Board of Directors

Nancy Christine Allen

President

Nancy serves as current President on the board. She came back to the Twin Cities after being in Europe for 13 years and is now retired and spending her time enjoying an active life the Twin Cities offers which includes volunteering on our board, and tutoring Spanish and English. Nancy was the FACCMN Executive Director during most of the 90's before heading the Democrats Abroad for Luxembourg while living there. She enjoys the urban life of Minneapolis and is eager to keep her bike wheels pumped and ready for mobility.

 

 

 

Mark McNeil

Vice President

Mark McNeil's career has concentrated on international transactions and legal structures. With degrees from Duke University and Harvard Law School, he worked with a San Francisco law firm and then moved to Japan to assist a professor at Kyoto University and advise two Osaka law firms. Back in the US, he became international counsel for Medtronic, and for 10 years assumed various international positions at Cray Research, the world-leading supercomputer company. Re-entering private practice, he led the international section at Lindquist & Vennum in Minneapolis for 15 years and in 2014 established his own solo firm for international law, McNeil Global Law LLC.

Mark studied French and other languages in high school and college and visits France whenever possible. His wife is an extensively published professor of French literature and his daughters are bilingual. He is active in international organizations and is a former Director of the FACC, a current Director of the German American Chamber of Commerce (Minnesota Chapter), past President of the Minnesota World Trade Association and World Trade Week, and legal adviser to the Midwest Global Trade Association. He was recently elected to membership in the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.

 

Nicole Frank

Treasurer

Nicole is an attorney practicing business litigation at Robins Kaplan LLC. Prior to entering private practice, Nicole was a judicial law clerk on the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and, prior to law school, a high school teacher of language arts. She has degrees from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities where she double-majored in French Studies and English.

Nicole has a keen interest in foreign languages, having studied French and Latin since high school, and expanding to Italian and Spanish in college. Among the languages she has studied, Nicole's adoration of French language and culture is unmatched. To improve upon her speaking and comprehension skills, she attended credit-earning sessions at Concordia Language Villages during her teen years and studied abroad in college at the Université Paul Valery in Montpellier where she perfected the art of eating pastries and formed life-long friendships.

Wanting to share the benefits of learning French with a larger segment of Minneapolis, as part of the Governing Council's Executive Board, Nicole helped to launch and oversee Pierre Bottineau French Immersion, a tuition-free French elementary school in North Minneapolis and Minnesota's first self-governed school under Minn. Stat. § 123B.045 in 2012. Today, the school is now part of Minneapolis Public Schools and offers French immersion to elementary students as Minneapolis French Immersion at Cityview. 

 

Patrice Groisiller

Secretary

Patrice is an accomplished Product Development Executive with a career that spans over 30 years leading and supporting product design, development, marketing, and business development operations for Caterpillar, the world leader in heavy equipment products. As an international manager, he has a record of accomplishment in leading large organizations located in Europe, Asia, and the US and is effective in working within a global footprint. Patrice speaks English, French, Japanese and Spanish.

Patrice's most recent assignments provided him with the opportunity to lead Caterpillar’s global product development, sales, product support and marketing efforts as the Global Product Director in Minneapolis and later in Peoria (Illinois).

Patrice holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from INSA Lyon (National Institute of Applied Sciences) (France).  

Patrice provides strategic consulting services thru his own company, Flesher Point LLC, within FACCMN and fosters international exchanges between France and Minnesota, creating value and generating growth in business, culture and global understanding.

Patrice is married with Marie Groisiller, who volunteers at the FACCMN, and they have 2 children, Cosette and Timothee.

 

Jerome Chateau

Director

Jerome Chateau founded Normande/French Genetics in 1997, with the aim of promoting sustainable genetics and practices in the U.S. cattle industry. Originally from Paris, Jerome holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort; a master's degree in public health & epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, which he attended on a Rotary Fellowship; and is ABD in comparative literature and cultural studies from the University of Minnesota. Many listeners in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area also remember him as the host of a popular radio show about French music and culture, on public radio station KFAI.  

A past president and a current Director of the French-American Chamber of Commerce/Minnesota, Jerome has also served as a speaker and organizer at numerous dairy and grazing conferences. The French government awarded him the title of Chevalier (Knight) du Mérite Agricole in 2004, for his work on behalf of both U.S. and French agriculture. He has resided in Minnesota for over two decades.

Alex Duval

Director

Alex Duval is President of the Duval Companies which create design, development and policy solutions for public, private and nonprofit ventures that enhance the built environment. He has over 18 years of experience working on projects in the United States, France, Italy, China, Korea and India. Prior to founding Duval Companies, Alex was a Director with Portman Financial, the private investment office of the Portman family with assets under management of over $1.5 billion; a Director with Portman Holdings, a real estate development company that has developed over 50 million square feet of space; and Project Manager with John Portman & Associates leading the design and planning of large complex projects in the US and abroad. 

In addition to his professional work, Duval serves as Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Design. He has been active as an invited speaker at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Tongji University, Georgia Institute of Technology and other institutions of higher education. He is a member of the Harvard University Alumni Real Estate Board. Duval earned the Master in Architecture from Harvard University and graduated from the University of South Carolina with the Bachelor of Arts in English. He is an Oblate of St. John’s Abbey, married to Kjersti Monson and has two children, Olan and Bene. They live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Duval was born in Paris, France, is a dual citizen of the United States and France and is bilingual in English and French.

 

Ed Hayward

Director

Ed Hayward, an attorney at Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly since 1975, has devoted his practice to international transactions, in New York, Brussels, Belgium, and Minneapolis. He deals with matters relating to inbound and outbound investment and international litigation. Ed attended the University of Aix-Marseille in France and received his B.A. in French literature from Stanford University. After serving in Germany as a captain in U.S. Army Intelligence, he earned his J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard.

He is a member and past Chair of the Minnesota District Export Council, past Chapter President and National Secretary of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, a Director of the German-American Chamber of Commerce (Minnesota Chapter), legal adviser and Director of the Alliance Française (Minnesota), as well as a Councilor and former Chair of the International Business Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Ed has spoken frequently on topics relating to international trade, investment, and dispute resolution. In 2012, Ed was named by the French Government as a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit).

 

Chris Jackson

Director

Chris Jackson has his roots in the Twin Cities, along with many branches throughout the world thanks to a lifetime of international experiences. With a belief that trade and commerce are ideal means to advance international cooperation and understanding, he has sought to contribute to this mission throughout his career. Entrepreneurial at heart, he founded his own medical company in Paris, France, where he lived and worked for 12 years. He and his British fiancée, Clara, then moved to the Twin Cities to be near family and benefit from the quality of life that the area offers. 

He currently works in business development for Montréal-based Insum Solutions, an IT consultancy specializing in Oracle APEX. He looks forward to joining a dynamic group of cosmopolitan and dynamic professionals striving to foster ties between Minnesotan and French-speaking business communities.

 

Odile Hedoire-Young

Executive Director

Odile is a dual citizen and was appointed as executive director of the FACCMN in September 2016.

Odile has an extensive career in International Business Development. She started in export sales at KOMAR & Cie after graduation and was recruited by Kawasaki Heavy Industries to assist Kobe technical management with the Euro Tunnel negotiations.  When she moved to Minnesota, she took a position as Director of International Business Development for a well-established Minnesota chemical company, and traveled extensively for 12 years. When her son Charles was born, Odile took a position as International Trade Specialist for the State of Minnesota. She was responsible for Trade Development and Foreign Direct Investment, provided market intelligence, business contacts and hosted foreign delegations. During that time she contributed to International Programs at the Carlson School of Management and was a consultant for expatriate programs at Windows on the World. Odile eventually went back to France to be nearer to her aging parents and worked as Chargée de Mission for Continental France until she moved back to Minnesota after her parents passing.

Odile has a master’s degree in International Business Development and Translation/Interpretation. She is passionate about education and language learning. Aside from the US & France, Odile went to school in South Africa, Germany and Belgium. She is a former marathon runner and used to be a fearless sailor. Odile loves to travel, cook and listen to music.

The Role of Executive Director

Odile assumes responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the French American Chamber of Commerce.

She is responsible for designing, planning, implementing and budgeting the activities of the FACCMN as directed by the Board of Directors, such as seminars, networking events, business services and communication with FACCMN members.  

Integral to the success of the organization is close communication with the FACCMN president, Board of Directors, FACCMN members, local business/industry, government and university officials, as well as various persons throughout the United States and France.  

 

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French-American Innovation is at its best in Minnesota!