The World Affairs Council of Orange County and First American Trust present:

The Powerhouse of Europe: Germany’s Renewed Political and Global Economic Influence

Featuring Former Ambassador to Germany (2013-2017) & Vice Chairman of Capital International, Inc., John B. Emerson 

Thank you so much to our title event sponsor, First American Trust, an American financial services company providing nationwide service through ten bank branches and five wealth management offices.

Check out their website here: 


Germany’s renewed political and economic global influence has been a significant development in international relations in recent years. The country, which is the largest economy in Europe and the fourth-largest in the world, has played an increasingly important role in shaping the direction of the global economy, as well as in addressing major political challenges facing the international community. One of the key factors behind Germany’s growing influence is its commitment to multilateralism and its leadership role in the European Union have also been important in strengthening its position on the global stage. In the economic sphere, Germany has been a key driver of growth in Europe and has played a leading role in the development of the euro-zone. Its manufacturing sector, in particular, has been a major contributor to its economic success, with German companies achieving global reach and influence. Overall, Germany’s renewed political and economic global influence is likely to continue to be a major factor in international relations in the years to come, as the country continues to play a leading role in shaping the direction of the global economy and addressing key political challenges facing the international community.


An In-Person Lunch Event

Date & Time:

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

12:00 PM Reception

12:30 PM Lunch & Main Program


Westin South Coast Plaza

Santa Ana Room

686 Anton Blvd,

Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Members: $70

Non-members: $80

Young Professional members: $55

Students: $20


Thank you to our co-promoters:

Share Knowledge. Gain Insight. Expand Connections.
German American Business Association (GABA) is an alliance of corporations, organizations, and professionals with the purpose of strengthening transatlantic business.
Check out their website:


Orange County Business Council (OCBC) represents and promotes the business community, working with government and academia, to enhance Orange County’s economic development and prosperity in order to preserve a high quality of life. Check out their website:


Speaker Bio:

John B. Emerson

John Emerson rejoined Capital Group ( in May 2017 as Vice Chairman of Capital Group International, Inc., following a four year leave to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany. With more than $1.5 trillion under management, Capital Group is among the largest investment management firms in the world. Serving as United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany from August, 2013 through January 20, 2017, Mr. Emerson was Chief of Mission Germany, which includes the operation and activities of the Embassy, five consulates and nearly 2,000 employees, as well as coordinating with the U.S. military command in Germany. He interacted frequently with, and at the highest levels of the U.S. and German governments, as well as with the EU and NATO leaderships, on bi-lateral and multilateral matters as diverse as diplomacy and policy; trade and investment; military, intelligence and counter-terrorism; the immigration/refugee crisis; and commercial matters with American and German corporations, financial institutions and regulators in support of American interests.

Mr. Emerson was the 2015 recipient of the State Department’s Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, which is awarded annually to one non-career Ambassador who has used their private sector leadership and management skills to make a substantive impact on bilateral or multilateral relations through proactive diplomacy. In 2017, he was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award by the
Secretary of the Navy, and the CIA Medal for his service and contributions during a time of great challenge for the intelligence community. Prior to becoming ambassador, Mr. Emerson served as President of Capital Group’s Private Client Services (1997-2013), and as a member of President Clinton’s senior staff (1993 to 1997), initially as Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel and subsequently as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where he was the President’s liaison to the nation’s governors. Mr. Emerson also coordinated the Economic Conference of the Clinton-Gore transition team and led the Administration’s efforts to obtain Congressional approval of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement in 1994, and the extension of China’s MFN trading status in 1996. In 2010, President Obama appointed Mr. Emerson to his Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Before joining the Clinton Administration, Mr. Emerson served as Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles from 1987 to 1993, and was deputy campaign manager for Gary Hart’s Presidential campaign, soon to be memorialized in the film “The Frontrunner,” from 1986 until the campaign’s end in 1987. Prior to that, he was with the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips law firm from 1978 to 1987, specializing in business and entertainment litigation and administrative law, becoming Partner in 1984.

Ambassador Emerson currently serves as Chairman of the American Council on Germany and on the boards of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the German Marshall Fund, the American Friends of the Munich Security Conference, the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, and the Music Center Foundation. Previously he served as Chairman of the Music Center of Los Angeles (2003-11), Vice Chairman of the Los Angeles Metropolitan YMCA (2007-13), and as Chair of the first ever Los Angeles City Independent Redistricting Commission (2001). He is a long serving member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Originally from the suburbs of New York City, Mr. Emerson earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Philosophy from Hamilton College and his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago. He received an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Hamilton College in May 2017. Mr. Emerson is married to Kimberly Marteau Emerson, who served in a senior role at the United States Information Agency during the Clinton Administration and now serves on the international board of Human Rights Watch and on USC’s Advisory Board on Public Diplomacy. The Emersons have three daughters: Jackie (Stanford, ’17) and twins, Taylor and Hayley (Wash U, St. Louis, ’20).


Moderator Bio: 

Jerry Braakman

Jerry Braakman is President and Chief Investment Officer of an American financial services company, First American Trust, bringing 25 plus years of experience in various management roles.

Currently, Jerry oversees all Trust and Wealth Management activities of the firm. He creates the vision and executes the strategy of the firm’s expertise. He ensures client goals are achieved with an experienced team of fiduciary and investment professionals.

As Chief Investment Officer, Jerry oversees the investment outlook, portfolio strategy, asset allocation, risk management, and investment processes. He regularly provides expert commentary on the financial markets to various media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Reuters, CNBC, and Bloomberg.

Jerry began his career at First American Trust in 1995 and during his tenure has held various operational and investment management positions. Previous to his current responsibilities, he oversaw the management of First American’s $2.3 billion corporate investment portfolio.

Jerry holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. Jerry continues his involvement with UCI as a member of the advisory board for UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business Center for Investment and Wealth Management and as a member of the Dean’s Leadership Circle for the School of Social Sciences.

Jerry is married with two kids and lives in Irvine.