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Statewide Director - Global Trade
Leah Goold-Haws is an innovator and pioneer in ecommerce and global entrepreneurship. She brings decades of experience from the business world to higher education as Statewide Director of Global Trade for the California Community Colleges Workforce and Economic Development Division. In that role, she oversees a team that works with California’s 115 community colleges to build a globally-competent workforce. Additionally, she is the Executive Director for the California International Trade Center (CITC) powered by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office in partnership with the Small Business Development Administration, where she manages the development of trade service programs, including global ecommerce training, to assist small to midsize companies in growing their export sales.
Prior to becoming Statewide Director, Leah served as Deputy Sector Navigator of Global Trade and Logistics in both Northern California and the Los Angeles County region. She’s been a consultant for the Small Business Development Centers and as a trade consultant for the Centers for International Trade Development. As Los Angeles Regional Director, she managed and operated a federal Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) under the International Trade Administration, which provided training in ecommerce for cross-border trade to companies throughout Southern California.
Over the course of her career, Leah has launched three successful businesses and is a tireless advocate for women in business. She was the executive director of Working Strategies for Women, an initiative built on the Know Opportunity curriculum she designed to teach global entrepreneurship. She created a board game based on the Know Opportunity framework that was featured in Forbes and Inc. magazines. She is a published contributing author and active public speaker, including a TEDx talk titled “You Are Here.”
Leah is also active in several civic and community organizations. She is the economic commissioner for international trade on behalf of the City of Long Beach, the chamber president for the International Business Association in Long Beach, board member for the Los Angeles World Trade Center, and an advisory board member for the Get Global International Conference
Regional Director - Central and Mother Lode
Alicia Rios serves as the Director for Fresno’s CITD, as well as the Statewide Ag Coordinator to implement the Memorandum of Agreement the CITD entered with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Ms. Rios began her career with the CITD in 1999, serving a duel role as a California-Mexico Trade Assistant and a Program Development Assistant. She was responsible for the implementation of the California-Mexico Trade Assistance grant activities and also pioneered the development of many of the same export training programs offered today. In 2001, Ms. Rios became the International Trade Specialist and served in that capacity until 2013, when she was appointed as the Director of Fresno’s CITD, replacing longtime past Director Candy Hansen-Gage. Ms. Rios has personally coordinated and monitored over 30 grant application processes; obtained over $2 million in federal and state grants in 2012 to fund CITD programs; and over the last 10 years, coordinated over 15 statewide international buyer’s programs each year in cooperation with various federal and state agencies, resulting in $45 million in export sales. As an export consultant to more than 200 California companies, she has also led several high-profile trade missions that have established long-lasting and beneficial partnerships, both domestic and abroad. Ms. Rios has administered the statewide Ag HUB since 2007, and serves as the lead CITD in coordinating, facilitating and reporting program activities between WUSATA, CDFA, other California CITDS, agricultural associations and California commodity groups. Ms. Rios is a graduate of California State University, Fresno, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in International Business.
Regional Director - Los Angeles
Ruth Amanuel brings years International Trade and community outreach experience to the California Community Colleges. Prior to serving in this role, she was part of Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s International Trade team. As an International Trade Specialist responsible for executing the Mayor’s Export Program, Ruth worked closely with the Ports, Airports and across diverse industries. Ruth also consulted for the Center for International Trade Development where she led the BEAM e-commerce program designed to help businesses increase online sales. Ruth holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and graduate certificate in International Trade from UCLA. A true global citizen, she has lived and worked in seven countries and speaks four languages and is proud to call Los Angeles her home.
Regional Director - North and Far North
Gordon Hinkle is an established global business professional with high-level working proficiency in private, public and non-profit industry sectors. He has over 20 years of experience in business and economic development, and know-how in building customized programs in both government and non-government roles. Gordon served in appointed Presidential, Gubernatorial, Congressional, and local government positions of leadership (federal, state, county, and city levels) as well as an elected position in Placer County. He was most recently serving as Vice President for a global business platform focused on promotion of education, sports, entertainment, food and agriculture, and commercial goods and services in Asia. He now joins the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as the newly appointed Deputy Sector Navigator Global Trade and Regional CITD Representative.
Regional Director - South Central Coast
Adilene has more than 15 years of experience working in the Global Trade sector helping U.S. companies build their brands outside of the United States. Polis was the Senior International Business Development Manager for Paris Presents, which has brands such as Real Technique, Eco Tools, and Freeman. There, she built a solid global business to the brands, growing the international division over 85% in two years. She has extensive experience in logistics, regulatory, global business development, and international market. Polis is a native of Brazil where she earned her bachelor’s degree from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas. And in Los Angeles, she completed the extension program at UCLA in Marketing and International Business.
Regional Director - Bay Area
LaSonja Hill comes to the sector with more than two decades of experience in education, business, and journalism. Her previous experience includes managing Adult Education Block Grants, creating working groups of educators and business, as well as teaching. She has worked in marketing, program coordination, and sales. In her most recent position she chaired the Northern Alameda Adult Education Collective faculty group and steering committee. La Sonja has a graduate degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) from Loyola University Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is also a published author.
Educator Liaison - Global Trade Sector Statewide
Michael Caress has a strong professional background in learning and development as well as the international trade and logistics sectors. Currently he is supporting the statewide expansion of the Global Trade Sector Virtual Internship Program (VIP). Michael works with faculty, career center staff, business services, industry experts and students to make global trade work based learning opportunities. He has 25 years of experience. Michael holds a Master of Science in Human and Organizational Systems from Field Graduate University, a B.S. in Business Administration- International Business from CSU Fresno, and is a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP). He is also a recognized by the Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara as a Certified Professional Coach. In addition to being an Educator Liaison Michael currently teaches at Los Angeles Harbor College.