President and CEO
Florizelle (Florie) Liser is the third President and CEO of CCA. Ms. Liser brings expertise and an extensive network on trade and Africa to her new role, along with a strong track record of working with the private sector to translate policy into action. She is the first woman to lead the Council since its founding in 1993. Ms. Liser joined CCA from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where she was the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa since 2003. At USTR, she led trade and investment policy towards 49 sub-Saharan African nations and oversaw implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Previously, Ms. Liser served as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Industry, Market Access, and Telecommunications from 2000-2003. She also served as Senior Trade Policy Advisor in the Office of International Transportation and Trade at the Department of Transportation from 1987-2000; worked as a Director in USTR’s Office of GATT Affairs, and served as an Associate Fellow at the Overseas Development Council (ODC) from 1975-1980.
Ms. Liser holds a M.A. in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from Dickinson College.
Stephen Hayes is the President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, the leading U.S. organization on U.S.-Africa trade and economic relations. As such he and CCA are the only entities in America to have been awarded the two highest awards given by the U.S. Government for international economic leadership. In 2008 Hayes was awarded the Ron Brown Award for International Leadership, the highest individual award possible from the United States Department of Commerce and in 2015 under his leadership the Corporate Council on Africa was presented with the President’s “E” Award for Excellence in Export Service. The Award was initiated by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. No other individual or organization has ever won both of the highest awards for businesses presented by the U.S. Government. In 2016, Hayes was awarded by the Africa-America Institute at its Gala Dinner as National Business Leader of the Year for his leadership of the Corporate Council on Africa in developing U.S.-Africa relations.
Mr. Hayes has had a long record of international service, beginning first with service in a Palestinian refugee camp in 1968. His entire adult life has been spent in the international arena. He has been presented other awards throughout his life. They include from the Hungarian Government for his work in helping bring down the Iron Curtain, by the International YMCA for his work on behalf of Ugandan refugees, by the world's largest student exchange organization, AFS International, for his international program development leadership, and by the African Continental Business Council in Chicago for his leadership in building US-Africa relations. The previous awardee was then U.S. Senator Barack Obama. In 2004, The Transnet Foundation under the chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu presented Hayes with the Phelopheda Award for his leadership in building US-South Africa economic relations. In 2012, the American Diabetics Association Washington, DC chapter named him Father of the Year.
Throughout the 1980s Hayes worked and traveled extensively between the United States and the former Soviet Union to strengthen relationships between the two nations. He also built programs between the United States and Eastern Europe. He was founder and president of the American Center for International Leadership, an organization designed to reduce East-West tensions through the exchange of young leaders during the Cold War. In 1995, the organization was also responsible for bringing the first delegation of Vietnamese leaders to the U.S. since the end of the Vietnam War. Hayes has also traveled many times to China to develop emerging leadership exchanges between the two nations over the past four decades, beginning in 1987 when he established one of the first emerging leadership programs between the United States and China. From 1993 to 1999 Mr. Hayes made several trips into Libya to help resolve critical issues between the two countries.
He was one of the principal founders of the Infant Formula Campaign, which remains today as the only successful global boycott.
The campaign was designed to curb the questionable marketing practices of companies selling infant formula in developing nations which was leading to higher mortality rates among children. The campaign ended in 1983 with companies agreeing to cease such practices. The signing between corporate leaders and the Infant Formula Campaign appeared on the front page of the New York Times.
In 1999 Hayes was named President of the Corporate Council on Africa. He led what was then a struggling organization to become the primary business organization working exclusively on U.S.-Africa economic and trade relations and was further honored for his leadership by various African governments including Kenya and Senegal. He retired from the Corporate Council on Africa in December 2016 and serves as a consultant to various entities, especially those working on U.S.-Africa relations.
Carla Battle serves as Director of the U.S.-Africa Business Summit 2015 which will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 2-5. Carla has more than 20 years of experience in executing conferences across multiple sectors, including managing events in east and southern Africa. Carla attended Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.
Assistant to the CFO
Kelly serves as the assistant to the CFO and has provided CCA with accounting support services since April 2011. She has a proven track record of managing special accounting systems, including CCA's current USAID grant system and chart of accounts. She has managed the financial and regulatory compliance aspects and helped the program achieve successful monitoring of costs and financial progress. Kelly also assists with daily accounting tasks and helps interprets financial reports for the CFO. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2010 from Virginia Commonwealth University and is well-versed in USAID cost accounting guidelines and financial and cash management.
Michaela serves as the Marketing Manager at CCA. She graduated Cum Laude from Loyola University Chicago with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Journalism and Political Science, and a minor in French Language. She also studied in Beijing, China at the University of International Business and Economics. Before joining CCA, Michaela worked in Marketing and Public Relations in Washington D.C., and as a journalist in Nigeria, West Africa.
Morayor Essieh serves as the Tourism Program Manager at CCA. Previously, she worked under the Power Africa/Trade Africa grant funded by USAID and before that, she held a position in CCA’s Special Events and Marketing Department. Morayor graduated from Loyola University New Orleans where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations, and a minor in Sociology. Prior to CCA, Morayor served as a social media and web strategist.
Biova Kabine leads CCA's Finance Program. A graduate of Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense in Paris, France with a B.A. in Foreign Languages and International Business, Biova also holds a Masters in International Affairs from Penn State University with a focus on economic development policies, South-South cooperation, and Africa as a regional specialization. He has conducted in-depth research into the role of African security forces in economic development and democracy building, Chinese oil policy in Africa, and how the Asian Tigers’ economies can serve as a blueprint for African nations. He is fluent in French, Spanish, Ewe and Fon.
Director, Human Resources & Executive Assistant to the President
Hillary Lucas serves as the Director of Human Resources and Executive Assistant to the CCA president. These positions showcase her wide-ranging experience from Senior Sales Manager for Kimpton hotels to Protocol Officer for the Clinton White House Administration. At the White House, she gained a seasoned ability to work with diverse people, coordinate complex activities, plan, develop and execute sensitive programs. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, Hillary brings a proven track record of managerial leadership and a commitment to the CCA cooperative U.S.-Africa bi-lateral efforts. Hillary's cross-cultural sensitivity uniquely qualifies her to work with CCA's African membership and support its president as a management team member.
Program Manager, East Africa
Sonia Mfasoni serves as small/ medium business linkages program manager for CCA’s USAID-funded U.S.-Africa Business Center. She first joined CCA as an intern in 2008, working closely with the human resources director. In her current role with the USABC, she works closely with American small and medium size enterprises eager to explore business opportunities in Africa. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in psychology, with an international relations minor, from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. After a temporary stint working in human resources at Erickson Living, she received a dual graduate degree Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior from the University of Maryland.
Akaego serves as CCA’s Director of Membership providing member services to the organization’s member companies.
Before taking on the membership role, Akaego served as head of Legal and Corporate Affairs at EAN Aviation, a business aviation company which operates the first full service FBO and jet maintenance facility in Lagos, Nigeria. In helping to build the business, she served in various capacities including client relationship management, business development, event and conference management, and all legal aspects of the business.
Akaego obtained an LLB in Law from the University of Kent and LLM in International Commercial Law from University College London and is qualified to practice law in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Chief Financial Officer
Ray joined CCA in January 2013 and represents the organization on financial matters. He serves on the senior management team and provides financial support to the Board of Directors and related committees. He also provides leadership and technical guidance to staff on accounting, budgetary and treasury functions. His background includes more than thirty years of solid experience working with governmental and non-profit organizations as well as major corporations in the private sector. He graduated from University of New Haven, Connecticut receiving a BS degree in Accounting and a MBA in Finance. He also has a certificate in Academy for Excellence in Local Governance from the University of Maryland Institute for Governmental Service.
Patricia Sheikh leads CCA's Agribusiness program, providing leadership for the agribusiness community. Pat served as Deputy Administrator for the Office of Capacity Building and Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. In that capacity, she oversaw all global agricultural development and trade programs. She was also responsible for directing U.S. foreign policy objectives as they related to foreign assistance, including food aid.