Speakers for Cracking the Nut 2015

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Jane Abramovich
Lead Access to Finance Practice, TechnoServe
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Jane manages TechnoServe’s strategic relationships with financial service partners; provides technical expertise on program design and implementation; develops and shares best practices, tools and innovations around lasting financial solutions in the developing world. Prior to TechnoServe, Jane held financial advisory and deal origination roles, including at UBS Investment Bank, and most recently at Jones Lang LaSalle. Jane holds an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Economics from Northwestern University.

Vanessa Adams
Chief of Party, Agricultural Growth Program, ACDI/VOCA
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Vanessa is the Chief of Party for USAID’s role in Ethiopia’s Agricultural Growth Program, Agribusiness Market Development implemented by ACDI/VOCA. Previously, for USAID’s West Africa Trade Hub, Vanessa facilitated $170 million in exports and catalyzed $20 million in regional and international investments in the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors. She oversaw the development of internationally respected industry alliances in the cashew, shea and transport sectors that have fostered collaboration and increased sustainability with public and private contributors.

John Ames
Chief of Party, USAID Ejo Heza, Global Communities
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John Ames has 12 years of field experience managing USAID-funded livelihoods programs with Chemonics International, DAI and Global Communities in Afghanistan, Zambia, Indonesia, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Rwanda. Currently, John serves as Chief of Party of the USAID Feed the Future-funded Integrated Improved Livelihoods Program in Rwanda, implemented by Global Communities. The project works in four key target areas: agriculture, financial services, health and nutrition and adult literacy. The program will reach 125,000 beneficiaries located in eight Districts in Rwanda’s Southern and Western Provinces.

Dominic Ansah
Agri-Finance Training Technical Specialist, USAID FinGAP, Connexus
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Dominic has 10 years of experience in financial services, training, business planning, market research, product development, risk management and value chain finance. He currently serves as the Agri-Finance Training Technical Specialist for USAID’s Financing Ghanaian Agricultural Project (FinGAP). Dominic is a skilled trainer and has facilitated numerous trainings on financial performance indicators, loan portfolio management, financial statements analysis, sustainability and outreach and value chain finance. He holds an MA in Financial Management from Middlesex University’s Business School in London.

Jessica Antista
Regional Program Manager, West Africa, TechnoServe
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Jessica is Regional Program Manager for TechnoServe’s West Africa cocoa input credit initiatives, where she organizes and implements innovative private sector partnerships to facilitate input credit for smallholder farmers in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. During her eight years with TechnoServe, Jessica has developed field experience in East, West and Southern Africa; the design, mobilization and management credit facilities; the backstopping of regional program portfolios; and the design and facilitation of gender integration strategies and trainings.

Paineto Baluku
Co-Founder & Managing Director, Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union
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Paineto is Managing Director and Co-Founder of Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union. He has consulted widely with development organizations nationally and internationally. He has also worked as a Training Facilitator, Program Assistant for the Uganda Change Agent Association, and Research Assistant/Translator for a University of Dublin agribusiness research project in Uganda. Paineto is a graduate of the Uganda Change Agent Training Program with a certificate from the Rural Development Regional Microfinance Training Program in Financial Management.

Reuben Banda
Co-Founder & Managing Director, Musika Development Initiatives Zambia Ltd
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Reuben is Managing Director and Co-Founder of Musika Development Initiatives Zambia Ltd. He has over 16 years of experience in market development, value chain analysis and project development. His key skills and knowledge areas include market development facilitation, project management, strategic planning and training of trainers. Reuben has worked on several CLUSA projects including the Smallholder Enterprise and Marketing Program and the Rural Group Business Program, as well as in a variety of positions, most recently as Chief of Party.

Kalifa Belem
Head Buyer of African Cashews, Caro Nut Company
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As of January 2015, Kalifa is Caro Nut Company’s Head Buyer for African Cashews. He has been with Caro Nut since 2010 as Country Supervisor in Burkina Faso, providing financial support to the company’s first local partner in Africa, SOTRIA-B. After training in cashew quality control in processing factories, Kalifa was involved in building Caro Nut teams in Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, where he also served as a lead trainer in Cashew Quality Control and International Trade. Kalifa holds an MA in Management and Accounting from Ouagadougou University in Burkina Faso.

Martin Bwalya
Head, Programme Development Division, NEPAD
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Martin is Head of the Programme Development Division within the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency where he is responsible for coordinating and supporting the identification and formulation of NEPAD programs across all of the Agency’s priority areas. An Agricultural Engineer by training, Martin worked in the field of agricultural machinery design but shifted his focus to agriculture and rural development issues in Africa. Beginning in 2010, Martin led the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Unit in NEPAD, translating the African Union’s development policy of agriculture into implementable guidelines and tools, as well as supporting national and regional policy and program design in various thematic areas such as climate smart agriculture, land and water management, agricultural mechanization and irrigation.

Anita Campion
President and CEO, Connexus
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Anita is President and CEO of the global consulting firm, Connexus Corporation (formerly AZMJ). She is an agricultural finance specialist with 25 years of experience in international finance and private sector development. In addition to Cracking the Nut, Anita oversees Connexus' work on USAID's FAIDA in Afghanistan and FinGAP in Ghana, as well as public private partnerships on SME finance in West Africa. Previously, Anita managed Chemonics' Financial Services Indefinite Quantity Contract and multiple projects.

Ravi Chhatpar
Co-Founder & Principal, Dalberg Global Development Advisors
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Ravi is Co-Founder and Principal of Dalberg’s Design Impact Group, where he brings human-centered design to clients looking for creative approaches to breakthrough innovation in social impact and development. Before Dalberg, Ravi led frog design’s emerging markets business, including two years in Uganda and South Africa and more than six years in China. Previous clients include multinationals, foundations, start-ups and non-profits across various channels such as access to finance, agricultural finance, public health, social innovation, technology, education and media.

Johannes Chikarate
Program Manager, Nsanje Area, Concern Worldwide, Malawi
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Johannes is the Nsanje Area Program Manager with Concern Worldwide in Malawi. He is part of the team that pioneered Conservation Agriculture (CA) in the mid-1990s in collaboration with Brian Oldrieve at Hinton Estates, the original promoters of CA technology in Zimbabwe. From that time to date, Johannes has been successful in applying the practice in different contexts ranging from Zimbabwe and Malawi’s semi-arid regions to the wetlands of Sierra Leone.

Polly Compston
Research Advisor, The Brooke
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Polly is a Research Advisor for The Brooke, where she builds the research skills and knowledge capacity of local teams across Brooke’s 11 country programs. Her particular interest lies in integrating animal health economics into a wider development agenda. Before The Brooke, Polly completed a residency in clinical research and an MA in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health. She graduated from Edinburgh Veterinary School in 2007, and worked as a veterinarian for a private practice, providing primary health care to a range of domestic animals.

Todd Crosby
Chief of Party, USAID/Senegal Yaajeende, NCBA/CLUSA
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Todd Crosby is Chief of Party for Yaajeende, USAID/Senegal’s primary food security project in Senegal run by NCBA/CLUSA. Todd holds an MA in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years of experience working in community development in West Africa, in particular Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and Ghana. His technical expertise focuses on the use of private sector business approaches such as social marketing, social franchising, micro-credit and value chain methodologies for development.

Nikolaus Eichman
Agribusiness & PPP Specialist, Connexus
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Nikolaus is an Agribusiness and Public-Private Partnerships Specialist with nine years of experience in project management, developing agricultural value chains and creating market and investor linkages, including for large USAID and private sector development projects. Nikolaus plays a crucial role, applying the Connexus business model of connecting corporate sustainable sourcing initiatives in agriculture to comprehensive development projects, including donors, investors and value chain actors as project stakeholders.

Shaun Ferris
Director Agriculture and Livelihoods, Catholic Relief Services
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Shaun is Director of Agriculutral Livelihoods for CRS where he supports smallholder farmers in improving their productivity and market performance. He is also involved in agro-enterprise development and value chain support; collaborates with public and private sector agencies to develop new business models for inclusive market linkage; promotes training materials to build the agro-enterprise capacity of field staff; and generates agro-enterprise content for cloud based distance learning systems and farmer friendly business tools using ICT solutions.

JP Gibbons
Senior Investment Officer, Development Credit Authority, USAID
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JP is a Senior Investment Officer for USAID’s Development Credit Authority, where he serves on the Strategic Transactions Group. He is involved in the origination and structuring of unique capital market solutions to tackle development problems, primarily in the environment and conservation sectors. Prior to USAID, JP worked as a Small Business Advisor with the Peace Corps in Guatemala and as an Analyst with a financial consulting firm. JP earned an MBA in Sustainability from Duquesne University and a BA in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

Chris Gillitt
Agriculture Economist, GRM Futures Group
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Chris is an Agricultural Economist for GRM International providing consultancy to the Abu Dhabi Farmers Services Center on agricultural economics, farm planning and organizational support. He has over 10 years of experience providing advisory services and economic modelling, and has broad knowledge of the agricultural sector, including farm investment and management, agribusiness, and food security. Before GRM International, Chris was Regional Economist for the South African Cane Growers Association. He holds an MSc and BSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Natal.

Julia Graham
Knowledge and Advocacy Coordinator, Microinsurance Network
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Julia is the Knowledge and Advocacy Coordinator of the Microinsurance Network. Drawing on her experience in communications, media and a variety of development roles, she is responsible for implementing the advocacy agenda of the Network, and ensuring that the valuable knowledge generated by the Network and its Working Groups is efficiently and appropriately disseminated through the right channels and reaches the right audience. She has an MA in Human Rights and a BA in Criminology.

Amanda Grevey
Senior Associate, Carana Corporation
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As a Senior Associate at CARANA Corporation, Amanda oversees a portfolio of economic development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. She also serves as a technical advisor and project manager for numerous USAID and World Bank-funded projects. Amanda specializes in agricultural investment, Public-Private Partnership development, corridor development, and transport and logistics reform. Prior to CARANA, Amanda managed projects supporting job growth in Haiti at the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. She has an MS in International Development and International Business Diplomacy from Georgetown University.

Douglas Griffith
Chief of Party, Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Agriculture Activity, Chemonics International
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Douglas is Chief of Party (COP) of the USAID/Uganda Feed the Future (FtF) Enabling Environment for Agriculture Activity. He has expertise in institutional strengthening and capacity building, policy reform and value-chain strengthening. Previously, Douglas served as COP on two projects in Moldova, and designed competitiveness initiatives as well as conducted agribusiness sector assessments in Eastern Europe and Southern Africa. He holds an MBA and an MA in International Development, and a BS in Environmental Management.

Lexine Hansen
Senior Policy Advisor, Global Climate Change Initiative, USAID
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Lexine Hansen is Senior Policy Advisor for the Global Climate Change Initiative at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and leads the agency's work with Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, a global partnership to reduce commodity-driven tropical deforestation. With over 15 years of experience in international development, Lexine collaborates with partners to find innovative solutions to local, regional, and global challenges.

Geoffrey Heinrich
Senior Technical Advisor, Agriculture, Environment & Rural Livelihoods, CRS
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Geoff is a Senior Technical Advisor for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Livelihoods for Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Throughout his 25 years in on-farm research and development, Geoff has helped smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia to increase farm productivity and food security, as well as protect the environment through sustainable resource use. Geoff has served in both scientific and management positions with agriculture research institutions, and has published in the areas of farmer participatory approaches and farmer groups. He holds a PhD in Crop and Soil Science.

Chris Isaac
Founding Director, AgDevCo
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Chris is a Founding Director of AgDevCo, a $150 million USD social venture capital fund which invests in farming and agri-processing enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to AgDevCo, Chris worked in corporate finance and international development. For the past 12 years, his work has been exclusively in Africa, including four years in Namibia and Mozambique. He holds Economics degrees from the London School of Economics (MSc) and Oxford (BA).

Teddy Ithungu
Trainer, Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union
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Teddy has worked with Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union as a trainer since 2007. She is also a coffee farmer at the Musasa Lower Micro Washing Station and a teacher at the Musasa Primary School, which runs a Girl Education Movement Club. Teddy completed a diploma in Agriculture at Uganda Martyrs University-Nkozi. She is also one of the founders of a self-help savings and credit groups and cooperatives established in 1997, and has also worked as a village counselor on HIV/AIDS.

Waringa Kibe
Project Coordinator, USAID Ejo Heza, Global Communities
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Waringa is the Program Coordinator with Global Communities Rwanda on USAID’s Ejo Heza program, and previously served as the Rural Finance and Marketing Advisor. She has over 19 years of experience in development, microfinance and promoting sustainable livelihoods. Waringa has worked in Kenya and Rwanda with various organizations including Faulu Kenya, World Council of Credit Unions, the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association, and Strathmore University. She holds an MA in Entrepreneurship and a BA in Mathematics and Economics.

Peter Kimata
Senior Agronomist, Coffee Management Services Ltd
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Peter is a Senior Agronomist for CRS and oversees the dry milling operations at Central Kenya Coffee Mill, a sister company to CMS. With over 15 years of experience in the coffee industry, he previously worked as an Agronomist with TFM in large scale coffee farming. Peter is involved in several sustainable coffee farming projects and is a Lead Auditor on Environmental Management. He holds a BA in Agricultural Engineer from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Dale Lewis
President and Founder, Community Markets for Conservation
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Dale is the President and Founder of Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO). He has lived and worked in Zambia for 35 years, dedicating his life to researching better ways to achieve conservation success in Africa. He served as COMACO’s CEO for the first ten years, establishing the first range of It’s WIld! products and now focuses on growing the model’s impact, promoting appropriate technologies for food production and improved land management.

Ambrose Kirobi
Senior Agronomist, Coffee Management Services Ltd
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Ambrose is Senior Agronomist at Coffee Management Services Ltd (CMS) and has more than nine years of experience in coffee agronomy and farm allied activities that include coffee nutrition, canopy management, disease and pest control, irrigation, human resource management and training. He has a sound understanding of the coffee market and price risk management. Ambrose holds a BA in Agribusiness Management from Egerton University and a Certificate in Coffee Farm Management from Kenya Coffee College.

John Magnay
Head of Agriculture, Opportunity International
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John is Head of Agricultural Finance for Opportunity International. He has been a consultant for a range of development entities including USAID, the UN and the World Bank, and has advised on agri-business and output market development throughout Africa. Before Opportunity International, he served as the Chairman and Chief Executive of Uganda Grain Traders Ltd. John also founded Magric Uganda Ltd to provide agricultural inputs and technologies to African governments and private sector companies. He received a BSc in Agricultural Management from Wye College.

Eduardo Mendias
Senior Market & Product Development Manager, The Toro Company
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Eduardo is Senior Market and Product Development Manager for Toro’s Aqua-Traxx Drip tape product line for the Americas. Throughout his thirteen career in the irrigation industry, he has held various sales and marketing positions at Rain Bird, John Deere and Toro. Prior to the irrigation industry, Eduardo managed engineering and manufacturing operations in Mexico and Central America for the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical packaging industries. He holds BS and BA degrees in Engineering and Economics from the University of California, and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Pepperdine University.

Hillary Miller-Wise
CEO, Africa Region, Grameen Foundation
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Hillary is CEO of the Africa Region at Grameen Foundation. Prior to joining Grameen, she served as Deputy Regional Director and Country Director in Tanzania for TechnoServe. She also spent six years at Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), where she provided a range of consulting services to small businesses, financial institutions and governments worldwide. Early in her career, Hillary served as Tanzania Country Director of FINCA International. She holds an MBA from INSEAD and an MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Nkosilathi Moyo
CEO, VisionFund Zambia
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Coming soon!

Rob Munro
Senior Technical Advisor, Musika Development Initiatives Zambia Ltd
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Rob is the Senior Technical Advisor at Musika Development Initiatives Zambia Ltd, a Zambian non-profit company that supports private sector investment in the smallholder agricultural market. Musika provides commercially-focused technical advice and business support to catalyze and strengthen mutually beneficial commercial relationships between the corporate and smallholder markets. Rob has played a key role in agricultural market development in Zambia for over ten years and has another ten years of experience in the Zambian commercial farming sector.

Margaret Mwenya
Deputy Chief of Party, Mawa Project, USAID/Zambia FtF, CRS
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Margaret is currently the Deputy Chief of Party for a USAID’s Feed the Future program in Zambia. She has over 30 years of experience in agricultural development, working at various levels from directly improving the nutrition of rural households to increasing productivity and improving food security. She has experience training field staff and village volunteers in approaches that ensure food security and improved nutrition. Margaret holds an MSc in Project Management and a BA in Agricultural Sciences.

Catherine Ng'ang'a
Head of Projects, Coffee Management Services Ltd
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Catherine is the Head of Projects at CMS. She has four years of experience managing projects related to smallholder coffee farmers in Kenya including sustainability, good agricultural practices, HIV/AIDS and youth education. Three years of system auditing gave Catherine a comprehensive view of how systems contribute to livelihood improvement and poverty eradication, and how they affect an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness. She is pursuing an MBA at Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology and Agriculture, and holds a BSc in Agricultural Economics from Egerton University.

Bob Nanes
Head, Technology and Innovation Group, iDE Global
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Bob is currently Head of the Technology and Innovation Group at International Development Enterprises (iDE). He supports iDE’s programs in technology development, agriculture program development, global equipment supply, agriculture knowledge management and microfinance. In his 24 years with iDE, Bob has also worked as Country Director in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Ghana, and as the Director of Training. Bob also started and manages an irrigation contracting business and a food processing business. He has a BA in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University.

Emmanuel Niyongira
Agriculture Specialist, USAID Ejo Heza, Global Communities
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Emmanuel is the Agriculture Specialist for Global Communities Rwanda on the USAID-funded Ejo Heza program. He is in charge of cooperative development and serves as the gender advisor. He has over ten years of experience managing agriculture activities in Rwanda with Women for Women International as a project coordinator, and with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency as an Agronomist. Emmanuel has a BA in Crop Sciences and another in Rural Development and Agribusiness from The High Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Kigali, Rwanda.

Manoj Pandey
Knowledge Coordinator, Microinsurance Network
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Manoj is the Knowledge Coordinator of the Microinsurance Network. He fosters the effective and strategic development of the Network’s working groups, projects, and publications in line with the strategic outcomes of the Network. He has more than seven years of experience in insurance and inclusive finance, and has worked in India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Egypt and now Luxembourg. He has an MBA and a BA in Accountancy.

Alex Pavlovic
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Alex is a private sector development specialist with 10 years of experience designing, implementing, managing and evaluating complex market development projects. He has extensive experience using the value chain approach to understand economic constraints and opportunities in growing economies. He currently serves as the Chief of Party for USAID’s Feed the Future PROFIT + program in Zambia. Previously, he was the Public Private Partnership Advisor for a USAID AGP-AMDe project in Ethiopia, as well as Chief of Party and Country Director for ACDI/VOCA projects in India.

Cheryl Pinto
Global Values-Led Sourcing Manager, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.
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Cheryl is the Global Values Led Sourcing Manager for Ben & Jerry’s, based in South Burlington, Vermont. Values Led Sourcing is Ben & Jerry’s approach to ingredient procurement which embeds Ben & Jerry’s commitment to Linked Prosperity throughout the value chain. Cheryl brings extensive experience in new product commercialization within an international foods manufacturing environment. She received her MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago in 2008.

Jennifer Pryce
President and CEO, Calvert Foundation
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Jenn brings nearly 20 years of finance and community development work to her role as the President and CEO of Calvert Foundation. Since joining Calvert Foundation in 2009, Jenn has risen from the position of U.S. Portfolio Manager to Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, then Chief Strategy Officer and now President and CEO. In her role as Chief Strategy Officer, she led the organization’s Strategic Initiatives team and its work on raising capital, developing new products and initiatives, and marketing and communications.

Duncan Rhind
Country Director, iDE Zambia
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Duncan is the Country Director of International Development Enterprises (iDE) in Zambia. Born in Zambia he comes from a background working in smallholder agriculture, primarily in Africa, and has over 25 years of experience working in both the private sector, and with consulting and non-governmental organizations. He currently leads the iDE team in Zambia developing and implementing market-based approaches providing sustainable support to smallholder farmers. Duncan holds an MBA and an MSc in Insect Pest Management.

Innocent Rutamu
Board Director, Green Business Hub Rwanda, Erasmus Investment International
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Innocent is Board Director for Green Business Hub Rwanda, a business arm of Erasmus Investment International. He is an Agribusiness and Rural Development Specialist, with experience in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Rwanda, focusing on rural business development in the coffee, tea, milk production and processing, fish farming, sericulture and fruit production industries. He has also worked on livestock and dairy production projects between the Dutch and Tanzanian governments. Innocent holds an MSc in Tropical Agriculture from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Hassan Sachedina
Managing Director, BioCarbon Partners
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Hassan has over 15 years of conservation management and community development experience in five continents. He began his career leading a rhino conservation project in the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. Prior to BioCarbon Partners, he was Vice President of Wildlife Works and a Partner in Conservation Capital. He holds an MSc degree in Environmental Management from Oxford University, and a BA from Middlebury College. Hassan is an honorary Wildlife Police Officer in Zambia, is on the Board of the Baraka Foundation, and is a member of the IUCN Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group.

Jenny Scharrer
Senior Project Manager, KfW Development Bank
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Jenny is a Senior Project Manager with KfW Development Bank. She has been responsible for the Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment Fund, the structuring of the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria and, jointly with AgDevCo, the Working Capital Facility. Prior to joining KfW, Jenny worked for OXFAM Hong Kong as a strategy team leader in Vietnam, for McKinsey & Company in Germany and Bahrain on economic reform projects, and for the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology helping to administer the German Economic Stimulus Pact. Jenny is a lawyer and holds an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School.

Jefferson Shriver
Senior Technical Advisor, Market Linkage and Value Chain Development, Catholic Relief Services
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Jefferson is the Senior Technical Advisor for Market Linkage and Value Chain Development with Catholic Relief Services based in Nicaragua. He has lived in Latin America for the past 17 years, designing and managing agriculture value chains and rural development initiatives with various non-profit organizations. His technical experience and expertise includes facilitating small farmer insertion in competitive markets, agroforestry production systems and working at the crossroads of climate change and agriculture.

Greg Snyders
Associate Partner, Dalberg Global Development Advisors
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Greg is an Associate Partner in Dalberg’s Washington, DC office, where he specializes in investment fund structuring and innovations in agricultural finance. He recently led a team in the design and structuring of the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria, and co-manages Dalberg’s mandate for USAID’s groundbreaking Investment Support Program which seeks to mobilize private investment for development, primarily in agricultural value chains in Africa. He holds an MBA from MIT and an MPA/ID degree from Harvard University.

Louise Sperling
Senior Technical Advisor, Catholic Relief Services
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Louise joined Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as Senior Technical Advisor focusing on more vulnerable populations. She has managed and technically backstopped programs in more than 25 countries worldwide. In terms of seed systems, Louise’s work encompasses ‘normal’ smallholder systems as well as high stress ones. She has authored over 70 works and is involved in content development for the website, seedsystem.org, a collaboration among diverse national and international organizations aiming to improve seed security in vulnerable and high-stress areas of the world.

Mark Stokes
Head of Sales, MRI/Syngenta Zambia
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Mark has a diverse background in information technology, mobile money solutions, channel distribution management, training and business consultancy, and has over 20 years of management experience in Zambia. Mark joined MRI Agro in 2011 to lead the expansion of the sales, marketing and distribution business with a mandate to develop solutions for small scale farmers to enhance crop yields and profitability, and to manage a strong commercial farmer business in crop protection. Currently, he is the Head of Sales at MRI/Syngenta Zambia.

Felix Tembo
Head, Channel Distribution & Emerging Farmers, MRI/Syngenta
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Felix is Head of Channel Distribution and Emerging Farmers at MRI Syngenta managing the commercial channel distribution for integrated crops solutions and the development of the emerging farmer business. He is an Agribusiness Practitioner with many years of experience working with NGOs and private companies, such as BASF and CropChem Service, as well as working on projects funded by USAID, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, SNV and NIRAS. Felix holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Zambia and an MBA from Management College of Southern Africa.

Carl Wahl
Conservation Agriculture Coordinator; Lusaka, Zambia, Concern Worldwide, Zambia
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Carl is the Conservation Agriculture Coordinator for Concern Worldwide in Zambia. A former US Peace Corps volunteer, he has lived and worked on conservation agriculture and agroforestry adoption in over 20 districts of Zambia. His specific focus has been on the contexts shaping the spread of Faidherbia albida in the Tonga Plateau of Southern Zambia. Carl holds an MSc in Agroecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kristen Turra
Project Manager, GRM International
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Kristen is Project Manager for GRM International in Abu Dhabi. She has over 12 years of experience in project management, program monitoring and evaluation, and business planning for agribusiness projects and enterprises. Past work includes private sector development and agribusiness projects in Sub-Saharan Africa including Rwanda, Uganda, Cape Verde and Senegal, as well as eight years of experience in the Middle East region. Kristen holds a Global MBA from the Thunderbird School for Global Management and an MA in International Relations.

Jason Wendle
Program Director, Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab, Dalberg Global Development Advisors
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Jason is the Program Director for the newly launched Rural and Agricultural Finance (RAF) Learning Lab, an initiative of The MasterCard Foundation, implemented by Dalberg and the Global Development Incubator. The Lab will help create and share knowledge from the Foundation’s RAF portfolio and facilitate collaborative learning in the broader financial service community. Jason draws from his experience as an Associate Partner in Dalberg’s Nairobi office, with expertise in access to finance, agriculture development, and evaluation and learning. He holds an MPA/ID degree from Harvard University.

This conference is organized by Connexus Corporation