Emerald Collaborative Partners Advisory Board

 Emerald Collaborative Partners is a collaborative enterprise, recognizing that the specific knowledge our clients require may be better accessed in experts who are not partners. We endeavor to reach out to other experts in the field and provide access to those experts for our clients when the need arises. This ensure a “one-stop-shopping” capability for our clients, with Emerald Collaborative Partners acting as advisors and consultants, but also maintaining quality control, program schedules and budgeting, and all administrative tasks for an expanded team - letting the experts be the experts! 

Advisory Board Chair

John Kenkel

John J. Kenkel has 20 years of experience in strategy and M&A support to the aerospace and defense industry. He is the Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Cyient's Aerospace & Defense business unit. He joined Cyient from PA Consulting where he was a lead for strategy support in the Defense & Security practice. Prior to PA he was a Managing Partner at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, as well as a co-founder of the firm. He was also the lead partner in charge of the international practice based out of London. 

Before founding RSAdvisors, Mr. Kenkel was the Senior Director and global practice head for Jane’s Strategic Advisory Services, the consulting division of Jane’s Information Group. From 2005-2007, he was a member of the Board of Directors for Jane’s Information Group, Inc. 

Before Jane’s, Mr. Kenkel was an Associate with DFI International (now Avascent), a boutique consulting firm specializing in strategic advice to the A&D industry.

Prior to DFI he was an analyst with The IBP Aerospace Group where he worked with former Soviet and Eastern European nations to market defense and aerospace systems to the US and Western Europe. While with IBP he worked in both a business development and operations capacity, managed the ITAR related import/export work and provided due diligence support for potential acquisitions.


Legal and Regulatory Law


John LaPenta

John LaPenta, a hands-on strategic, legal and regulatory attorney, has led multi-functional teams including, government affairs/relations, advocacy, lobbying, coalition building, legal, regulatory and compliance in various industries. Mr. LaPenta has extensive experience supporting start-ups and nascent industries in both the private and public sector and has been on the executive team of several successful start-ups in both the telecommunications and construction industries, including taking one company public and successfully selling others to Wall Street investment firms. 

He has served on numerous corporate boards in the construction, development and the captive insurance industry. Mr. LaPenta has worked on two presidential campaigns and has held appointed positions in the Executive Office of the President, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. State Department. 

In addition to his law degree, Mr. LaPenta has a Masters in International Transaction with additional post graduate studies in South East Asian Economics. He completed his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics. John is a member of the Commonwealth of Virginia Bar.

Export/Import Licensing and Compliance

Lisa Bencivenga


Lisa Bencivenga has twenty-five years of experience in export/import licensing and compliance activities and has had the leading role in developing and implementing internal compliance programs, providing regulatory guidance, instituting license databases, training personnel at all corporate levels, conducting audits requested by clients and/or directed by the U.S. Department of State, coordinating investigations and working closely with legal departments while administering the full spectrum of corporate international export/import activities. She has experience in various complex issues (e.g., unmanned aerial vehicles, space-related activities, foreign government licensing/compliance strategies) including obtaining and implementing complex licensing arrangements and meetings/briefings to key government officials to support business plans. 

Lisa has represented over 150 U.S. and foreign companies on a wide range of regulatory and policy-related matters working closely with the Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Treasury, and Justice. Her experience includes assisting companies in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. She is approved by the State Dept. to conduct directed audits and monitoring activities for companies operating within the requirements of Consent Agreements.  


Lisa was an officer and member of the Board of Directors of the Society for International Affairs for two 2-year terms, including a term as Director of Planning and Education, and was a member of the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Defense Trade Advisory Group (DTAG) from 2008-2016. She has also been a speaker for Society for International Affairs, Export Compliance Solutions, and other organizations. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from National-Louis University.