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State Rep. Sarah Anthony is serving her second full term representing the 68th House District, which encompasses the city of Lansing and Lansing Township. In November 2018, Anthony was sworn into a partial term after filling a special election, making history as the first African-American woman to serve as state representative in Lansing’s history.
Rep. Anthony is Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, having been appointed to that position in 2018 and elected by her colleagues in 2021. In that capacity, she is member of the House Democratic leadership team in the House of Representatives. She also serves as Vice Chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus and the First Vice Chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.
Prior roles include serving on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners as the youngest African-American woman serving in this capacity in the United States, eight years of service as Deputy Director with the Michigan College Access Network, and working as Legislative Assistant for former State Rep. Joan Bauer.
Anthony was born and raised in Lansing and graduated from Everett High School on Lansing’s south side. Following graduation, she attended Central Michigan University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and legal studies. Rep. Anthony also went on to earn a Master’s of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University and was later named a fellow of the University of Michigan’s New Leadership Academy.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) represents Texas’ 20th district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Serving his fifth term, Rep. Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Education and Labor Committees, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact, and is the immediate past Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Rep. Castro also founded the Congressional Pre-K Caucus, the U.S.-Japan Caucus, and the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Before Congress, Rep. Castro graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School and served five terms in the Texas Legislature.
Pia Castro is a journalist and television host for Deutsche Welle TV, Berlin.
Pia was born in Argentina and has lived in Germany for over 20 years. Today, she is the host of ¡Aquí Estoy!, the most successful DW Spanish weekly interview program. ¡Aquí Estoy! is a 30-minute show that profiles movers and shakers who are building bridges between Europe and Latin America. Pia Castro has more than 15 years of broadcasting experience in South America, the USA, and Europe.
Nurten Erdogan is Chief Financial Officer of Société Générale Frankfurt. Ms. Erdogan has more than 15 years of experience in the Financial Services Industry and has held several positions as a Managing Director: 2014-2019, she served as Head of Corporate M&A in Group Strategy & Development and as Finance Director at Commerzbank; 2006-2013, she served as Director in Group Strategy/M&A and Strategic Finance of Deutsche Bank. Between 2000 and 2006, she served as Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in Frankfurt and Amsterdam, advising large publicly listed multi-national companies from different industries on cross-border and domestic mergers and acquisitions.
Nurten Erdogan is a German citizen and was born in Turkey. She graduated in Economics at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, and earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Hull, UK. During her career at PWC, she qualified as Chartered Public Accountant (“Wirtschaftsprüferin“) at the Chamber of Auditors in Frankfurt.
She is married and has one child.
Ambassador Nina Hachigian is the first Deputy Mayor of International Affairs for the City of Los Angeles and the only one in the United States. In her role, she works with foreign partners to bring jobs, opportunities, skills, ideas and more to Angelenos. Her office also helps to solve global problems that affect Los Angeles, such as climate change.
From 2014 to 2017, Ambassador Hachigian served as U.S. Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). During her tenure, the United States established a strategic partnership with ASEAN, held the first Leaders’ Summit in the United States, and grew the youth program to over 100,000 members. She was awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for her service.
Earlier, Ambassador Hachigian was a Senior Vice President at the Center for American Progress and the director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy. Ambassador Hachigian served on the staff of the National Security Council in the Clinton White House. Ambassador Hachigian was a founding member of the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board and a founder of WASA, Women Ambassadors Serving America and LCWINS, the Leadership Council on Women in National Security. She is the editor of “Debating China: The U.S. – China Relationship in Ten Conversations” (Oxford University Press, 2014) and co-author of “The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise” (Simon & Schuster, 2008).
Janina Kugel is a non-executive board member, senior advisor, speaker and author.
Prior to this, she was Chief Human Resources Officer and a member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG with global responsibility for Human Resources, including the areas of Diversity, Learning and Education, Social Innovation, and Environmental Protection, Health Management and Safety (EHS).
Janina started her career as a management consultant at Accenture. During this period, she worked for international companies throughout Europe and the United States, mainly focusing on process reengineering, restructuring and organizational design.
After moving into industrial organizations, she held several management and leadership positions at Siemens in the areas of Business Strategy and Human Resources. At Osram Lighting, Janina served as Chief Human Resources Officer, where she had global responsibility for Human Resources, Executive Development and Diversity.
Janina is a non-executive board member of Konecranes Oyj, Finland, TUI AG, Germany and the German Pension Benefit Guaranty Association. She is an active supporter of various national and international diversity initiatives. She is also a member of the international Advisory Board of Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany, and IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. She is serving as board member at the Innovation Council of the Federal Ministry of Digitization.
Janina holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Mainz, Germany, and the University of Verona, Italy.
In April 2021, Janina released her first book “It’s Now,” published by Ariston.
As a mother of two, she lives with her family in Munich. When time allows, she enjoys jogging, playing tennis as well as the piano.
Christine Mhundwa is a journalist who has covered current affairs, politics and financial markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Mhundwa has worked for news organizations including CNBC Africa and Bloomberg and is currently based between Brussels, where she is a Europe correspondent, and Berlin, where she presents Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s (DW) flagship Africa bulletin and general news. Mhundwa has specialized reporting knowledge in the field of European-African policy and affairs. Christine is an experienced correspondent, news anchor and panel moderator, she has recently interviewed and facilitated panels which include the Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, World Trade Organization Director Ngozi Iweala- Okonjo, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Denis Mukwege, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, German Chancellor Candidate Armin Laschet, and others.
Deeneaus “D” Polk recently completed a Bosch Fellowship with New Work SE in Berlin, Germany. As a Fellow, he delved into German Future of Work topics ranging from labor productivity rates to a burgeoning Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ecosystem. He most enjoyed helping organize this year’s New Work Experience (NWX21). Post Bosch, D hopes to help German business and industry better harness the potential of their global workforce, especially in the U.S. South.
Prior to the Bosch Fellowship, D completed his Masters in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he served as a Class Marshall, Co-Chair of the German American Conference, Founder of the Moderates Caucus, and organizer of the Black Policy Conference. Prior to HKS, Deeneaus served as Director of the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP) and worked to expand the state’s apprenticeship system.
D is a proud Mississippi Gulf Coast native and graduate of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the University of Mississippi, and Harvard University.
Ambassador Boris Ruge took up his assignment as Vice-Chairman of the Munich Security Conference in August 2019. He previously served as Director Middle East/North Africa at the Foreign Office in Berlin, as German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and as Deputy Ambassador to the US.
Having joined the Foreign Service in 1989, much of Ambassador Ruge’s career has been focused on security policy. Transatlantic relations have been an important part of his work. Overall, he spent 15 years living and working in the United States.
Following undergraduate studies at the University of Cologne, Ambassador Ruge received a Fulbright scholarship and studied history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with an M.A. in History. He holds a diploma in international relations from the Bologna Center of Johns Hopkins University and was a participant in the 2005 course of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He is married and has four children.
Majid Sattar is the political correspondent of the German national daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in the United States. Prior to his posting in Washington, he worked as a political correspondent in Berlin, mostly covering German foreign policy. From 2010 to 2018, he accompanied the Chancellor and four foreign ministers on trips abroad. Sattar joined the FAZ in 2000. He studied Political Science and Modern History at the Universities of Saarbruecken and Freiburg and holds a PhD in Political Science; his thesis covered formal and informal Congressional oversight of the Administration in the United States.
Ambassador Rich Verma is the General Counsel and Head of Global Public Policy for Mastercard. In this role, he oversees the company’s law and policy functions in the United States and around the world. Rich brings over 25 years of international experience across senior levels of business, law, diplomacy, and the military. He is a member of the company’s Management Committee.
Rich previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to India, where he led one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions and championed historic progress in bilateral cooperation on defense, trade, and clean energy. He is a former Assistant Secretary of State and he also worked on Capitol Hill as the National Security Advisor to the Senate Majority Leader.
He practiced law for many years at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C., and is the former Vice Chairman of The Asia Group, a leading international consulting firm. In addition, Rich is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and the recipient of a number of military awards and civilian decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal and the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award.
Rich is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a trustee of Lehigh University. He serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the T. Rowe Price corporate board and the National Endowment for Democracy board of directors.
Rich holds multiple degrees, including his doctorate (Ph.D.) from Georgetown University and his law degree (J.D.) from American University.