Expertise Team

Jeffrey J. Hanson


26 years of business operations in Brazil

Graduated with an International MBA from IMD, Switzerland and a Mechanical Engineering degree with an Environmental Engineering minor from the University of Minnesota. Travelled the world extensively with the International Division of Donaldson Company covering engineering, sales and marketing before moving to Brazil. While in Brazil managed subsidiaries for 2 Minnesota multinational companies for 8 years and also owned and operated a Brazilian importing, manufacturing and sales company in Brazil for 18 years. Married a wonderful Brazilian woman and raised 2 children in São Paulo through high school. Still passionate for Brazil, moved back to the USA in 2004 where I continue to work for stronger and better ties between Brazil and Minnesota.

Robert H. Scarlett

Vice President

40 years of experience in Latin America

Rob Scarlett has had a 40-year career in international sales and manufacturing; and although still active in business, has shifted more of his time into service as a director and/or advisor to several small and medium-size companies and philanthropic organizations. Shortly after graduating from Carleton College in 1966, he became part of a private NGO team in Venezuela, Brazil and Peru that created some of Latin America’s first microfinance institutions. Building on that experience, he began a decades-long business career that kept him active throughout Latin America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In addition to his international business consulting work, Rob currently serves as a board member or advisor for a number of Minnesota organizations; including, the AVEKA Group, Inc., Minnepura Technologies, PBC; Clearwater Biologic, LLC: Venn Foundation; and the Sundance Family. In recent years, Rob also served as Board Chair for Global Minnesota and President of Minnesota-Uruguay Partners of the Americas. He speaks German, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, and has also lived and worked throughout Europe, South Africa, and throughout most of Latin America. Rob is co-author, with Dr. Lawrence Koslow, of Global Business: 308 Tips for Taking Your Company Worldwide (Oxford UK 1999).

Eduardo Martins


Eduardo Martins holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University Federal of Paraná and an MBA in Economics and Financial Management from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, both in Brazil. Living in Minnesota since 2015, he has also taken classes as part of the Professional Development Program from Carlson School of Management (University of Minnesota). Eduardo is a finance professional and started his career in the consumer products segment, moving to the water and wastewater management and more recently in the agribusiness. With over 16 years of experience in different areas of finance in several countries and regions, currently his role covers finance for the Americas region. Besides spending time with his family, Eduardo loves to run and bike with friends, read, travel and explore new cultures.

Patrícia Ribeiro


Lawyer, with both in-house and law firm experience in Brazil, holding a Master of Laws from the University of California, Davis School of Law (2016), a Specialization in Brazilian Corporate Law by the School of Law from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (2014) and a Bachelor of Laws from Faculdade de Direito de Joinville (1997). She is licensed by the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB/SC), to practice law nationwide in Brazil; as well as by the California State Bar, as a Provisionally Licensed Attorney. Her expertise has been developed working for large multinational companies of different sizes, providing strategic consulting services to foreign companies wanting to enter the Brazilian market, particularly in the health regulated market. She has vast knowledge of Brazilian corporate law and regulatory law, as well as a basis for comparative analysis of corporate and contractual models adopted in other countries. Her ties to Minnesota began in 2018 when her son Daniel started his undergrad studies at the University of Minnesota, expanding over the years. She has two sons, Daniel and Diego, and during free time she enjoys riding motorcycle with her husband Mauricio.

Richard Weiner

I practice in the International Law Group at Fredrikson & Byron assisting clients with international business transactions. My practice focuses on international joint ventures, partnerships, mergers, acquisitions, distributorships, licensing, franchising, contract matters, dispute resolution and customs regulations. I speak and read French, Spanish, and Italian and read Portuguese.
Specialties: lawyer, attorney, law, international, clean tech, green tech, renewable energy, alternative energy, biodiesel, ethanol, biofuels, manufacturing, equipment, design, supply, agreements, contracts, licensing, technology, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions

Jordana Mattos

Jordana Mattos is a marketing consultant with a background in healthcare. She graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine as well as having completed an MBA in Rio de Janeiro, her hometown. In addition to working with medical content projects, she runs a small-sized advertising agency, JÖBi Marketing & Design, where she helps local Brazilian entrepreneurs and small business owners build their company's visual identities. She has volunteered for many years at Viva Brasil STL, a nonprofit organization in St Louis, and is passionate about supporting small business initiatives and Brazilian cultural events. She believes that feeling fulfilled professionally, building strong community ties, and keeping a strong sense of Brazilian culture and language are key factors to a healthy life abroad.

João Moura

Over 40 years of Brazilian marketing, sales, and business experience

A businessman, advertiser, journalist, and consultant, João Moura has over 40 years of direct experience in Brazilian marketing, sales, and business development, as well as more than 30 years of experience in international business. João is the cofounder of DBD Filtros Group (owner of LAFFI Filtration and LAFFI Water), L3 PPM: Publicidade, Propaganda e Marketing, Ltda. (a market intelligence, research, and recruitment company for companies interested in the Brazilian market and publisher of Revista Meio Filtrante and Revista TAE: Tratamento de Águas e Efluentes magazines), and ABRAFILTROS (Associação Brasileira das Empresas de Filtros e de seus Sistemas Automotivos e Industriais), for which he is serving his 7th term as president.

Karyna Walsh

Over 18 years of Event Planning, Marketing, and Communications experience, Karyna Walsh is a passionate of the “Marketing and Events World”. Post Graduated in Marketing and Graduated in Hospitality. In the last 12 years, she worked on a Financial Industry - Santander Bank in Brazil. As for her last responsibility there, she was responsible for the Marketing and Sales area at Farol Santander – a Cultural center located in Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre. Before that, she was the Events Marketing Manager, responsible for all event planning/execution initiatives and also sponsorship activations (Formula 1, Copa Libertadores and Champions League). Her main achievement was to lead an annual meeting concert for over 40,000 employees at the Allianz stadium in Sao Paulo in 2017. Since 2020, she is living in US-Minnesota with her husband, her daughter and her dog. She likes to spend time with her family, enjoying the nature, reading, riding a bicycle and traveling.

Bruna Valente

Bruna, a first-generation immigrant from Brazil, studied Business at PUC - São Paulo, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She advanced her corporate career in marketing at Pentair and as a global product manager at nVent. More recently, following a cancer diagnosis, her path to wellness led her to the heart of her home country, the Amazon. She then studied natural skincare formulation using ingredients from the rainforest. Since then, she’s founded Terrain Brazilian Botanicals - a premium, clean skincare brand that celebrates culture and uplifts communities. Her ambitions are simple - to live well and enjoy adventures with her family, in Minnesota and beyond.

Contributing Members

Juliana Junqueira Panetta

Juliana Junqueira Panetta is an attorney at Sapientia Law Group in Minneapolis. Originally from São Paulo, Juliana attended the University of São Paulo before moving to Minnesota and earning a bachelor’s degree in international relations as well as her J.D. In her legal practice, she serves as an outside general counsel for businesses of various sizes, and guides her clients through complex commercial real estate transactions. Juliana is a people person by nature and loves connecting with Minnesota's Brazilian community.

Adriano Bonazio

Enthusiastic about the most diverse forms of communication and connection, Bonazio is brazilian, graduated in Public Relations and has an MBA in Strategic Management and Business Economics. More than 15 years of experience in government relations and institutional communication. He is currently Communication & Marketing Manager at Abrafiltros - Brazilian Association of Automotive and Industrial Filter Companies and System Manufacturers.

Previous Directors

João Medeiros

João Medeiros is a dual-citizen of Brazil and the United States. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, which is recognized as one of the top law schools in the country. After receiving his law degree, he worked as an intern in the Trial Chamber of the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia). Returning to Minnesota, he then served as a law clerk for judges in the Minnesota District Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals. He is admitted to practice before Minnesota state and federal courts. His law firm has attorneys licensed to practice in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. His practice focuses on litigation defense in commercial disputes, professional liability, insurance coverage, and appeals.

Douglas Engen

Doug Engen started his involvement in Brazil in 1969 when he joined the Peace Corps in Pernambuco. He and his wife returned to Brazil where he had a 20-year career with KPMG and Cargill. They raised four children there. Doug has worked as an independent consultant since 2001 offering financial, tax, accounting, and interim management services in various organizations worldwide.

Paula Kanne

Paula Kanne is the Honorary Consul of Brazil in Minnesota and a lawyer at Thomson Reuters where she handles a variety of commercial technology agreements. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Paula worked with Dorsey and Whitney law firm's Corporate Group where she represented public and private companies in mergers and acquisitions, worked on commercial agreements, and handled other corporate matters. She had previously worked for six years as a paralegal for U.S. Bank. Before immigrating to the U.S. from Brazil, she was a litigation attorney for Banco do Brasil for six years where she handled a portfolio of hundreds of labor and employment cases. Simultaneously, she started and managed her own legal practice in Brasília which dealt with a variety of commercial and civil matters. Her first legal experience was as a Clerk at the State of Goias Attorney General’s Office. Paula received her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law), where she was awarded the 2014 Kirwin Professionalism Prize. She also has a Brazilian J.D. degree from the Centro de Ensino Superior Unificado de Brasília and an M.B.A. in Tax Law from the Fundação Getulio Vargas. Paula was recognized in 2016, 2017, and 2018 as an MSBA North Star Lawyer for her extensive pro bono work. Additionally, Paula has served on Congressman Dean Phillips’ Immigration Advisory Council and as Treasurer for the International Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. In her free time, Paula enjoys singing bossa nova.

Isabel Gomes

Isabel Gomes completed her legal studies in her home country of Brazil. She also holds an MBA and is currently pursuing an LLM in U.S. Law. She started as an associate at a large law firm in São Paulo before moving in-house. She served as a Legal Manager with the Whirlpool Corporation’s Brazilian subsidiary. 15 years ago, she joined 3M as the General Counsel in Brazil. In 2011, Isabel became the General Counsel to 3M Latin America. In 2013, she was transferred to 3M's headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota to serve as the Associate General Counsel for 3M International. Since January 2018, she has been the Associate General Counsel for 3M’s global health care business. Additionally, she has also held the position of President of the Board of Directors of 3M Brazil’s Foundation, and of the American School of Campinas. Isabel’s professional experience prior to practicing law includes owning and managing small businesses. Isabel has two daughters, Ana Sophia and Victoria. In addition to spending quality time with her family, Isabel enjoys cooking, reading and traveling.

Paulo Telles Moraes

Brazilian with engineering and international business experience

Paulo Moraes graduated in electronic and mechanical engineering specializing in project engineering and industrial processes design. He also received an MBA at Mackenzie University in Brazil and completed a short MBA from the University of St. Thomas. A native of São Paulo, Paulo has worked in various technical, commercial and management positions throughout South America, in Denmark, and in China before moving to the United States. He currently works for Crown Iron Works Co. for which he initially managed startup operations in Brazil. He now focuses on sales for oil and oleochemical processing plants and refineries, biodiesel, as well as servicing, spare parts, and technical support worldwide.

Lucas Cortese

Communications Director

21 years of experience in Family Business

Lucas Cortese is the CEO of ITEB - Indústria Técnica de Borracha, a rubber and consulting company. He is a member of the Advisory Council for Rubber Products and Retreading Industries of the State of São Paulo - SINDIBOR and Member of the Council - Young Entrepreneurs Committee - CJE of the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo - FIESP.

Founder of Toys4Dog - Entertainment for dogs, L15 Consulting Company and Luca Latorre Music in Brazil.

Brazilian and Italian nationality, graduated in Business Administration and Foreign Trade, with a Postgraduate Degree in Business Administration and an International MBA with Residency Programs in Mexico, Canada and the United States.

In his free time, Lucas is a singer, songwriter and musician.

Winner of talent contests: American Idol Experience at Walt Disney Studios and Talent Move in Italy, and joined bands in Brazil such as Vera Cruz, Supersonics, Kippis and now with his solo project - Luca Latorre.

He dreams of working and living in Minnesota in the near future.

Christiane Dolabella Duarte

Associate at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Leandro Guimaraes

A naturalized American born in Brazil, Leandro Guimarães is a mechanical engineer with an MBA through the Fundação Dom Cabral, and a Post-MBA through the Kellogg School of Management. He has over 25 years of experience in international business in the industrial sector. Leandro worked for 22 years with Swedish engineering group Sandvik in both Brazil and the United States. He held different management positions within sales & marketing, product management, and general management, as well as in different business and product areas such as Sandvik Hard Materials (tungsten carbide wear parts and metal forming Tooling), Sandvik Materials Technology (welding, medical, mechanical, and heating wires), and Sandvik Coromant (tungsten, carbide, metal cutting tools). Leandro is currently working for Donaldson Company Inc. based in Bloomington, MN as the Global New Business Development Manager, helping Donaldson to introduce and grow the business of monitoring filters & fluids of commercial diesel powered vehicles/equipment in real time, based on Internet of Things Technologies. In addition to Portuguese, he is fluent in English and Spanish. He lives in Maple Grove with his wife Suzi and daughter Rafaella where she attends Wayzata High School.