Diverse Digital Workforce Reception Speakers
Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs
Jennifer A. Manner is Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at EchoStar Corporation where she is responsible for the company’s domestic and international regulatory and policy issues, including spectrum allocation and market access. Prior to this, Ms. Manner was Deputy Chief of the Office and Engineering and Technology and before that Deputy Chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau where she has had a focus on broadband and other related issues. Ms. Manner previously worked as a Principal at ZComm Strategies LLC.
Before that, Ms. Manner was Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at SkyTerra Communications, LLC, where she handled the company's domestic and international regulatory and policy issues. Before joining SkyTerra, Ms. Manner served as Senior Counsel to FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy with responsibility for wireless, international and new technology issues. Ms. Manner joined the Commissioner's office after working at MCI Communications Corporation, later WorldCom, Inc., as Associate Counsel for Foreign Market Access and then as International Wireless Services and Director of International Alliances.
Prior to this position, Ms. Manner was an associate in the Communications Group at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, L.P. Before joining Akin, Gump, Ms. Manner was an Attorney-Advisor at the FCC.
Ms. Manner currently serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and previously served as an adjunct professor of the Washington College of Law at American University. Ms. Manner has published several books on telecommunications issues including on spectrum and foreign market access, and has written numerous law review and magazine articles. Ms. Manner holds and has held key leadership roles including the Chair of the Satellite Industry Association, Board Member of the US ITU Association, Chair of the Network and Services Group of the EMEA Satellite Operators Association, leadership positions in study groups at the International Telecommunications Union, as well as serving in leadership roles in federal advisory committees, including as Chair of Working Group 4B on Network Timing Alternative on the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Committee and Chair of Working Group 4, Regulatory Issues of the World Radiocommunication Advisory Committee, as well as on the International Trade Advisory Committee and the International Telecommunications Advisory Committee. Ms. Manner also has served on numerous U.S. delegations to international treaty negotiations.
Ms. Manner received her B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, from where she serves as Co-Chair of the Alumni Board of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and was awarded the Outstanding Alumni in Political Science Award. She received her J.D. cum laude from New York Law School and LL.M. with distinction from Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Manner is admitted to practice in Washington, D.C., New York and Connecticut.
Ms. Manner has also been named as one of the top 2017 100 broadband and media attorneys by CableFax, and was awarded the EchoStar 2013 Most Valuable Player Award, the 2012 FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau’s Chief’s Meritorious Service Award, the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award in Political Science from the Rockefeller College, State University of New York at Albany and the 2011 Wireless Communications Association International’s Government Service Award.
Elizabeth Rojas Levi
Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations
Nokia Corporation (Americas Region
Elizabeth Rojas Levi is the Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for the Americas Region at the Nokia Corporation, a global innovation leader in the Internet of Things and home to R&D powerhouse, Nokia Bell Labs and Nokia Technologies. In this role, Ms. Rojas Levi oversees international advocacy and public policy efforts, manages diplomatic relations with intergovernmental institutions and multi-lateral development banks. She also oversees the growth and development of Nokia’s innovation and sustainability brand across the region to include: United States, Canada, and Latin America. She serves as a private sector adviser to the U.S. Department of State International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC).
Ms. Rojas Levi formerly served as the Deputy Director of Federal Affairs and Executive Branch Liaison for Governor Rick Scott. In this capacity, she represented the Governor and the State of Florida in Washington, D.C. and worked in the federal policy areas of infrastructure, environment, health care, and international affairs and led the Governor’s efforts to authorize the largest environmental restoration program in the world, the Florida Everglades.
Ms. Rojas Levi’s passion is to promote stories of empowerment on fields where women are least represented: in technology and politics. She is a founder and board member of RightNOW Women, an organization that seeks to provide financial support to qualified women to run for federal office. She is also an advocate for women in decision-making roles in the technology sector through her work as Nokia’s focal point to the United Nations and the World Economic Forum.
Ms. Rojas Levi graduated summa cum laude with a dual degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Florida and with a Master’s in International Business Administration (MIB/MBA) from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She’s a native speaker of Spanish and fluent in Portuguese.
Rudy N. Brioché
Vice President for Global Public Policy and Policy Counsel
Rudy N. Brioché serves as Vice President for Global Public Policy and Policy Counsel for Comcast Corporation. In this role he focuses on the development of the company’s public policy positions and legislative analysis.
Prior to joining Comcast, Rudy served as Legal Advisor to Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein at the Federal Communications Commission and Legislative Counsel to U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). In these roles, he focused on media and broadband policy.
Earlier in his career, Rudy practiced law as a commercial litigator in New York City and Baltimore, and served as Counsel to the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He also clerked for Judge André Davis on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and Chief Judge Robert Bell on the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Rudy received a B.A. from Rutgers College, a J.D. from the University of Maryland, and an M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School.
Vice President, Wireless Strategy
As Vice President of Wireless Strategy for Panasonic System Communications Company of North America (PSCNA), Victoria Obenshain sets the strategic direction for wireless product innovation within the US marketplace. Her team analyzes business, technology and cultural trends and works closely with the wireless carriers to determine how Panasonic can continually deliver elegant wireless solutions that add real value to the lives of its customers.
Prior to joining Panasonic in 2006, Victoria served as Vice President of Marketing Services and Field Force Technology for Thrivent Financial for 16 years. She then joined RAM Mobile Data (which eventually merged into Cingular Wireless) as Vice President of Marketing and Vertical Solution Development for 10 years.
Victoria holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota and a BS in Biology from the University of Virginia. She also holds the designations of Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI).
SVP, Global Marketing
Bita Milanian serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Ribbon Communications (RibbonCommunications.com) & its Kandy.io division, where she is responsible for leading the company’s marketing, communications and go-to-market initiatives. Ribbon is a global leader in delivering intelligent, secure, embedded real-time communications to many of the world’s largest service providers and enterprises. With over 20 years of marketing, branding and communications experience, Bita has held senior-level marketing positions at various companies, including TPx Communications and Global Crossing. She served as GENBAND’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing prior to the company’s merger with Sonus Networks in 2017. Prior to joining GENBAND, she held the top post of Executive Director for Farhang Foundation (farhang.org) and is also the founder of the creative and consulting agency Butterfly Buzz (bflybuzz.com), which she still operates as a means to continue her humanitarian work, support up-and-coming artists, as well as non-profits, to enable them to increase their profiles and optimize their brands.
A passionate community organizer, Bita actively volunteers her time and expertise in support of numerous causes and organizations, and is a popular speaker at various conferences and programs on the topics of technology, philanthropy, art, culture, social justice and gender equality.
Bita has been a social media influencer and blogger since 2000, leveraging her expertise in online platforms for business to raise the profiles of global entrepreneurs, immigrants and artists alike who are being the change in the world they wish to see, building on Gandhi’s philosophy.
Although an Angeleno for nearly 30 years, Bita considers herself a global citizen and focuses her efforts on that scale. Bita attended California State University, Northridge studying Business Administration and Marketing, and Kaiserin Augusta Schule in Cologne, Germany. Prior to Germany, she spent the first 13 years of her life in Iran, where she was born.
She is fluent in Persian and German, and proficient in conversational Spanish, French and Azeri Turkish. As a seasoned traveler, she has had the pleasure of experiencing cuisines from various corners of the world. She enjoys trying new and bold flavors, and is equally as passionate about creating them in her own kitchen. “Food connects us,” Bita writes, “and when we are connected, we have the power to bring cultures together for positive change.”
Director of Systems and Resource Analyses
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
Ms. Catherine Johnston is currently Director of Systems and Resource Analyses (SRA) at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
Previously, she worked as Deputy Director for Analysis (DI), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), leading DIA's all-source analytic effort, responsible for producing the national defense intelligence required to develop and execute the National Security Strategy. She also served as the Functional Manager for Analysis (FM/A) responsible for overseeing the Defense all-source analytic responsibilities of DIA, the service intelligence centers, and the combatant commands through the Defense Intelligence Analysis Program. From January 2011 to September 2012, she held the position of ODNI National Intelligence Manager-East Asia (NIM-EA), where she integrated the East Asia IC enterprise across the Intelligence Community. Prior to assuming her position at ODNI, from May 2005 she served as the Asia Mission Manager in CIA's Directorate for Science and Technology (DST). She was responsible for being the single, senior focal point in DST on Asian issues.
She began her analytic career at DIA as a China/East Asia analyst and was a DIA analyst for 15 years. She oversaw a wide range of issues including force modernization, strategic issues, WMD, and multi-national proliferation activities. She later served as the Senior Defense Expert for China/East Asia and was the Asia substantive expert for the agency. She developed an integrated China program that orchestrated activity across the DoD analytic community, was the focal point for regional analytic support during operations in Afghanistan, and served on crisis support teams during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
She earned her bachelor's degree from Princeton University in East Asian Studies and her master’s degree from the University of Michigan in Chinese Studies. She attended the Middlebury College Summer Intensive Chinese Language School and the Taiwan Normal University Summer Intensive Language Program. She was awarded the Defense Intelligence Directors Award in 2005 and the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award in 2011.
A daughter of a China Operations Officer, Ms. Johnston was born in Taiwan and lived in the region for 13 years. She speaks Mandarin Chinese and French and is certified as a Chemical Weapons Convention Inspector. She is an accomplished tri-athlete and a lyric soprano. She is married to Wes and has two daughters.