Business Exchange and Leadership Development

Global ChamberĀ® and U.S. Department of State Promote Cross Border Business Exchange and Leadership Development in Laos and Russia

Published Friday, October 28, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. (October 26, 2016). – Global Chamber®, a member organization dedicated to engaging leaders, companies and communities in more successful cross-border trade and investment, is hosting State Department Fellows from Laos and Russia in a special business and leadership development program.

The Fellows are Ms. Thongmala Keola, Trade Official, Trade and Product Promotion Department, Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Vientiane, Laos, and Ms. Alexandra Shitova, Head of Microfinance Department, Nonprofit Partnership Rostov Regional Agency for Business Support in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Through the Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program (PFP), this two-way exchange embraces the power of individual citizens to find creative solutions to challenges in their home communities.

During this month-long fellowship, Thongmala and Alexandra are assisting Global Chamber® in its mission to ease challenges associated with cross border business development and growth. “Their knowledge and expertise of business practices in their respective metros are a tremendous asset to Global Chamber®,” said Doug Bruhnke, CEO and Founder of Global Chamber®. “And we hope that the lessons learned here will ultimately help each of their metro areas to gain the benefits associated with global business growth.” 

Each of the two Fellows bring a unique skill set, knowledge base and objective to their involvement in the program. Alexandra has 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 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,” said Alexandra. 

Thongmala’s main responsibilities back home in Laos are serving as a project coordinator of the UN Trade Cluster Initiative and Enhancing Export Capacity of Asian LDCs for intra-regional Trade Project. “I hope to learn how to help entrepreneurs increase their volume of exports and how to build a brand on an international stage,” said Thongmala.

Global Chamber® is one of the carefully selected U.S. organizations that are hosting Professional Fellows from more than 40 countries this fall. At the conclusion of the program, November 15-17, all 280+ fellows will gather in Washington, D.C., for the Professional Fellows Congress, a three-day event aimed at preparing fellows to implement follow-on projects upon their return home and network with other colleagues from around the world.


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.

 Follow @ProFellows on Twitter and join the conversation using #ProFellows.

 An example of programs that Fellows bring back with them is one just completed by Nia Febriyanti, a recent Fellow in the State Department YSEALI Initiative, who designed an export-assistance program for companies in Indonesia after her fellowship at Global Chamber® earlier in 2016. The week-long series of seminars was just completed in Jakarta and was a resounding success, encouraging economic empowerment and collaboration between Indonesian and U.S. companies.


















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