Maria Luisa O'Connell serves as CBP's senior advisor to the Commissioner for trade and public engagement. O'Connell assumed this role, after serving as the assistant commissioner for CBP's Office of Public Affairs.
In this role, O'Connell will guide CBP's engagement with the trade community, the public, Congress, other key stakeholders at all levels to ensure they are aware and understand that trade is an integral part of CBP's mission to make America safer, more prosperous and economically competitive.
Before joining the federal government, O'Connell served as president of the Border Trade Alliance, a Phoenix-based organization that represents 2 million stakeholders involved in border and trade issues in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
During her career at Border Trade Alliance, O'Connell met with CBP officials at most ports of entry on the northern and southern borders and worked with the Border Patrol on issues between the official ports of entry. She has in depth knowledge of trade relations, environmental resources and health issues, travel and immigration, agri-business, import and export regulations, border and homeland security issues, as well as quality of life issues for border communities.
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, OConnell is fluent in Spanish and is conversational in French. She received her bachelor's degree in finance and international relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia. Prior to joining the Border Trade Alliance, she was a financial analyst at Bank One International Corporation and also had been involved with the National Federation of Merchants in Colombia.