Speakers

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Norman Avila
Software Engineer, MeteoTech
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Norman Avila is a Guatemalan software engineer working in software and IT consulting since 1997. For the last 10 years, Norman has focused on weather, databases, and mapping, assisting Central American weather services in climatic database management systems. He manages the Latin American weather portal ClimaYa.com and the mobile app ClimaDiario, targeting small farmers with weather forecasts and crop-related alerts. He is passionate about applying technology to improve life conditions and development in Guatemala.

Douglas Barcenas
TBD
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TBD

Angela Bastidas
Senior Operations Director, Semilla Nueva
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Angela Bastidas is Semilla Nueva's Senior Operations Director. Angela worked for 19 years at Monsanto Company, where she had several leadership roles ending as Technical Lead in Mexico. She was responsible for developing seeds, traits, and chemicals and was a member of the executive leadership team. Angela is an agricultural engineer from National University of Colombia and holds a PhD and Master degrees in Crop Physiology and Production from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Nicole Bridge
Program Manager, U.S. Global Development Lab, USAID/Guatemala
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Nicole Bridge has been with USAID for seven years, where she focuses on integrating digital tools into traditional agriculture programs. Prior to her work in digital agriculture, she worked as a strategic communications and engagement specialist, where she connected developing country entrepreneurs to innovative scaling opportunities and U.S. based financing.

Elizabeth Bryan
Senior Research Analyst, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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Elizabeth Bryan is a Senior Research Analyst at the IFPRI where she conducts policy-relevant research on sustainable agricultural production, natural resource management, climate-smart agriculture, gender, small-scale irrigation, and the water-energy-food nexus. She has published several journal articles on these topics. Elizabeth has extensive experience collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, regularly presenting research results to audiences at policy workshops and international conferences. Elizabeth holds an M.A. in Development Economics from American University.

Ashleigh Burgess
Strategic Partnerships Manager, Trees for the Future (TREES)
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Ashleigh Burgess works to bring the power of trees to institutional, donor, and civil society partners. She has extensive experience in program design, outreach, and partnership building. Before TREES, she spent time as an agroforestry Peace Corps Volunteer and as a value chain specialist at International Relief and Development in Senegal. She has an M.S. in agricultural development and natural resource management from Michigan State University.

Kristin Callahan
International Programs Director, INMED Partnerships for Children
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Kristin Callahan is the International Programs Director at INMED Partnerships for Children, which promotes climate-smart agriculture via aquaponics to improve climate adaptation, food security and economic self-sufficiency in developing regions. As a former Peace Corps volunteer with a degree in public and environmental health from the University of Washington, she promotes program excellence, impact and sustainability in all regions in which INMED works, including the aquaponics program in Jamaica, South Africa and Peru.

Anita Campion
President & CEO, Connexus Corporation
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Anita is a rural and agricultural finance expert with 30 years of experience in international finance and private sector development. She has led Connexus since its inception in 2007, overseeing USAID-funded projects, including Connexus’ work on USAID/Ghana FinGAP and USAID/Rwanda’s PSDAG project and Huguka Dukore. Previously, she managed the Financial Sector portfolio for Chemonics, overseeing projects related to SME finance, insurance, and more. Anita has designed and led participatory trainings in English, Spanish and French.

Michael Carson
Program Director, Trees for the Future (TREES)
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Michael Carson has worked on agriculture and small business development programs across Sub-Saharan Africa for 25 years. He is a former Peace Corps Kenya Volunteer and has previously worked at Africare, Partners for Development, and Global Communities. He holds an MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Stanford University.

Kathryn Cavallin
Country Manager, Ecuador, Ecom Agroindustrial
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Kathryn Cavallin is the Country Manager in Ecuador for Ecom Agroindustrial, a global commodity merchant and the third largest supplier of cocoa. Kathryn has 10 years of experience beginning as a Peace Corps volunteer working with a cocoa farmers’ cooperative in the Dominican Republic and now as the manager of one of the biggest exporters in Ecuador. Throughout her career she has been committed to finding innovative solutions to improve sustainability in the supply chain.

Mauricio Chacon
Livestock Program Manager, Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
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Mauricio Chacón Navarro, Zootechnist Engineer, is the Manager of the National Livestock Program for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) in Costa Rica. In that capacity he is the coordinator the National Strategy for Low Carbon Livestock Farming (ENGBC) and the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action on Livestock.

Mario Chocooj
Researcher, ANACAFE-Guatemala
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Mario Enrique Chocooj Pop is a researcher with the Guatemalan National Coffee Association (ANACAFE) responsible for coordinating the surveillance system for coffee pests and diseases. His research involves planting density, seed management, coffee quality, climate change, and others. With the USAID Regional Climate Change Program, he developed and implemented the Coffee Cloud App, a multifunctional tool that allows coffee farmers to provide information related to climate changes and the status of pests and diseases.

Alexander Eaton
CEO & Co-Founder, Sistema Biobolsa
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TBD

Adrián Aké Gomez
Founding Partner, Consultant, and Legal Representative, SEINQROO, Sociedad Civil
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Adrian Ake Gomez is the founding partner, consultant, and legal representative of the civil society organization SEINQROO, formed in 2008 by entrepreneurial professionals who offer consulting and training services for the different local and regional economic system actors. His expertise includes organizational change and human community development, including a focus on social, environmental, and economic sustainability with market tools and administrative processes (entrepreneurship). He holds a Master's in Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Antonio Ek Flores
Parter and General Manager, USAEC Apiculturists S.C.
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Antonio Ek Flores is a Partner and General Manager of USAEC Apiculturists S.C., a cooperative society formed in 2016 by 51 honey producers. Their strength lies in the commercialization of 100% natural honey, generating added value for the sugar market through the diversification of presentations and marketing. In the last two years the cooperative has implemented a strategic plan and made adjustments to their community structure, which has generated significant dividends. Mr. Flores holds a Master’s in Business Administration and Management.

Davide Forcella
TBD
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TBD

David Galaty
Regional Director of Research & Innovation, TechnoServe
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David Galaty is TechnoServe’s Regional Director of Research & Innovation, and has over 20 years of experience in international development, program design, adaptive management, innovation, monitoring and evaluation. Previously, Galaty served as Regional M&E Manager for TechnoServe’s East Africa Division. Prior to his work with TechnoServe, Galaty contributed to the design of USAID’s agricultural measurement systems and served as regional coordinator of the US government’s first ever cotton sector support program.

Eduardo Gonzalez
TBD
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TBD

Daniel Granada
Partner, Pomona Impact
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Daniel Granada is a Partner at Pomona Impact, a leading Central American impact investing firm. He has over 12 years of experience helping entrepreneurs raise growth capital in Latin America. Before joining Pomona Daniel worked at the Inter-American Development Bank, where he identified and invested in businesses that created access to basic services at the base of the socioeconomic pyramid in Central America.

Geoff Heinrich
TBD
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Geoff is a Senior Technical Advisor for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Livelihoods for the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Geoff provides technical assistance to CRS agriculture and environment programs primarily in Africa through sharing innovations, managing learning opportunities, and strengthening relationships. He has a Ph.D. in Crop and Soil Science and 30 years of on-farm R&D experience with smallholder farmers. Geoff represents CRS on the Africa-wide AU-NEPAD iNGO Alliance for Scaling Up Climate-Smart Agriculture in Africa.

Berenice Hernández Toro
Director of Finance, Mexico National Forestry Commission
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Berenice Hernandez is the Director of Financing in the Unit of International Affairs and Financial Development of the National Forestry Commission. She represents Mexico in committee and sub-committee meetings of the Investment Funds in the Climate and is the Technical Secretary of the Mixed Committee of the Mexican Forest Fund. She has led innovative projects with international funds such as the Forests and Climate Change Project, currently the largest global operation of the World Bank in the forestry sector.

Ana Herrera
Senior Program Manager, Grameen Foundation
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Ana Herrera is Senior Program Manager at Grameen Foundation. She leads the execution of digital agriculture projects, including a resilience program for Philippine coconut smallholders called FarmerLink and the deployment of a Digital Farm Development Plan in Indonesia to increase cocoa farmers productivity. Prior to Grameen Foundation, Ana served as Head of the Partnership Development Unit at Habitat for Humanity Philippines.

Troy Hoppenjan
Agriculture and Livelihoods Program Manager, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
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Troy Hoppenjan is the CRS Agriculture and Livelihoods Program Manager, providing support, analysis, knowledge management and coordination to the CRS Global Agriculture portfolio. His background is in economic policy and cost-benefit analysis with specific experience in Ag value chains, public-private partnerships, and ICT4D solutions. Troy Hoppenjan has worked in research and rural development issues in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2003 when he served as an agroforestry extension agent with the Peace Corps.

April Hughe
TBD
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TBD

Sylvia Ivankovich
Deputy Director, Administrative Board, Dos Pinos Cooperative
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Sylvia Ivankovich is an agronomic engineer who has managed specialized dairy livestock farms for over 35 years, overseeing production of up to 9,000 liters of milk on two farms which hold the Costa Rican Ecological Blue Banner Award. She is a member of the dairy production cooperative Dos Pinos and serves as Deputy Director on the Administrative Board. She is the first woman to hold this position since the company was founded 70 years ago.

Eduardo Juárez Mejía
General Director, FINDECA
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Eduardo Juarez is an agronomist at the Autonomous University of Chapingo. His work with the Mexican government and private trusts includes agricultural and marketing projects, and as a financing executive for coffee and forestry. Since 2007, he has served as General Director of FINDECA, a private sector financial institution, whose majority shareholder is the State Coordinator of Coffee Producers of the state of Oaxaca AC (CEPCO), composed of more than 4,000 small coffee producers from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Christoph Jungfleisch
Co-Founder and Managing Director, YAPU Solutions
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Christoph has built a career around promoting scalable green inclusive finance. He held various positions in SME and smallholder finance with IPC/ProCredit Holding, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Mobisol and as independent consultant. He is co-founder and Managing Director of YAPU Solutions, a sustainable finance consultancy and software provider of a customizable one-stop, off-the-shelf SaaS solution for microfinance and other institutions, supporting cash-flow based, climate- and data-smart lending to smallholder farmers and microbusinesses worldwide.

Daniel Lapidus
Senior Economist and Policy Analyst, RTI International
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Daniel Lapidus is a senior economist and policy analyst at RTI International, an independent nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. With more than 10 years of experience managing international agricultural and climate change programs with a focus on Latin America, Mr. Lapidus leads efforts spanning socioeconomic impact analysis, benefit-cost and cost-effectiveness analyses, and technology transfer. He leads multi-disciplinary teams and molds approaches to address issues in both developed and low-income contexts.

John Leary
Executive Director, Trees for the Future (TREES)
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John Leary has extensive experience designing high-tech, low-tech and no-tech agricultural training programs, which he began creating as Peace Corps Senegal volunteer. In 2017, John released a book titled “One Shot: How Trees are our Last Chance for Survival,” which outlines how we can feed the future without destroying our planet. John is dedicated to helping TREES bring the Forest Garden Approach to farmers across the developing world.

Karen Lopez
Collaborations Director, Semilla Nueva
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Karen Lopez leads Semilla Nueva’s collaborations program, which assists local Guatemalan organizations to produce biofortified seed. Under her direction the program has trained four organizations to produce and promote nutritious seed, improving the nutrition of 47,000 people in 2017. Karen has a degree in Economics from the University of Francisco Marroquin and previously worked in finance. She has represented Guatemala at international events related to development, including Youth Ag-Summit and One Young World.

Panos Loukos
mAgri Value Chain Specialist, GSMA
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Panos is the mAgri Value Chain Specialist and is currently based in the GSMA London office. Panos works directly with six mAgri market engagements across Africa and Asia providing agricultural consultancy to guide new innovative approaches to digitising agricultural value chains. He supports the process of value chain analysis and assessment, agribusiness pipeline development, provisioning, managing and maintaining agriculture content while also acting as the evangelist to the industry for the mAgri programme.

Cristina Manfre
Senior Associate, Cultural Practice
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Cristina Manfre is a gender and development specialist with ten years of experience improving development organizations’ attention to gender issues in economic growth, agriculture and trade programming. She guides organizational change efforts on gender integration for a number of institutions and is co-author of the “Assessing How Agricultural Technologies can change Gender Dynamics and Food Security Outcomes” developed under the USAID-funded Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services (INGENAES) project.

Juan Manuel Frausto Leyva
Director of the Forest and Watershed Conservation Program, FMCN
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Juan Manuel Frausto Leyva is Director of the Conservation of Forests and Watersheds Program for the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature A.C. He coordinates the Committee of Protection and Forest Conservation of the National Forestry Commission. He holds a Masters in Rural Development from the Autonomous Metropolitan University.

Melissa Matlock
Project Manager, Connexus Corporation
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Melissa is a Project Manager at Connexus where she manages and provides support to programs and new business development. Previously, she worked at the SEEP Network on microfinance association strengthening in Brazil and Africa and coordinated the Social Performance Working Group for Networks. Prior to SEEP, Melissa served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. She holds a MSc in Gender, Development, and Gloablisation from the London School of Economics.

Paul McNamara
Director, AgReach
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Paul McNamara brings over 20 years of international development experience to AgReach where he oversees a $22 million portfolio of international agricultural extension development activities spanning four continents funded by USAID and DFID. Dr. McNamara is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in international economics, agriculture and nutrition. He has widely published on rural development, nutrition and health, and extension in leading journals and publications.

Alefia Merchant
Guatemala Feed the Future Coordinator, USAID/Guatemala
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Alefia Merchant is the Feed the Future Coordinator for USAID/Guatemala. Alefia joined USAID in 2010 and served in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Thailand as an Agriculture Development Officer. Previously, Alefia worked on food security analysis, and value chain and micro-enterprise development with the FAO, ACDI/VOCA, and others.
Alefia received her B.A. from New York University and a dual M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from the University for Peace in Costa Rica and American University.

Gerson Morales
Agriculture Program Management Specialist, USAID/Guatemala
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Gerson joined USAID/Guatemala´s Agriculture team as a Program Management Specialist in 2016. Gerson is passionate about agriculture and the economic growth of this sector. He has led agriculture development programs for international organizations such as The World Wildlife Fund and the Neumann Stiftung Foundation. He holds a Master´s Degree in International Finance and Economics from Brandeis University and a B.S. in Agriculture from Zamorano University in Honduras. Gerson Morales grew up in rural Guatemala.

Julia Navarro is an Agriculture Specialist focused on Latin America at the World Bank’s Global Food and Agriculture Global Practice. She provides technical and operational support for the implementation of World Bank-funded projects. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked for the Swiss Development Cooperation in Central America on agriculture-related initiatives. Julia has also worked with the private sector and academic institutions. Julia holds an MSc in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University.

Asdrubal Negrete
Chief of Party, Colombia Rural Finance Initiative, Chemonics International
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Asdrubal Negrete is the Chief of Party of the Colombia Rural Finance Initiative. He oversaw the financial services team as Deputy Chief of Party/Senior Financial Services Specialist for two years. Asdrubal brings private sector expertise in microfinance, credit risk analysis, financial inclusion, and financial services information systems. Previously, Mr. Negrete worked in Colombia’s financial sector, most recently at Opportunity International, where he spearheaded business operations and portfolio development and managed an annual microfinance portfolio of $38 million.

Manuel Oliva
Acting Director, Development Resources and Disaster Assistance Division, USDA FAS
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Manuel Oliva is the Acting Director of the Development Resources and Disaster Assistance Division within the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. As part of his duties Mr. Oliva overseas the planning, implementation and evaluation of the division’s portfolio of agriculture focused development projects globally.

Camilo Pagés
CEO & Co-Founder, Sistema Biobolsa
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TBD

Oscar Pammo
Chief Financial Officer, Sembrar Sartawi IFD
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Oscar Pammo is CFO of Sembrar Sartawi IFD, a financial institution focused on providing financial services and microloans to small farmers in Bolivia. He is also partner of assessment firm AAF, specialized in microfinance. Oscar’s expertise is in financial intermediation, microfinance business and regulation of financial institutions. He has worked in Latin America and Africa, and in regulatory bodies in Bolivia. He holds degrees in Commercial Engineering and Business Finance.

Allen Pattillo
IACA Project Manager, INMED Partnerships for Children
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Allen Pattillo is a pioneer in the field of aquaponics, leading a successful research lab for over six years and now scaling INMED’s aquaponics program in Jamaica. He earned an M.S. in aquaculture from Auburn University and a B.S. in fisheries and aquaculture from the University of Georgia. Before joining INMED Caribbean, he served as the statewide fisheries and aquaculture extension specialist at Iowa State University, where he led a 12-state extension program in aquaculture.

Sean Peters
CEO, DryGro Kenya
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TBD

Linda Pfeiffer
President & CEO, INMED Partnerships for Children
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Linda Pfeiffer is founder, president and CEO of INMED Partnerships for Children, a nonprofit international humanitarian organization that has transformed the lives of millions of children and families in over 100 countries since 1986. INMED’s work in climate-smart agriculture has led to an innovative, scalable aquaponics system using inexpensive and locally accessible materials to provide year-round fresh food and revenues for families, small-scale farmers, individuals with disabilities, communities, schools, businesses and government institutions.

Cara Raboanarielina
Regional Technical Advisor, Agriculture and Livelihoods, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
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Dr. Cara Raboanarielina is a Regional Technical Advisor for Agriculture and Livelihoods for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Lusaka, Zambia. She supports CRS programs in southern Africa on learning for agricultural livelihoods, evaluation of service delivery, and agro-enterprise development. Cara’s work seeks to close the gap between research and development to promote program excellence. Cara worked in applied research for over 15 years focusing on collective action for value chain innovations, NRM, and resource livelihoods.

Jonathan Randall
Global Practice Lead for Climate Change, DAI
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For the past 18 years, Mr. Randall has worked at the intersection of climate change, economic development, and environmental conservation in developing countries. Mr. Randall has a range of expertise in environmental management, disaster recovery, climate resiliency, and climate-smart agriculture. He has supported the development and launch of several initiatives, including the Executive Order on Climate Resilient International Development, Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, USAID/Nepal freshwater biodiversity and climate change program, and WWF-American Red Cross Partnership.

Robert Ryan-Silva
Director, DAI Maker Lab, DAI
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Rob Ryan-Silva is the Director of the DAI Maker Lab, which builds hardware and capacity around hardware in support of the international development projects that DAI implements around the world.

Amanda Rycerz
Climate Risk Analyst, Acclimatise
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Amanda Rycerz has five years’ experience in climate vulnerability, risk and resilience focused on North America, and a background in climate communications. Acclimatise founded in 2004, is a specialist advisory and analytics firm providing word-class expertise in climate risk management. The team has successfully completed 400 climate change adaptation projects for clients across a range of business and public sectors in nearly 80 countries.

Laura Sabogal
Consultant, Micro Energy International
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Laura Sabogal has over two years of experience at MEI, Berlin Germany. She supports financial institutions in various stages of the implementation of green energy credit programmes across Latin America and internationally. MicroEnergy International GmbH is a globally acting German consulting company specialized in the development of energy services in regions with poor infrastructure and low income.

Eugenia Saini
Executive Secretary, FONTAGRO
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Dr. Eugenia Saini is the Executive Secretary for FONTAGRO. Over the past nineteen years she has worked for public and private organizations in LAC on the strategic planning and management of innovation projects in agribusiness, agricultural policy, and rural development. She has taught at several institutions and published papers with co-authors from organizations such INTA, CIAT, IFPRI and FAO, among others.

Garrett Schiche
Director for Program Quality, Lutheran World Relief
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Garrett Schiche is the Director for Program Quality at Lutheran World Relief (LWR). In his role, Garrett oversees a team that ensures high quality pDirector for Program Quality, Lutheran World Reliefrogramming and maximum impact through the integration of resilience, monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management, gender, and ICT4D best practices. Garrett has been with LWR for nearly six years and previously worked with the Peace Corps, American Red Cross and Catholic Relief Services.

Pamela Schreier
Regional Sustainability Manager, South America, Ecom Agroindustrial
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Pamela Schreier is the Regional Sustainability Manager for Ecom Agroindustrial in South America. She began her career in sustainable economic development in the Peace Corps working with a cooperative of bee keepers. She has spent the last 5 years successfully implementing sustainable partnerships within the chocolate industry as well as development organizations to leverage resources and continuously improve services provided to cocoa producers in effort to create resilient and sustainable supply chains.

Augustin Sebakambwe
Finance & Agribusiness Specialist, USAID Huguka Dukore, Connexus Corporation
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Mr. Augustin Sebakambwe is a Finance and Agribusiness Specialist on USAID/Rwanda's Huguka Dukore Project. Previously, he served as the Ngoma 22 Project Coordinator on the World Bank-funded SPIU RSSP-LWH projects and worked as a Loan and Rural Finance Officer for UNGUKA Bank Ltd. He has worked with public and private sectors locally and internationally, including agro-dealers, traders, and buyers. Augustin holds a MSc in Agricultural Economics from Wageningen University and a BA in Economics Sciences.

Alfredo Sfeir
Founder & CEO, ShellCatch Chile
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TBD

Bryan Sobel
Agriculture and Livelihoods Technical Advisor, Catholic Relief Services
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Bryan Sobel is a Technical Adviser for Agriculture and Livelihoods. He works to promote a culture of data appreciation, adaptive management, and evaluative thinking to explore and think critically about our assumptions. He draws from an extensive experience in many production agriculture paradigms and value chain upgrading activities. He enjoys collecting data and reporting the results to inform all stakeholders involved.

Eduardo Somarriba
Geographer, DAI
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Eduardo Somarriba, PhD is a researcher at the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica. He is the leader of the Program in Agroforestry and Sustainable Agriculture and has published extensively on topics such as cacao.

Carmen Tedesco
Geographer, DAI
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Carmen Tedesco has 15 years’ experience as a geographer, specializing in human-environment interrelationships, geospatial technologies, and climate change. She combines strong knowledge management skills in natural resource management with experience in community-based mapping, spatial planning, and climate services. She is a translator of technology, assisting others in finding innovative solutions through the use of spatial tools and visualizations. She has multiple degrees in geography.

Christian Thierfelder
TBD
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TBD

Leo Tobias
Global Technology Implementation and Software Development Lead, Grameen Foundation
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Leo leads global technology implementations and software development at Grameen Foundation. He advises on providing access and convenience for the rural poor leveraging technology enablers using GF’s Solutions Innovation Process (SIP). Leo has architected digital financial services and mobile agricultural solutions in the Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Daniele Tricarico
Insights and Publications Lead, mAgri and mHealth Programmes, GSMA
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Daniele leads the insights and publications work stream for the mAgri and mHealth programmes at the GSMA. He is responsible for delivering intelligence and analysis via publications and case studies on the opportunities within the mAgri and mHealth sectors. He also coordinates monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) and user experience (UX) research to support programme partners. Recently, Daniele has focused on identifying opportunities for digitising agricultural value chains in developing countries.

Marie-Soleil Trumel
TBD
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TBD

Renee Vuillaume
Program Officer, Global Knowledge Initiative
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Renee leads the agriculture innovation portfolio at GKI. She has worked extensively in East Africa on challenges related to post-harvest food loss, digital extension services, and market access. Renee has a B.S. in Business Administration and a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Prior to GKI, she worked as a quantitative researcher at the Institute for Health Research and Policy and as an economic development Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda.


This conference is organized by Connexus Corporation