At its virtual annual dinner held December 10, the Los Angeles Chapter of Women in International Trade (WIT-LA) awarded Port of Los Angeles Director of Trade Development Marisela Caraballo DiRuggiero its Global Trade Catalyst of the Year award in honor of her extensive involvement and leadership in the international trade arena. Caraballo DiRuggiero has worked for nearly two decades at the Port, securing legislative policy wins, negotiating international sister port agreements, and helping promote international trade and connecting U.S. businesses with overseas opportunities.
“I’m thrilled to see Marisela recognized for her hard work, dedication and contributions to promoting and expanding trade through our Port, the busiest in the Western Hemisphere,” said Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner President Jaime Lee. “With her help and expertise, the Port of Los Angeles has gained enormous influence on the world stage and is recognized around the globe for its leadership in many critical aspects of trade and commerce.”
Caraballo DiRuggiero currently oversees the Trade Development Division at the Port of Los Angeles, as well as Trade Connect, its award-winning export education outreach program, designed to assist small and midsize businesses that are seeking to expand their markets.
Caraballo DiRuggiero is the conduit to the international diplomatic community, government agencies, and professional associations to promote specialized business opportunities in key commodity areas, with an emphasis on export cargos. She has been a catalyst in advancing the Port’s influence since she began her career at the Port in 2002.
Other awardees at the WIT-LA gala included Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor of International Affairs, Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles, as Woman of the Year in International Trade; Kusum Kavia, Co-Founder & President of Combustions Associates, Inc., as Innovative Sustainable Exporter of the Year; Tom Good, Vice President of Sales, U.S. Mainland Matson Inc., Los Angeles, for the Guy Fox Special Award; Mayra Velazquez de Leon, President Organics Unlimited, as Global Trade Ambassador – Mexico; Ntsiki Biyela, Founder of Aslina Wines, as Global Trade Ambassador – South Africa; and Madame Nguyen Thi Nga, BRG Group Chairman and Permanent Vice Chairman of SeABank, as Global Trade Ambassador – Vietnam.
Women in International Trade – Los Angeles (WIT-LA) is a California nonprofit organization providing professional and personal enrichment for women and men involved in international trade in the Los Angeles area. Founded in 1985, WIT-LA is a member of the global Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT), which has chapters in major cities throughout the U.S. and abroad.
The Port of Los Angeles remains open with all terminals operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $276 billion in trade during 2019. San Pedro Bay port complex operations and commerce facilitate one in nine jobs across the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.
Sea News, December 15