2020 International Women's Day Awardees

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Audrey M. Edmonson understands the importance of building strong, safe and economically successful neighborhoods throughout Miami-Dade County.  During her 15-year tenure on the Miami-Dade County Commission, Edmonson has been an effective advocate for health, transportation, social justice, small businesses, and cross-cultural understanding.

As a representative of the Miami-Dade County Sister Cities Program in 2007, Edmonson signed an agreement with the City of Cape Town, South Africa, and the City of Dakar, Senegal, establishing Sister City ties and thus fostering trade and cultural exchanges.  "International trade is one of Miami-Dade County's most important drivers, creating vital jobs throughout our community,” said Edmonson. “We need to nurture our two-way global commerce to continue to create new opportunities for women-owned, minority-owned and other small businesses in a wide range of economic sectors." 

Born in Liberty City, Edmonson holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and a dual master's degree in marriage and family therapy and mental health counseling. She has been active in local government since 1999, serving as mayor of El Portal before first being elected to the county commission in 2005. She began her two-year term as chairwoman in December 2018. Her many activities today include serving in the International Trade Consortium as vice-chair, the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust, and Project PEACE: People Engaged and Advocating for Community Empowerment.

Chairwoman, Miami Dade County Commission

Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson

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Marie Gill is a champion for women and minority-owned businesses, helping them compete in global markets.  As founder and CEO of M. Gill & Associates, Inc., she provides economic development and specialty consulting services, and advocates for the inclusion of minorities in government contracts and financing.

“The global marketplace is changing and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power, 90 percent of economic growth, and 95 percent of consumers will live outside of U.S. by 2030,” she said. “Miami is a gateway to the world at the epicenter of the Western Hemisphere, making it easy to navigate international trade activities.”

Born in Jamaica, Gill earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the West Indies and two masters’ degrees from the University of Toronto. She settled in South Florida in the 1980s, and was the first black and the first woman to be awarded the federal contract to operate the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) programs throughout the state in 2001. Through MBDA programs have, Gill has facilitated more than $4.3 billion in contracts and financing for minority and women-owned businesses, creating and retaining more than 12,000 U.S. jobs.

Gill’s leadership in the community led to Jamaican Consulate to select her as the volunteer president of the Jamaica USA Chamber of Commerce 15 years ago. “This has provided a bridge for me to engage more Caribbean Americans in federal contracting and in growing exports from Florida to the Caribbean.”

Gil founded the National Association of Caribbean Businesswomen, which focuses on helping young girls to succeed in their academic and business pursuits.  She represents Jamaica as vice president of Florida’s Bi-National Chambers of Commerce, serves on the Coalition of Caribbean Chambers of Commerce, and hosts the annual Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference – Florida’s signature event recognizing the contributions and accomplishments of minority businesses.

Founder & CEO, M. Gill & Associates

Marie R. Gill​

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As consul general of Canada in Miami, Susan E. Harper provides leadership to enhance Florida’s relationship with Canada, a key trading partner for the state. She is active on trade, security and energy-related issues, as well as providing commercial and consular services to Canadians.

Prior to moving to Miami in 2016, Harper held two consecutive positions in Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa. She was director-general and senior arctic official, heading the Canadian delegation to the Arctic Council, and director-general, Trade, Controls, and Technical Barriers.

She was posted to the Embassy of Canada in Washington DC, in 2004, where she became Minister (Economic) in 2008. She had previously been Ambassador in Montevideo, Uruguay, after having held trade positions in Yaoundé, Paris and Buenos Aires. Before joining the Government of Canada, Harper taught at Cambrian College in Sudbury, and George Brown College in Toronto.   

Harper earned her bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University and master of business administration degree from Western University. She has two children, who keep her academic, financial management and diplomatic skills honed.

Consul General of Canada in Miami, Consulate General of Canada

Susan Harper

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Karen A. Kuhn has more than 29 years of federal service with the Department of Treasury, the U.S. Customs Service, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  She has been the CBP associate chief counsel (Miami) since 2004.  In this role, she is in charge of the legal services provided to CBP in ten states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Preclearance locations in Bermuda, Bahamas, and Aruba.  She is also charged with providing legal resources to two active Centers of Excellence and Expertise – the Agriculture and Prepared Products Center in Miami and the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandise Center in Atlanta.

Kuhn has extensive experience in trade enforcement, including trade-based money laundering and smuggling.  She leads the legal effort to address commercial fraud and smuggling throughout the region so that CBP can facilitate legitimate trade through U.S. ports.  She has worked on trade matters throughout her career, and legal work has been recognized twice with CBP Commissioner’s Awards. 

Kuhn earned her J.D. from the National Law Center at George Washington University.   She also holds a master’s degree in international affairs from GWU and a bachelor’s degree in political science and a certificate in Russian and Eastern European studies from the University of Pittsburgh.  She also graduated from the Senior Managers in Government program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.   

Associate Chief Counsel, Miami, Florida, Office of Chief Counsel, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Karen A. Kuhn​

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Christine Valls was named American Airlines' Vice President of Sales for Florida, Latin America, the Caribbean and U.S. Latin in 2018. She is responsible for the airline’s passenger sales revenue, agency and corporate relationships in these geographical markets.

Christine joined American Airlines in 1991 as a Customer Service Representative. Since then, she has held numerous management roles across American in departments including Sales, Sales Planning and also leading American’s interactive marketing efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most recently, she served as Regional Sales Director for Mexico, Central, and South America.

Christine holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from The American University in Washington D.C. A Florida native raised in Puerto Rico, she is fluent in English and Spanish and speaks conversational Portuguese.  She currently resides in Doral, Florida with her husband and two children.

Vice President of Sales for Florida, Latin America, the Caribbean and U.S. Latin, American Airlines

Christine Valls

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