Dr. Orit Frenkel, ALI Executive Director
Dr. Orit Frenkel is the founder and President of Frenkel Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in Asia policy and market access issues, trade policy as well as training programs for foreign government officials. She is also a Senior Advisor to APCO Worldwide.
Prior to starting Frenkel Strategies, Orit was the Senior Manager for GE Global Government Affairs for 26 years. In that position, she was responsible for advising the GE businesses on government relations, trade, investment and CSR issues in ASEAN, North and Central Asia, as well as in the CIS countries. Orit’s extensive experience working with US and foreign governments, as well as with a variety of stakeholders, resulted in billions of dollars of GE sales. She worked with U.S. and multilateral financing institutions to obtain financing for GE’s transactions.
Orit led GE’s policy and advocacy on TPP, KORUS, Russia and China WTO accession, Uruguay Round, NAFTA and other trade policy issues. She coordinated GE’s policy and strategy development, developed messaging and led coordination and consensus building among stakeholders in GE and the larger business community, trade associations, think tanks, and other stakeholders.
Orit organized numerous multi-day training programs for foreign government and private sector officials that GE hosted in the U.S., educating officials on U.S. government relations, investment regulations as well as specific issues, such as energy and digital policy.
Dr. Frenkel started her career working in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where she was the Director for Trade in High Technology Products and Deputy Director for Trade with Japan, and spent a 9-month detail working for Congressman Lee Hamilton.
She is the author of several articles on trade policy issues, as well as a book on the negotiation of the US-Israel Free Trade Area. She is on the board of numerous trade associations and advisory panels.
Ms. Frenkel received a B.A. in Economics from University of Maryland (Phi Beta Kappa), an M.P.P. from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D.in International Economics from John Hopkins University.
Ambassador David D. Nelson, ALI Senior Fellow
Ambassador David D. Nelson is the founder, CEO and principal of Global Business Policy-DC. He brings 30 years of experience working on international economic issues from the U.S. Department of State and six years of experience managing GE government relations related to Latin America, Canada and Western Europe.
His breadth of experience provides a deep understanding of how the policy-making apparatus of the federal government works, and domain expertise in a variety of relevant issues. Prior to his assignment as Ambassador to Uruguay, he was the senior Economic official in the State Department (Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs). He served as a negotiator for G-20 and G-8 agreements, led the office responsible for global finance and for rescheduling of official debt (Paris Club), and led the office managing Sanctions and efforts to combat terrorist finance. He served on the National Security Council, coordinating inter-agency preparations for a US-hosted G8 Summit. During postings to US Embassies in Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, Germany and Spain, he worked on trade, finance, energy and support for US business.
During his six years at GE, Ambassador Nelson effectively translated that domain expertise into specific actions to support business opportunities. He led creation of a US-Mexico CEO Dialogue, chaired by the GE Vice Chairman, and involving Cabinet-level officials from both governments. He led GE engagement on NAFTA — identifying and promoting specific proposals for the negotiations. He led the successful GE re-entry into Cuba after 60 years absence. He was the founding chairman of a business coalition, collaborating with the Inter-American Development Bank and Chambers of Commerce throughout Latin America to advise regional governments on energy policies.
Ambassador Nelson has a Masters degree in Economics, is fluent in Spanish and has conversational German.
Claude Fontheim, ALI Senior Advisor
Claude Fontheim is the CEO of Fontheim International, LLC where he advises clients regarding global corporate social responsibility (CSR) and public policy. He has over 35 years of experience in these fields and was among the first CSR practitioners.
Mr. Fontheim has advised some of the world’s leading consumer brands in addressing CSR challenges. His firm develops customized strategies regarding such challenges, including in labor and human rights, based upon adherence to legal and international norms, partnership with credible and independent stakeholders, and sound business principles.
Mr. Fontheim’s public policy work focuses on international trade and foreign policy, including work on numerous trade negotiations, and every major piece of trade legislation since 1981. He has served on the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations, the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, and the US Trade Representative’s Advisory Committee on Africa. Mr. Fontheim has served as an advisor on trade, economic and foreign policy to Presidential and Congressional campaigns. He has published numerous articles, including on international trade, corporate social responsibility and labor policy.
Mr. Fontheim received his J.D., M.P.P., and B.A. from the University of Michigan.
emily crain, ALI fellow
Emily Crain is a Fellow at ALI. She is also a Director at Fontheim International, LLC.
Before joining the Initiative, Emily worked as the Training and Capacity Building Manager for Social Accountability International (SAI). At SAI she managed the SA8000 training programs for international labor standard setters, social compliance auditors, companies, NGO’s and unions. She was in charge of the development and international distribution of SA8000 social compliance training material, as well as the training of trainer (ToT) material for SAI field staff, SAI expert trainers and third party certified trainers of SA8000 social compliance auditors. Additionally, she developed social compliance curriculum and hands-on capacity building programs for various labor rights stakeholders in the U.S., China, India and Bangladesh on issues such as occupational health and safety, gender discrimination, working hours and forced labor.
Emily has spent extensive time abroad working on human rights and community development issues in South Africa, Nicaragua and Mexico. Most recently she worked in Mexico City researching and writing for several NGO’s and online publications on topics ranging from civil society’s acceptance of the new criminal justice system to gender equality.
Emily has a B.A. in Peace Studies from Chapman University in Southern California. She received her Master’s Degree in Global Affairs with a specialization in International Development and Gender from New York University. Her research focused on women’s economic empowerment in post-conflict areas.
Cristina Abraham, Program Analyst and Coordinator
Cristina Abraham is a Program Analyst and Coordinator at the American Leadership Initiative (ALI), where she supports public policy programs. She is also a Program Analyst and Coordinator at Fontheim International, LLC.
Prior to joining ALI, Cristina worked as a Graduate Research Consultant at Fairtrade International, a UK based organization that promotes global trade through fairer wages, better labor conditions, and an enhanced focus on sustainability. In this role, she researched public policies and existing mechanisms that could promote fairer trading opportunities for producers in developing nations. During her undergraduate years, Cristina was selected to be the recipient of the European Centers for Excellence (EUCE) grant. She was also a part-time Case Worker at the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), and during her final semester, she interned with the U.S Department of State Mission to UNESCO (Paris, France).
Cristina graduated as an honors student with a B.A in International Relations and Global Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. She received her MSc in Development Management from The London School of Economics and Political Science. As a graduate student, her research focused on challenges in global public health with a particular focus on funding and economic burden within the South African context.
SOFIA BONILLA, ALI research assistant
Sofia Bonilla is a Research Assistant at ALI. She is also an Executive Assistant to the CEO at Fontheim International, LLC.
Before joining the firm, Sofia worked in the U.S. House of Representatives, interned at the Human Rights and Justice Center at the University of Texas at Austin Law School, and served as an Undergraduate Fellow at the Clements Center for National Security.
Sofia has a B.A. in International Relations & Global Studies Honors, Plan II Honors, and Spanish. Her senior honors thesis focused on the nature of the women’s resistance in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990).