Valérie La Traverse has been science and technology counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Washington since 2005. Her role is to represent Canadian government S&T departments and agencies, monitor S&T policy developments in the US, advise Canadian policymakers, and develop partnerships between Canada and the US.
Prior to arriving in Washington, she opened a Canadian Consulate in Phoenix, Arizona. The core of her work focused on developing a business and government contact base, forging business leads and strategic alliances, and promoting R&D collaboration primarily in information technologies, biotechnology, and aerospace and defense. Prior to Arizona, La Traverse worked at Industry Canada and managed the information highway programs ("Connecting Canadians," electronic commerce) for the Ontario region, working mostly with small and medium-sized companies based in Ontario. She also served as executive director of the New England-Canada Business Council, a Boston-based international trade and membership organization, from 1995 to1998.
La Traverse graduated with a B.A. in international relations from McGill University and a M.B.A. in international business from Concordia University in Montreal (1992). Upon graduation, she was recruited into the Government of Canada's Management Trainee Program and assigned to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. She worked in Ottawa for several years, specializing in Middle East trade and working on issues such as the creation of the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation, the reopening of the Canadian Embassy in Lebanon, and the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.