Speakers' Profiles

Gerardo Mato
Chairman of Global Banking in the Americas, HSBC

Gerardo Mato is chairman of Global Banking - Americas at HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HSBC). In his role, Mato leads client engagement for leading companies across the United States, Canada, and Latin America. He is based in New York City. Mato has more than 20 years of loan origination experience, acting as a strategic capital-raising advisor to governments and large-cap companies across the Americas. He joined HSBC in 2002 from Merrill Lynch. Mato holds degreea from the Wharton School of Business and the Harvard Business School. He sits on the boards of both The Atlantic Council and the Council of the Americas.   

Linda Rottenberg
Founder & CEO, Endeavor

Linda Rottenberg is co-founder and CEO of Endeavor Global. She is was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and one of TIME’s 100 “Innovators for the 21st century,” and is considered among the world’s most dynamic experts on entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. A frequent lecturer at Fortune 500 companies, Rottenberg is the subject of four case studies by Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her pioneering work also earned her a host of nicknames: ABC and NPR declared her “the entrepreneur whisperer,” Tom Friedman dubbed her the world’s “mentor capitalist,” Business Insider named her “Davos,” and for years she was known as “la chica loca” (the crazy girl) for insisting that entrepreneurs existed not only in Silicon Valley but also in emerging markets around the world.  Rottenberg is also author of the New York Times bestseller, CRAZY IS A COMPLIMENT: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags, published in October 2014. In her book, she argues that entrepreneurship isn’t just for young techies in hoodies. Whether you work at a Fortune 500 company, a non-profit, a mom-and-pop, or a startup, everybody needs the mindset to think and act like a change-maker. Rottenberg serves on the board of Zayo Group, a global provider of bandwidth infrastructure. She a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and serves on the entrepreneurship steering committee of the World Economic Forum. Rottenberg has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Economist, Financial Times, USA Today, Strategy + Business, People, Glamour, and MORE, and has appeared on GMA, The Today Show, Morning Joe, Nightline, NPR, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, and Bloomberg News. Dell featured her in its “Take Your Own Path” ad campaign and Veuve Clicquot named her Businesswoman of the Year. Rottenberg is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School.

Marcos Troyjo
Co-Director, BRICLab at Columbia University

Marcos Troyjo is the Co-Director of the BRICLab at Columbia University, a SIPA special forum on Brazil, Russia, India and China. He teaches The Rise of BRIC at SIPA. Troyjo is the founder of the Center for Business Diplomacy, an independent think-tank on global entrepreneurship. He holds a PhD in sociology of international relations from the University of São Paulo and pursued postdoctoral studies at Columbia University. An economist and political scientist, he is an alumnus of The Rio Branco Institute (Instituto Rio Branco), the graduate school of international relations and diplomatic academy of Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He undertook additional graduate studies at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Troyjo is a lecturer in the graduate programs at IBMEC University, a Visiting Professor at theCentre d`Études sur l`Actuel et le Quotidien, Université Paris Descartes (Sorbonne), and a member of the International Schumpeter Society. He worked as a career diplomat and was Press Secretary at the Brazilian Mission to the United Nations in New York and Chief of Staff of the Science and Technology Department of Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is a regular op-ed contributor and commentator for print and electronic media outlets in Brazil and around the world. He serves on the Advisory Board of numerous for profit as well as not-for-profit institutions. Troyjo has been chosen one of "The Outstanding Young Persons of the World - TOYP" by the Junior Chamber International in 2004. Troyjo was the winner of the "Latin America Fellowship-2005" awarded by the Rt. Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand. He is the author of such books as: Technology & Diplomacy, Brazil: Competitiveness in the Global Marketplace,Manifesto of Business Diplomacy, Trading Nation: Power & Prosperity in the 21st Century (chosen by Americas Quarterly as one of the best new books on policy, economics and business in the hemisphere in 2007). He has lectured at Yale University, Harvard University, University of Washington, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), IE-Instituto de Empresa (Spain), IVA-The Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences (Sweden), Tsinghua University (China), University of Auckland (New Zealand) and Canning House (UK).

Susan Seagal
President & CEO, AS/COA

Susan L. Segal was elected president and CEO of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas in August 2003 after working in the private sector with Latin America and other emerging markets for over 30 years. Prior to her current position, she was a founding partner of her own investment and advisory group focused primarily on Latin America and the US Hispanic Sector. Previously, Ms. Segal was a partner and Latin American Group head at JPMorgan Partners/Chase Capital Partners (CCP), where she invested across sectors and countries in addition to pioneering early stage venture capital investments in Latin America. Before joining CCP, she was a senior managing director focused on Emerging Markets Investment Banking and Capital Markets at MHT/Chemical/Chase Banks. Ms. Segal was actively involved in the Latin American Debt crisis of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, sitting on many advisory committees as well as serving as chairperson for the Chilean and Philippine Advisory Committees. In addition to being a board member at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, she is also a director of the Tinker Foundation, the international advisory board of Endeavor and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  In 1999, Ms. Segal was awarded the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins, Grado de Gran Oficial in Chile. In 2009, President Álvaro Uribe honored her with the Cruz de San Carlos.

Dubie Cunningham
VP Enterprise Innovation and Digital Banking, Scotiabank

Dubie Cunningham is vice president of Enterprise Innovation, Digital Banking at Scotiabank. With over twenty years of experience in the financial services and technology sectors, she has held several leadership roles in Scotiabank. In IT&S, Cunningham managed the Bank’s relationships with its strategic technology partners, and most recently, led the Innovation Team at the Digital Factory. In her current capacity, she has an enterprise mandate for thought leadership to support Scotiabank’s digital transformation strategy, which includes FinTech collaboration, transformational technologies, and university research partnerships. Cunningham has an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Bernardo Bonjean
Founder & CEO, Avante

Bernardo Bonjean is founder and CEO of Avante, a FinTech startup providing micro-finance to micro-entrepreneurs across South America. He is passionate about exploring the unobvious. Prior to launching Avante in 2012, he had various experiences including completing the Dakar Rally on a motorcycle, graduating from Harvard Business School OPM, and having the courage to abandon a successful career of 15 years in the financial market to pursue his dream of bringing a humanized financial service to businesses operating at the bottom of the social pyramid.


José Renato Hopf
Founder & CEO, Getnet
Founder & CEO, 4all Tecnologia

José Renato Hopf is founder and CEO of 4all, a technology firm launched in 2015 to transform people’s experience in the digital world. In 2003, he founded GetNet, which became one of the largest payment companies in Latin America with over 2,700 employees. GetNet was sold in 2014 to Santander for USD518 million. Hopf started his career at Banrisul and led the creation of Banricompras. He received a B.A. in Business Administration from PUC-RS, a specialization in Information Systems and Telecommunications from UFRGS, and an MBA in Business Management from FGV.

Edgar Perez
Author, The Speed Traders and Knightmare on Wall Street

Edgar Perez is a published author, business consultant for billion-dollar private equity and hedge funds and Council Member at the Gerson Lehrman Group, Guidepoint Global Advisors and Research International, with subject matter expertise in cyber security, geopolitics, investing and financial regulation (Dodd-Frank Act). He is author of Knightmare on Wall Street, The Rise and Fall of Knight Capital and the Biggest Risk for Financial Markets (2013), and The Speed Traders, An Insider’s Look at the New High-Frequency Trading Phenomenon That is Transforming the Investing World. Mr. Perez is course director of Cybersecurity Boardroom Workshop, How Boards of Directors and CXOs Can Build the Proper Foundation to Address Today's Information Security Challenges, and The Speed Traders Workshop, How High Frequency Traders Leverage Profitable Strategies to Find Alpha in Equities, Options, Futures and FX.

Sabrina T. Howell
Assistant Professor of Finance, NYU Stern

Sabrina Howell joined New York University Stern School of Business as an Assistant Professor of Finance in July 2015. Professor Howell’s research focuses on entrepreneurial finance, innovation, and energy. She is the recipient of the 2015 AQR Top Finance Graduate Award at Copenhagen Business School and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Professor Howell received her B.A. in Economics and East Asian Studies from Yale University and her Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government, Economics track from Harvard University. She previously worked as an energy consultant for Charles River Associates in Houston, and on energy security policy for Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) in Washington DC.

Sebastian Gomez
Co-Founder & COO, Reservamos

Sebastián Gómez is co-founder and COO of Reservamos.mx, a multi-modal travel booking platform based in Mexico. He started his career in New York working for the strategy consulting team at Accenture. Gómez has a double degree in Industrial Engineering and Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan School of Management).


Flavio Pripas
Managing Director, Cubo

Flavio Pripas is managing director of CUBO - a transformational project aimed at fostering entrepreneurship in Brazil, founded by Itau and RedPoint eVentures. Prior to this, he launched and sold two companies, and was nominated as one of 2012's "Most Creative People in Business" by FastCompany. Earlier in his career, Pripas acquired extensive experience in the corporate environment as JPMorgan’s IT head in Brazil, Credit-Suisse Hedging-Griffo’s development head and JPMorgan Chase Vastera’s Latin America IT head. He was responsible for the first full-web Supply Chain Management System in Latin America in 1997. Pripas has a B.S. in Computer Science and an MBA from FGV/SP.

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Heberto Taracena
Founder & Managing Partner, Capital Invent

Heberto Taracena was born in Cunduacán, in the state of Tabasco, Mexico. He has been a consultant at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and an associate in consulting firm Mckinsey and Company. Has been a teacher of Evaluation of Public Policies in the Colegio de México and in the Institute Technological Autonomous of Mexico (ITAM).

In 2000, together with a group of friends co-founded Metroscubicos.com, company dedicated to accelerate real estate transactions through the internet. In 2007 sold Metroscubicos.com to the media company Time Inc. In 2009 he founded Invent, today one of the largest digital media groups in the Mexico. Invent increased its capital in 2011 with the entry as an investor of Grupo Imagen Multimedia. From 2016, Invent was transformed into Imagen Digital and is part of Imagen Television. Since then, Heberto Taracena is Director of the new national television channel Imagen Television.

As an investor, in the year 2013, Heberto founded Capital Invent, capital fund in the information technology sector. To date, Capital Invent has invested in more than 15 start-ups of internet technologies, including Kubo Financiero, Beepi, Gaia Design, Aliada, Cohete, Collective Academy, Drayson Technologies, LokalD, etc.


João Ricardo Mendes
Co-Founder & CEO, Hotel Urbano

João Ricardo Mendes, 35 years old, is Co-Founder and CEO of Hotel Urbano. He droped out of Law School to undertake the emerging Brazilian internet, creating his first company in the garage. He founded Hotel Urbano a few years later, in January 2011, with his brother José Eduardo. Focusing on offering the best experience not only for online shopping but also for traveling, Hotel Urbano quickly transformed the online travel market, consolidating itself as the leading national technology company in the tourism sector. Always committed to every detail and new opportunities, João studies the best moment to expand into the largest markets in Latin America.

James Stranko
CMO, McKinsey Growth Tech

James Stranko is the marketing lead for McKinsey’s 'Growth Tech' Practice, responsible for strengthening the firm's presence in the pre-IPO tech company and VC / growth-PE investor space. Prior to McKinsey, James worked across the policy and communications space as a consultant to a range of clients, including the Clinton Global Initiative, the Gates Foundation, and many others in the private sector. In his spare time, he volunteers with the United Nations to produce and disseminate virtual reality films on development issues. Beyond his work, James is passionate and knowledgeable about Latin America. He has published pieces on a range of topics on the subject in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Americas Quarterly, along with academic outlets. He has a BA in Political Science from Columbia University and an MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins. 


Renato Grandmont
Chief Investment Officer for Latin America, UBS

Renato Grandmont is managing director and chief investment officer for Latin America for UBS Wealth Management. In this capacity, he is responsible for providing intellectual capital to UBS clients in Latin America. Prior to joining UBS, Grandmont spent 10 years at Citigroup as chief investment officer for Citi Private Bank Latin America and since 2009 for Citi Wealth Management Latin America. In this capacity, he was responsible for providing intellectual capital to the following groups in the region: the Private Bank, Affluent High Net Worth Services (AHS), the Banamex Advisory Board, Banamex Banca Patrimonial, Banamex Banca Privada, Citi Brazil Asset Management, and Citigold International.


Manuel Jose Balbontin
Founding Partner and Senior Investment Strategist, Compass Group LLC

Mr. Balbontín founded Compass Group LLC in 1995 and is currently the president of the Board and a senior investment strategist. He was previously a managing partner and founder of New World Investments Group of Banco Santander in New York. Mr. Balbontín has also served as director of Capital Markets and co-director of Sales and Trading of Citicorp Emerging Markets Group (ICFD) in New York, London, and Tokyo. He has more than 30 years of experience in asset management, investment banking, and private capital investments in Latin America and other emerging markets.

Mr. Balbontín has a Bachelor´s degree in Business Administration from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and MBA from Harvard Business School

Dirk Willer
Managing Director and Head of Emerging Markets Strategy, Citi Research

Dirk Willer is managing director and head of emerging market strategy at Citi Research. He joined the firm in 2004 and was the head of Latin American Strategy working as a market commentator until assuming his current role as an independent research analyst. Willer specializes in FX, local rates and credit in Latin America and on market analysis relating to emerging markets globally. His expertise extends to the analysis of developments in G3 markets and its impact on emerging markets. Previously he worked at Omega Advisors and RHG Capital as their global macro strategist with a focus on emerging markets, G10 currencies, commodities and global equity indexes.   Before that, Willer was a fixed income strategist for Russia and Eastern Europe at Swiss Bank. Prior to his work on the buy and sell side, he was a consultant to the Russian government during the stabilization period in 1994-95. Willer holds a PhD and MSc degrees in Economics from the London School of Economics. He did his undergraduate work at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.

Alonso Martinez
Senior Lecturer, Columbia Business School

Professor Martinez is a Senior Lecturer at Columbia Business School. He combines teaching and research with extensive global experience doing strategy consulting, with particular expertise in emerging markets. He gives the Catching Growth Waves in Emerging Markets course in both the MBA and EMBA programs and the Defining and Developing wining Strategic Capabilities course to the MBAs.  He has also given the EMBA immersion course on Opportunities in India and led the Global Immersion Program to Brazil for several years. From 2008 to 2012 he directed a project at the Wharton School’s Lauder Institute on “Consumption Patterns in Emerging Markets: Catching Growth Waves and Anticipating Transitions”, including field research with a team of students across major countries. He has developed some unique insights into how business opportunities evolve in emerging markets and the capabilities required to capture them, which he leverages in his classes.

Professor Martinez is a former Senior Vice President at Booz, Allen & Hamilton, having joined in Brazil in 1982 and subsequently opened and/or managed the firm’s offices in every major Latin American country.  He moved to the United States in the year 2000 with global responsibility for major client relationships. Mr. Martinez has worked with many of the world's largest multinationals and leading local groups in the consumer products, media, steel and construction materials industries. His focus has been growth related strategies in emerging markets, including international expansion, mergers and acquisitions and go to market strategies.



Jose Fernandez
Partner, Gibson Dunn; Former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs under President Obama

Jose W. Fernandez is partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and co-chair at Gibson Dunn's Latin America Practice Group. Previous to this, he was nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, as assistant secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs from 2009 to 2013.  During his tenure, Fernandez led the Bureau that is responsible for overseeing work on international trade and investment policy; international finance, development and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; and support for U.S. businesses and the private sector overseas.

He is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and serves on the Board of Directors of Iberdrola S.A.. Fernandez is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and proficient in French.   He has a Bachelor's degree in history, magna cum laude with high honors from Dartmouth College and also received an honorary degree from the college.  Fernandez has a Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he received the Charles Evans Hughes Prize and a Parker School Certificate of International Law with Honors. 

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Ryan Tooney
Senior Managing Director, Strategic Communications and Head of Crisis and Issues Specialty Management, FTI Consulting

Ryan Toohey is senior managing director in the Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting. He is also part of the segment’s Corporate Communications practice, and serves as head of its Crisis & Issues Management specialty practice in the Americas. Toohey specializes in providing strategic counsel to companies and executives facing complex communications, government relations and regulatory challenges. He frequently serves as the lead strategist on multidisciplinary campaigns, where corporate reputation and long-term value creation are at the center of the outcome. Toohey’s more than 15 years of agency-based communications and public affairs work are augmented and informed by many ventures into the domestic and international political space — where he has served as a campaign manager, communications strategist and pollster. He joined FTI Consulting after four years as a partner at a New York-based public affairs firm, Global Strategy Group. Toohey began his agency career in the research and consulting group at Weber Shandwick. He holds a B.A. in classics and government from the University of Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo), and attended Columbia Law School.