Meet the Team
Director of Trade & International Affairs
Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed Christopher Olson as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs in July 2018. In this position, Christopher serves as Houston’s chief diplomat and head of international business development, overseeing the team that leads Houston's engagement with sovereign governments, attracts global companies to Houston, and promotes Houston and Houston-area companies to the international marketplace.
Christopher has deep experience working around the world as a foreign service officer, business consultant, and military officer. With the U.S. Department of State, Christopher held numerous international diplomatic postings and served as a senior manager in Washington, D.C, where he supervised programs in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. In these roles, Christopher focused on creating new economic, political, and security opportunities with foreign governments. This included security policy development in Africa, crisis response in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, political and economic capacity building in the Balkans and Central Asia, and strategic communications around the world.
Prior to the State Department, Christopher was a business consultant advising on corporate strategy, continuity of operations planning, and organizational management. As an officer in the Navy, Christopher served as a surface warfare officer leading large, cross functional teams on several ships and as a staff officer in the Pentagon on the Navy’s plans, policies, and operations staff.
Christopher obtained his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University with honors in political science and history. He earned a Master’s degree with honors from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and holds an MBA with highest honors from Rice University Business School, where he concentrated on strategy and innovation.
Global Trade Manager
Stephanie serves as a Global Trade Manager for the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs. In her role, she manages global trade development efforts as well as engagement with foreign governments and international organizations with a focus on Latin America and Asia.
Prior to joining the Mayor’s office, Stephanie was active in the Houston business community working for the Greater Houston Partnership; the Houston region's principal business organization. Prior to that Stephanie interned for the U.S. Department of State in the American Embassy in Lima, Peru for the Consular Affairs section.
Stephanie was born in Bogota, Colombia and lived in Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, studied abroad in France and completed her high school education in Lagos, Nigeria. She speaks English and Spanish and has working knowledge of French. Stephanie has traveled to over 30 countries. She earned a BA with a double major in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Houston.
Global Trade Manager
Mazda serves as a Global Trade Manager for the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs. In his role, he manages global trade development efforts as well as engagement with foreign governments and international organizations with a focus on Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Middle East. His duties extend to overseeing all diplomatic, business, and cultural exchanges between the City of Houston and these regions, managing office finances, planning and executing Mayoral Trade Missions, and organizing the Mayor’s international business advisory council.
Mazda is fluent in French and English. He holds two bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and Finances from the Higher Institute of Management (ISM – Dakar) and The American Intercontinental University.
Senior Consular & International Affairs Manager
Niké B. Luqman is the Senior Consular and International Affairs Manager in the Mayor’s Office of Trade and International Affairs for the City of Houston. She is the lead liaison to the third-largest consular corps in the United States and coordinates all of the Mayor’s international dignitary visits. Niké advises on matters of protocol, ceremonial activities and maintains relationships with private and governmental entities.
She is a Spaniard with more than 20 years of public affairs and cross-cultural experience in international and national alliances. Prior to working for the City of Houston she founded Beltran Luqman & Associates, a consultancy firm. Prior to that Niké was the Executive Director of the American Business Council of Dubai & the Northern Emirates (Am/Cham Dubai).
Niké is a graduate of Baylor University, speaks English and Spanish and has traveled and lived in many parts of the world.
Protocol and International Programs Manager
As Protocol and International Programs Manager, Jessica serves as an advisor on matters of protocol, cross-cultural exchanges, as well as international policy issues which may impact Houston. She also manages international programs and events to achieve Houston’s diplomatic, civic, and trade engagement goals.
Jessica also serves as the liaison between the Mayor’s office and representatives of Sister Cities International and the Sister Cities of Houston. Her work in this capacity includes developing strategies to establish new city relationships, coordinating cultural and business events, and assisting with the planning and execution of the Sister Cities International Annual Conference in Houston.
Jessica graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate Communications and Marketing. Prior to her role in the Mayor's Office, Jessica worked and interned for reputable non-profits, including Asia Society, UNICEF, and multiple business and marketing firms. Jessica is fluent in both English and Vietnamese.
International Affairs Associate
As the International Affairs Associate, Jose works closely with the City’s Senior Consular & International Affairs Manager to help foster a strong relationship between the Consular Corps of Houston and the City of Houston. He also works closely with the City’s Protocol Manager by carrying out flag etiquette, protocol seating, and other key aspects of protocol in diplomacy.
Jose is the Co-Coordinator for the office’s internship program. He provides instruction and guidance to ensure the student’s internships are engaging and informative. Jose also oversees the office’s official correspondence by drafting letters for the Mayor to Ambassadors, Ministers, Consuls General, etc. Jose assists planning out the Mayor’s Consular Ball by serving as a point of contact for sponsors, the consular corps, and tracking sponsorship information.
He is a native Houstonian that graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minor in Law, Policy, and Values. He has lived in Brazil and Canada. Jose speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French.