Kristen Neller Verderame founded Pondera International in 2007 with the goal of helping entrepreneurs, small businesses and executives succeed with top quality business and legal advice at reasonable rates. Her passion for cyber security has also led her to develop a specialized practice working with industry and government to facilitate positive progress in this important area. Kristen has held a number of consultative and strategic business roles over the last several years. Highlights of her accomplishments include:
- Recently completed the merger of two international non-profit associations, serving as Interim CEO and managing all aspects of the merger and integration
- Led legal and strategic review of US$25B in acquisitions, including managing the clearance process with the US national security agencies to address cyber security concerns
- Produced SG&A savings of over US$85M by driving programs and reorganization of market unit under corporate restructuring
- Central member of the management team that catapulted growth of regional division from US$500M to US$3B in revenues, quadrupled workforce and achieved double-digit EBITDA increase through organic and inorganic growth
- Set and drove successful strategy as Interim CEO for development and commercialization of a start-up’s patented technology, including software design, prototype development and market placement, valued in excess of US$65M
- Developed and implemented across 4 different organizations a radical innovation in commercial contracting vehicles that resulted in substantially-reduced contract turnaround time and enhanced up-sell opportunities
- Achieved more than a decade of success in lobbying and public affairs campaigns and recognized as a principal leader in the international business communities on policy issues, particularly with respect to the UK and Europe
- Served as CEO for one of the largest and most successful business organizations in Washington, instituting systematic reforms to raise the substantive level and profile of the organization
- Achieved the top Employee Engagement score of board-level managers 3 years running
- Recognized as active advocate of cyber security awareness and policy for the private sector and government.
Kristen spent the early part of her professional career in a variety of roles within BT (British Telecom) Group plc. Her last role was Vice President and General Counsel for the company’s US operations, where she was a leading member of the management team that drove 150% revenue growth and a quadrupling of the workforce (via organic and inorganic activity) over a three-year period in the US. During her tenure, Kristen led the company’s Legal Department, and was also responsible for various operational areas such as Procurement, Security and BT Federal (BT’s US Government sales organization). Kristen was a leader on the team that drove US$25B in acquisitions, and produced SG&A savings of over US$85 by developing reduction programs and designing effective corporate restructuring and integration methodologies. Throughout her tenure with BT, Kristen also served as the head of BT’s lobbying and government affairs office in Washington, D.C. in which she was the senior advocate for the company’s interests in front of U.S. Government agencies and Washington-based policymakers and led the company’s international trade policy efforts.
Since founding Pondera International, Kristen has served in a number of interim roles with her clients, including outside General Counsel to a number of startups and mid-size companies, and built and ran the government relations functions at firms including Booz Allen Hamilton, Mandiant / FireEye Inc. and the Association of Academic Health Centers.
Kristen holds several advisory roles outside of her day-to-day professional responsibilities. She actively supports entrepreneurs and startups as a member of the Dingman Center Angels at the Robert H. Smith Business School at the University of Maryland, and is a member of the Stars Network at MACH37, the cyber security accelerator housed at the Center for Innovation and Technology in Northern Virginia. She also supports the next generation of entrepreneurs as a member of the Advisory Board of the Gerstacker Institute business program at her alma mater, Albion College.
Kristen has been actively involved in international trade and policy networks for her entire career. She served as the vice president and general counsel of the British American Business Council, the international umbrella organization that represents over 2,500 British and American businesses across 25 chapters in the US and the UK, and as past president of the Washington, D.C. chapter. Kristen also served as the CEO and general counsel to the European-American Business Council / Transatlantic Business Council, and as a Non-Executive Director for UK Trade & Investment. She holds membership in the American Bar Association and the bars of the State of Illinois, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. Court of International Trade.
Kristen is an accomplished public speaker, and has presented in numerous fora on a variety of international policy, cyber security, trade, and startup-focused business issues.
Kristen received her Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Albion College, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with Honors. Kristen has also completed post-JD course work at the Georgetown University Law Center.