Founders in a Foreign Land
Time & Location
American immigration policy has become stricter under the Trump Administration, but that doesn’t mean the American Dream is gone. The strength of the US economy continues to attract companies from all over the world. However, foreign companies can no longer take a relaxed approach to global migration when it comes to the United States. Companies need to employ a pragmatic approach to doing business in American which includes not only an immigration strategy but also an understanding of which places in the United States will help navigate the process. Understanding this dynamic will contribute to the success of companies looking to expand their business and take advantage of the prosperous U.S. market.
Lauren Swartz, City of Philadelphia, Senior Director of International Business & Global Strategy - MODERATOR
In her role as Senior Director of International Business & Global Strategy for the City of Philadelphia at the Department of Commerce, Lauren Swartz leads initiatives to grow Philadelphia’s global profile and connectivity. With a focus on global business attraction, foreign direct investment, and promoting exports, her work creates jobs and strengthens the local economy. She plays the leading role in crafting the global strategy for Philadelphia and hosts delegations, diplomats, business and investors from abroad, and represents the City of Philadelphia worldwide. Lauren serves on two non-profit Boards and was awarded as a “40 Under 40” Honoree in 2019 from the Philadelphia Business Journal and Temple University’s Fox School of Business International Business Partner of the Year in 2016-2017. She has over 17 years of international business experience and has traveled to over 25 countries for work and pleasure.
Jonathan Grode, Green & Spiegel LLC, US Practice Diretor & Immigration Legal Expert
Jonathan Grode serves as the U.S. Practice Director and Managing Partner for Green and Spiegel. Jonathan has worked continuously in the U.S. business immigration law field since 1999 and has amassed considerable experience obtaining nonimmigrant and immigrant visas for new company start-ups, professional workers, artists and entertainers, athletes, physicians, and scientific researchers.
Jonathan has been a panelist and moderator on immigration law topics for numerous organizations, including the American Bar Association, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, French Chamber for Commerce and Industry (Paris, France), and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He also writes regularly for industry publications and academic journals. In addition, Jonathan is an Adjunct Faculty at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law where he teaches Business Immigration Law, Advising Global Corporations, and Law Practice Management.
Danish Dhamani, Orai, Co-Founder, CEO
Danish Dhamani is co-founder and CEO of Orai, a sales coaching software used by Comcast, IBM, and HPE to ensure sellers build confidence through practice, role-plays, and A.I. feedback. He is also a keynote speaker and a TEDx speaker coach. Outside of work, he spends time cycling, playing squash, and trying very hard not to lose focus while meditating. Danish’s three superpowers are - Strategy, Speaking and Sleep!
Karina Sotnik, University City Science Center, Director Business Incubation and Accelerator Programs
Karina is a leader with over a decade of experience creating entrepreneurial ecosystems through innovating programs with significant economic impact. She has extensive experience in Academic Innovation, Incubation, Acceleration and Global Soft-Landing programs for startups, universities, and international organizations.
In addition, she worked as a Digital Enterprise Portfolio Manager at the University of Pennsylvania PCI Ventures where she helped faculty and students start 19 companies and launched and ran AppItUP Challenge, a digital accelerator for mobile technologies . She is now a Director of Business Incubation and Accelerator Programs at the University City Science Center where she is managing a suite of Global Soft-Landing Programs. Karina serves on the board of advisors for multiple companies and is a member of the Investment Advisory Committee for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Pennsylvania.
Her other interests include translating poetry. Her translations of Russian poetry has been published in World Literature Today and Common Knowledge, as well as other publications.