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MILSPRAY’s CEO & President, Brian Feser and Senior Advisor for Africa, Dr. Sylvester Okere to Attend Dinner for Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Brian Feser, President & CEO

Brian Feser, President & CEO

MILSPRAY‘s Chief Executive Officer and President is Brian Feser. Feser is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel with 28 years of service. He previously served as Vice President of International Business Operations for Textron Systems. Before being promoted, he served as Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Textron Marine & Land Systems and concurrently served as the Director of Afghanistan Operations.

He holds a Master of Science degree in Human Resources and Business Administration from Central Michigan University and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He holds a Certificate in Communications and Marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as well as a Certification in Law Enforcement from the University of Virginia. Brian is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) from American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). He also earned his certificate in Executive Protection from ASIS.

Dr. Sylvester Okere, Senior Advisor for Africa

Dr. Sylvester Okere, Senior Advisor for Africa

Dr. Sylvester Okere is MILSPRAY‘s Senior Advisor for Africa. Okere is a businessman, community organizer, strategist and political professional in the US and Africa. He is the Chairman of the African Entrepreneurs Coalition (AEC), and spent nearly 14 years of his career with the Nigeria Immigration Department. Okere is the Chairman of Maryland-Nigeria Sister States’ Executive Committee and the constituent leader of Continental African Leadership Council by the Maryland Democratic Party. He helped to develop long term vision and strategies for African constituents with the goal to mobilize, organize and empower the African community in Maryland.

Dr. Okere started his own private security company in 2004 serving Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. He founded the Maryland Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, and is Senior Principal at Strategic Groups LLC. Dr. Okere was one of the first African immigrants to speak on a national platform at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Along with a dynamic team, Okere successfully held a workshop on International Trade and Commerce for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Initiative in February 2014.

Dr. Okere is a strategic leader for numerous national and global organizations (NGOs) that focus on peace building and sustainable development. With influence across many platforms, Okere is Diaspora mobilizer in ethics and values & business development for The Presidency: Office of the Special Adviser to the President of Nigeria on Ethics and Values. As a Diaspora leader and stakeholder representing many organizations and institutions within the private and entrepreneurial community in the US and Africa, Dr. Okere will bring his influential network and business experience to his new position.


Both MILSPRAY’s CEO & President, Brian Feser and MILSPRAY’s Senior Advisor for Africa, Dr. Sylvester Okere will be attending the dinner for Muhammadu Buhari President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria taking place today July 20, 2015 from 7:00 – 9:00pm (EST) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hall of Flags in Washington, DC.

Be sure to follow along with the latest trade shows and events MILSPRAY™ team members will be attending by: Clicking Here

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Winning with Women Wednesday – An Interview with Noelle Lotano, Executive Director for the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce

WinningWithWomenNoelle

Today, is Winning with Women Wednesday and over the past week we had the opportunity to speak with Noelle Lotano. Noelle is the passionate and driven, Executive Director for the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce. The Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce was founded about 1918 by a group of concerned business and philanthropic leaders in the County Seat of Ocean. The chamber interacts with government, business, education, legal, civic, cultural, charitable, healthcare, athletic and religious groups endeavoring to create a healthy economic climate in which to live, work and raise a family…enjoying “The Good Life.” The chamber continues to serve as a spokesperson for business and looks to further the best interests of the whole community.


Get to Know Noelle:Noelle Lotano

Name:  Noelle W. Lotano

Age:  37

Education:  I attended Sweet Briar College, a small women’s college, in Amherst, Virginia from 1996-1998 before transferring home to Georgian County College from 1998-2000.  I earned my BA in English Studies from Georgian County College (now University) in May of 2000.

Company/Organization:  Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce  

Position:  Executive Director  

Time with Organization:  Six months  

Company headquarters:  Toms River, New Jersey  

Total number of members:  Currently, we support 352 members and we employee 3 employees.

Number of memberships overseen:  Currently, we support 352 members.


Noelle, how did you become involved with the Chamber of Commerce?  

The Chamber of Commerce has been an active part of my life since my family moved to Toms River in 1984.  As a local small business owner, my father joined the Toms River Chamber shortly after we moved here, and I saw firsthand how he formed many valuable working and personal relationships with other members.  As a young woman, it was not uncommon for me to attend chamber events with him.  In December of 2014, I was asked to serve as the Executive Director of our 97-year old organization.  I was thrilled by the opportunity, and have been enjoying every day of my tenure since.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?  

I have been impacted by many people throughout my fifteen-year career.  I have parents who have always encouraged me, and have had a tremendous influence over my decisions.  Someone who has specifically left an impression on me since I joined the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce is Tara Cunningham, the Founder and Executive Director of Beyond-Impact.  Tara’s thought-invoking leadership is inspiring to be around.  She embodies everything I believe women should be in business.  Her mind sparks with creativity and bubbles with strategy.  Tara “goes for it” every day.   

What is one of the most important decisions you make a as the Executive Director for the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce?  

One of the most important decisions that I make as the ED of the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce is the mission and vision for our organization – but I certainly do not do it alone.  We recently began a rebranding process, and it was my responsibility to select a team of people who would best be suited to layout the framework for our chamber’s future.  In doing so, and with Tara’s guidance, we were able to develop a mission and vision for our chamber that will accelerate local business and our community into the next decades.

Where do the great ideas come from within your organization?  

Many of the great ideas come from our 39-person, highly engaged Board.  The members of our Board of Directors serve on many other community organizations, and constructively share what is working and what is not working from those experiences.  They regularly attend our events, and provide us with feedback that enables us to strive toward partnerships that serve our members in the most valuable ways possible.     

How do you and other leaders in Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce communicate the “core values/mission of the organization”?  

Because of our recent rebrand, our leaderships and membership are excitedly impart our new mission.  They consistently share the happenings and direction of our organization with the people they come in contact with.  It brings me joy to see how organically our message is being communicated to our community.  

What are three characteristics you believe every leader should possess?  

I believe that leaders should possess many characteristics, but in selecting three, I’d choose open-mindedness, an unceasing drive for development and progress, and a good sense of humor.  

What is one mistake you see leaders make more frequently than others?  

One mistake that I see leaders make is doing things the way they have always been done.  

Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking and social media has made on the organization or you personally? 

Social networking and social media has made a huge impact on business.  It allows us to share information with people through an alternative medium, connect with large, targeted groups of people instantaneously, and allows people who might otherwise not normally share a room, exchange ideas freely.

What are a few resources you would recommend in Ocean County for someone who is looking to gain a competitive edge as a business owner or gain insight into becoming a better leader?  

I would recommend joining a non-profit board in Ocean County if you are looking to gain a competitive edge as a business owner.  While that might sound counter-intuitive, in my experience, I have met many of the brightest minds in Ocean County around the boardroom tables of our local non-profit organizations.  Smart people and strong leaders recognize the benefit of supporting these worthy causes.   

What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?  

If you are going into leadership for the first time, listen {way more} than you talk.   


To learn more about the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce: Click Here

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MILSPRAY CFO & SVP of Operations and VP of Administrative Operations in Attendance at NJ Chamber of Commerce (Isle of Jersey) Luncheon and Reception

Liz DeSerio, MILSPRAY CFO & SVP of Operations and Chantel Robinson, VP of Administrative Operations

Liz DeSerio, MILSPRAY CFO & SVP of Operations and Chantel Robinson, VP of Administrative Operations

GovernmentofJersey

Mike King speaking at the event.

Mike King speaking at the event.

Joe Moynihan, Director of Financial Services for the Government of Jersey

Joe Moynihan, Director of Financial Services for the Government of Jersey

Liz DeSerio, Emma Martin, and Chantel Robinson

Liz DeSerio, Emma Martin, and Chantel Robinson

Liz DeSerio and Chantel Robinson were both in attendance at the NJ Chamber of Commerce, Isle of Jersey Luncheon and Reception that had taken place at the Hyatt New Brunswick in New Brunswick, NJ.

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