Marisela Caraballo DiRuggiero
Director of Trade DevelopmentMarisela Caraballo DiRuggiero is the Director of Trade Development for the Port of Los Angeles, the busiest container port in North America. Appointed to this position in 2019, she oversees the Trade Development Division, ensuring the Port fulfills its mission to connect U.S. businesses throughout America with overseas trade opportunities—particularly exports—through trade promotion workshops that encourage increased trade through the Port of Los Angeles. Trade Connect, the Port’s educational trade outreach program, is tailored to small- and medium- sized businesses and firms dealing with specialized commodities to consider export markets.
With more than two decades of experience in public policy development, issues management, and legislative advocacy, DiRuggiero is also responsible for the outreach to professional associations and government agencies to promote specialized business opportunities in key commodity areas, with an emphasis on export cargoes.
Additionally, DiRuggiero oversees the function of intergovernmental relations with foreign governments, advancing the Port’s influence on expanding trade markets. She has written many sister port agreements promoting trade, environmental stewardship, infrastructure development and increased security protocols.
DiRuggiero previously served as Director of Legislative Affairs, managing the Port’s legislative program, overseeing all lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. and Sacramento, managing the staff and budget of the Government Affairs Division, overseeing protocol for international delegations, and coordinating hundreds of successful visits for high-level officials.
Prior to joining the Port in 2003 as a Legislative Representative, DiRuggiero worked for a member of congress, California state senator, and real estate developer. She has worked tirelessly to achieve legislative policy wins for the Port, and under her management, she has secured government funding for various Port infrastructure projects ranging from transportation, security, environment, and dredging.
In addition to her responsibilities at the Port, DiRuggiero is a member of the Wilmington Rotary Club, and has previously served on the boards of the Wilmington Neighborhood Council, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, and Boys and Girls Club of the South Bay. In 2016, the Regional Hispanic Institute named DiRuggiero “Inspirational Woman of the Year,” and ELLAS (Embracing Latina Leadership Alliances) honored her on two separate occasions for the “Woman on Top” and “Mentoring Latinas.” DiRuggiero is also a member of various professional organizations such as the American Association of Port Authorities, California Association of Port Authorities, Foreign Trade Association, many Chambers of Commerce, Coalition of Americas Gateways and Trade Corridors, FuturePorts, Harbor Association of Industry Commerce, Los Angeles/Long Beach Propeller Club, and the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association.
A cum laude graduate of Loyola Marymount University, DiRuggiero earned a bachelor of arts in political science with a minor in Spanish literature. She also attended a prestigious scholars program at Oxford University, Queens College.