FREE Webinar

Life During and After COVID19: Entering the US Market Successfully

Thursday June 25th 2020 10am EDT

Under the current circumstances how are plans for US expansion affected? A pause of a few weeks may now have you considering what you should do, and how, in order to move forward.


The Covid-19 pandemic has had an incredible effect on global business, including on the U.S., which is heavily dependent on the establishment of new businesses funded by foreign nationals and companies. This is due not only to the logistical and health restrictions, but their legal and cultural implications as well.

Three experienced professionals will share what changes companies need to be aware of and what steps they can take now, in preparation for an accelerated market entry when the time comes to green light an expansion to the US.


Steve Maggi will discuss the impact of the closing of borders, travel bans, closed embassies and consulates and executive orders which pause or stop certain kinds of immigration. 

Anne Wolfson will discuss the practical effects of the new post-COVID world on legal agreements and relationships.

Sophie Lechner will discuss how to be culturally aligned to ensure your product, marketing and sales are compelling to US customers and partners.

The panel will share their views on the current hurdles facing foreign investors and companies looking to do business in the U.S. during this crisis, what the rest of 2020 might look like and how the future of foreign investment and business in the U.S. looks. 

About The Panel:

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Sophie Lechner


Born in Pakistan of a French mother and Pakistani father, raised in France and now in the US for over 27 years, Sophie Lechner is the Founder & CEO of Global Commerce Education, Inc (GCE).

Sophie has a Bachelor’s of Law from King’s College in London, a Maîtrise de Droit and a DESS from Université de Paris I – Panthéon Sorbonne, and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Columbia University in New York.

Sophie began her career as in-house legal counsel for Bouygues, then British Petroleum in France. After completing her MBA she joined Pfizer in New York where she led teams and product launches across many countries, managed professional education for several billion-dollar global brands and pioneered the role of Alliance Manager. She later joined Bayer where she led multinational conferences and workshops for physicians and researchers.


After 25 years in global strategy on multicultural teams, Sophie founded GCE, to accelerate companies’ global expansion. Having lived and worked on several continents, she believes cross-border trade is the most powerful engine of growth and should be accessible to everyone. Drawing on her experience, she has developed a method to streamline the market entry process, shorten time to market and minimize risk for European companies as they expand into the US.


As a certified cross-cultural trainer, an online educator and a US market entry specialist, Sophie speaks in the U,S, and abroad at workshops, conferences, webinars and podcasts, in collaboration with companies, universities and national development agencies. She has also been interviewd by Forbes about the cultural challenges of foreign companies entering the US market.

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Steve Maggi

Steve Maggi was born in Argentina and raised in the U.S., graduating from Stuyvesant High School in New York City and the University of North Carolina, where he studied broadcast journalism and history. A U.S. immigration and consular law attorney with over fifteen years of experience, his law firm's motto is "building the bridge to your American dream" because his mission is to help foreign nationals achieve their unique version of the American dream.


Steve graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2001 and launched SMA in 2004. Considered an industry expert, he has been interviewed by ABC New, CNN, Bloomberg, NY1, Telemundo, Currents News and NY1 Noticias.
Under his supervision, SMA provides comprehensive immigration and consular law services, including assisting U.S. businesses and their sponsorship of foreign nationals through employment and training visas and green cards, investor visas  for new start-ups and green cards based on investment, as well family-based petitions and humanitarian cases. With respect to SMA’s consular practice, Steve has represented clients at over 50 U.S. embassies and consulates around the world in their visa and waiver application processes.
Outside of law, Steve has three passions: basketball, singing and charity work. While living in Argentina, Steve played 4 years of semi-professional basketball while simultaneously managing SMA. He has also sung since he was a child and has had the honor of performing in both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

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Anne Wolfson


Anne Wolfson is a business attorney with experience in financial regulation and technology. She provides legal counsel on commercial and regulatory issues related to the development, use and ownership of technology, data and intellectual property.


Anne graduated from the University of Wisconsin and worked as a software developer on Wall Street for several years. She received an MA in Economics from Stanford University and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.


She began her legal career at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC and served as a regulatory attorney for assorted financial institutions. Combining her programming experience with her work as a regulatory attorney, Anne began working with regulated technology and data providers. She has served as both inhouse and external general counsel to many tech companies, including an internet company, an investment advisor, a European provider of securities exchange technology, and a financial services self-regulatory organization.


This insight into the full range of day-to-day operational issues facing technology companies has helped her provide thoughtful, practical advice to her clients. She and her clients have been affected uniquely by a variety of unexpected events, including Y2K, the 9/11 attacks, the NYC blackout, the NYC subway strike, Hurricane Sandy, the COVID-19 pandemic and unexpected bet-the-company IP litigation matters.


As the proprietor of her own law practice, she speaks regularly before diverse groups regarding issues of interest to entrepreneurs, business founders and owners, and works with non-commercial organizations that advise and support these new entities. She works with non-US entities in their plans to establish US operations, having seen how different the civil-law and common-law systems are drastically different, and how even a deep understanding of civil law systems is not good preparation for operating in a common-law world.