Ileana I. Ferber
Mother | Super Connector
International Development Leader
Policy Advocate | Local Content Expert
CEO and founder of Colibri Business Development LLC, a consulting firm focused on helping public and private entities in the energy sector by designing strategies to ensure projects maximize the economic growth of host countries, generate profits, and support the energy transition.
She had a 24-year career with ExxonMobil before going independent as a consultant. Ileana joined ExxonMobil (Mobil Oil) in Venezuela in 1998 and spent most of her career in the Global Procurement department, where she gained vast experience in negotiating and executing service contracts for upstream operations in all regions where ExxonMobil has a footprint. She spent two years in Sakhalin, in far East Russia as an expatriate working on challenging contract negotiations and mentoring nationals.
Ileana is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in international development, who serves as a senior consultant and an agent of change by providing advice on industrial policies (specifically, on localization) and economic growth in the energy sector. Since she was a teenager her drive and passion were to help developing countries overcome poverty and achieve economic prosperity. Her passion and purpose are to build government capability, create competitive supply markets, and develop the skills of nationals.
Ileana’s comparative advantage relies on her innate talent to build and manage relationships, and her natural ability to connect people, stakeholders, industries, and visions. Throughout her career, her greatest strength has been bringing key stakeholders to the table and building trustworthy relationships.
In the area of diversity and inclusion (D&I), Ileana worked in the past as an advocate for women-owned businesses and for ensuring diversity in the supply chain. She acted as a liaison between ExxonMobil (Corporate Buyer) and WEConnect International (global NGO) to promote and support the inclusion of women-owned businesses (WBO) in the supply chain. In addition, she participates in events related to women’s economic empowerment, and mentors women entrepreneurs.
Ileana believes that all energy projects should include initiatives to increase women’s participation in the energy sector. To add value to conferences and exhibitions in the energy sector, Ileana organizes and leads the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) program, an initiative delivered with local resources to mentor and coach WOBs and facilitate access to Buyers to pitch their goods and services.
Ileana has a BA in Languages, a Business major from Universidad Metropolitana (Caracas, Venezuela), and an MBA in International Development from Thunderbird School of Global Management (Arizona, USA). She has completed Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability studies from Thunderbird Executive Education and took courses in Energy Policy from Robert Gordon University. She earned the Executive Certificate in Economic Development from Harvard Kennedy School, after completing three programs: Leading Economic Growth (LEG), Implementing Public Policy (IPP), and Leading Green Growth (LGG). She confesses to being an eternal student and is considering teaching soon.
Ileana was born and raised in Venezuela, where she lived for 27 years, before moving to the United States in 2003. She currently lives in The Woodlands, TX with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. She enjoys playing tennis and downhill skiing in winter. Her retirement dream is to own and run a dog sanctuary somewhere in Latin America with her husband.