She may not be in the political heavyweight league of predecessors Patrick Gaspard, Bill Swing, Princeton Layman, James Joseph or Edward Perkins, but United States ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks has a lot to say about politics and international relations.
Marks, who has had a distinguished business career in clothes and fashion, is ironically no mere trendily dressed pretty face who shies away from responding on any questions red her way – including responding to decisions taken by her controversial boss, US President Donald Trump.
If you assumed that business acumen, good looks and a fashion statement do not mix with politics, think again. These and many other qualities compelled Trump to appoint Marks as ambassador to one of Africa’s most strategic countries.
Before her appointment last October as US diplomat to South Africa, Marks served as chief executive ocer (CEO) of Lana Marks fashion brand, which she founded in 1987. Over the course of 30 years, she developed the label into an international brand – opening stores and boutiques across the world.
A member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America, in 2001 Marks was one of 50 American CEOs and the sole fashion representative invited to the White House for the Women Business Leaders’ Forum, during the George W Bush presidency.
A long-time advocate of women’s empowerment, Marks has served on Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s women’s leadership board and as a distinguished speaker at Georgetown University’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. She twice represented the US for the Women Business Leadership Summit in Helsinki and is a supporting member of the Council of Women World Leaders.
In 2002, the Star Group selected her as one of 40 businesswomen to be honoured as a leading woman entrepreneur of the world. She joined up with dozens of charities, with a focus on advancing breast cancer research and supporting underprivileged children and the arts.
Credit: Originally published; The Citizen | May 23, 2020 | Brian Sokutu