Board of Directors

Mel Sanderson


Mel’s 30-year international career has spanned diplomacy and mining. She is adept at cross-cultural communication and brings leadership experience in inclusivity and diversity issues. At global mining leader Freeport-McMoRan, Mel sited, staffed, and ran a corporate office focused on government, public relations, and social responsibility programs.

She served our nation as a senior diplomat in the US Department of State. As chargée d’affaires, she led the US Embassy in Kinshasa. Mel has numerous awards, including the prestigious Athena Award for the Private Sector, and the Phoenix Business Journal’s Dynamic Women in Business. She serves as Chair of both the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations and the Arizona District Export Council.

Mel has lived in 9 countries and speaks 7 languages, being fluent in French and Spanish, believing “that businesses and investors thrive when they embrace cultural diversity and the power of personal relationships.”

Mel is experienced in multi-cultural management, gender/minority issues, strategic planning, negotiations, political and economic analysis, and economic development.

Her awards and honors include: 2019 Global Champion, Mayor of Phoenix; Athena Businesswoman of the Year 2015 Private Sector Award, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; 2018 Global Business Executive of the Year, Global Chamber; Twenty-Five Dynamic Women of Business 2014, Phoenix Business Journal; and 2020 Member, Flinn-Brown Fellowship Civic Leadership Program.

Mel’s leadership roles include: Chair, Arizona District Export Council; Chair, Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations; Chair, Mining Committee of Arizona Mexico Commission; Director of Trade and Consulting Operations, Africa Business Portal; Chair, International Advisory Council, Global Chamber; Past President, Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations (2015-2017); Board Member, Arizona MExico Commission; Board Member, Arizona Council for Economic Education; Board Member, Japanese Friendship Garden; Member, Arizona Association of University Women; Member, Advisory Council, Global Leadership Coalition; Member, International Leadership Council and Global ADvisory Board of Greater Phoenix Economic Council.