The Amsterdam American Business Club is a professional networking organization whose main purpose is to help improve business contacts between Dutch and American companies in and around Amsterdam. Consisting primarily of American and Dutch business people, the club also includes a broad variety of nationalities and professional backgrounds.
Founded more than 30 years ago in 1983, the Amsterdam American Business Club was meeting informally even before that. With nearly 1000 members and Interested Parties the AABC is the professional network club for making and maintaining business contacts in an enjoyable, informal setting. We organize over 11 events each year at great locations in and around Amsterdam.
The AABC is governed by our board of directors that consists of many talented individuals of various backgrounds and talents. Our board and committee members serve the AABC on a voluntary basis and all strive to enhance the AABC experience for our members, sponsors and interested parties.
Neifor B. Acosta
Chairman Neifor B. Acosta, Managing Director AGR Consulting B.V. Neifor (pronounced – “Ney-for”) was born and raised in Miami, Florida and received a bachelor degree from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida and a juris doctor from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Acosta lived and worked as a licensed lawyer in the Midwest for 17 years prior to moving to Amsterdam where he co-founded and served as CEO of a Dutch startup e-commerce platform serving the petrochemicals sector. He is now managing director of AGR Consulting B.V. providing general commercial/legal counsel to clients doing business in the U.S. and the Netherlands.
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” — Henry David ThoreauContact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair Eric Burnik Board Member – Vice Chair Eric has been a member of the AABC since 2013 and has served on the AABC Board first as Events Chair, the Sponsorships Chair and now a board member. Born in Libya he lived there for 15 years. Because of his experience within different companies and disciplines he has a unique ability to manage multi-disciplinary projects and navigate complex challenges. He is multi-linguist of technology driven businesses. He speaks fluent geek, marketeer, designer, trainer, salesperson, C-suits and difficult client.
“Luck is when preparations meets opportunities.” — Oprah WinfreyContact: email@example.com
Treasurer Denise Chune Treasurer Denise is lending her talents to the AABC by serving as its treasurer. She brings substantial experience in finance and operations, having served in various leadership roles with established and scale up businesses in Amsterdam. Denise is a valuable presence that enhances the AABC’s talented and diverse board.
Secretary Alexander Jansen Secretary Alexander is a seasoned and bubble-busting Corporate Affairs professional focused on the intersection of Finance, Technology and Sustainability. He is an avid technologist with particular eye for AI and serve as a board supervisor/trustee and DEI advocate.
Memberships Committee Chair Shima Zeroual Membership Committee - Chair Shima is a driven and passionate professional from Amsterdam. She currently works for an American data company and is Vice President Sales for the European and Middle Eastern markets. She also runs her own company Sales Scaleur, training entrepreneurs to sell in a way that fits their value. Shima loves giving sales tips and advice so don't hesitate to ask her during our events. In her free time, Shima is a big foodie who enjoys discovering new culinary experiences wherever she goes. She joined the AABC as a way to share her talent for connecting people to each other.
Events Committee Chair John Sotomayor Events Committee - Chair John moved from New York to Amsterdam in 1997 and he has been a member of the AABC since 2019. Living Amsterdam for more than twenty five years, he has developed a large network of business professionals and is well known in the Amsterdam social scene. His current focus revolves around networking, guest relations, hospitality and entertainment management. Prior to joining the AABC, John hosted MEET GREET EAT events at several restaurants in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Almere and Groningen. As chair of the Events Committee, he leads a team of committee members, each with different expertise in hospitality and event organization. Their main goals are to find top locations, secure engaging speakers and arrange every last detail to perfection for our events.
Technology Committee Chair Liam Miner Technology Committee - Chair Liam Miner is an American from Rhode Island now living in Amsterdam since 2016. He joined the AABC shortly after arriving in the Netherlands, and he’s been a member of the Board since 2016. Liam is the Sr. Director of Global Implementation Services for Contentsquare, a market leader in digital analytics. In his free time, Liam loves to rock climb, travel, and explore the Dutch food scene.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney
Marketing Committee - Co-Chair Kathy Czako Marketing Committee - Co-Chair After working for years in sales and marketing in the US and the Netherlands, Kathy started Common Link English Language Training in 2003. It became the perfect way for her to combine her business experience with her passion for language: helping non-native speakers improve their skills and feel great about using English at work! Kathy provides customized training and professional writing services to a diverse portfolio of clients, from small to medium sized companies to large multinationals and esteemed academic institutions. Whether it’s through Executive English training, university academic writing tutorials or writing marketing communication texts, Kathy is dedicated to helping her clients find their true voice in English. In addition to her training and consulting work, Kathy has made valuable contributions as an author. She has co-written two textbooks and is currently working on an interactive Business English workbook that harnesses AI technology to empower students in their self-learning journey.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Alphonse Karr
Rafael Lopez de Azua
Marketing Committee - Co-Chair Rafael Lopez de Azua Marketing Committee Co-Chair Rafael Lopez De Azua is an experienced marketing and strategy leader with Global CPG and Consulting experience. He leads t he global relationships with all the Global Media Platforms (Amazon, TikTok, Meta, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.) for Coty globally and is based in Amsterdam. He previously led Media and Digital for Coty’s Luxury, Consumer Beauty, and Professional Divisions in Latin America. In this role, he transformed how the company plans and bought media to support commercial targets, focus on the consumer and the purchase journey. To this end, he helped launch and integrate Coty’s then internal digital agency in both Miami and Sao Paulo; and sponsored various special omni-media projects that enabled e-commerce in Mexico and Brazil. Rafael also held various Brand Management positions in Procter & Gamble on both Luxury Fragrances in Miami and Global Oral Care in Cincinnati. Prior to joining P&G, Rafael was a strategy consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington DC. He also served as a Naval Officer and deployed twice to the Arabian Gulf. He holds MBAs from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and Queens University in Ontario, Canada; and received his bachelors from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Rafael is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Sponsorships Serge Gerritsma Sponsorships Committee - Chair Serge is a firm believer that attitude is everything! Any skill can be learned, but attitude is a choice. If you have a positive attitude, you’re open to growth, flexible to change, and have a strong desire and passion for what you do and who you do it with you can do anything. Born in Germany to Dutch parents, Serge has been living in Amsterdam since 2002. He is a passionate entrepreneur having founded and led various companies such as Xpats-Service Relocation Agency, B.V. and H2HSales B.V. He is also certified life coach and founder of Karuna Life Coach. Serge’s varied professional experiences will help lead efforts to secure prospective sponsors for the AABC.
“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” - Robert Kiyosaki author (Rich dad, Poor dad)"
Honorary Board Member Kate Nanavatty, a career U.S. Foreign Service officer, assumed her position as Consulate General at the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam in July 2022.
A native of Pound Ridge, New York, Kate’s career at the U.S. Department of State encompasses domestic leadership positions, overseas tours in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, and teaching roles. Her domestic assignments include serving as Chief of Staff to former Deputy Secretary of State Ambassador John Sullivan and subsequently to former Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun. She also served as the Burma Desk Officer from 2010-2012.
Kate received a B.A., summa cum laude in International Relations from John Hopkins University, where she played varsity tennis and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.A. in International Relations and Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Special Committee Members
Memberships Committee Daniëlle Smissaert works as an HR professional in the field of well-being and performance management at ABN AMRO bank. She has been active in the field of charity for 9 years. Living by purpose is essential to her. Currently, she works as an assistant coordinator of the housing project at Vluchtelingenwerk(the refugee foundation), next to this she works as an ambassador manager at Deedmob (a platform for flexible volunteering). She has experience in fundraising and has expertise in the field of Diversity & Inclusion, feel free to reach out to her! Within The Amsterdam American business club, Daniëlle will join forces with the Memberships committee, stimulating growth and philanthropy in our community.