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Our Team

From 2011-16 he served as the State Department’s Senior Policy Adviser to Generals Mattis, Austin, and Votel at the U.S. Central Command, which has responsibility for North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. He maintains contacts at senior levels within the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community.

During his five years as Ambassador to Kenya from 2006-11, he was outspoken in advocating stronger ties between the United States and Kenya, and markedly expanded the bilateral relationship. This included substantially advancing cooperation between the United States and Kenya against the shared threats of terrorism and extremism, and focusing on Kenya’s key role to promote regional stability. Working closely with the African Union’s envoy, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he was instrumental in negotiating resolution of the postelection crisis in 2008. While Ambassador to Kenya he won the State Department’s annual Anti-Slavery Ambassador of the Year Award for his efforts to combat human trafficking. 

While in Kenya, he served concurrently as Ambassador to Somalia, and played a key role in supporting the Transitional Federal Government. Ambassador Ranneberger was a lead negotiator of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He previously served as Ambassador to Mali, as Coordinator for Cuban Affairs, and as the Deputy Chief of Mission at embassies in Latin America and Africa.


Ambassador Ranneberger is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, its highest, as well as numerous other awards, including multiple Presidential Meritorious Service Awards, and an honorary doctorate from Africa Nazarene University.  He is conversant in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.


Michael Ranneberger

Managing Partner

Ambassador Ranneberger is a managing partner and co-founder of Gainful Solutions. He has over 30 years of experience in international diplomacy in senior leadership positions.

Michael Ranneberger
Soheil Nazari-Kangarlou

Mr. Nazari-Kangarlou brings more than 30 years’ experience to this position having served as an advisor and head to various enterprises throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Australia, working in the fields of energy, construction, oil and gas, financing, telecommunications, technology, health care, retail, manufacturing and distribution services.

During his successful career as an entrepreneur, he co-founded and ran companies in renewable energy, security contracting, and cloud-based business security software. One of these companies, Eye On Your Technologies, Inc. (EOYTECH), started off in customized, stand-alone surveillance hardware systems, and then evolved into an integrated technology service provider with infrastructure installation management and cloud based services. While leading the business, he cultivated a domestic and international partner network with distributors around the world. Clients included Yahoo, Zurich Insurance, Skanska, Turner Construction, SD Deacon, State Farm Insurance and Opus West. Notably, while representing the Target Corporation, EOYTECH managed over 800 stores across the U.S., with another 1,100 locations relying on their services as a security reinforcement.

As a leader in sales and marketing, Mr. Nazari-Kangarlou restructured the outreach platform for a major information technology company, in order to establish channel partnerships and drive global expansion. He was also responsible for ensuring that the service-oriented architecture seamlessly integrated multiple technologies for a client base that included Fortune 500 companies.

Earlier in his career, he held leadership positions in account oversight and business development at Verizon Communications. There, he managed Fortune 200 clients and was recognized as being among the top 1% performers in new revenue earned among its worldwide sales staff. 

As a frequent presenter to business groups, Mr. Nazari-Kangarlou lectures 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.

An early adopter of emerging technologies, Mr. Nazari-Kangarlou holds multiple certifications in business and marketing, software, security, hardware, and IT applications. Additionally, he speaks fluent Farsi.

Soheil Nazari-Kangarlou
Managing Partner

Soheil Nazari-Kangarlou is a managing partner and co-founder of Gainful Solutions, where he provides advisory services to clients looking to expand their reach and operations in complex global marketplaces.

Constance Berry Newman

Beginning with her appointment by President Richard Nixon as the Director of VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps, Ms. Newman went on to serve in other key federal postings such as Commissioner and Vice Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission,  and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, appointed by President Ford, focusing on Indian and elderly affairs.


Some years later, after co-founding a government regulatory procedures consulting firm, succeeded by her time as President of the Institute of American Business, she began what would be a long-term focus in the sphere of foreign affairs, with a particular emphasis on African issues. 


Ms. Newman’s reputation as an expert in global policy started in earnest while operating as a private consultant on a World Bank project living in Lesotho from 1987-88, where she worked on the establishment of a broad housing plan for the populous. A period of time thereafter, during which she served as Under Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and on the board of the congressionally-established body that oversaw the District of Columbia’s finances, she was selected to serve in another presidential administration, appointed by President George W. Bush as the Assistant Administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Ms. Newman followed that assignment with her tenure as Assistant Secretary for African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In both roles she traveled extensively throughout the continent. 


Ms. Newman has won numerous awards throughout her career, including the "Washingtonian of the Year" award in 1998, and the Joseph Henry Medal in 2000, the Smithsonian's highest award for recognition of her distinguished service, achievements and contributions to the prestige and growth of the Smithsonian Institution. In 2019, Ms. Newman was selected to the inaugural class of the Government Hall of Fame, in which just 20 inductees were chosen by an elite selection of former federal officials and public administration experts. The inaugural class includes a mix of distinguished individuals from all eras since 1850, and honors the best of the best: those who have demonstrated sustained achievement and unparalleled dedication to public service.

Ms. Newman serves as the Finance Chair of the National Council of Negro Women and as a member of the  Board of Directors of the International Republican Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide.


Constance Berry Newman
Senior Executive Consultant

Constance Newman is a senior executive consultant for Gainful Solutions, bringing over 50 years of experience in the private and public sectors, including multiple high-level positions within the U.S. government, having served in seven different presidential appointments. 

In his expanded capacity, Dr. Diallo also serves as the President and CEO of the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN), a coordinating body working under the auspice of the UN to foster unity between African nations and all peoples of African descent. He leads ARDN’s ‘Pathway to Solutions’ initiative which aims to popularize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in collaboration with UN entities and other partners from business, academia, government, civil society and the world of sport and culture. 
While at the United Nations, Dr. Diallo led and coordinated responses and projects in various capacities all while liaising with heads of state and government, civil society, the media and other stakeholders to advance the vision of the UN Charter and the public awareness of the entities he served. 
Recruited by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Dr. Diallo held several high-level UN positions with distinction, including as Regional Director for West and Central Africa of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS; Director of Communications for the United Nations Development Program; and as Spokesperson for the President of the United Nations General Assembly.
A Native of Senegal, where he received a Bachelors Degree in Modern Languages and Education, Dr. Diallo followed this achievement by spending time in England where he earned a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education and also in Race Relations and Multi-Cultural Studies from Nottingham University. Soon thereafter, he attended the University of London where he obtained a Doctorate (PhD) in Linguistics and Communications. 
Dr. Diallo is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. He also speaks several African languages and has a knowledge of Arabic.

Dr. Djibril Diallo
Senior Executive Consultant

As a senior executive consultant on the Gainful Solutions team, Dr. Djibril Diallo brings over 35 years of experience interconnecting the private sector with foreign governments and the global system of non-profit organizations, principally while working within the United Nations (UN) system.

Dr. Djibril Diallo
Mark Conord

He is a highly respected expert in his field for assessing enterprise risk while managing and leading large security operations in critical threat operating environments. His specialized skills, expertise and training include: physical and technical security, security program and project management, operations, investigations, protective intelligence & threat analysis, risk assessments and analysis, strategy formulation & negotiation, information security, security assistance program planning, critical infrastructure protection, emergency plans and preparedness, crisis response and contingency operations, security training, drills and joint exercise coordination, executive protection operations and special events security coordination.

He has completed an expansive portfolio of training and professional education programs throughout his career, earning credentials ranging from a spectrum of tactical operations to senior/executive leadership and strategy qualifications.  He is skilled in developing, coordinating and implementing strategy and policy solutions to an array of planning and operations challenges.  His experience also features extensive coordination with the commercial and private sectors, and with foreign governments, on a range of national security issues.


He served as the primary advisor to seven U.S. Ambassadors, and the lead architect for all security operations and management programs, emergency planning and risk assessments impacting all U.S. Mission equities (people, programs, facilities, information and assets) in each country.  He advised and guided country teams and emergency action committees, coordinated with DOD, civilian, commercial/private sector stakeholders and host nation leaders and partners on all risk-relevant national security, foreign policy, civil-military and security cooperation and assistance programs.


He successfully led highly diverse groups of civilian, military, contract and foreign security and law enforcement emergency response teams, ranging from 20 to 2,000+ personnel. He managed and executed operational budgets of $3M-120M; and oversaw projects of $50K-$300M.  In turn, he was nominated to lead as Temporary/Acting Senior Regional Security Director at the U.S. Mission in Baghdad, Iraq (2008) and Kabul, Afghanistan (2017) for extended periods; the two largest and most threatened U.S. Missions and security programs in the world with 3,500 and 2,500 personnel, and $1 BN and $800 M budgets, respectively.


He provided enterprise-level worldwide security policy and strategy oversight for the most threatened U.S. Missions overseas as a Division-Level Supervisor with Diplomatic Security’s High Threat Operations/Special Programs Directorate.  He coordinated with DOD and the Interagency on a host of planning and operational support activities including personnel recovery, emergency plans, security augmentation and crisis response.


He forged key partnerships with the large and diverse business sector in five countries as the co-chairman of the Overseas Security advisory Council (OSAC)--the State Department’s public-private sector information-sharing partnership with the commercial sector that supports a constituency of 3,500 American businesses and organizations.  He advised the private sector co-chairman and coordinated and directed the work of committee chairmen on key security issues and challenges, including transnational crime, terrorism, critical infrastructure and soft target protection, host nation security capacity and support, and security awareness/outreach.


He earned an M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, and BS Degrees in Economics and Political Science from North Carolina State University, with a Minor in Industrial Engineering. He is a recipient of the State Department’s Award for Heroism (Baghdad, Iraq) and eight Meritorious/Superior Honor Awards.


Mark Conord
Senior Global, Security, Risk and Strategy Consultant

Mark Conord is a Senior Global, Security, Risk and Strategy Consultant with Gainful Solutions. He is a career national security and federal law enforcement professional with 30+ years of domestic and international risk, strategy, policy and operations experience with the State Department, the Interagency and the Department of Defense.  

Russ Roberts

Senior Consultant

Russ Roberts is a Senior Consultant on the Gainful Solutions team. He brings more than 35-years of media, communications and public & government relations experience to the team.  He is an award-winning radio/television journalist and has more than two decades of major energy corporation experience across the globe.  

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He has held assignments leading teams involved in Upstream, Downstream, Midstream and Chemical businesses across the U.S., Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, including China, Japan, Thailand and Singapore.


He is a seasoned corporate spokesperson, problem solver, and expert in dealing with media and crisis management, interacting with some of the largest Fortune 500 energy companies in the world. He is a leader with high integrity and an experienced communicator that collaborates with senior leaders and sets clear direction to increase efficiency and performance. 

During his energy career, he worked corporate media relations for ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond including the transition from Mr. Raymond to Rex Tillerson in January 2006. Russ maintained relationships with Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NY Times, CNBC-TV, Bloomberg, Financial Times and many others.  

Russ has led public relations teams across five U.S. states, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Guyana where they established public relations strategies that strengthened government and community support for major corporate initiatives. He coordinated public and government relations efforts in Washington, D.C. to craft strategies that helped win environmental lawsuits and earn federal approval to build multi-billion-dollar petrochemical plants along the Texas Gulf Coast. He also played a key role in helping pass state legislation to limit litigation time for groups opposing industry expansions.

Russ is an expert in media relations and executive counsel. He has designed, developed and delivered executive coaching and training programs for major corporations working in cooperation with large state universities. 

Before Russ started his corporate career in the1990s, he spent almost 10-years as an award-winning radio and television journalist for NBC and CBS network stations along the Gulf Coast and the Texas Energy corridor.  

He received a degree in Journalism from Texas A&M University and has a minor in Marketing and he is conversant in Spanish.

Russ Roberts
Gene Del Bianco

Mr. Del Bianco graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism with a minor in American Political Theory.  Mr. Del Bianco began his journalism career as a photographer with United Press International working throughout the United States.  He would later be transferred overseas where he covered assignments from Brussels to Moscow. Mr. Del Bianco would later join the Reuters News Agency becoming their first accredited photographer in Beijing, China.


After completing a Master of Arts of Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Mr. Del Bianco joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer.  In this capacity he served as the Chief of Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, and as a Political Officer in various positions of increasing responsibility at U.S. embassies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines.  Mr. Del Bianco also served as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and as Projects Director at the Central Intelligence Agency.  


Mr. Del Bianco is a retired Colonel in the United States Army Reserves who graduated from the U.S. Army War College.  During his military career he served in various Infantry, Special Forces, and Civil Affairs units deploying on active duty in support of missions ranging from Operation Provide Comfort to Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He also served as a faculty member at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, and was a member of the editorial board of the U.S. Army’s senior publication Parameters Magazine.  Colonel Del Bianco was inducted into the United States Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in 2017.


As a journalist. Mr. Del Bianco’s work appeared in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Le Monde, Ashi Shimbun, South China Morning Post, and magazines such as Life, Time, Newsweek, and Paris Match.  During his military career, he has been published in military journals Parameters, Military Review, and Special Warfare Magazine.  Mr. Del Bianco also served as a judge in several nationally known journalism and photography competitions.

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Gene Del Bianco

Senior Consultant

Gene Del Bianco is a Senior Consultant with Gainful Solutions. He is a retired Department of State Foreign Service Officer who previously served as the Acting Foreign Policy Advisor to the United States Central Command.

Mr. Casanova began his professional career with the Boeing Company. Rising to the position of Engineering Project Manager, he was in charge of coordinating and leading 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. Additionally, he was responsible for the report, investigation and closure of in-flight safety incidents with the FAA, as well as the development of several division-wide processes for Safety Incident Reporting and Certification Basis Determination.

After his time at Boeing, Mr. Casanova continued to hold leadership positions in a vast array of industries, focusing on business development, advertising, sales, and marketing operations, including work for some organizations that were true pioneers in their spaces.


One such enterprise, where Mr. Casanova made a definitive impact, was Zynga, the first social gaming company. It was there that he served as the establishment's first revenue director, ultimately growing revenue from zero to $1 million daily. Additionally, he managed all the business’ marketing and advertising operations.

Mr. Casanova has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Santa Clara University.

Alex Casanova
Senior Director, Operations


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

Alex Casanova
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