L.A. Area Chamber Announces Ambassador Vilma Martinez as recipient of the 2017 Stanley T. Olafson Award


March 27, 2017 10:00 am
by L.A. Area Chamber

LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce announced today that Ambassador Vilma Martinez, president of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, will be awarded the prestigious Stanley T. Olafson award at the 91st annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast on Thursday, May 4. 

Ambassador Martinez, who was appointed by President Obama to be the first woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Argentina, was appointed to the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2013. She was previously a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, where she specialized in federal and state court commercial litigation. Prior to that, Ambassador Martinez served as president and general counsel of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Appointed by President Clinton to serve on his Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations from 1994 to 1996, Ambassador Martinez was awarded the Order of May, Argentina’s highest award to a foreign national, in 2013, in recognition of her work on behalf of improving mutual cooperation and understanding.

In addition to her professional experience, Ambassador Martinez has a rich history of public service, including leadership roles with the Board of Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, the Pacific Council of International Policy, Columbia Law School and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California. 

“Ambassador Martinez has done outstanding work on behalf of the Los Angeles trade community, as well as the United States as a whole, and is an invaluable assets to our region’s international business community, said L.A. Area Chamber President & CEO Gary Toebben.

Presented each year to an outstanding member of the world trade community in Southern California, the Stanley T. Olafson award recognizes those who throughout their lifetime have contributed above and beyond their job requirements to the development and advancement of world trade in the region.

Recent recipients of the Stanley T. Olafson award include: Fred Latuperissa, director of Southern California’s Inland Empire Office for the United States Department of Commerce (USDOC); Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association (CFA); Ambassador Mickey Kantor, Mayer Brown; Commissioner Mario Cordero, Federal Maritime Commission; and Joseph Czyzyk, chairman and CEO of Mercury Air Group, Inc.

For 91 years, World Trade Week has been dedicated to educating the public on the importance of global trade and its contribution to our local, state and national economy. Celebrated throughout the month of May with more than 30 events hosted by partnering organizations in Southern California, World Trade Week is jumpstarted by the Chamber's annual Kickoff Breakfast with more than 800 guests. World Trade Week supports college and high school scholarships, high school student and career counselor workshops, as well as briefings for civic and business leaders interested in benefiting from the global economy. 

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The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.


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