Elana Bertram, Esq. is an avid connector of people to opportunities. A practicing attorney and MBA, she remains involved in advocacy initiatives at home while immersing herself in the cross-cultural opportunities of this unique community.
Elana served as an active member of the American Chamber of Commerce Okinawa as well as the Military Spouse JD Network and the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network, making connections for employment, internship, and career development opportunities for military dependents. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Graduate School, University of Maryland University College Asia Division.
Before arriving in Okinawa in January 2017, she was Vice Chairman of the Town of Newtown Economic Development Commission as well as a Commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection’s Conservation Advisory Council. She served as a corporator for a regional mutual bank with ~$1 billion assets under management. A native of Newtown, Connecticut, she earned her B.A. in biological sciences from Mount Holyoke College, her J.D. magna cum laude from Quinnipiac University School of Law, and her M.B.A from Yale University School of Management. She founded Hawley Legal Resources, LLC in 2011 and works with inventors, startups, and corporate clients on intellectual property matters. She is married to a USMC judge advocate and has two young children.
Nicole Russell is passionate about improving cultural understanding through friendships and nonprofit exchange programs. Bridging our two countries together through these vital initiatives will improve lasting security and diplomacy in the Asia Pacific.
Following a successful career in government relations, she has lived in Okinawa since August 2016 taking on pivotal leadership roles in the American and Okinawan community. Her volunteer leadership positions include: Chair of Volunteers for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, managing on average 25 volunteers within various financial assistance programs; Vice President of Welfare for the Marine Officers’ Spouses’ Club (MOSCO); Board Member of the American Women’s & Welfare Association (AWWA), which granted over $40,000 and JPY5,000,000 to worthy American and Japanese nonprofit organizations in the Fall 2017--Spring 2018 year. Nicole served on the 50th anniversary MOSCO gala committee in which $5,050 was awarded in one night to American and Japanese organizations. She is also a member of the Okinawan International Women’s Club, meeting monthly in fellowship and cultural exchange with Okinawan women.
Before moving to Okinawa, Nicole was the Manager of Public Policy for Discovery Communications and previously a U.S. federal lobbyist representing a variety of clients in the Washington, DC region. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Nicole holds a Master’s Degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from Miami University in Ohio.
Olena Wildman has an extensive experience working in multicultural environment. Born and raised in Ukraine, she was awarded a scholarship from the Edmund Muskie Fellowship and received an MPA from the State University of New York at Albany.
After graduation, she moved back to Ukraine where she worked at the US Embassy in Kyiv at Foreign Agriculture Department, as an Agricultural Assistant to the Agricultural Attaché helping to promote the interests of the US agricultural producers and exporters on Ukrainian market. Olena was responsible for running the FAS Fellow Exchange program that offered a semester long exchange programs for the Ukrainian educators in the Agricultural field. She also managed the Cochran Fellowship program in Ukraine that was designed to strengthen the trade relationship between the US and Ukraine by providing a short-term training opportunities for the Ukrainian business and government representatives.
After moving to the United States Olena worked for the American International Health Alliance in Washington, DC as a Procurement and Contracting Coordinator overseeing procurement and government contracts for eight AIHA overseas offices in Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Kosovo, Russia and headquarters in Washington, DC. As a Contracting coordinator she was also in charge of monitoring of all the incoming awards from the government agencies and created and presented training to technical and program staff of issues of award-specific compliance matters and general interpretation of regulations.
Prior to moving to Okinawa she lived in Yuma Arizona where she worked as an exchange placement coordinator for the EF High School Exchange Year, facilitating placement of the international high school students in Yuma and closely supervising students and hosting families.
Olena was happy to join Oki Nexus as a board member and continue to work in the field of the US public and cultural diplomacy helping to establish better connections between the American and Okinawan communities.