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About Us

Diplomatic Experience. Business and Social Integrity. Solutions-Directed Commitment.

“Global business operations are complex.  Whether you're launching a new business or have an established company and are considering expanding in a new region of the world, the challenges of conducting business in an area with different cultural traditions, banking regulations, and political environments are intimidating.  


 Our advisors have deep experience in international diplomacy and business operations.  They’ve lived globally and managed businesses with operations across North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and Asia.  Our consultants analyze political and economic risk, conduct market intelligence, advise on business management, and propose strategies aligned with the individual needs of each client.  We offer our clients more than 50 years of combined international diplomacy and business expertise.”

Michael Ranneberger

Managing Partner

Ambassador Michael Ranneberger is a managing partner in Gainful Solutions.  Since his retirement in 2016 from the Department of State, he has been involved in consulting work. He is chairman of the board of Afridokta, a Florida-based company, which is working to expand access to health care in Africa through its telemedicine platform. He is an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. During his distinguished diplomatic career, he represented the United States in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

 

Following his graduation from Towson University with a double major in history and social science, he obtained a Masters Degree in history at the University of Virginia, and then entered the Foreign Service.  He served as Ambassador to Mali, Kenya, and Somalia. He was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, in which capacity he led policy development and implementation for the African region.  Other postings included serving as Deputy Chief of Mission in Paraguay, Mozambique, and Somalia.  During the 1980s he was part of the team which negotiated the independence of Namibia and the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola.

 

As the Special Representative of the Secretary of State, he helped lead negotiations which resulted in the Sudan Peace Agreement of 2005.  When crisis erupted in Kenya following the disputed presidential election at the end of 2007, Ambassador Ranneberger, working closely with African Union mediator Kofi Annan, was instrumental in ending the bloodshed and bringing about fundamental reforms through adoption of a new constitution in 2010.  For those efforts, he was dubbed “Ambassador of Peace” by the Kenyan people.  During 2011-16, he served as the State Department’s senior foreign policy adviser to three commanders of the U.S. Central Command, including James Mattis.

 

He is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, its highest, Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, the Department’s Anti-Slavery Award for his efforts to combat human trafficking, and numerous other recognitions.  He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Africa Nazarene University. As a Career Minister at the time of his retirement, he was one of the 35 highest ranked officers in the State Department.

Soheil Nazari-Kangarlou

Managing Partner

Soheil Nazari-Kangarlou is a managing partner in Gainful Solutions, where he is directly involved in providing advisory services to clients considering startup or expansion operations. Soheil brings more than 23 years’ experience to this position having led the startup of multiple entrepreneurial ventures and serving as an advisor to large enterprises representing technology, health care, retail, manufacturing and distribution services.  He has opened new markets for clients in the United States, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.

 

In 2003, after holding leadership positions in business development with Verizon, Soheil launched Eye On Your Technologies, Inc. (EOYTECH), specializing in customized, standalone surveillance hardware systems with cloud-based intelligence monitoring and data storage security solutions. Client engagements included Target Corporation, Yahoo, Zurich Insurance, State Farm Insurance, and Opus West.  While leading the company, he cultivated a domestic and international partner network with distributors in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and continues to enjoy strong working relationships with industry influencers, government representatives, and business professionals across the full spectrum of business.

 

Following the sale of EOYTECH, he assembled an international team of engineers to develop a prototype security application and was retained as an advisor for several startup technology companies in the behavioral biometric security industry.  That operation led to him serving as the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Drumbi Corporation with oversight of system architecture, integration services, and global partnership development.

 

Soheil holds multiple certifications in IT applications and continues to be an early adapter of emerging technologies.  He is a frequent presenter before business groups and internet audiences on a range of business topics, including market analysis, product identification and development, strategic partnerships, venture capital, international contract negotiation, market penetration, sales, and business operations in evolving economic cycles.  

 

Currently, he serves as a trusted advisor to his clients at Gainful Solutions for his knowledge of conducting successful business operations in a complex global market and facilitating key contacts. 
 

Constance Berry Newman

Senior Consultant

Constance (Connie) Newman served on IRI's Board of Directors from 1999-2002 and rejoined the board in 2006. She has served seven different presidential appointments. 


In 2001, Newman was sworn in as the assistant administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development and served there until 2004. Between 2004 and 2005 she was the assistant secretary of state for African Affairs.  After that, she  continued to work on major projects in Africa, primarily in Nigeria and Somalia, 


In the past, Newman served as a consultant to the World Bank in Lesotho and South Africa.  Also, she was the undersecretary of the Smithsonian Institution, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as commissioner and vice chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Alex Casanova

Director of Operations

Alex Casanova is Gainful Solutions Director of Operations, overseeing market research, opportunity development, client onboarding, project management, and partner relations.

 

Alex began his professional career as an Engineering Project Manager with the Boeing Company, where he coordinated and led all certification activities between Boeing's Main Cabin Group and the domestic (FAA) and foreign (JAA, CAA) regulatory agencies for new 767 and 747 derivative programs, including negotiations and issue resolution. He was also responsible for the report, investigation, and closure of in-flight safety incidents with  the FAA, and developed several division wide processes for Safety Incident Reporting and Certification Basis Determination.

  

After his time at Boeing, Alex continued work in leadership positions within  a vast array of industries, with a focus on business development  advertising, sales, and marketing operations. Some of these companies were truly pioneers in their spaces. At Zynga, the first social gaming company, Alex served as the company's original revenue director, growing revenue from zero to $900k/day, while also managing all marketing and advertising operations.