Board of Directors

Mark McNeil


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.


Chris Jackson


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.


Nancy Christine Allen


Nancy serves as current Treasurer 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.




Elisabeth Johnson Holod


Elisabeth joins the board with a background in international business. She studied at l’Université de l’Ouest in Angers, France and received a Masters in International Management from the University of Saint Thomas. Before moving to Minnesota, Elisabeth was a commercial banker with the New York office of Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan. Locally, Elisabeth served as Director of Public Relations for Concordia Language Villages and Director of Sales for Teach Me Tapes. She coordinated the exhibition, “Napoléon and the Art of Propaganda" which premiered at the University of Iowa

An ardent advocate of  language learning, Elisabeth initiated bringing the French immersion school to St. Paul and currently serves as a substitute French teacher at Saint Paul Academy. Her current endeavor involves promoting large-scale sound and image displays on the global stage. Other interests include rowing and yoga and relishing the life journeys of her four children, all of whom have enjoyed their years as campers at Lac du Bois French camp in Minnesota.

Jerome Chateau


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


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.


Matthieu Hyrien


Matthieu Hyrien oversees sales, marketing and customer success at Geosys. Having
grown up on a corporate farm near Bordeaux, France, Matthieu earned his Master’s
degree in agronomy from UniLaSalle Rouen and his executive MBA from Toulouse
Business School.
He has 15 years of experience in Ag Technology in diverse roles within Geosys, having
previously led the products and technical departments.
Passionate about sustainability, optimization and risk mitigation strategies, Matthieu
applies in-depth knowledge of technology to Ag industry global and local challenges.

Cecile Remington


Cecile is an experienced marketing professional with more than 10 years of experience in a variety of industries ranging from nonprofit, to medical and business trade associations, to hospitality. Having recently accepted a marketing position at Sleep Number Corporate, she is looking forward to honing her skills in the retail industry. She is a member of the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) which allows her to stay engaged with the Minnesota marketing community. 

Cecile is married to Todd Deutsch who hails from Fargo, ND. They moved from Washington, D.C. in December 2018 and now live in Minneapolis, MN. Upon arrival to the Mill City, she became involved in the French-American Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Chapter, and became a marketing volunteer for its events, most notably French-American Innovation Midwest. 


Cecile holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and during her junior year she studied at Sciences Po Aix in Aix-en-Provence, France. She also has an M.B.A from the International University of Monaco. Cecile was born in Delhi, India, is a dual citizen of the United States and France and is bilingual in English and French.

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, that involved less travel. 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.

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.


Ed Hayward

Honorary Board Member

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).


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