en English

Theme of our 9th meeting will be ’’Building professional career and personal network abroad’’. This time we will host three guests, Cherie Ford, Tax Leader for Croatia & Slovenia, CEE/CIS Regional Tax M&A Leader from PricewaterhouseCoopers, H. Martin McDowell, Chief of the Political Economic and Commercial Section at the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana and Jay Loftin, Director QSI International Schools in Novosibirsk and Ljubljana.

CV Cherie Ford

Cherie Ford is the leader of the Tax Mergers & Acquisitions Group in the CEE/CIS region. She is currently leading the tax practices of Croatia and Slovenia, based in Croatia. Prior to taking on her new role, she worked in Russia from 1994 to 2010, and is the leading tax expert in relation to in-bound and out-bound deals. Cherie works with both strategic and financial buyers.

She assisted many Western clients through all phases of strategic acquisitions during second wave privatization tenders in Russia, including continued consulting post acquisition with respect to integration of newly acquired subsidiaries. Cherie also has assisted clients with implementation of large transactions including financing, leases, and asset acquisition.

She focused on assisting clients with both out-bound acquisitions and acquisitions of complex Russian entrepreneurial groups, global deal structuring, and post deal integration of acquired targets. Cherie was the lead tax partner in the first “Western Style” Private Equity leveraged buy-out done in Russia.

Cherie has a B.S. in Accounting and a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

CV H. Martin McDowell

Born and raised in Alabama, Martin is a career Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. Currently serving as the Chief of the Political Economic and Commercial (Pol-Econ) Section at the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana, he joined the Foreign Service in 1998. Previously, he served as the Desk Officer for Norway & Sweden (2007-2009) at the State Department in Washington and the Pol-Econ Chief in Chisinau, Moldova (2004-07). Prior tours include San Salvador (where he was the Cultural Affairs Officer) and Bratislava (where he served as Vice Consul). Martin and his wife Marie (born & raised in the Czech Republic) have two girls, Olivia (10) and Evelyn (5). Martin has a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College and a MA and BA from the University of Alabama. He enjoys acting up, “his” Xbox 360 and playing the blues harp.

CV Jay Loftin

QUALIFICATIONS: Educator in private, public, boarding, and international schools. Developed and implemented ESL and Culture Study curricula for Russian schools. Developed Academic Intervention programs for students of Hinds County Schools based on TABE – Testing for Adult Basic Education Curriculum. Teacher of English for Russian and Finnish students in East Finland. Director of School Linkage programs for fifteen Mississippi schools and schools in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine, through USIA funded initiatives and the Mississippi Consortium for International Development.


1989 B.A. Education, Mississippi College; minor emphasis on Sociology.

1993 Introductory TESL Training, RTS of Jackson, MS.

2005 Master’s Political Science, Jackson State University

2012 Master’s Higher Education Administration



Director, QSI International Schools of Novosibirsk and Ljubljana


Lead Teacher; Academic Intervention Program, The Learning Center, Rankin County Schools.


Ministry Pastor for Cornerstone Church; Small group ministries and youth outreach.

2001 – 2004

Academic Intervention Instructor, Hinds County Schools. Developed and implemented a program of academic intervention for students who have failed more than one year.


ESL Instructor, Itä-Suomen Koulu – East Finish Schools. Taught English as a language to Finnish students and Russian immigrants to East Finland; studied collectivist/individualist culture in East Finland as part of graduate thesis.


Educational Minister, Alta Woods UMC. Worked with elderly homebound, children, and youth. Developed a program for inner-city youth in South Jackson through the United Methodist Church.


Director of School Linkage Programs, Mississippi Consortium for International Development. Coordinated school linkage and cultural exchange programs for fifteen Mississippi schools from the Delta to the Pine Belt. Developed student-led trade shows representing Mississippi producers in three former Soviet countries.


*ESL Instructor, St. Petersburg School 548, Russia. Developed a curriculum for English as a Second Language and Western Culture Studies for grades 2-11.

*Academic Instructor, Choctaw County Schools, Mt. Salus Academy. English, history, and drama.

*Broadcaster, WTWX, WHJT, & WFCA: Mississippi Radio. Newscaster and general broadcasting for three Mississippi radio stations in Jackson, Clinton, and Central, MS. Drive time broadcasts, commercial development, writing news script, and promotions. ORGANIZATIONS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


Board member for Lappeenranta Christian Academy, Lappeenranta, Finland

2003 Candidate for Mississippi House of Representatives, District 73.

* Capable in basic Russian language.

* Proficient in office software; exceptional writer, prolific public speaker.

* Respected mediation skills serving East European and U.S. parties.


Senator Richard White – Mississippi State Senate, Jackson, MS (601) 359-3274. rwhite@mail.senate.state.ms.us

Dr. Ally Mack – Executive Director of MCID, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS (601) 979-3791. amack35781@aol.com

Dr. Adrian Hull – Department of Political Science, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS (601) 979-2136. adrianphull@veraguas.net

Dr. Phyfa Eiland – Superintendent of Hinds County Schools, Raymond, MS (601) 857-5222. peiland@hinds.k12.ms.us