women in International Trade (WIIT).

Jessica Weeks, Vice President Jessica Weeks serves as the Vice President of the Young Trade Professionals (YTP) 2020 Executive Board. As a Representative at Large of the 2019 YTP Executive Board, Jessica aided in the administration of logistics for the organization, coordination of YTP events, and helped to maintain member relations. As VP, she continues to provide exciting new ideas for YTP events and believes in the mission of connecting young, growing trade professionals with a desire to learn about the different aspects of international trade. Jessica is a Management and Program Analyst at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Office of Trade. In this position, she aids in the coordination of CBP’s Priority Trade Issues, provides briefings to CBP executive leadership on a variety of trade topics, and manages Office of Trade projects. Previously inter role as an International Trade Specialist, she aided in the administration, collection, and enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duties across many commodities and countries. Jessica received a B.S. in Business Administration from the Louisiana Scholars’ College and my M.S. in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University. Although originally from the New Orleans, LA area, Jessica has lived in D.C. for six years and previously worked along the Panama Canal in international trade logistics. In her free time, she enjoys attending trivia nights, reading, watching movies, and experimenting in cooking.

Nicole Podesta, Secretary Nicole serves as an International Trade Specialist and Foreign Service Officer Trainee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), where she helps analyze and address issues related to U.S. food and agricultural trade, market development, and global food security. After her training Nicole will serve as an agricultural attaché at U.S. diplomatic missions overseas. Prior to joining FAS, Nicole served as Senior Manager for Public Affairs at the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking. In this capacity, she worked with the world’s leading beverage alcohol producers on policy coordination and partnership promotion in multilateral fora. Prior to that role, Nicole worked at the Grocery Manufacturers Association where she managed a diverse array of international affairs issues for food, beverage, and consumer products companies. Nicole has represented U.S. businesses and nonprofit organizations in the United Kingdom, Paraguay, Italy, Costa Rica, and Peru. She holds a Master of Public Health Nutrition from the George Washington University, and a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She also serves on the board of the D.C. Association of Women In International Trade, WIIT, where she received the “Outstanding Woman of the Year” award in 2018.

Joy Marie Virga, Officer At Large  Joy Marie is a Long Island native but has been living, working and studying in DC for the last years. She received a BA/MBA from Stony Brook University in New York and a JD from American University Washington College of Law. As a law student, she was Vice President of the most active student group, the International Trade and Investment Law Society. Since graduating law school, she has been working as an Attorney-Advisor at CBP where she researches and writes administrative rulings.

Zach Sentementes, Officer At Large Zach Sentementes serves as a Senior Associate at Advanced Advocacy where he assumes both a supporting and lead role in the development of issue advocacy campaigns. Zach specializes in strategic communications and third-party activation and mobilization – engaging with allied think tanks, international policy-experts, and trade associations to advance clients’ interests. He provides guidance on complex policy issues at the state, federal, and international level while advocating for clients on issues such as intellectual property, healthcare, trade, agriculture, and energy. Zach holds a Bachelors of Arts and Science degree in Political Science and a minor in Mandarin studies from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He also studied in Beijing at the Communication University of China furthering his language studies, perfecting his Mandarin and lived in-country for a year. Additionally, while at Concordia University, Zach worked as a teaching assistant where he lectured on numerous topics ranging from international monetary policy to framing free trade agreements in two advanced-level multi-disciplinary political economics courses.

Jack Herron, Officer At Large Jack currently works for Israel’s Foreign Trade Administration and has served as the Director of International Trade Policy at the Embassy of Israel for more than five years. Prior to working at the Embassy, he earned a master’s degree in international trade and investment policy from the Elliott School at The George Washington University. He also worked part-time as an import coordinator for a supply-chain management firm throughout undergraduate and graduate school. 

Collin Janich, Officer At Large Collin is Hitachi, Ltd.’s Manager of Government Relations Communications, overseeing policy-focused communications for the Japanese tech conglomerates more than 100 group companies in the United States. Prior to joining Hitachi, Collin was a trade lobbyist and Manager of Political and International Affairs for the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, the nation’s leading construction trade association. Before AGC, he worked as a Government Affairs Fellow at BGR Group, a bi-partisan lobbying and communications firm representing blue-chip clientele including MNCs, foreign governments, international non-profit foundations, and trade associations. Prior to BGR, Collin was based in Shanghai, China. Collin is the creator and host of Tradecraft, a bi-weekly podcast exploring trade law and the politics of international trade. He holds an M.A. in International Business and Policy from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Cody Ankeny, Officer At Large Cody is a Senior Manager of Policy at ITI. His focus areas include development of, and advocacy for, global digital trade policies that create an open trade environment for companies of all sizes to reach markets around the globe. He also leads ITI’s work in India, ensuring that Indian technology policy encourages a thriving Indian tech sector while allowing fair competition for global companies.

Prior to joining ITI, Cody served as a Combat Engineer Officer in the United States Marine Corps. During his service, he had a variety of responsibilities, including commanding platoon size units in combined arms live fire exercises, planning and supervising large scale logistical operations, running day-to-day security and accountability operations for secure weapons systems, guiding and mentoring young Marines in their professional development, and much more. He has one tour to Afghanistan and remains a Marine Corps Reserve Captain.

He holds a Masters of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a concentration in global business and finance. In addition, he holds a B.A. in Political Science from Texas A&M University.

Fannie Delavelle, Officer At Large  Fannie Delavelle is an Analyst at the World Bank Gender Innovation Lab in Washington D.C., and the Manager & Co-Chair of the World Bank Youth Summit on Human Capital. Since joining the World Bank in 2017, she has worked on leveraging blockchain to make international trade and finance more inclusive and coordinated the launch of the Logistics Performance Index, a survey aimed at 20,000 firms in 160+ countries. Previously, she was the trade and public policy attache at the Embassy of France in the United States for two years and worked at the European Commission on a sustainability initiative in developing countries. Fannie graduated from the London School of Economics and Sciences Po Paris in 2014, with two Master’s degrees in International Political Economy and in International Relations. She has been of the YTP leadership for the last 3 years.

Drew Dushkes, President Emeritus  Drew has served on the YTP board since 2017. He is an International Transportation Specialist at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he works on trade, investment, and EMEA issues. Prior to joining DOT, Drew worked at the U.S. International Trade Commission and Cisco Systems, and spent a year living and working in South Korea. He has also interned at the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Drew graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Global Studies and from Georgetown University with a M.S. in Foreign Service. He is originally from Thousand Oaks, CA.

Abigail Struxness, President Emeritus  Abigail has served on the YTP board since 2013. She is an associate at FBB Federal Relations, where she provides guidance to clients on supply chain and logistics issues, trade compliance matters, and legislative and regulatory affairs. She also manages the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, a national association of U.S. agriculture and forest products exporters. Prior to joining FBB, Abigail interned at Business Oregon, the Washington International Trade Association, and the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones. Abigail graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA with a B.A. in International Political Economy. She studied international development and comparative politics abroad in Windhoek, Namibia. She is originally from Portland, OR.

Advisory Board:

Miles Simpson, Advisory Board Member  As an undergrad, Miles graduated with a double major in Chinese and Economics at the University of Kansas. He is a recent graduate from Georgetown University Law Center. While a law student, he took two different internships with the Department of Commerce regarding international trade (Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce and the ITA’s Office of the Chief Counsel for Trade Enforcement and Compliance), a judicial internship with the Court for International Trade and an externship with the International Trade Commission. He is currently working as an advisory board member with the YTP while studying for the customs broker exam.

Celeste Marshall, Advisor Board Member Celeste joined the Young Trade Professionals shortly after moving to DC from Ohio.  At her current role as Economic Advisor with the American Petroleum Institute, she covers a variety of international energy related issues, focusing on trade policy.  Recently, the USMCA agreement and ongoing Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum have kept her work ever-changing and incredibly interesting.  Before API, she worked at the Department of State in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the US Embassy in Paris.  She graduated from Youngstown State University with a MA in Economics, after a hard veer off the trade path to work at Walt Disney World as a character performer.


Click here to read the YTP Bylaws.