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A Tennessee native, Ali earned her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt, where she became the first Arab American student body president. After earning her J.D., she served as a law clerk to Judge Gilbert S. Merritt Jr. ’60 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and for Judge Edwin Cameron, now of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. She then practiced with Hogan Lovells US, where she helped establish the firm’s first Middle Eastern presence in the United Arab Emirates. In 2010, she returned to the United States to work as a White House Fellow in President Barack Obama’s administration.There she worked closely with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and gained experience with bi-lateral negotiations on behalf of the U.S. government.
Ali later served as Assistant Commissioner of International Affairs to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and managed Tennessee’s global relations where she developed Tennessee’s five-year international strategy plan, which laid the framework for the state’s international economic development footprint.
In addition to her legal practice, Ali is a managing director of the Lodestone Advisory Group, a consulting firm that specializes in internationalization, investment advisory and strategy, and is an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt Law School, where she teaches courses on international relations and negotiations.