2021 Annual Awards Event

View Our 2021 Awards Here!

Our WIIT Stars!
Outstanding Woman of the Year: Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy
Lifetime Achievement: 
Jennifer Hillman
Business Legacy: 
Rosa Whitaker
Government Service: 
Brenda Brockman Smith 
Emerging Leaders: 
Chynna Hawes and Kim Yaeger
U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy proudly represents Florida’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, and the University of Central Florida. She currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, where she is a member of the Subcommittee on Trade and the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support. She also serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is vice chair of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations and is a member of the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.
In addition, Congresswoman Murphy serves as co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of Democrats focused on fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, and a principled and pragmatic approach to legislating. Murphy is the first woman of color ever to lead the Blue Dog Coalition, and she is only the second leader in the coalition’s history to serve consecutive terms.
Congresswoman Murphy also serves as a Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Majority. In this role, she helps Democrats better communicate with House leadership so that legislation that comes to the House floor reflects the views of the entire Democratic caucus. As Chief Deputy Whip, Congresswoman Murphy has a seat on the powerful House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which recommends committee assignments to the Democratic Caucus and helps shape the House policy agenda.
Before her election to Congress, Congresswoman Murphy was a businesswoman and college instructor. Before that, she served as a national security specialist in the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, where she received numerous awards for her distinguished service, including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. She worked on a wide range of security issues from counterterrorism to foreign military relations to strategic planning for the Department. Prior to her service at the Pentagon, Stephanie was a strategy consultant at Deloitte Consulting.
Congresswoman Murphy holds a M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Economics from the College of William and Mary. She lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband and two young children.

Jennifer Hillman is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. Hillman has had a distinguished career in public service. In 2012, she completed her term as one of seven members serving on the WTO's highest court, its Appellate Body.  As a commissioner at the U.S. International Trade Commission, she adjudicated trade remedy cases along with conducting trade-related economic studies. Through her work as General Counsel at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Hillman was involved in all litigation matters coming before panels of the NAFTA or the WTO. She negotiated bilateral agreements with forty-five countries while serving as USTR’s ambassador and chief textiles negotiator. Before joining USTR, she was the legislative director for U.S. Senator Terry Sanford of North Carolina. Hillman was a partner in the law firm of Cassidy Levy Kent, a senior transatlantic fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and a member of the selection panel for the Harry Truman Scholarship Foundation. She serves on the board of visitors of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Duke University.

Rosa Whitaker, President/CEO of The Whitaker Group (TWG), served as the first-ever Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; as a career US Diplomat; and, as Senior Trade Advisor in the US House of Representatives.  
Rosa was one of the key architects of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), America’s first comprehensive trade law towards Africa, which continues to deliver, inter-alia, billions of dollars in duty free products from Africa into the US market annually, while also generating jobs and investments across the Continent. AGOA remains the cornerstone of US economic policy towards Africa.  
TWG, based in Washington DC and Accra, is a leading consultancy of choice for global brands investing and expanding market share in Africa. Named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, Rosa is also a Board member of the US Chamber of Commerce.

Brenda Smith recently completed a 34-year career with the US government, which included five years on Capitol Hill, and experience at eth Department of Treasury and US Customs and Border Protection.  She was a member of the Senior Executive Service for fourteen years. 
Ms. Smith served as the Executive Assistant Commissioner of Trade, at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from 2014 until 2021.  In this role, she led CBP’s Trade mission, overseeing trade enforcement, security, and facilitation matters to enable legitimate trade, contribute to American economic prosperity, and protect against risk to public health and safety.  Her work included enforcement of over 5—US trade laws and 14 trade agreements with 20 countries.  She oversaw national compliance audits, management of trade data and CBP’s regulatory process for administering trade and border operations.  She partnered with CBP’s IT experts to expand trade automation and analytics technologies through agile user-based processes an change management. 
Ms. Smith held a variety of roles at CBP overseeing trade and border enforcement issues.  As Executive Director for the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Business Office, she was responsible for digitization of trade processes on behalf of 50 government agencies for 50,000 private sector and government users.  She also served as Executive Director for Trade Policy and Programs, the Director of Policy and Programs in the Office of International Affairs and Trade Relations, and led the CBP Commissioner’s Strategic Planning and Performance Division.  Prior to joining Customs, Ms. Smith worked at the Department of the Treasury and on Capitol Hill.  
Ms. Smith was a 2017 finalist in the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America (“Sammie”) Award for Management Excellence.  She received the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award, given to the top 1% of government senior executives, for enhancing enforcement of trade laws to protect American business and consumers, and aligning customs procedures with modern business practices to enhance US economic competitiveness. 

Kim Yaeger joined the US-ASEAN Business Council in 2013 and is currently Senior Director leading the Council’s five maritime Southeast Asia country teams, in addition to working on the Energy and ICT portfolios. During her time at the Council she has led the development of the Indonesia ICT Consultative Forum, the Council’s first Human Capital Forum held in Singapore, and helped to reinstate regular business missions to Laos. Additionally, she has also grown the Council’s relationship with the U.S. State Department’s Young Southeast Leaders Initiative and served as a U.S. delegate to the inaugural ASEAN Young Leaders Summit in 2015 alongside the ASEAN Leaders Summit in Kuala Lumpur. Prior to joining the Council, Kim spent several years working in the nonprofit sector, including the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. She also worked as an English teacher for Potisarn Pittayakorn School, a public secondary school in Bangkok, where she first fell in love with the region. Kim received an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from the School of International Service at American University and holds a B.S. in Psychology from California Polytechnic State University.

Chynna Hawes is currently Director, China at Edelman Global Advisory. Prior she was senior manager with USCBC’s government affairs team where she tracks and advises member companies on US policy developments that might impact the US-China commercial relationship. She joined USCBC in 2018 as a Business Advisory Services manager covering the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and medical device portfolio, as well as the intellectual property portfolio. Prior to joining USCBC, Chynna lived in China for eight years. After completing a two-year Master’s degree in Nanjing, from 2012 to 2018, Chynna worked in Shanghai in the communications industry helping major multinationals and Fortune 500 companies promote and protect their corporate reputations. 

Chynna has a MA in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University School for Advanced International Studies, completed in Mandarin, and a BA from Middlebury College. She is professionally fluent in Mandarin Chinese. 

Upcoming Events

Check out our upcoming events and sign up today!

Events Calendar

WIIT Weekly

Have you seen the latest WIIT Weekly?  

Read Now

Charitable Trust

Learn more about WIIT's Charitable Trust, volunteer or donate!

Learn More