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Antonio Soave

Former Kansas Secretary of Commerce Joins One Heart Project as Executive Director of the Kansas City Initative


AntonioAntonio Soave, the former Kansas Secretary of Commerce until last month, has joined the One Heart Project as its new Executive Director for the Kansas City Mentoring Initiative, overseeing the organization’s operations in Kansas and Missouri. The One Heart Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing incarcerated and at-risk youth a second chance.


In Kansas, there are over 900 teens, ages 13-18 in detention or under state/county supervision each year, with over 700 in Missouri. Nationally, nearly 70% of incarcerated juvenile males are rearrested; the vast majority within six months of initial release.


The One Heart Project is a collective impact initiative that works with youth between the ages of 10 and 19, providing valuable mentoring, education, training, workforce development and wraparound services, through numerous community collaborators.


“Antonio is not only highly skilled and respected across the state, he is also passionate about making a difference in the lives of youth in the urban core,” said Steve Riach, One Heart Project Chairman and Co-Founder. “With his heart for helping at-risk youth, and wealth of experience in overseeing workforce integration programs and economic development initiatives, we know we have the right leader for One Heart in Kansas. We are thrilled he is joining the team.”


Working in the non-profit world is a transition Soave is looking forward to.


“Being able to serve One Heart’s mission is a gift,” Soave said. “At the Kansas Department of Commerce, I advocated for economic growth around the state, including the inner city areas. I am a firm believer that all human beings should be afforded economic opportunity, a good education and the ability to advance. Human dignity must be upheld and promoted, and One Heart fulfils that mission.”


While Secretary of Commerce for Kansas, Soave promoted vast economic development through various initiatives; Jump Start Ag Tech Entrepreneurs, Exalting the Inner City, Outer Space Initiatives (OSI), the “Made in Kansas, the Heart of America” marketing campaign and the launch of the Kansas Commerce Magazine, to name a few. He also became involved with inner city economic development programs in Wichita and other communities.


As a global businessman for 30 years prior to his Commerce post, Soave assisted companies in conducting international business transactions around the globe, and helping U.S. companies grow exports to countries in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Far East.


Mr. Soave will continue to serve on the International Advisory Board of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, D.C. USIP is a U.S. government agency that is committed to promoting national security and global stability by reducing violent conflicts abroad.


One Heart currently impacts youth in the juvenile justice system in Johnson and Shawnee counties in Kansas, and is expanding to other locations in Kansas and Missouri. They also operate in Texas, Indiana and Utah. The Kansas initiative brings together various collaborating agencies and organizations to provide a comprehensive restorative justice solution for youthful offenders. More information can be found at


Antonio's Bio

Antonio J. Soave is the former Secretary of Commerce for the State of Kansas. The Governor officially appointed him as Secretary on November 4, 2015, and he served in that capacity until July of 2017. During his tenure at the Kansas Department of Commerce, Mr. Soave was credited with having created the “Jump Start Kansas Entrepreneurs” grant program for start-up companies across the state, the “Made in Kansas, Heart of America” manufacturing initiative that culminated in the Global Manufacturing Summit on the campus of Pittsburg State University on April 6, 2017, and the “Outer Space Initiatives” project to attract global satellite production companies to Kansas. He also negotiated myriad trade, business and economic deals for the State of Kansas locally, nationally and globally. Some of his highlights include:


• The design and development of a statewide economic development strategy, including purposeful economic clustering projects around a “Continuous Corridors of Commerce” development;


• The creation of micro-grant programs to help stimulate and incubate small companies in rural areas and inner cities; these programs are known as “Small Communities are Sacred” and “Exalting the Inner City;”


• The design and implementation of an extensive marketing and business-to-business campaign designed to position the state as an effective conduit, convener and connector of people and companies;


• The design and implementation of a system of metrics, due diligence and ROI that mirror private sector initiatives;


• Establishment of a Kansas Commerce Magazine that is now published each quarter;


• The creation, production and airing of Kansas Commerce television commercials nationally on Fox Business Channel, MSNBC, CNBC and Bloomberg; and  


• The creation and implementation of a workforce initiative with the various military installations in Kansas to assist transitioning soldiers and their families to more effectively obtain gainful employment in Kansas.


• At the Kansas Department of Commerce, Mr. Soave oversaw nearly 300 direct employees, 26 offices and a revolving budget of $130 million.


Mr. Soave is the former Chairman, President and CEO of CGA, Inc. in Overland Park, Kansas. CGA is a boutique international business transactions firm that had offices in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. In his capacity as Chairman and CEO of CGA, he assisted numerous businesses to expand their operations abroad, establish Greenfields, engage in joint ventures, structure strategic alliances, and conduct business activities on a global scale. He did so in a number of business sectors including, but not limited to, the following: infrastructure, rail, construction, oil & gas, automotive, agriculture, biotech, healthcare and heavy manufacturing. He is also active in business restructuring and Merger & Acquisition consulting, as well as the provision of extensive market research and business intelligence reports. Apart from the United States, Canada and Mexico, he has worked extensively in Europe, South America and parts of the Middle East (principally the Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) countries).


Mr. Soave is an International Advisory Council member of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). USIP is an independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by Congress to increase the nation's capacity to manage international conflict without violence. Antonio is also the founder and current Chairman of the Global Foundation of Peace through Soccer, an international non-profit organization that spreads a message of “peace through soccer.”


He has also been involved with the arts and with sports – from helping to produce film projects with a positive and uplifting message to venturing with Disney’s Wide World of Sports for a series of soccer camps from 1999 to 2003.


Mr. Soave is married to Ann Benage Soave, a native of Fort Scott, Kansas. Together, Ann and Antonio have four children: Francesco, Maria Bernadette, Gianpaolo and Anna Maria. Mr. Soave has a B.A. in International Studies from The American University in Washington, D.C. where he was a distinguished Sigma Iota Rho scholar for demonstrated excellence in foreign affairs, a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University where he received the Rakow Scholarship from the Federal Bar Association for creating the Journal of International Law & Practice, and a LLM (Masters of Law) in International Law from the University of San Diego where he was on a university merit scholarship. He is a former high school All-American athlete in the sport of soccer.