Judith Pryor receives presidential appointment to EXIM board

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From left are U.S. Commerce Secretary and EXIM ex officio board member Wilbur Ross, EXIM board member Judith Pryor and EXIM board President and Chair Kimberly Reed.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Bowling Green State University alumna was appointed by President Donald A. Trump to serve as a member of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Board of Directors.

Judith DelZoppo Pryor, who received a Bachelor of Arts in communication degree in 1985 from BGSU, was sworn in May 10 for a term ending on Jan. 20, 2021. Her appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 8 in a bipartisan vote. She brings to the position more than 25 years of business leadership experience in corporate and marketing communications, public affairs and business development. She has spent the majority of her career working with multinational businesses, primarily in emerging markets.

This  presidential appointment at EXIM made it necessary for Pryor to step down from her position on the BGSU Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors, which she joined in February 2016 and served as chair of the development committee and a member of the executive committee.

“This is a big job, and we have quite a bit of work to do," Pryor said. “I am honored to serve our country in this role. I’m also grateful for this opportunity and look forward to the work of the EXIM Bank, which supports U.S. jobs through exports.” 

She believes that her study abroad experience while she was a BGSU student set the stage for this important work in international business.

“There is always a moment, a crossroads if you will, that affects the direction of our lives,” she said.

Initially, she was a business major, but halfway through her four years, she decided that a communication major in the College of Arts and Sciences was “a truer calling.” 

In order to fulfill the language requirement, she spent a semester studying in Spain.

“It was the moment when I came back from Spain and I told my parents ‘I am going to work in international business.’ Spain was my first major crossroad. Being immersed in a different culture and language, steeped in history and with different economic interests, it lit a fire in me.”

Pryor’s confirmation, along with  the confirmation of EXIM President and Chairman Kimberly Reed and Director Spencer Bachus, returns EXIM to full functionality and allows the bank to once again authorize financing for transactions of more than $10 million. EXIM helps level the playing field for American businesses competing for opportunities around the world by providing competitive  export credit to overseas purchasers of U.S. goods and services. In recent years, 90 percent of the total number of the bank’s authorizations has directly supported small business.

As a member of the EXIM board, Pryor will be involved in considering applications for  financing that will benefit thousands of American exporters and suppliers across the country. The board considers individual transactions, EXIM policies, and other business issues that may arise. 

“I have spent the bulk of my career working in overseas markets from Europe, to Africa and the Middle East, Western Europe, India, Southeast Asia, primarily in developing countries and economies, many of which were supported by OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation), my first (politically appointed) government position.”

There, under President Barack Obama’s administration, Pryor served as vice president of OPIC’s Office of External Affairs, the U.S. government’s development finance institution. She was responsible for all external engagement, including congressional relations, public affairs, communications and U.S. small business development. She was a member of the Executive Leadership Team and held a seat on OPIC’s Investment Committee, providing input on projects valued at more than $20 million.

Pryor has lived and worked in places from London to Johannesburg, Nairobi to New Delhi, Jakarta to Dubai and beyond. Somewhere along the way, she’s grown particularly fond of the developing world, and her work at OPIC solidified her interests to help with sustainable economic development in some of the world’s most challenging countries.

“People in Accra or Tblisi or Bangalore, they don’t want handouts; they want economic development so they can support their families and build their futures. This was some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.”

Before joining OPIC, Pryor spent over 25 years working in international business, including nearly a decade with WorldSpace Inc., a multibillion-dollar satellite radio start-up company, servicing developing markets worldwide. As senior vice president for global corporate affairs, her work included establishing marketing and communications functions in 11 international offices, taking the company public, serving as corporate spokesperson, and spearheading the strategy and execution for the company’s global brand. She held similar positions with COMSAT and Orion Network Systems. She began her career at Gray & Company, and continued with the firm after it was acquired by Hill & Knowlton Public Affairs WorldWide.