Dr. Kati Suominen is Founder and CEO of Nextrade Group and has ideated and led all Nextrade Group engagements. She ideates and develops actionable data, rigorous AI-driven analytics, and public-private partnerships to digitize and drive world trade and economic growth.

Suominen is a global thought leader in trade, development, and digitization. She has published over 100 articles and her 10th book, 
Revolutionizing World Trade: How Disruptive Technologies Open Opportunities for All, will be published by Stanford University Press in November 2019.

She has ideated and built seven global initiatives and PPPs involving over 30 leading technology, ecommerce, and logistics companies and numerous global agencies, such as eTrade for All now championed the UN and 40 agencies to drive ecommerce development, Digital Standards for Trade (DST) now led by ADB and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to develop interoperability standards among trade intermediaries, and Alliance for eTrade Development I and II with 13 leading ecommerce, technology and logistics companies and USAID to accelerate ecommerce development in developing countries.

Suominen has spoken and keynoted at such venues as Davos, WTO, World Trade Symposium, Global Trade Review, ICC Banking Commission, IMF, and World Bank, and commented in such media as Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Time, Politico, BBC, CSPAN, USA Today, and LA Times.

She has served as Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she founded the Digital Trade program working with such companies as eBay, Google and IBM, and as Adjunct Professor at the UCLA Anderson School, where she teaches international business economics and the economics of global digital disruption. She is Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


She has served as Resident Fellow in the Global Economics program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (2010-12), where she founded the GMF’s G20 initiative, and as Trade Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank (2003-10), where she managed the Bank’s global trade policy research and served as trade policy advisor to APEC Senior Officials. In 2017, she served as Senior Advisor to the G20-launched World SME Forum. 


A trade economist, she received her PhD from University of California, San Diego, MBA from the Wharton School of Business, MA from Boston University, and BA from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, where she played Division I tennis on a full scholarship.


Data and Research Associate

Erica Vambell is working on various data extraction and management projects at Nextrade. Focused on using technology to transform traditional industries, she has worked in various operational, finance, and data management roles in FinTech and ecommerce  startups, as well as in global logistics and freight forwarding at CMA CGM. BA, Virginia Tech. 

Mariah Furtek is working to collect and analyze data for Nextrade e-commerce policy matrices. She is currently completing an undergraduate honors thesis exploring the impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on communities within Pakistan. She will graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Geography June 2020. 


Data and Research Analyst

Nextrade experts

Several distinguished individuals have worked with Nextrade in projects in the past few years, including:

  • Gabriela Montenegro has over 20 years of experience in trade policy design and implementation, project design, and MSME development in Central America, including with the Guatemalan Ministry of Economy, Inter-American Development Bank,  USAID, and the World Bank Group Central America Trade Facilitation Program. Most recently she has managed a USAID-funded project to promote MSME growth in El Salvador, where she among other things created a national ecommerce development alliance with a range of leading ecommerce, payment, technology, and logistics companies. She holds Master’s in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, University of Arizona.

  • Dr. Rachel Stevenson is a Head of Data Science and Analytics at Headspace Inc. in Los Angeles. She has deep expertise in supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms, and statistical methods, including time-series analysis, natural language processing, forecasting, bootstrapping, cross-validation, regression, clustering (e.g. k-means, hierarchical), and classification (e.g. logistic regression, random forest, SVM). PhD, UCLA.

  • Euijin Jung is Research Analyst at Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, where she conducts empirical and policy oriented research and analysis on trade issues such as US-China trade frictions, USMCA, Korea-US FTA, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), US-EU privacy protection, exports of US small and medium enterprises and economic sanctions. MA, US San Diego.

  • Jean (Jem) Marasigan is Research Associate at Harder+Company Community Research in San Diego, where she helps nonprofits access data and analytical capabilities. MA, UC San Diego.

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