Lorraine Hariton completed her term as Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the US Department of State in February 2014. She was appointed by Secretary Clinton in September 2009. Previously she spent 25 years in various senior level positions including CEO of two start-ups in Silicon Valley. She is now consulting and serving on boards.
She was responsible for State Department outreach to the business community, commercial advocacy and global entrepreneurship efforts. She worked with US embassies around the world to ensure that support of business is a priority and has been instrumental in establishing entrepreneurship as a foreign policy tool. She created numerous programs including: the Ambassador’s Direct Line Program, the Business Information Database System (BIDS) for trade leads, implemented a distance-learning program, and ran numerous conferences and trade delegations. She also led State’s participation in the Select USA conference, which supports Foreign Direct Investment into the U.S.
In her first year, Hariton oversaw the launch of the Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), a U.S. State Department-led effort to promote and spur entrepreneurship around the world leveraging private sector partners. During the almost four years since launch the program expanded from three pilot countries (Egypt, Indonesia and Turkey) to over 140 embassies and consulates around the world. In addition she launched the Palestinian ICT Initiative (PITI), is Co-Chair of the U.S-Russia Innovation Working Group, the Mexico-US Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council (MUSEIC) and the US-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council. She spearheaded the development of the department’s innovation platform and organized the first symposium on innovation in foreign policy. She played a leadership role in orchestrating the APEC Women and the Economy Summit in San Francisco in 2011 and the formation of the Secretary’s Council for International Women’s Business Leadership.
Ms. Hariton has 25 years of experience in the information technology sector in Silicon Valley. During her business career Ms. Hariton worked in a range of sectors including cloud computing, Internet of Industrial things, retail payment systems, Internet audio solutions, speech applications, mid range computers and PBX’s.
She served as the CEO of Beatnik from 1999 to 2002 where she repositioned the company as a leader in audio solutions for cell phones and raised more than $40 million in venture capital. Ms. Hariton served as President and CEO of Apptera, a speech recognition company, from 2003 to 2005 where she raised $8 million in venture capital and brought the first product to market. Ms. Hariton spent 15 years at IBM serving in a number of leadership positions in sales and marketing. Subsequently she was Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development at NCD, a publicly traded cloud computing company. She is well known for closing major licensing deals with Nokia, IBM and AT&T among others.
Ms. Hariton currently serves on the board of Wave Systems (NASDAQ:WAVX), a data security company. She served on the board of IODA, an online music distribution company and was acquired by Sony Music in 2012 from 2006-2009 and as Chairman of the Board of Beatnik from 1999-2009.
Ms. Hariton was Chairman Emeritus of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Executives, served as Treasurer of the State of California Board of Accountancy, served on the board of the Demand Response Grid Coalition, served on the National Advisory Board of the Stanford Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the board of the Entrepreneurs Foundation. She is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum. She was also a member of Hillary Clinton’s national finance committee in her 2008 presidential run and has supported many political campaigns.
Ms. Hariton has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford University. She has two grown children and currently resides in Washington, DC. She loves to cycle, enjoys the out of doors and international travel.
Ms. Hariton summarized her philosophy in an essay for the HBS/NC 50 Years of Women Gala: As I look back on my journey, I find passion, perseverance and resilience to be traits that will take you a long way. Understand your strengths and find work that leverages your strength and passions. Life is not a straight line. Have a plan but be prepared to change the plan, even abandon the plan if it is not working or something comes along unexpectedly. Smell the roses; the time with young children or aging parents is fleeting. Invest in your relationships; they need care and feeding as well. Balancing all of this is a challenge and as I say, you can have it all, but not all at the same time.
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