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By Alphabetical
By Team

Annah Amani

Programs Officer, Africa

Annah serves as a key link between the San Diego office and programs in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi, and DR Congo. She is responsible for ensuring excellent communication in both directions in order for priorities to be clear and to maintain genuine partnerships that flourish. Relationally, Annah works with and alongside the Africa Programs Director and local teams in a spirit of interdependent partnership while ensuring performance and accountability. She is most passionate about being part of a movement that transforms our participants lives, communities, nations and contributes to the global greater good of restoring creation.

Through her M.P.H. studies at University of California, Los Angeles, she served as the team manager in the development of programs to prevent maternal mortality in rural Kenya. After her M.P.H, she went on to serve as the regional program coordinator for Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (now Unbound Uganda). Dr. Amani’s research sought to represent the voice of rural women in Uganda on the vital matter of birthplace choice. After completion of her Ph.D, Annah taught global health and other public health courses as an adjunct lecturer for the Department of Public Health Sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina. In her early childhood, Annah was a child refugee from Uganda to Los Angeles. As a child refugee, Annah was aided by many people and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International. The refugee experience sparked an interest in doing work that “aided” others in the global community. She is committed to doing progressive work in the fields of health, education, social justice and community development.

Annah Amani
Programs Officer, Africa

Brianna Briggs

Grant Writer

Bri loves that her job revolves around all things “tree” at Plant With Purpose. Day-to-day, this looks like researching tree-funding opportunities, writing proposals and reports, and sharing partner farmers’ inspiring stories of incorporating trees into their farms and income streams. Bri’s favorite parts of the job are collaborating with her peers and wrangling words, as she seeks the best way to share our heart and methods with funders.

Bri holds degrees in Psychology and Natural Resources, a minor in Technical Writing, and a certificate in Global Studies from the University of Kentucky. Bri knows nothing about basketball or bourbon but does know that Kentucky has the friendliest farmers’ markets and that bluegrass music grows on you. She’s always down to chat about both of these things. Now living in San Diego, Bri spends a lot of time reading an eclectic mix of books, planning travel to visit family and friends, and hike-running in search of views with her husband, Pete.

Brianna Briggs
Grant Writer

Durbel Lora Brito

Country Director, Dominican Republic

Durbel carries out the responsibility of leading the Dominican Republic team toward our mission of community development. His passion is to contribute to the restorative construction of a conscience of stewardship for creation, advancing towards the goal of being better citizens of the world, and affirming their idiosyncrasies as faithful children of God. Durbel has been a consistent part of the  sustained growth of the programs in the Dominican Republic since it began. He has facilitated the acceleration of tree planting, Savings and Loans Group formation, and expansion of partner families. This has meant a quantitative and qualitative increase in staff. 

Durbel was raised in a family of ranchers, and is proficient in and enjoys farming, including plowing with a tractor. He has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from Dominican Adventist University, as well as his Masters in Operations Administration, from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Durbel enjoys walking with his family in nature, in his country or abroad and taking pictures of landscapes. He feels very grateful to God for his wife and children.

Durbel Lora Brito
Country Director, Dominican Republic

Ari Burcombe

Donor and Data Systems Manager

Ari works closely with our development team to analyze data and inform future strategic fundraising decisions. She takes on tasks involving donation management, fundraising data analytics, and connecting donors with our team. Ari is a creative and action-oriented team member who is excited about research, consulting, and the development of our donor partnerships. 

Ari graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a focus in Marketing. While not at work, Ari enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and camping with her husband and loved ones.

Ari Burcombe
Donor and Data Systems Manager

Punyanuch Butrat

Office Manager, Thailand

As our Office Manager, Punyanuch thrives within an environment of honesty, and passion for working to honor God. She is very proud of her work and using our holistic approach to develop the work of God by bringing her fellow human beings together. 

Punyanuch is the Vice President of Ban Huai Mae Na Wang Church in Thailand. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Faculty/Business Administration and Marketing from Maejo University, Chiang Mai. 

Punyanuch Butrat
Office Manager, Thailand

Luis Alberto Castellanos

Executive Director, Mexico

As the Executive Director of our team in Mexico, Luis works to facilitate transformative development processes within the rural community. Luis has served Southeast Mexico for more than 20 years, and continues his passion through promoting a team committed to the mission and vision of the organization.

Luis earned his degree in Business Administration, and has a certification in Professionalization of Organized Civil Society by the National Institute of Social Development (Mexico). Previously, Luis has been a facilitator of community development for missionary training at the training center of the Assemblies of God (Camad). He enjoys reading books, drinking coffee and doesn’t miss an opportunity to crack a joke with his friends and colleagues.

Luis Alberto Castellanos
Executive Director, Mexico

Corey Chin

Director, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Corey works with our local program teams to monitor progress and measure results. His team uses these data to understand our program's impact and when applicable, make "course corrections" as we strive for continuous improvement. He is passionate about balancing the application of scientific rigor while upholding the value of relationships throughout the entire monitoring and evaluation process. 

In collaboration with colleagues from around the globe, Corey has co authored articles published in peer-reviewed journals covering aspects of our program such as resilience, peace & reconciliation, and remote sensing. Corey has a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geography, and he is trained in project management, data equity, geographic information systems, plant identification, and wildlife tracking. 

Corey Chin
Director, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Ellen Davis

Associate Director, Grants and Donor Engagement

With a background in grant writing, Ellen now works to equip our grant writers as well as build out a team and administrative systems to support our regional representatives. She enjoys working on a variety of projects that ultimately connect our major donors more deeply to the work and mission of Plant With Purpose.

Previously, Ellen worked as a Grant Writer at Voices for Children, with AmeriCorps at Habitat for Humanity East Bay, and administered impact evaluation surveys in Guatemala to benefit Heifer International. She has a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from UC Davis and a Master's Degree in International Development and Nonprofit Management from UC San Diego. Ellen is excited to play a part in an organization that cares deeply for people and the environment. When Ellen is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband Matt and two young children - Samuel and Lily.

Ellen Davis
Associate Director, Grants and Donor Engagement

Macy Day

Media Specialist

Starting as an intern during the fall semester of 2021, Macy joined the marketing team as our Media Specialist. Working from social media strategy and content, to assisting with event coordination, Macy provides assistance to the marketing department in the necessary areas. She is passionate about displaying our mission in an ethical, truthful, and authentic way, while connecting with our current and potential supporters via social media. 

Macy resides in Nashville, Tennessee and has previous experience in videography, photography, and assistant positions. She is passionate about traveling, connecting with people from all different walks of life, and discovering the relationship of humanity within our differences. When Macy is not working, she is discovering new forms of artistic expression including collaging, pottery, and painting.

Macy Day
Media Specialist

Eden Delavara

Donor Engagement Specialist

As the Donor Engagement Specialist, Eden administratively oversees Vision Trips and supports regional representatives as they cultivate relationships with our donors and supporters. She is very passionate about the holistic core mission of Plant with Purpose and loves contributing to the efficiency of organizational systems.

Through cross-cultural internships with Operation Mobilization Costa Rica, Serge, and International Rescue Committee, Eden has built a skillset rooted in intercultural competency and intentional curiosity. In working with marginalized urban communities and asylum-seeking populations, she has formed a deep appreciation for transformational development and empowerment. Eden graduated from Biola University with a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies, with an emphasis in International & Community Development, along with two minors in Art and Biblical Studies. When Eden is not working, she enjoys painting, drawing, and starting other creative projects.

Eden Delavara
Donor Engagement Specialist

Birori Gaparani Dieudonne

Program Manager, D.R. Congo

As the program manager of the D.R. Congo program, Birori works collaboratively with the senior management team to manage and plan for the future of our program. Birori is passionate about serving the rural communities who are voiceless. He is proud to see participants ready to improve and change their financial situation. 

One of Birori’s many accomplishments includes being the first to gather with the team in launching the D.R. Congo program. He’s been a key player in our growth from 1 watershed to 7 watersheds within a short period of time. He has seen testimonies of how communities have broken the cycle of poverty within only two years of work. Birori has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Birori has the determination to bring peaceful cohabitation among the population. He loves traditional food from his country and is also a huge Manchester United football fan.

Birori Gaparani Dieudonne
Program Manager, D.R. Congo

Valerie Foulkes

Strategic Initiatives Manager

As Strategic Initiatives Manager, Valerie is pursuing new tree-planting partnerships and exploring the carbon market. As more corporations seek to become net-zero, Valerie is creating opportunities for them to equip our partnering farmers, as they plant trees and restore their watersheds, in an exciting new revenue stream. This will help us grow significantly to achieve our THRIVE 25 goals. 

Valerie began her journey on our team as the first Regional Representative in Houston, Texas in 2016. Valerie spent 5 years joyfully building a local community of partnerships with many new families, churches and foundations to support the global work of Plant With Purpose. Previously, Valerie was an Advocacy Advisor with Save the Children International in New York where she successfully influenced various UN resolutions related to maternal, newborn/child health as well as child migrant rights. Valerie's husband is from Australia and together they are parents to triplet toddler boys. After 10 years living in the U.S. (New York and Houston), she's excited to be back in her hometown, Toronto, Canada.

Valerie Foulkes
Strategic Initiatives Manager

Erika Galicia

Economic Development & Information Director, Dominican Republic

As our Economic Development and Information Director, Erika carries out a number of tasks for the benefit of our Dominican Republic team. This includes scheduling and coordinating the activities of the GAP, supervising the team in each community, giving talks and workshops, and preparing quarterly reports for our database. Erika’s passion is walking through the watersheds and seeing the transformation that occurs when our program reaches each community. 

Erika has a degree in Business Administration, and has accumulated extensive experience in the development of rural communities. She has a plethora of knowledge in conflict management, teamwork, information management, human relations, and is currently working on her Masters Degree in Business Management.

Erika Galicia
Economic Development & Information Director, Dominican Republic

Arbeis González Gómez

Operations Manager, Mexico
Arbeis González Gómez
Operations Manager, Mexico

Diniwe Grace Gopani

Program Director, Malawi

Through her role as Program Director for Malawi, Diniwe provides strategic and operational leadership including program planning and management, budgeting, capacity building and coordination. She is passionate about seeing sustainable change in the people and communities that we serve.

Diniwe is proud of her accomplishments in leading complex projects on the environment, gender, economic empowerment, women in leadership, and education. She has vast experience working with several nonprofits including Oxfam, Heifer International and LandOLakes, within a multitude of diverse communities and cultures. Diniwe is a proud mother of two boys, Emmanuel and Nathaniel.

Diniwe Grace Gopani
Program Director, Malawi

Emile Icoyavuze

Deputy Country Director, Burundi

As Deputy Country Director, Emile’s role is to ensure the implementation of the program through our three components: Environmental Restoration, Economic Empowerment and Spiritual Renewal. These three components work with the grassroots groups of the watersheds to reduce poverty in rural areas through an integrated program that contributes to holistic transformation of the community. What excites Emile most is to see how the programs utilize these tools to achieve a transformation of human lives.

Before stepping into his role as Deputy Country Director, he was our Economic Empowerment Coordinator. He believes that with our integrated program, the Spiritual Renewal aspect has greatly impacted the behavior of our participants so much so that we have not recorded any cases of theft or misunderstanding. In addition, he is very proud of the progress from income generating activities in the sub-watershed of Mutsindozi, where we are able to see how incomes have increased after only 2 years. Emile has a Master's Degree in Community Based Development, and loves to sing, play the guitar and worship God while doing so.

Emile Icoyavuze
Deputy Country Director, Burundi

Emilie Jackson

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Analyst

As the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Analyst, Emilie works with the Innovation Lab and International Programs team to design, execute, and  interpret impact assessment data from our watersheds around the world. Through MEL data, Emilie is passionate about elevating the stories of resilient men and women working to transform their lives and their family's future.

Before joining our team, Emilie worked on the operations team at HOPE International where she resourced a global network of microfinance institutions with project management and monitoring and evaluation. Emilie has her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Seattle Pacific University. In 2021, Emilie also completed a Discipline Agile Scrum Master certificate course from the Project Management Institute. Emilie is originally from the Pacific Northwest, but now happily calls the north side of Chicago home. It is there you can find her on a run, reading a good book, trying a new recipe, or cheering for the Seattle Seahawks.

Emilie Jackson
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Analyst

Sarah Jeske

Director of Development Operations

As the Director of Development Operations, Sarah has the opportunity to collaborate across the organization to ensure grant deliverables are in alignment with the strategic plan and core values of who we are. This allows us to stay true to our mission while funding the important work of our partners, ultimately supporting the efforts of the farmers we serve.

Sarah has a background in Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning. Sarah has a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the College of St. Benedict and a Master's Degree in International Development Administration from Western Michigan University. She completed her Master’s through the Peace Corps Master’s International Program by serving in Ethiopia for two years and completing an evaluation of a major development project during her service. Sarah is a parent to three children alongside her husband, Paul. Together, they enjoy Rockies baseball, the mountains, and Friday evening dance parties in their living room.

Sarah Jeske
Director of Development Operations

Melissa Johnson

Regional Representative, Southern California

Melissa shares the work and impact of Plant with Purpose with new and longtime supporters. She loves to walk alongside our partners who together are transforming lives, reversing rural poverty, and inspiring hope through our holistic approach. She delights in connecting individuals, families, churches, and foundations with our mission and building and strengthening these special relationships.

Melissa earned her Master’s of Science degree in Health Promotion Management from American University and a Bachelor's degree from UCLA. She served as executive director of three health-related organizations, including a presidential appointment at a federal government agency within the Department of Health & Human Services in Washington, D.C. Her work has allowed her the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural, international initiatives, including a program for Jordanian children and a mentorship program to advance the impact of women leaders in Egypt. She also served two other faith-based non-profits that restore hope by caring for vulnerable people in crisis. As a global health advocate, she is thrilled to work for an organization that addresses rural poverty alleviation by connecting healthy environments to healthy communities. Melissa enjoys living in her Southern California hometown and loves to travel around the country visiting family and friends.

Melissa Johnson
Regional Representative, Southern California

Donna Johnson-Lebert

Director, Executive Office & Board Operations

In her role as the Director of Executive Office & Board Operations, Donna has the privilege of supporting all of the administrative functions of the Executive Office and providing board support. She works closely with the CEO and Board Chair to plan and coordinate board quarterly meetings, committee meetings, board vision trips, and the annual board retreat. Donna is involved in many aspects of board support including board recruitment and onboarding, updating and maintaining board policies and other organizational documents, and board alumni engagement.

Donna earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning at the University of California, Davis. As an outdoor enthusiast, she loves the beach and water sports - kayaking and paddle boarding among her favorites. She is also an avid hiker with trekking highlights including the West Highland Way, Scotland; the Routeburn Track, New Zealand; the Machu Picchu trail in Peru: and the W-Circuit in Paine de Torres, Chile.

Donna Johnson-Lebert
Director, Executive Office & Board Operations

Sofia Kozidis

GIS & Remote Sensing Specialist

As the GIS and Remote Sensing Specialist, Sofia works with the Innovation Lab to address impacts of climate change on watershed health and conduct analyses on collected data. Sofia enjoys making beautiful maps and has a lot of fun getting lost in the details when it comes to mapping data in her role.

Sofia has extensive experience collecting, studying, and analyzing aerial imagery from airplanes, drones, and satellites. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Geography with Environmental Science from University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. She then went on to get her Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology from University of Wisconsin - Madison. She is proud to have recently completed the 2022 Emergency Response Book for a county in Wisconsin and for getting her FAA Remote Pilot License for drones. Sofia has a minor in art and enjoys various creative endeavors, which complements her love for GIS and remote sensing.

Sofia Kozidis
GIS & Remote Sensing Specialist

Kristen Kreitzer

V.P. of Finance & Administration

As V.P. of Finance and Administration, Kristen takes on a number of tasks involving overseeing financial and human resource efforts, and coordinating strategic development planning. Kristen is heavily involved in linking Plant With Purpose’s transformative work in the field to our U.S. headquarters.  Drawing on her background in Organization Development and applied behavior science, she believes in designing learning and development practices that begin with the self as key to understanding each person's unique role in team dynamics. Kristen believes that as followers of Christ, we are called to create relationship-based community-oriented workplaces that are filled with love and care. By focusing on holistic well-being, accepting all facets of diversity, and loving and caring for all of humanity, she strives to develop people  that lead from the head and the heart.

Among Kristen’s many accomplishments has been her direct involvement in building our finance, human resources, and information technology teams from the ground up. Kristen has been a driving force behind our efforts thus far, but she is most excited about the future of Plant With Purpose. She believes we could all use a little more love and kindness in our lives, and that there is no limit to the amount of love we can extend to others. Kristen is currently working on fulfilling her life-long dream of learning Mandarin!

Kristen Kreitzer
V.P. of Finance & Administration

Prachaya Kwanmaneekan

Watershed Manager, Thailand

Prachaya shows immense care and generosity for those around him in his role as Watershed Manager. His main responsibility involves caring for the watershed team, and making sure activities are carried out in the correct way. 

Prachaya is proud of his accomplishments in fostering the potential of community leaders to present community development plans to their local government. He has a Bachelor’s of Theology and Public Administration, and is excited about using his skills to further our mission within his watershed.

Prachaya Kwanmaneekan
Watershed Manager, Thailand

Philippe Lazaro

Communications Manager / Storyteller

Philippe shares the stories of people living at the forefront of the climate crisis, who are working to transform their ecosystems and communities. He loves emphasizing the human experience, and keeping conversations about the environment centered on the communities most affected by it. Philippe has led storytelling trips to Mexico, Thailand, Colombia, Tanzania, South Africa, Haiti, and a number of other countries. He has previously served in similar roles at Liberty in North Korea and Mobility International.

Philippe obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara. He furthered his studies by earning a Master of Arts in International Studies as well as a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at University of Oregon. Philippe is also an illustrator, podcaster, and digital artist. Outside of work, Philippe loves spending time with his wife and their three kids (under three!).

Philippe Lazaro
Communications Manager / Storyteller

McKinley Lewandowski

Regional Representative Associate, Denver

McKinley works in the Denver area as our Regional Representative Associate. She spends her time offering support to the Development Team in every capacity. She is excited to participate in our mission by helping others to see the value in our work and the joy of supporting through giving. 

McKinley earned her Undergraduate Degree in International Development with focuses in Sociology, African and Environmental Studies from Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also completed her Masters Degree in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University in Indianapolis. When McKinley isn’t working, you can find her listening to true crime, or cheering on the Indianapolis Colts!

McKinley Lewandowski
Regional Representative Associate, Denver

Dave Luebkeman

Operations Specialist, Innovation Lab

Working in the Innovation Lab as our Operations Specialist, Dave seeks out data which tells the Plant With Purpose story, sheds light on program areas needing attention, and explores new geographic areas for future expansion. Dave is a data dog and loves hunting for information knowing the work he does helps his colleagues do their job better. 

Dave started his career as a Certified Public Accountant. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cal State Hayward (now East Bay) and a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University. Dave enjoys baking birthday cakes for kids in the foster care system, and he also leads indoor cycling classes. He once bicycled 400 miles around the country of Burundi and has also bicycled from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Dave Luebkeman
Operations Specialist, Innovation Lab

Charles Richard Maika

Field Officer (Environment), Tanzania

Charles provides practical knowledge to community members on ecological restoration through tree nursery preparation, management, and tree planting. He is passionate about conserving our surrounding environment through organizing our tree-planting campaigns. By involving the participation of community members and local government leaders, Charles has aided in the planting of over 40,000 trees for each planting campaign.

Charles has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry, and has skills in tree seed harvesting, and tree nursery establishment and management. He is also experienced in the areas of  tree improvement techniques such as grafting and budding.

Charles Richard Maika
Field Officer (Environment), Tanzania

Rona Mana-Ay

Director, Finance and Accounting

As our Finance and Accounting Director, Rona is committed to the mission of impact. Rona’s role in the Finance and Accounting Department enables her to use her extensive background to help the organization reach greater societal change and maintain financial stability.

Rona has 30 years of professional experience and has assumed various finance roles. She has worked for the United Nations, World Bank and several international non-profit organizations including Oxfam, Habitat for Humanity, and Avocats Sans Frontieres, among others. Together with a team of Information Technology Specialists, Rona takes pride in having successfully designed and developed an automated savings, loan tracking and accounting system that has been implemented by hundreds of large cooperatives in the Philippines. Rona plays badminton, ping-pong and tennis, and also loves ballroom and Latin dancing.

Rona Mana-Ay
Director, Finance and Accounting

Elizabeth Maoneyi Maneya

Country Director, Malawi

As the Country Director for Malawi, Elizabeth works as a servant leader for the hard-to-reach communities across the country. She is passionate about adding value to community-based resilience methodologies and contributing to the narrative of positive human stories within rural Malawi.

Elizabeth has been serving rural communities for over 30 years now and loves being part of their transformative stories. She is proud of her accomplishment in setting up Pump Aid Malawi in 2008, which still serves communities in Malawi today. In 2011, Elizabeth was also one of the first Directors who set up Malawi Mangoes, a start-up socio-economic agro-processing business with a component of mango farming outreach, serving over 5,000 smallholder farmers in the Salima District of Malawi. Elizabeth holds multiple degrees and diplomas in the areas of Business Administration and Leadership, Rural and Urban Planning, Project Management, and Participatory Environmental Appraisal, and is currently a Ph.D. student at UNICAF University.

Elizabeth Maoneyi Maneya
Country Director, Malawi

Lynne Takahashi Marian

Director, Marketing & Communications

Lynne leads the Plant With Purpose marketing and communications teams, helping us to connect and support our expanding U.S. partner community. She is passionate about sharing the stories of our international partners and helping individuals, organizations, and churches fulfill their vision to positively impact the global issues of poverty and the environment.

She has more than 30 years of corporate experience and has specialized throughout her career in working with Christian, nonprofit, and global development organizations. Before joining Plant With Purpose, Lynne worked with organizations including World Vision, World Concern, Our Daily Bread, Outreach, Inc., (where she was the founding editor/publisher of Outreach Magazine and the Outreach 100) and many others. Lynne lives in Southern California and is also a life and executive coach.

Lynne Takahashi Marian
Director, Marketing & Communications

Eugenio Marte

Operations Assistant, Dominican Republic

As our Operations Assistant, Eugenio’s responsibilities include a number of tasks ranging from organizing records, activities, and media, to maintenancing the vehicles and motorcycles used by staff. Eugenio is a vital part of operations in the Dominican Republic, as he directs the report of new developments, and oversees the health and safety of our staff. 

Eugenio has worked at Plant With Purpose for over 30 years, and is passionate about seeing the positive changes that are occurring in the community. He has an abundance of experience in his role, and has a diploma in Automotive and Industrial Electricity. He also holds Certifications in Communication and Conflict Management, Information Technology, and Teaching. Eugenio enjoys writing fiction and non-fiction stories, as well as poetry.

Eugenio Marte
Operations Assistant, Dominican Republic

Miguel Martinez

Finance & Accounting Manager

As the Finance & Accounting Manager, Miguel enjoys working with systems that facilitate our gears to move. Though Miguel works a lot behind the scenes, his involvement in the organization works as the oil of an engine, keeping things running smoothly. Miguel’s work is crucial to our improvement, as he works with platforms and applications that help us become more efficient and effective. 

One of Miguel’s greatest accomplishments has been transitioning our accounting systems to run online. This includes utilizing new software, formulating and mapping out processes, syncing systems, and more. This ultimately helped us seamlessly transition to remote work during the start of the pandemic. Miguel is an ambitious individual, who keeps our technical knowledge up to date. He is excited about learning new skills and hobbies such as woodworking, photography, pizza making, and being a DJ.

Miguel Martinez
Finance & Accounting Manager

Milmer Martinez Vergara

V.P. of International Programs

As the Vice President of International Programs, Milmer works closely with all of our local teams as well as community participants to find solutions to problems including food security and wildlife habitat loss. Milmer is a passionate biologist and has a background in Conservation Genetics, and Behavioral Ecology. He is a key player in facilitating positive change in the rural communities we partner with, and seeks to identify opportunities to co-design and co-implement strategies that increase native and endemic biodiversity. 

Through integrating conservation biology and agroecology principles into our transformational development model, Milmer facilitates processes and agricultural designs that lead to restored natural ecosystems, and consequently create resilient rural communities. He considers it a privilege to collaborate with rural farmers communities and teams around the world.

Milmer Martinez Vergara
V.P. of International Programs

Taylore Maxcy

Program Operations Specialist, Africa

Within the International Programs department, Taylore is a member of the Africa team where she works closely with the Regional Director and our partners in Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Tanzania to provide comprehensive operational support to our programs. As the steward of program data, she is primarily focused on establishing, refining, and maintaining data and management systems to ensure high-quality programming both regionally and globally. Taylore also manages both internal and external reporting and works closely with other departments to ensure the impact of our programs is presented clearly and accurately.

Taylore has extensive previous experience supporting global projects, including fieldwork in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and holds a BA in Government from CSU Sacramento and MA in International Relations from the University of Queensland in Australia. She is particularly passionate about empowering local communities and identifying ways to better achieve gender inclusion and equality. Taylore resides in San Diego and, outside of work, loves to travel and is a self-proclaimed foodie that seeks out great cuisine both at home and abroad.

Taylore Maxcy
Program Operations Specialist, Africa

Jostino Solomon Mbewe

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Officer, Malawi

In the role of the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Officer for Malawi, Jostino holds the pivotal responsibility of establishing and overseeing our information systems. He believes that a robust information system is the backbone for informed decision-making across all project levels, and is crucial for achieving our project goals. What truly ignites his passion is the process of anchoring the project M&E Framework, collecting and analyzing data, disseminating knowledge to our management at all levels, insightful reporting, and facilitating coordination with all stakeholders.

Jostino holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Statistics, Demography and Mathematics. He has a wealth of experience through his previous work in Project Monitoring and Evaluation. A notable achievement is his establishment of a District Council-Wide M & E System from scratch at Ntchisi District Council. When Jostino is not working, you can find him leading church services, or tending to his livestock.

Jostino Solomon Mbewe
Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Officer, Malawi

Rich McCullen

Regional Representative, San Diego

Rich focuses on building strong, meaningful relationships with donors by recognizing that donors are more than just a source of funding - they are partners in the work. He is excited about getting to know donors on a personal level, understanding their passions and interests, and building trust and rapport. 

Rich has extensive experience through starting several progressive Christian churches throughout the United States, along with training and consulting churches and nonprofits. He absolutely loves animals and one day hopes to live in and run an animal sanctuary.

Rich McCullen
Regional Representative, San Diego

Cynthia McNeil Jones

Accounting Assistant

As our Accounting Assistant, Cynthia’s role involves  helping our financial team with creating and editing documents, evaluating budgets, tracking expenses, and reconciling financial books. Cynthia aids our team in all the necessary areas involving financial bookkeeping, and budget processes. 

Cynthia has her certificate in Financial Management Essentials. In her free time, Cynthia is a hiphop dancer, foodie, and karaoke fanatic. She also enjoys making guacamole.

Cynthia McNeil Jones
Accounting Assistant

Richard David Mhina

Country Director, Tanzania

As Country Director for Tanzania, Richard is responsible for managing our overall operations within Tanzania. He plays a pivotal role in delegating and directing agendas and strategy, setting annual plans, making sure organizational resources are effectively utilized, and communicating with stakeholders. Richard is passionate about helping others improve their lives, and has always been someone who wanted to help people, rather than just helping himself. Working as a country director with us gives him an opportunity to contribute in reversing poverty and restoring a degraded environment. 

Richard earned his Master's Degree in Business Management from Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute. He also has his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from Sokoine University. Through his time with us, he has helped grow the program from 1,600 families to 11,100 direct beneficiaries and over 50,000 indirect beneficiaries. Over 11 years, he’s also succeeded in reducing the cost per beneficiary by more than 500%. His passion is to share the knowledge of ecosystem health with people and the importance of organic farming in improved health and fighting hunger. Through his dedicated leadership, it was possible for our Tanzania program to receive the certificate of appreciation from the Ministry of Agriculture for successfully supporting ecological organic agriculture within the country.

Richard David Mhina
Country Director, Tanzania

Tabitha Mkazeni

Field Officer (Agriculture), Tanzania

Through her role, Tabitha provides technical support to farmers through training on sustainable use of agronomic practices. She offers extension support to farmers on the use of agroecology techniques and botanical pesticides to solve problems in the field. Through improving soil, she sees an increase in production and improvement of livelihood.

Tabitha has a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy, and has attended several workshops on organic pesticides. She continues to gain knowledge by attending symposiums on sustainable agriculture and organic banana production. Tabitha is passionate about learning new sustainable farming ideas from farmers in the field. In her free time, she enjoys listening to gospel music.

Tabitha Mkazeni
Field Officer (Agriculture), Tanzania

Bob Morikawa

Senior Director, Innovation Lab

Bob works with farmers and team members around the world to help develop the tools, knowledge, and processes needed to address environmental and economic challenges. He loves getting the opportunity to learn from the farmers and teammates he works alongside as they apply their energy, ingenuity, curiosity, and creativity and come up with practical solutions.

Bob is the coauthor of a peer-reviewed paper about the resilience of smallholder farmers, and he has personally planted over 60,000 trees. Bob has a history of dedicated problem solving, even when he was in ninth grade, getting up at 6:00am every morning before school to deliver newspapers so he could pay for and build his own telescope. Bob has a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture and a Masters of Science in Forest Genetics, and he speaks Spanish, Swahili, and Haitian Kreyol. When he’s not working, Bob enjoys canoeing, paddle making, and memorization. 

Bob Morikawa
Senior Director, Innovation Lab

Mathias Muhizi

Spiritual Renewal Supervisor, DR Congo
Mathias Muhizi
Spiritual Renewal Supervisor, DR Congo

Fidel Mukamyi Mutima

Economic Empowerment Supervisor, DR Congo
Fidel Mukamyi Mutima
Economic Empowerment Supervisor, DR Congo

Honorine Murorunkwere

Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, Burundi

Honorine is passionate about improving our integrated program quality in our Burundi programs through development of our monitoring and evaluation systems. Through strong logic, organizational decision making processes, and periodic performance tracking, she aims to help poor households located in rural Burundi to change their life standard.

Honorine received a Master’s degree in Project planning and Management, from Moi University in Kenya. She also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication for development from Light University. She is proud of her part in research studies on maternal health and nutrition, resulting in the publishing of an academic paper in January of 2020. Honorine has over 3 years of professional experience in Monitoring and Evaluation. Through work, and in her free time, she loves to bring praise and worship to God.

Honorine Murorunkwere
Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, Burundi

Sinyati Ng'ida

Marketing & Evaluation Officer, Tanzania

Sinyati is passionate about listening to narrations from our beneficiaries and developing them into success stories. In her role, she provides technical know-how to the immediate team on new projects through recording, editing and producing videos. She is excited about communicating organizational activities which ensure projects are done efficiently. Sinyati’s work often involves influencing communities to adopt different technologies.

Sinyati has a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Studies. She is a people person and enjoys getting the opportunity to learn more about others through her work each day.

Sinyati Ng'ida
Marketing & Evaluation Officer, Tanzania

Noé Nizigama

Country Director, Burundi

As a Country Director, Noé believes that leadership based on the love of those with whom you serve empowers each staff member. He is passionate about loving those he serves with and those they serve together. Noé is proud of the grace of God who allowed us, in a period of 5 years, to shift into the impactful Watershed approach. Now, our program in Burundi is on a tremendous step of growth both in quality services and in geographical expansion.

Noé was also a big part of the successful partnership agreement between our programs in Burundi and Hope International Burundi as an outcome of a tangible impact of our ECC material. Noé hopes this small beginning could open more opportunities for partnerships in the future. As part of the implementation of his Masters in Gender Institutions and Societies, Noé has recently conducted research on socio-economic gender relationships within VSLA groups supervised by the Burundi team in the sub-watershed of Nyakazu.

Noé Nizigama
Country Director, Burundi

Katherine Padgett

Marketing Systems Specialist

Katherine supports the marketing team in executing communications that connect with and inspire our U.S. partners. She is excited about tracking and interpreting marketing communications analytics to ensure the team is effective in reaching our goals and supporting our mission.

During her time at Plant With Purpose, Katherine has partnered with other members of the team to help create more efficient and collaborative systems for marketing communications projects. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Business and English from Hollins University. Katherine lives in San Diego with her husband and their lemon tree, Lulu. When she’s not working, Katherine enjoys board games, gardening, and Star Wars.

Katherine Padgett
Marketing Systems Specialist

Jumlong Pawkham

Country Director- UHDF, Thailand

Jumlong is responsible for cultivating a space of decision-making with the management team to ensure our work has a positive impact on the community. He has an abundance of practical work experience in sustainable agriculture for over 26 years. Through this, he has impacted his community by giving knowledge to others about sustainable practices that will be passed down through generations. 

Jumlong graduated with a Master’s Degree in Strategy for Development from Rajabhat Chiang Rai University. He is excited about the time he has put into our mission, and loves being an example to his community. Jumlong enjoys spending time with his whole family, and bringing everyone together through fishing.

Jumlong Pawkham
Country Director- UHDF, Thailand

Margaret Reed

Stewardship and Data Entry Administrator

Margaret is excited to support the Development Operations team by ensuring data and integrity for us to support a smooth and refreshing process for our donors. As the Stewardship and Data Entry Administrator, Margaret passionately assists with a number of tasks that strengthen systems and processes for the entire team.

For over a decade, Margaret has worked in data entry and administration. She also has extensive experience in marketing and is currently enrolled in the Visual Communications program at Mesa College, pursuing an Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design. Margaret also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from San Diego State University. Margaret loves poetry and considers writing haiku to be a connection to her spiritual life.

Margaret Reed
Stewardship and Data Entry Administrator

Christi Huizenga Renaud

VP Marketing & Development

Christi leads the marketing and fundraising teams through equally balancing business and mission. This involves raising the support needed to keep our programs running effectively, and speaking boldly about God's love for all people and the world that’s been entrusted to us. Christi is passionate about mobilizing people around a vision, growing a team that people want to join, and building systems that grow as we grow. She is grateful for the opportunity to use these skills to help heal the planet by giving farming families the tools needed to grow beyond poverty. 

Christi has lived on four different continents where she got to know and love a wide variety of people. That experience has equipped her with the understanding of God's love for all people and how environmental stewardship is one of the most effective ways of loving our neighbor. Christi has a Masters Degree in International Business from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Communications from Calvin University. Christi is a mom to two who love the outdoors even more than she does. 

Christi Huizenga Renaud
VP Marketing & Development

John Richert

Program & Sustainability Officer - LAC

John partners with our Latin America and Caribbean Regional Director as well as country directors in Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic to envision, plan, and achieve our program goals. John works closely with our global partners to creatively design programs, track progress and manage the data that shows the impact of our global work.  Additionally, he works with other members of our International Programs and Innovation Lab teams to ensure our data systems are developing to meet the need of our ever-expanding vision. 

After completing his PhD in Ecology at UC Davis, John served as the Lead Pastor of Discovery Church for eleven years in the university town of Davis, CA. John left ministry in the local church to serve as Chair of the Biology Department at William Jessup University in Sacramento, CA. He continues to teach Biology as an Adjunct Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. John is an experienced diving instructor, and enjoys exploring the underwater world and sharing the experience with others.

John Richert
Program & Sustainability Officer - LAC

Cal Roa

People Experience Specialist

Cal is dedicated to supporting the team by fostering company culture and enhancing employee engagement through programs such as orientation, onboarding, recognition, and wellness initiatives. She is passionate about making work meaningful, engaging, innovative, and fun, thus facilitating optimal partnership and learning collaboration with the farmers we partner with.

Before her experiences in the public sector, she had extensive experience working with adults with disabilities and eventually spearheaded the development of a program for adults with disabilities through ICAN California Abilities Network. Cal has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Biola University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Human Resources Studies with a specialization in Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change at Colorado State University. Cal enjoys sharing meals with loved ones, practicing yoga or bouldering, and making her husband Brandon laugh.

Cal Roa
People Experience Specialist

Scott Sabin

Chief Executive Officer

Since 1993, Scott has played a significant role in the progress and growth of our organization. Scott leads a wonderful team of committed individuals and partners along with our amazing colleagues around the world. Scott is overjoyed when he sees our partners blossom and become the leaders of this mission. Scott attributes the success of our organization to perseverance and willingness to ask hard questions about effectiveness and impact.

Through journal articles, public speaking, and his book, “Tending to Eden”, Scott has become an advocate for reforestation as a key component of sustainable community development around the world. Prior to working for Plant With Purpose, he served for seven years in the Navy. Scott received his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Oregon State University, as well as a Master of Arts in International Relations from University of San Diego. Outside of work, Scott enjoys sailing and spending time with his family. He also  believes that everything can be better expressed through a song lyric.

Scott Sabin
Chief Executive Officer

Dafrozah Samagwa

Program Director, Tanzania

Dafrozah is responsible for ensuring effective communication between the field operations and the management team. She is passionate about facilitating change within the organization and taking on tasks such as creative program management, problem-solving, monitoring and reporting, and goal setting. Dafrozah is a catalyst for ensuring we achieve our goals of reversing poverty and deforestation, while ensuring that staff respect and value the community members we are serving.

Dafrozah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences and Management, as well as a Master of Science in Management of Natural Resources for Sustainable Agriculture from Sokoine University of Agriculture. When Dafrozah is not working or taking care of her family you can find her deeply immersed in reading a novel or motivational book. She developed this habit in secondary school whereby she was required to read 4 novels per week.

Dafrozah Samagwa
Program Director, Tanzania

Laura Adriana Sanjuan Gil

Program Coordinator, Mexico

As our Program Coordinator over the regional programs in Mexico, Laura works diligently to make sure all projects are running smoothly. She is passionate about listening and collecting the stories of the people who participate in the projects and the changes they experience in their way of thinking. Laura worked as a collaborator in the construction of a general historical database of our work performance. 

Laura has a degree in Public Accounting, and has experience as a facilitator of personal finance workshops within the community. She also contributed to the establishment of a sewing workshop in a community of Santa María Mixistlán with women from a local church, in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca. Laura enjoys painting in her free time.

Laura Adriana Sanjuan Gil
Program Coordinator, Mexico

Grace Santos

Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist

Grace’s role as Monitoring and Evaluation specialist involves a number of tasks such as studying, testing and analyzing how our program methodology impacts the lives of the people with whom we partner. Grace’s accomplishments are significant, one highlight including her study on “Smallholder farmer resilience: a multi-year multidimensional study in the Dominican Republic and Haiti - Trees, Forests and People.”

Grace earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and is also fluent in Spanish. In her free time, Grace enjoys hiking and mountain climbing.

Grace Santos
Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist

Doug Satre

Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

Doug represents our work with foundations, businesses and other organizations, by building a support system for our work to thrive. Through building strategic partnerships, his role is pivotal in helping us achieve our goals. Doug is passionate about the challenge to build bridges between our mission and the missions of other organizations, so that we may all move forward together in our visions. 

One of Doug’s proudest accomplishments has involved working with Terramatch and World Resource Institute to have our work in the Congo recognized as one of the top 20 organizations doing restoration work in Africa. He has also worked with the whole team to launch our 2015 Expansion Campaign, which provided funding to double the number of families we serve and to begin working in the Congo and Ethiopia. Doug graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He later attended Fuller Seminary, earning his Master of Divinity. Doug loves  spending time outdoors, especially skiing, fishing and hiking. He enjoys planning trips and having an exciting experience to look forward to.

Doug Satre
Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

Gillian Scheel

Talent Acquisition Manager

As our Talent Acquisition Manager, Gillian takes on a variety of roles including developing and executing innovative and effective recruiting strategies to attract top talent for open positions. Gillian oversees the employee brand and finds new ways to innovate through planning, developing, and implementing an effective Talent Acquisition strategy.

Gillian graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of the South in 2001 and a Juris Doctor Degree from Washington University School of Law in 2010. Gillian loves to travel and explore the outdoors with her wife, Courtni, and their two kids.

Gillian Scheel
Talent Acquisition Manager

Corbyn Small

Development Director

As Development Director, Corbyn serves a team of fundraisers as they seek to connect partnering supporters in the U.S. and Canada to partnering families around the world. Corbyn considers it an honor and a privilege to share the stories of farming families who are building new opportunities in their communities and bringing restoration to this beautiful earth. In 2011, Corbyn moved to Denver, Colorado and successfully pioneered our first regional representative position before being promoted to Development Director. 

Corbyn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration at Point Loma Nazarene University. Over the last decade, Corbyn has sought to embody a truly relational culture of fundraising. He has had the opportunity to work with our programs team and key funders on significant expansion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia, resulting in impactful change. Outside of thoughtful and effective community development work, Corbyn loves eating spicy foods and riding through Colorado’s incredible bike trails with his family.

Corbyn Small
Development Director

Belaynesh Tesema

Manager of Finance & Administration, Ethiopia

Belaynesh leads the Finance and Administration section of our office in Ethiopia. Her extensive experience in accounting and finance makes her a valuable asset to our organization, where she continues to contribute to our mission with dedication and leadership.

Belaynesh has an MSC in Accounting and Finance from Bahir Dar University. With over 15 years of experience in the field, she has honed her skills in various reputable organizations. Her professional journey includes significant roles at MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Association), Koga Veg, the Agency for the Development of Houses, and EEPCO, among others.

Belaynesh Tesema
Manager of Finance & Administration, Ethiopia

Emily Thome

Grant Writer

Emily works to combine data and statistics with partners' stories from the field to create both a realistic and comprehensive narrative of what we are doing around the world. Emily takes on a supportive role on the Grants Team, working diligently through organization and administration. During her time at Point Loma Nazarene University, she dove into a study on the correlation between economic empowerment and the reduction of gender-based violence in rural farming communities. This inspired Emily to join our team and further our mission. 

Through an experience living in Amman, Jordan, Emily had the honor of working alongside Syrian refugees through yoga-based therapy. Whilst teaching classes, Emily formed a passion for writing ethical stories of survivors of trauma in a way that communicates dignity and empowerment. When Emily is not at work, you can find her on the beaches of San Diego catching a wave or drinking a good cup of coffee.

Emily Thome
Grant Writer

Paul Thompson

Chief Operating Officer

Paul is a trusted and strategic thought-partner to the CEO, Senior Leadership Team, and the Global Leadership Team. Paul is overjoyed to help steward us into and through a period of rapid growth and expansion of both impact and mission. Paul is passionate about our holistic mission and, in particular, empowering the diverse communities and people served by our global organization. As COO, Paul supports the development of integrated and streamlined systems, processes, and resources necessary for Plant WIth Purpose to become the premier organization operating at the nexus of environmental restoration and poverty alleviation. 

Paul has served as CEO of five international organizations prior to joining Plant With Purpose. In addition, he was on the Plant With Purpose Advisory Board for 25 years. Paul has several certifications from the Center for Creative Leadership and has been privileged to provide strategic counsel in governance, long-range planning, and leadership development to over 25 community-based and international organizations. For nearly 45 years, Paul has been a proud husband to Konny Thompson. He is also the loving father of four children; Jenelle, Blake, Brittany, and Josh and grandfather to Drew, George, Theodore, and Rosemary.

Paul Thompson
Chief Operating Officer

Taye Tibebu

Program Director, Ethiopia

Taye works closely with the communities within the Ethiopian watersheds to facilitate change. Through organizational methods, Taye ensures the program is run in a way that aligns with the mission of Plant With Purpose. He is proud and passionate about the growing program in Ethiopia and hopes to expand the areas of impact within the country.

Since childhood, Taye used to have an outlook of hopelessness in his life and the lives of his neighbors, as they were unable to meet their basic needs. He is passionate now actively pursuing change in his community and throughout Ethiopia. Nearly 18 years of experience with World Vision Ethiopia has led Taye on a journey of community development and emergency response programs. He also studied seed multiplication and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Crop Science and a Master’s in Rural Development. Taye lives by Psalm 12:5; But the Lord says: “Because of the violence done to the oppressed, because of the painful cries of the needy, I will spring into action. I will provide the safety they so desperately desire.”

Taye Tibebu
Program Director, Ethiopia

Shawn Welling

Regional Representative, Houston

Shawn nurtures existing donor relationships and cultivates new ones as we connect donors to the communities we empower. He especially enjoys the opportunity to journey with donors as they envision and live out the work of co-creating healing spaces for the sake of our world.

Shawn has assisted in the creation of deep listening spaces in marginalized and under-resourced neighborhoods in Houston. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Belmont University and has completed work toward a Master of Arts in Christian Practice at Duke Divinity. Shawn has also received Graduate Certificates of Theology in Spiritual Direction and in Youth Ministry. In addition to playing guitar, Shawn loves hanging out with his wife, Demi, and their three grandchildren.

Shawn Welling
Regional Representative, Houston

Jared White

Regional Director, Africa

Since 2016, Jared has served as the critical link between our San Diego office and all of our programs in Africa. He is motivated by his faith in Jesus and passionate about working interdependently with our local teams to design a creative yet impactful program and develop a culture of mission and high-impact driven transformational development.

For 10 years Jared lived and worked in Uganda expanding his experience and passion for international development. He co-founded Pulse Village Transport Limited, an innovative enterprise that manufactures and distributes locally assembled motorcycle ambulances needed for critical medical transportation in Uganda. Prior, he served as a director of Invisible Children’s efforts on the ground in Uganda. Jared oversaw program design, implementation, and operations. Jared has his Master of Arts in International Development from Eastern University’s School of Leadership and Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Biblical Studies from Biola University. In 2009, Jared received the Young Alumni Award from Biola University for his mission-driven work in Uganda. Jared is an adventurer at heart and in 2009 fulfilled his dream of riding motorcycles with some close friends through five East African countries.

Jared White
Regional Director, Africa

Shiloah Williams

Grant Writer

Shiloah is responsible for creating content to cultivate deeper relationships with our wonderful donors. Through storytelling and implementing creative ways to engage donors, she hopes to bring inspiration and connection between people and our mission. 

Shiloah’s accomplishments include her completion of a climate justice fellowship, and writing/co-producing short films on environmental justice awareness. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from California Baptist University. Shiloah enjoys hiking, watching musical theater, and writing poetry and thriller short stories.

Shiloah Williams
Grant Writer

Allie Wilson Plasek

Regional Representative, Western U.S.

Allie works with our partners by helping match their passions and interests to our holistic approach of caring for our broken world. Whether it be one or a mixture of spiritual renewal, economic empowerment, or environmental restoration, she works with partners as they express what they deeply care about. She is very passionate about regenerative farms/gardens and finding ways for people to connect with nature and realize their roles within ecosystems. 

Allie attended California State University, Chico for Religious Studies and African Studies. She continued her education at Princeton Theological, and earned a Master's of Divinity. She has created gardens and helped co-create a habitat gardening cooperative focused on regenerative landscaping. Allie loves reading and talking about theology/where we see God in our world. She has bees and a habitat garden for them to forage, and uses their honey to make wildflower Mead.

Allie Wilson Plasek
Regional Representative, Western U.S.

Engida Mandefro Wube

Country Director, Ethiopia

As the Country Director for Ethiopia, Engida carries out a multitude of responsibilities with passion and innovation. Engida provides leadership and guidance for the entire team within our three areas of poverty alleviation, environmental restoration, and stewardship and agency.

He has worked in various humanitarian and nonprofit organizations within his career to heal people and their environment after natural and man-made disasters, conflicts, and disease epidemics. Engida is a proud member of various global platforms including the Migration Taskforce, Africa Region Shared Leadership for Resilience Building, and Africa Disaster Management. He has studied Community Development and Leadership and has a Master's Degree in Livelihood and Development. Engida is a proud advocate for Ethiopian traditions including organic coffee and delicious traditional foods.

Engida Mandefro Wube
Country Director, Ethiopia

Senior Leadership Team

Scott Sabin

Chief Executive Officer

Since 1993, Scott has played a significant role in the progress and growth of our organization. Scott leads a wonderful team of committed individuals and partners along with our amazing colleagues around the world. Scott is overjoyed when he sees our partners blossom and become the leaders of this mission. Scott attributes the success of our organization to perseverance and willingness to ask hard questions about effectiveness and impact.

Through journal articles, public speaking, and his book, “Tending to Eden”, Scott has become an advocate for reforestation as a key component of sustainable community development around the world. Prior to working for Plant With Purpose, he served for seven years in the Navy. Scott received his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Oregon State University, as well as a Master of Arts in International Relations from University of San Diego. Outside of work, Scott enjoys sailing and spending time with his family. He also  believes that everything can be better expressed through a song lyric.

Scott Sabin
Chief Executive Officer

Paul Thompson

Chief Operating Officer

Paul is a trusted and strategic thought-partner to the CEO, Senior Leadership Team, and the Global Leadership Team. Paul is overjoyed to help steward us into and through a period of rapid growth and expansion of both impact and mission. Paul is passionate about our holistic mission and, in particular, empowering the diverse communities and people served by our global organization. As COO, Paul supports the development of integrated and streamlined systems, processes, and resources necessary for Plant WIth Purpose to become the premier organization operating at the nexus of environmental restoration and poverty alleviation. 

Paul has served as CEO of five international organizations prior to joining Plant With Purpose. In addition, he was on the Plant With Purpose Advisory Board for 25 years. Paul has several certifications from the Center for Creative Leadership and has been privileged to provide strategic counsel in governance, long-range planning, and leadership development to over 25 community-based and international organizations. For nearly 45 years, Paul has been a proud husband to Konny Thompson. He is also the loving father of four children; Jenelle, Blake, Brittany, and Josh and grandfather to Drew, George, Theodore, and Rosemary.

Paul Thompson
Chief Operating Officer

Kristen Kreitzer

V.P. of Finance & Administration

As V.P. of Finance and Administration, Kristen takes on a number of tasks involving overseeing financial and human resource efforts, and coordinating strategic development planning. Kristen is heavily involved in linking Plant With Purpose’s transformative work in the field to our U.S. headquarters.  Drawing on her background in Organization Development and applied behavior science, she believes in designing learning and development practices that begin with the self as key to understanding each person's unique role in team dynamics. Kristen believes that as followers of Christ, we are called to create relationship-based community-oriented workplaces that are filled with love and care. By focusing on holistic well-being, accepting all facets of diversity, and loving and caring for all of humanity, she strives to develop people  that lead from the head and the heart.

Among Kristen’s many accomplishments has been her direct involvement in building our finance, human resources, and information technology teams from the ground up. Kristen has been a driving force behind our efforts thus far, but she is most excited about the future of Plant With Purpose. She believes we could all use a little more love and kindness in our lives, and that there is no limit to the amount of love we can extend to others. Kristen is currently working on fulfilling her life-long dream of learning Mandarin!

Kristen Kreitzer
V.P. of Finance & Administration

Donna Johnson-Lebert

Director, Executive Office & Board Operations

In her role as the Director of Executive Office & Board Operations, Donna has the privilege of supporting all of the administrative functions of the Executive Office and providing board support. She works closely with the CEO and Board Chair to plan and coordinate board quarterly meetings, committee meetings, board vision trips, and the annual board retreat. Donna is involved in many aspects of board support including board recruitment and onboarding, updating and maintaining board policies and other organizational documents, and board alumni engagement.

Donna earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning at the University of California, Davis. As an outdoor enthusiast, she loves the beach and water sports - kayaking and paddle boarding among her favorites. She is also an avid hiker with trekking highlights including the West Highland Way, Scotland; the Routeburn Track, New Zealand; the Machu Picchu trail in Peru: and the W-Circuit in Paine de Torres, Chile.

Donna Johnson-Lebert
Director, Executive Office & Board Operations

Christi Huizenga Renaud

VP Marketing & Development

Christi leads the marketing and fundraising teams through equally balancing business and mission. This involves raising the support needed to keep our programs running effectively, and speaking boldly about God's love for all people and the world that’s been entrusted to us. Christi is passionate about mobilizing people around a vision, growing a team that people want to join, and building systems that grow as we grow. She is grateful for the opportunity to use these skills to help heal the planet by giving farming families the tools needed to grow beyond poverty. 

Christi has lived on four different continents where she got to know and love a wide variety of people. That experience has equipped her with the understanding of God's love for all people and how environmental stewardship is one of the most effective ways of loving our neighbor. Christi has a Masters Degree in International Business from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Communications from Calvin University. Christi is a mom to two who love the outdoors even more than she does. 

Christi Huizenga Renaud
VP Marketing & Development

Doug Satre

Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

Doug represents our work with foundations, businesses and other organizations, by building a support system for our work to thrive. Through building strategic partnerships, his role is pivotal in helping us achieve our goals. Doug is passionate about the challenge to build bridges between our mission and the missions of other organizations, so that we may all move forward together in our visions. 

One of Doug’s proudest accomplishments has involved working with Terramatch and World Resource Institute to have our work in the Congo recognized as one of the top 20 organizations doing restoration work in Africa. He has also worked with the whole team to launch our 2015 Expansion Campaign, which provided funding to double the number of families we serve and to begin working in the Congo and Ethiopia. Doug graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He later attended Fuller Seminary, earning his Master of Divinity. Doug loves  spending time outdoors, especially skiing, fishing and hiking. He enjoys planning trips and having an exciting experience to look forward to.

Doug Satre
Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

Milmer Martinez Vergara

V.P. of International Programs

As the Vice President of International Programs, Milmer works closely with all of our local teams as well as community participants to find solutions to problems including food security and wildlife habitat loss. Milmer is a passionate biologist and has a background in Conservation Genetics, and Behavioral Ecology. He is a key player in facilitating positive change in the rural communities we partner with, and seeks to identify opportunities to co-design and co-implement strategies that increase native and endemic biodiversity. 

Through integrating conservation biology and agroecology principles into our transformational development model, Milmer facilitates processes and agricultural designs that lead to restored natural ecosystems, and consequently create resilient rural communities. He considers it a privilege to collaborate with rural farmers communities and teams around the world.

Milmer Martinez Vergara
V.P. of International Programs

Bob Morikawa

Senior Director, Innovation Lab

Bob works with farmers and team members around the world to help develop the tools, knowledge, and processes needed to address environmental and economic challenges. He loves getting the opportunity to learn from the farmers and teammates he works alongside as they apply their energy, ingenuity, curiosity, and creativity and come up with practical solutions.

Bob is the coauthor of a peer-reviewed paper about the resilience of smallholder farmers, and he has personally planted over 60,000 trees. Bob has a history of dedicated problem solving, even when he was in ninth grade, getting up at 6:00am every morning before school to deliver newspapers so he could pay for and build his own telescope. Bob has a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture and a Masters of Science in Forest Genetics, and he speaks Spanish, Swahili, and Haitian Kreyol. When he’s not working, Bob enjoys canoeing, paddle making, and memorization. 

Bob Morikawa
Senior Director, Innovation Lab

Accounting

Kristen Kreitzer

V.P. of Finance & Administration

As V.P. of Finance and Administration, Kristen takes on a number of tasks involving overseeing financial and human resource efforts, and coordinating strategic development planning. Kristen is heavily involved in linking Plant With Purpose’s transformative work in the field to our U.S. headquarters.  Drawing on her background in Organization Development and applied behavior science, she believes in designing learning and development practices that begin with the self as key to understanding each person's unique role in team dynamics. Kristen believes that as followers of Christ, we are called to create relationship-based community-oriented workplaces that are filled with love and care. By focusing on holistic well-being, accepting all facets of diversity, and loving and caring for all of humanity, she strives to develop people  that lead from the head and the heart.

Among Kristen’s many accomplishments has been her direct involvement in building our finance, human resources, and information technology teams from the ground up. Kristen has been a driving force behind our efforts thus far, but she is most excited about the future of Plant With Purpose. She believes we could all use a little more love and kindness in our lives, and that there is no limit to the amount of love we can extend to others. Kristen is currently working on fulfilling her life-long dream of learning Mandarin!

Kristen Kreitzer
V.P. of Finance & Administration

Rona Mana-Ay

Director, Finance and Accounting

As our Finance and Accounting Director, Rona is committed to the mission of impact. Rona’s role in the Finance and Accounting Department enables her to use her extensive background to help the organization reach greater societal change and maintain financial stability.

Rona has 30 years of professional experience and has assumed various finance roles. She has worked for the United Nations, World Bank and several international non-profit organizations including Oxfam, Habitat for Humanity, and Avocats Sans Frontieres, among others. Together with a team of Information Technology Specialists, Rona takes pride in having successfully designed and developed an automated savings, loan tracking and accounting system that has been implemented by hundreds of large cooperatives in the Philippines. Rona plays badminton, ping-pong and tennis, and also loves ballroom and Latin dancing.

Rona Mana-Ay
Director, Finance and Accounting

Miguel Martinez

Finance & Accounting Manager

As the Finance & Accounting Manager, Miguel enjoys working with systems that facilitate our gears to move. Though Miguel works a lot behind the scenes, his involvement in the organization works as the oil of an engine, keeping things running smoothly. Miguel’s work is crucial to our improvement, as he works with platforms and applications that help us become more efficient and effective. 

One of Miguel’s greatest accomplishments has been transitioning our accounting systems to run online. This includes utilizing new software, formulating and mapping out processes, syncing systems, and more. This ultimately helped us seamlessly transition to remote work during the start of the pandemic. Miguel is an ambitious individual, who keeps our technical knowledge up to date. He is excited about learning new skills and hobbies such as woodworking, photography, pizza making, and being a DJ.

Miguel Martinez
Finance & Accounting Manager

Cynthia McNeil Jones

Accounting Assistant

As our Accounting Assistant, Cynthia’s role involves  helping our financial team with creating and editing documents, evaluating budgets, tracking expenses, and reconciling financial books. Cynthia aids our team in all the necessary areas involving financial bookkeeping, and budget processes. 

Cynthia has her certificate in Financial Management Essentials. In her free time, Cynthia is a hiphop dancer, foodie, and karaoke fanatic. She also enjoys making guacamole.

Cynthia McNeil Jones
Accounting Assistant

People & Culture

Kristen Kreitzer

V.P. of Finance & Administration

As V.P. of Finance and Administration, Kristen takes on a number of tasks involving overseeing financial and human resource efforts, and coordinating strategic development planning. Kristen is heavily involved in linking Plant With Purpose’s transformative work in the field to our U.S. headquarters.  Drawing on her background in Organization Development and applied behavior science, she believes in designing learning and development practices that begin with the self as key to understanding each person's unique role in team dynamics. Kristen believes that as followers of Christ, we are called to create relationship-based community-oriented workplaces that are filled with love and care. By focusing on holistic well-being, accepting all facets of diversity, and loving and caring for all of humanity, she strives to develop people  that lead from the head and the heart.

Among Kristen’s many accomplishments has been her direct involvement in building our finance, human resources, and information technology teams from the ground up. Kristen has been a driving force behind our efforts thus far, but she is most excited about the future of Plant With Purpose. She believes we could all use a little more love and kindness in our lives, and that there is no limit to the amount of love we can extend to others. Kristen is currently working on fulfilling her life-long dream of learning Mandarin!

Kristen Kreitzer
V.P. of Finance & Administration

Gillian Scheel

Talent Acquisition Manager

As our Talent Acquisition Manager, Gillian takes on a variety of roles including developing and executing innovative and effective recruiting strategies to attract top talent for open positions. Gillian oversees the employee brand and finds new ways to innovate through planning, developing, and implementing an effective Talent Acquisition strategy.

Gillian graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of the South in 2001 and a Juris Doctor Degree from Washington University School of Law in 2010. Gillian loves to travel and explore the outdoors with her wife, Courtni, and their two kids.

Gillian Scheel
Talent Acquisition Manager

Cal Roa

People Experience Specialist

Cal is dedicated to supporting the team by fostering company culture and enhancing employee engagement through programs such as orientation, onboarding, recognition, and wellness initiatives. She is passionate about making work meaningful, engaging, innovative, and fun, thus facilitating optimal partnership and learning collaboration with the farmers we partner with.

Before her experiences in the public sector, she had extensive experience working with adults with disabilities and eventually spearheaded the development of a program for adults with disabilities through ICAN California Abilities Network. Cal has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Biola University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Human Resources Studies with a specialization in Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change at Colorado State University. Cal enjoys sharing meals with loved ones, practicing yoga or bouldering, and making her husband Brandon laugh.

Cal Roa
People Experience Specialist

Resource Development

Christi Huizenga Renaud

VP Marketing & Development

Christi leads the marketing and fundraising teams through equally balancing business and mission. This involves raising the support needed to keep our programs running effectively, and speaking boldly about God's love for all people and the world that’s been entrusted to us. Christi is passionate about mobilizing people around a vision, growing a team that people want to join, and building systems that grow as we grow. She is grateful for the opportunity to use these skills to help heal the planet by giving farming families the tools needed to grow beyond poverty. 

Christi has lived on four different continents where she got to know and love a wide variety of people. That experience has equipped her with the understanding of God's love for all people and how environmental stewardship is one of the most effective ways of loving our neighbor. Christi has a Masters Degree in International Business from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Communications from Calvin University. Christi is a mom to two who love the outdoors even more than she does. 

Christi Huizenga Renaud
VP Marketing & Development

Corbyn Small

Development Director

As Development Director, Corbyn serves a team of fundraisers as they seek to connect partnering supporters in the U.S. and Canada to partnering families around the world. Corbyn considers it an honor and a privilege to share the stories of farming families who are building new opportunities in their communities and bringing restoration to this beautiful earth. In 2011, Corbyn moved to Denver, Colorado and successfully pioneered our first regional representative position before being promoted to Development Director. 

Corbyn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration at Point Loma Nazarene University. Over the last decade, Corbyn has sought to embody a truly relational culture of fundraising. He has had the opportunity to work with our programs team and key funders on significant expansion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia, resulting in impactful change. Outside of thoughtful and effective community development work, Corbyn loves eating spicy foods and riding through Colorado’s incredible bike trails with his family.

Corbyn Small
Development Director

Doug Satre

Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

Doug represents our work with foundations, businesses and other organizations, by building a support system for our work to thrive. Through building strategic partnerships, his role is pivotal in helping us achieve our goals. Doug is passionate about the challenge to build bridges between our mission and the missions of other organizations, so that we may all move forward together in our visions. 

One of Doug’s proudest accomplishments has involved working with Terramatch and World Resource Institute to have our work in the Congo recognized as one of the top 20 organizations doing restoration work in Africa. He has also worked with the whole team to launch our 2015 Expansion Campaign, which provided funding to double the number of families we serve and to begin working in the Congo and Ethiopia. Doug graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He later attended Fuller Seminary, earning his Master of Divinity. Doug loves  spending time outdoors, especially skiing, fishing and hiking. He enjoys planning trips and having an exciting experience to look forward to.

Doug Satre
Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

Valerie Foulkes

Strategic Initiatives Manager

As Strategic Initiatives Manager, Valerie is pursuing new tree-planting partnerships and exploring the carbon market. As more corporations seek to become net-zero, Valerie is creating opportunities for them to equip our partnering farmers, as they plant trees and restore their watersheds, in an exciting new revenue stream. This will help us grow significantly to achieve our THRIVE 25 goals. 

Valerie began her journey on our team as the first Regional Representative in Houston, Texas in 2016. Valerie spent 5 years joyfully building a local community of partnerships with many new families, churches and foundations to support the global work of Plant With Purpose. Previously, Valerie was an Advocacy Advisor with Save the Children International in New York where she successfully influenced various UN resolutions related to maternal, newborn/child health as well as child migrant rights. Valerie's husband is from Australia and together they are parents to triplet toddler boys. After 10 years living in the U.S. (New York and Houston), she's excited to be back in her hometown, Toronto, Canada.

Valerie Foulkes
Strategic Initiatives Manager

Allie Wilson Plasek

Regional Representative, Western U.S.

Allie works with our partners by helping match their passions and interests to our holistic approach of caring for our broken world. Whether it be one or a mixture of spiritual renewal, economic empowerment, or environmental restoration, she works with partners as they express what they deeply care about. She is very passionate about regenerative farms/gardens and finding ways for people to connect with nature and realize their roles within ecosystems. 

Allie attended California State University, Chico for Religious Studies and African Studies. She continued her education at Princeton Theological, and earned a Master's of Divinity. She has created gardens and helped co-create a habitat gardening cooperative focused on regenerative landscaping. Allie loves reading and talking about theology/where we see God in our world. She has bees and a habitat garden for them to forage, and uses their honey to make wildflower Mead.

Allie Wilson Plasek
Regional Representative, Western U.S.

Melissa Johnson

Regional Representative, Southern California

Melissa shares the work and impact of Plant with Purpose with new and longtime supporters. She loves to walk alongside our partners who together are transforming lives, reversing rural poverty, and inspiring hope through our holistic approach. She delights in connecting individuals, families, churches, and foundations with our mission and building and strengthening these special relationships.

Melissa earned her Master’s of Science degree in Health Promotion Management from American University and a Bachelor's degree from UCLA. She served as executive director of three health-related organizations, including a presidential appointment at a federal government agency within the Department of Health & Human Services in Washington, D.C. Her work has allowed her the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural, international initiatives, including a program for Jordanian children and a mentorship program to advance the impact of women leaders in Egypt. She also served two other faith-based non-profits that restore hope by caring for vulnerable people in crisis. As a global health advocate, she is thrilled to work for an organization that addresses rural poverty alleviation by connecting healthy environments to healthy communities. Melissa enjoys living in her Southern California hometown and loves to travel around the country visiting family and friends.

Melissa Johnson
Regional Representative, Southern California

Rich McCullen

Regional Representative, San Diego

Rich focuses on building strong, meaningful relationships with donors by recognizing that donors are more than just a source of funding - they are partners in the work. He is excited about getting to know donors on a personal level, understanding their passions and interests, and building trust and rapport. 

Rich has extensive experience through starting several progressive Christian churches throughout the United States, along with training and consulting churches and nonprofits. He absolutely loves animals and one day hopes to live in and run an animal sanctuary.

Rich McCullen
Regional Representative, San Diego

McKinley Lewandowski

Regional Representative Associate, Denver

McKinley works in the Denver area as our Regional Representative Associate. She spends her time offering support to the Development Team in every capacity. She is excited to participate in our mission by helping others to see the value in our work and the joy of supporting through giving. 

McKinley earned her Undergraduate Degree in International Development with focuses in Sociology, African and Environmental Studies from Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also completed her Masters Degree in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University in Indianapolis. When McKinley isn’t working, you can find her listening to true crime, or cheering on the Indianapolis Colts!

McKinley Lewandowski
Regional Representative Associate, Denver

Shawn Welling

Regional Representative, Houston

Shawn nurtures existing donor relationships and cultivates new ones as we connect donors to the communities we empower. He especially enjoys the opportunity to journey with donors as they envision and live out the work of co-creating healing spaces for the sake of our world.

Shawn has assisted in the creation of deep listening spaces in marginalized and under-resourced neighborhoods in Houston. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Belmont University and has completed work toward a Master of Arts in Christian Practice at Duke Divinity. Shawn has also received Graduate Certificates of Theology in Spiritual Direction and in Youth Ministry. In addition to playing guitar, Shawn loves hanging out with his wife, Demi, and their three grandchildren.

Shawn Welling
Regional Representative, Houston

Innovation Lab

Bob Morikawa

Senior Director, Innovation Lab

Bob works with farmers and team members around the world to help develop the tools, knowledge, and processes needed to address environmental and economic challenges. He loves getting the opportunity to learn from the farmers and teammates he works alongside as they apply their energy, ingenuity, curiosity, and creativity and come up with practical solutions.

Bob is the coauthor of a peer-reviewed paper about the resilience of smallholder farmers, and he has personally planted over 60,000 trees. Bob has a history of dedicated problem solving, even when he was in ninth grade, getting up at 6:00am every morning before school to deliver newspapers so he could pay for and build his own telescope. Bob has a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture and a Masters of Science in Forest Genetics, and he speaks Spanish, Swahili, and Haitian Kreyol. When he’s not working, Bob enjoys canoeing, paddle making, and memorization. 

Bob Morikawa
Senior Director, Innovation Lab

Corey Chin

Director, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Corey works with our local program teams to monitor progress and measure results. His team uses these data to understand our program's impact and when applicable, make "course corrections" as we strive for continuous improvement. He is passionate about balancing the application of scientific rigor while upholding the value of relationships throughout the entire monitoring and evaluation process. 

In collaboration with colleagues from around the globe, Corey has co authored articles published in peer-reviewed journals covering aspects of our program such as resilience, peace & reconciliation, and remote sensing. Corey has a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies with a minor in Geography, and he is trained in project management, data equity, geographic information systems, plant identification, and wildlife tracking. 

Corey Chin
Director, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Grace Santos

Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist

Grace’s role as Monitoring and Evaluation specialist involves a number of tasks such as studying, testing and analyzing how our program methodology impacts the lives of the people with whom we partner. Grace’s accomplishments are significant, one highlight including her study on “Smallholder farmer resilience: a multi-year multidimensional study in the Dominican Republic and Haiti - Trees, Forests and People.”

Grace earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and is also fluent in Spanish. In her free time, Grace enjoys hiking and mountain climbing.

Grace Santos
Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist

Dave Luebkeman

Operations Specialist, Innovation Lab

Working in the Innovation Lab as our Operations Specialist, Dave seeks out data which tells the Plant With Purpose story, sheds light on program areas needing attention, and explores new geographic areas for future expansion. Dave is a data dog and loves hunting for information knowing the work he does helps his colleagues do their job better. 

Dave started his career as a Certified Public Accountant. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cal State Hayward (now East Bay) and a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University. Dave enjoys baking birthday cakes for kids in the foster care system, and he also leads indoor cycling classes. He once bicycled 400 miles around the country of Burundi and has also bicycled from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Dave Luebkeman
Operations Specialist, Innovation Lab

Emilie Jackson

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Analyst

As the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Analyst, Emilie works with the Innovation Lab and International Programs team to design, execute, and  interpret impact assessment data from our watersheds around the world. Through MEL data, Emilie is passionate about elevating the stories of resilient men and women working to transform their lives and their family's future.

Before joining our team, Emilie worked on the operations team at HOPE International where she resourced a global network of microfinance institutions with project management and monitoring and evaluation. Emilie has her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Seattle Pacific University. In 2021, Emilie also completed a Discipline Agile Scrum Master certificate course from the Project Management Institute. Emilie is originally from the Pacific Northwest, but now happily calls the north side of Chicago home. It is there you can find her on a run, reading a good book, trying a new recipe, or cheering for the Seattle Seahawks.

Emilie Jackson
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Analyst

Sofia Kozidis

GIS & Remote Sensing Specialist

As the GIS and Remote Sensing Specialist, Sofia works with the Innovation Lab to address impacts of climate change on watershed health and conduct analyses on collected data. Sofia enjoys making beautiful maps and has a lot of fun getting lost in the details when it comes to mapping data in her role.

Sofia has extensive experience collecting, studying, and analyzing aerial imagery from airplanes, drones, and satellites. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Geography with Environmental Science from University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. She then went on to get her Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology from University of Wisconsin - Madison. She is proud to have recently completed the 2022 Emergency Response Book for a county in Wisconsin and for getting her FAA Remote Pilot License for drones. Sofia has a minor in art and enjoys various creative endeavors, which complements her love for GIS and remote sensing.

Sofia Kozidis
GIS & Remote Sensing Specialist

International Programs

Jared White

Regional Director, Africa

Since 2016, Jared has served as the critical link between our San Diego office and all of our programs in Africa. He is motivated by his faith in Jesus and passionate about working interdependently with our local teams to design a creative yet impactful program and develop a culture of mission and high-impact driven transformational development.

For 10 years Jared lived and worked in Uganda expanding his experience and passion for international development. He co-founded Pulse Village Transport Limited, an innovative enterprise that manufactures and distributes locally assembled motorcycle ambulances needed for critical medical transportation in Uganda. Prior, he served as a director of Invisible Children’s efforts on the ground in Uganda. Jared oversaw program design, implementation, and operations. Jared has his Master of Arts in International Development from Eastern University’s School of Leadership and Development and a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Biblical Studies from Biola University. In 2009, Jared received the Young Alumni Award from Biola University for his mission-driven work in Uganda. Jared is an adventurer at heart and in 2009 fulfilled his dream of riding motorcycles with some close friends through five East African countries.

Jared White
Regional Director, Africa

Milmer Martinez Vergara

V.P. of International Programs

As the Vice President of International Programs, Milmer works closely with all of our local teams as well as community participants to find solutions to problems including food security and wildlife habitat loss. Milmer is a passionate biologist and has a background in Conservation Genetics, and Behavioral Ecology. He is a key player in facilitating positive change in the rural communities we partner with, and seeks to identify opportunities to co-design and co-implement strategies that increase native and endemic biodiversity. 

Through integrating conservation biology and agroecology principles into our transformational development model, Milmer facilitates processes and agricultural designs that lead to restored natural ecosystems, and consequently create resilient rural communities. He considers it a privilege to collaborate with rural farmers communities and teams around the world.

Milmer Martinez Vergara
V.P. of International Programs

Annah Amani

Programs Officer, Africa

Annah serves as a key link between the San Diego office and programs in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi, and DR Congo. She is responsible for ensuring excellent communication in both directions in order for priorities to be clear and to maintain genuine partnerships that flourish. Relationally, Annah works with and alongside the Africa Programs Director and local teams in a spirit of interdependent partnership while ensuring performance and accountability. She is most passionate about being part of a movement that transforms our participants lives, communities, nations and contributes to the global greater good of restoring creation.

Through her M.P.H. studies at University of California, Los Angeles, she served as the team manager in the development of programs to prevent maternal mortality in rural Kenya. After her M.P.H, she went on to serve as the regional program coordinator for Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (now Unbound Uganda). Dr. Amani’s research sought to represent the voice of rural women in Uganda on the vital matter of birthplace choice. After completion of her Ph.D, Annah taught global health and other public health courses as an adjunct lecturer for the Department of Public Health Sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina. In her early childhood, Annah was a child refugee from Uganda to Los Angeles. As a child refugee, Annah was aided by many people and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International. The refugee experience sparked an interest in doing work that “aided” others in the global community. She is committed to doing progressive work in the fields of health, education, social justice and community development.

Annah Amani
Programs Officer, Africa

John Richert

Program & Sustainability Officer - LAC

John partners with our Latin America and Caribbean Regional Director as well as country directors in Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic to envision, plan, and achieve our program goals. John works closely with our global partners to creatively design programs, track progress and manage the data that shows the impact of our global work.  Additionally, he works with other members of our International Programs and Innovation Lab teams to ensure our data systems are developing to meet the need of our ever-expanding vision. 

After completing his PhD in Ecology at UC Davis, John served as the Lead Pastor of Discovery Church for eleven years in the university town of Davis, CA. John left ministry in the local church to serve as Chair of the Biology Department at William Jessup University in Sacramento, CA. He continues to teach Biology as an Adjunct Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. John is an experienced diving instructor, and enjoys exploring the underwater world and sharing the experience with others.

John Richert
Program & Sustainability Officer - LAC

Taylore Maxcy

Program Operations Specialist, Africa

Within the International Programs department, Taylore is a member of the Africa team where she works closely with the Regional Director and our partners in Burundi, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Tanzania to provide comprehensive operational support to our programs. As the steward of program data, she is primarily focused on establishing, refining, and maintaining data and management systems to ensure high-quality programming both regionally and globally. Taylore also manages both internal and external reporting and works closely with other departments to ensure the impact of our programs is presented clearly and accurately.

Taylore has extensive previous experience supporting global projects, including fieldwork in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and holds a BA in Government from CSU Sacramento and MA in International Relations from the University of Queensland in Australia. She is particularly passionate about empowering local communities and identifying ways to better achieve gender inclusion and equality. Taylore resides in San Diego and, outside of work, loves to travel and is a self-proclaimed foodie that seeks out great cuisine both at home and abroad.

Taylore Maxcy
Program Operations Specialist, Africa

Marketing

Lynne Takahashi Marian

Director, Marketing & Communications

Lynne leads the Plant With Purpose marketing and communications teams, helping us to connect and support our expanding U.S. partner community. She is passionate about sharing the stories of our international partners and helping individuals, organizations, and churches fulfill their vision to positively impact the global issues of poverty and the environment.

She has more than 30 years of corporate experience and has specialized throughout her career in working with Christian, nonprofit, and global development organizations. Before joining Plant With Purpose, Lynne worked with organizations including World Vision, World Concern, Our Daily Bread, Outreach, Inc., (where she was the founding editor/publisher of Outreach Magazine and the Outreach 100) and many others. Lynne lives in Southern California and is also a life and executive coach.

Lynne Takahashi Marian
Director, Marketing & Communications

Philippe Lazaro

Communications Manager / Storyteller

Philippe shares the stories of people living at the forefront of the climate crisis, who are working to transform their ecosystems and communities. He loves emphasizing the human experience, and keeping conversations about the environment centered on the communities most affected by it. Philippe has led storytelling trips to Mexico, Thailand, Colombia, Tanzania, South Africa, Haiti, and a number of other countries. He has previously served in similar roles at Liberty in North Korea and Mobility International.

Philippe obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara. He furthered his studies by earning a Master of Arts in International Studies as well as a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at University of Oregon. Philippe is also an illustrator, podcaster, and digital artist. Outside of work, Philippe loves spending time with his wife and their three kids (under three!).

Philippe Lazaro
Communications Manager / Storyteller

Katherine Padgett

Marketing Systems Specialist

Katherine supports the marketing team in executing communications that connect with and inspire our U.S. partners. She is excited about tracking and interpreting marketing communications analytics to ensure the team is effective in reaching our goals and supporting our mission.

During her time at Plant With Purpose, Katherine has partnered with other members of the team to help create more efficient and collaborative systems for marketing communications projects. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Business and English from Hollins University. Katherine lives in San Diego with her husband and their lemon tree, Lulu. When she’s not working, Katherine enjoys board games, gardening, and Star Wars.

Katherine Padgett
Marketing Systems Specialist

Macy Day

Media Specialist

Starting as an intern during the fall semester of 2021, Macy joined the marketing team as our Media Specialist. Working from social media strategy and content, to assisting with event coordination, Macy provides assistance to the marketing department in the necessary areas. She is passionate about displaying our mission in an ethical, truthful, and authentic way, while connecting with our current and potential supporters via social media. 

Macy resides in Nashville, Tennessee and has previous experience in videography, photography, and assistant positions. She is passionate about traveling, connecting with people from all different walks of life, and discovering the relationship of humanity within our differences. When Macy is not working, she is discovering new forms of artistic expression including collaging, pottery, and painting.

Macy Day
Media Specialist

Development Operations

Sarah Jeske

Director of Development Operations

As the Director of Development Operations, Sarah has the opportunity to collaborate across the organization to ensure grant deliverables are in alignment with the strategic plan and core values of who we are. This allows us to stay true to our mission while funding the important work of our partners, ultimately supporting the efforts of the farmers we serve.

Sarah has a background in Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning. Sarah has a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the College of St. Benedict and a Master's Degree in International Development Administration from Western Michigan University. She completed her Master’s through the Peace Corps Master’s International Program by serving in Ethiopia for two years and completing an evaluation of a major development project during her service. Sarah is a parent to three children alongside her husband, Paul. Together, they enjoy Rockies baseball, the mountains, and Friday evening dance parties in their living room.

Sarah Jeske
Director of Development Operations

Ellen Davis

Associate Director, Grants and Donor Engagement

With a background in grant writing, Ellen now works to equip our grant writers as well as build out a team and administrative systems to support our regional representatives. She enjoys working on a variety of projects that ultimately connect our major donors more deeply to the work and mission of Plant With Purpose.

Previously, Ellen worked as a Grant Writer at Voices for Children, with AmeriCorps at Habitat for Humanity East Bay, and administered impact evaluation surveys in Guatemala to benefit Heifer International. She has a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations from UC Davis and a Master's Degree in International Development and Nonprofit Management from UC San Diego. Ellen is excited to play a part in an organization that cares deeply for people and the environment. When Ellen is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband Matt and two young children - Samuel and Lily.

Ellen Davis
Associate Director, Grants and Donor Engagement

Emily Thome

Grant Writer

Emily works to combine data and statistics with partners' stories from the field to create both a realistic and comprehensive narrative of what we are doing around the world. Emily takes on a supportive role on the Grants Team, working diligently through organization and administration. During her time at Point Loma Nazarene University, she dove into a study on the correlation between economic empowerment and the reduction of gender-based violence in rural farming communities. This inspired Emily to join our team and further our mission. 

Through an experience living in Amman, Jordan, Emily had the honor of working alongside Syrian refugees through yoga-based therapy. Whilst teaching classes, Emily formed a passion for writing ethical stories of survivors of trauma in a way that communicates dignity and empowerment. When Emily is not at work, you can find her on the beaches of San Diego catching a wave or drinking a good cup of coffee.

Emily Thome
Grant Writer

Eden Delavara

Donor Engagement Specialist

As the Donor Engagement Specialist, Eden administratively oversees Vision Trips and supports regional representatives as they cultivate relationships with our donors and supporters. She is very passionate about the holistic core mission of Plant with Purpose and loves contributing to the efficiency of organizational systems.

Through cross-cultural internships with Operation Mobilization Costa Rica, Serge, and International Rescue Committee, Eden has built a skillset rooted in intercultural competency and intentional curiosity. In working with marginalized urban communities and asylum-seeking populations, she has formed a deep appreciation for transformational development and empowerment. Eden graduated from Biola University with a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies, with an emphasis in International & Community Development, along with two minors in Art and Biblical Studies. When Eden is not working, she enjoys painting, drawing, and starting other creative projects.

Eden Delavara
Donor Engagement Specialist

Ari Burcombe

Donor and Data Systems Manager

Ari works closely with our development team to analyze data and inform future strategic fundraising decisions. She takes on tasks involving donation management, fundraising data analytics, and connecting donors with our team. Ari is a creative and action-oriented team member who is excited about research, consulting, and the development of our donor partnerships. 

Ari graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a focus in Marketing. While not at work, Ari enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and camping with her husband and loved ones.

Ari Burcombe
Donor and Data Systems Manager

Brianna Briggs

Grant Writer

Bri loves that her job revolves around all things “tree” at Plant With Purpose. Day-to-day, this looks like researching tree-funding opportunities, writing proposals and reports, and sharing partner farmers’ inspiring stories of incorporating trees into their farms and income streams. Bri’s favorite parts of the job are collaborating with her peers and wrangling words, as she seeks the best way to share our heart and methods with funders.

Bri holds degrees in Psychology and Natural Resources, a minor in Technical Writing, and a certificate in Global Studies from the University of Kentucky. Bri knows nothing about basketball or bourbon but does know that Kentucky has the friendliest farmers’ markets and that bluegrass music grows on you. She’s always down to chat about both of these things. Now living in San Diego, Bri spends a lot of time reading an eclectic mix of books, planning travel to visit family and friends, and hike-running in search of views with her husband, Pete.

Brianna Briggs
Grant Writer

Shiloah Williams

Grant Writer

Shiloah is responsible for creating content to cultivate deeper relationships with our wonderful donors. Through storytelling and implementing creative ways to engage donors, she hopes to bring inspiration and connection between people and our mission. 

Shiloah’s accomplishments include her completion of a climate justice fellowship, and writing/co-producing short films on environmental justice awareness. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from California Baptist University. Shiloah enjoys hiking, watching musical theater, and writing poetry and thriller short stories.

Shiloah Williams
Grant Writer

Margaret Reed

Stewardship and Data Entry Administrator

Margaret is excited to support the Development Operations team by ensuring data and integrity for us to support a smooth and refreshing process for our donors. As the Stewardship and Data Entry Administrator, Margaret passionately assists with a number of tasks that strengthen systems and processes for the entire team.

For over a decade, Margaret has worked in data entry and administration. She also has extensive experience in marketing and is currently enrolled in the Visual Communications program at Mesa College, pursuing an Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design. Margaret also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from San Diego State University. Margaret loves poetry and considers writing haiku to be a connection to her spiritual life.

Margaret Reed
Stewardship and Data Entry Administrator

Burundi

Noé Nizigama

Country Director, Burundi

As a Country Director, Noé believes that leadership based on the love of those with whom you serve empowers each staff member. He is passionate about loving those he serves with and those they serve together. Noé is proud of the grace of God who allowed us, in a period of 5 years, to shift into the impactful Watershed approach. Now, our program in Burundi is on a tremendous step of growth both in quality services and in geographical expansion.

Noé was also a big part of the successful partnership agreement between our programs in Burundi and Hope International Burundi as an outcome of a tangible impact of our ECC material. Noé hopes this small beginning could open more opportunities for partnerships in the future. As part of the implementation of his Masters in Gender Institutions and Societies, Noé has recently conducted research on socio-economic gender relationships within VSLA groups supervised by the Burundi team in the sub-watershed of Nyakazu.

Noé Nizigama
Country Director, Burundi

Emile Icoyavuze

Deputy Country Director, Burundi

As Deputy Country Director, Emile’s role is to ensure the implementation of the program through our three components: Environmental Restoration, Economic Empowerment and Spiritual Renewal. These three components work with the grassroots groups of the watersheds to reduce poverty in rural areas through an integrated program that contributes to holistic transformation of the community. What excites Emile most is to see how the programs utilize these tools to achieve a transformation of human lives.

Before stepping into his role as Deputy Country Director, he was our Economic Empowerment Coordinator. He believes that with our integrated program, the Spiritual Renewal aspect has greatly impacted the behavior of our participants so much so that we have not recorded any cases of theft or misunderstanding. In addition, he is very proud of the progress from income generating activities in the sub-watershed of Mutsindozi, where we are able to see how incomes have increased after only 2 years. Emile has a Master's Degree in Community Based Development, and loves to sing, play the guitar and worship God while doing so.

Emile Icoyavuze
Deputy Country Director, Burundi

Honorine Murorunkwere

Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, Burundi

Honorine is passionate about improving our integrated program quality in our Burundi programs through development of our monitoring and evaluation systems. Through strong logic, organizational decision making processes, and periodic performance tracking, she aims to help poor households located in rural Burundi to change their life standard.

Honorine received a Master’s degree in Project planning and Management, from Moi University in Kenya. She also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication for development from Light University. She is proud of her part in research studies on maternal health and nutrition, resulting in the publishing of an academic paper in January of 2020. Honorine has over 3 years of professional experience in Monitoring and Evaluation. Through work, and in her free time, she loves to bring praise and worship to God.

Honorine Murorunkwere
Monitoring & Evaluation Manager, Burundi

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Birori Gaparani Dieudonne

Program Manager, D.R. Congo

As the program manager of the D.R. Congo program, Birori works collaboratively with the senior management team to manage and plan for the future of our program. Birori is passionate about serving the rural communities who are voiceless. He is proud to see participants ready to improve and change their financial situation. 

One of Birori’s many accomplishments includes being the first to gather with the team in launching the D.R. Congo program. He’s been a key player in our growth from 1 watershed to 7 watersheds within a short period of time. He has seen testimonies of how communities have broken the cycle of poverty within only two years of work. Birori has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Birori has the determination to bring peaceful cohabitation among the population. He loves traditional food from his country and is also a huge Manchester United football fan.

Birori Gaparani Dieudonne
Program Manager, D.R. Congo

Mathias Muhizi

Spiritual Renewal Supervisor, DR Congo
Mathias Muhizi
Spiritual Renewal Supervisor, DR Congo

Fidel Mukamyi Mutima

Economic Empowerment Supervisor, DR Congo
Fidel Mukamyi Mutima
Economic Empowerment Supervisor, DR Congo

Dominican Republic

Durbel Lora Brito

Country Director, Dominican Republic

Durbel carries out the responsibility of leading the Dominican Republic team toward our mission of community development. His passion is to contribute to the restorative construction of a conscience of stewardship for creation, advancing towards the goal of being better citizens of the world, and affirming their idiosyncrasies as faithful children of God. Durbel has been a consistent part of the  sustained growth of the programs in the Dominican Republic since it began. He has facilitated the acceleration of tree planting, Savings and Loans Group formation, and expansion of partner families. This has meant a quantitative and qualitative increase in staff. 

Durbel was raised in a family of ranchers, and is proficient in and enjoys farming, including plowing with a tractor. He has a degree in Agricultural Engineering from Dominican Adventist University, as well as his Masters in Operations Administration, from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Durbel enjoys walking with his family in nature, in his country or abroad and taking pictures of landscapes. He feels very grateful to God for his wife and children.

Durbel Lora Brito
Country Director, Dominican Republic

Eugenio Marte

Operations Assistant, Dominican Republic

As our Operations Assistant, Eugenio’s responsibilities include a number of tasks ranging from organizing records, activities, and media, to maintenancing the vehicles and motorcycles used by staff. Eugenio is a vital part of operations in the Dominican Republic, as he directs the report of new developments, and oversees the health and safety of our staff. 

Eugenio has worked at Plant With Purpose for over 30 years, and is passionate about seeing the positive changes that are occurring in the community. He has an abundance of experience in his role, and has a diploma in Automotive and Industrial Electricity. He also holds Certifications in Communication and Conflict Management, Information Technology, and Teaching. Eugenio enjoys writing fiction and non-fiction stories, as well as poetry.

Eugenio Marte
Operations Assistant, Dominican Republic

Erika Galicia

Economic Development & Information Director, Dominican Republic

As our Economic Development and Information Director, Erika carries out a number of tasks for the benefit of our Dominican Republic team. This includes scheduling and coordinating the activities of the GAP, supervising the team in each community, giving talks and workshops, and preparing quarterly reports for our database. Erika’s passion is walking through the watersheds and seeing the transformation that occurs when our program reaches each community. 

Erika has a degree in Business Administration, and has accumulated extensive experience in the development of rural communities. She has a plethora of knowledge in conflict management, teamwork, information management, human relations, and is currently working on her Masters Degree in Business Management.

Erika Galicia
Economic Development & Information Director, Dominican Republic

Ethiopia

Taye Tibebu

Program Director, Ethiopia

Taye works closely with the communities within the Ethiopian watersheds to facilitate change. Through organizational methods, Taye ensures the program is run in a way that aligns with the mission of Plant With Purpose. He is proud and passionate about the growing program in Ethiopia and hopes to expand the areas of impact within the country.

Since childhood, Taye used to have an outlook of hopelessness in his life and the lives of his neighbors, as they were unable to meet their basic needs. He is passionate now actively pursuing change in his community and throughout Ethiopia. Nearly 18 years of experience with World Vision Ethiopia has led Taye on a journey of community development and emergency response programs. He also studied seed multiplication and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Crop Science and a Master’s in Rural Development. Taye lives by Psalm 12:5; But the Lord says: “Because of the violence done to the oppressed, because of the painful cries of the needy, I will spring into action. I will provide the safety they so desperately desire.”

Taye Tibebu
Program Director, Ethiopia

Engida Mandefro Wube

Country Director, Ethiopia

As the Country Director for Ethiopia, Engida carries out a multitude of responsibilities with passion and innovation. Engida provides leadership and guidance for the entire team within our three areas of poverty alleviation, environmental restoration, and stewardship and agency.

He has worked in various humanitarian and nonprofit organizations within his career to heal people and their environment after natural and man-made disasters, conflicts, and disease epidemics. Engida is a proud member of various global platforms including the Migration Taskforce, Africa Region Shared Leadership for Resilience Building, and Africa Disaster Management. He has studied Community Development and Leadership and has a Master's Degree in Livelihood and Development. Engida is a proud advocate for Ethiopian traditions including organic coffee and delicious traditional foods.

Engida Mandefro Wube
Country Director, Ethiopia

Belaynesh Tesema

Manager of Finance & Administration, Ethiopia

Belaynesh leads the Finance and Administration section of our office in Ethiopia. Her extensive experience in accounting and finance makes her a valuable asset to our organization, where she continues to contribute to our mission with dedication and leadership.

Belaynesh has an MSC in Accounting and Finance from Bahir Dar University. With over 15 years of experience in the field, she has honed her skills in various reputable organizations. Her professional journey includes significant roles at MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Association), Koga Veg, the Agency for the Development of Houses, and EEPCO, among others.

Belaynesh Tesema
Manager of Finance & Administration, Ethiopia

Haiti

Hidden for security

Malawi

Elizabeth Maoneyi Maneya

Country Director, Malawi

As the Country Director for Malawi, Elizabeth works as a servant leader for the hard-to-reach communities across the country. She is passionate about adding value to community-based resilience methodologies and contributing to the narrative of positive human stories within rural Malawi.

Elizabeth has been serving rural communities for over 30 years now and loves being part of their transformative stories. She is proud of her accomplishment in setting up Pump Aid Malawi in 2008, which still serves communities in Malawi today. In 2011, Elizabeth was also one of the first Directors who set up Malawi Mangoes, a start-up socio-economic agro-processing business with a component of mango farming outreach, serving over 5,000 smallholder farmers in the Salima District of Malawi. Elizabeth holds multiple degrees and diplomas in the areas of Business Administration and Leadership, Rural and Urban Planning, Project Management, and Participatory Environmental Appraisal, and is currently a Ph.D. student at UNICAF University.

Elizabeth Maoneyi Maneya
Country Director, Malawi

Diniwe Grace Gopani

Program Director, Malawi

Through her role as Program Director for Malawi, Diniwe provides strategic and operational leadership including program planning and management, budgeting, capacity building and coordination. She is passionate about seeing sustainable change in the people and communities that we serve.

Diniwe is proud of her accomplishments in leading complex projects on the environment, gender, economic empowerment, women in leadership, and education. She has vast experience working with several nonprofits including Oxfam, Heifer International and LandOLakes, within a multitude of diverse communities and cultures. Diniwe is a proud mother of two boys, Emmanuel and Nathaniel.

Diniwe Grace Gopani
Program Director, Malawi

Jostino Solomon Mbewe

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Officer, Malawi

In the role of the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Officer for Malawi, Jostino holds the pivotal responsibility of establishing and overseeing our information systems. He believes that a robust information system is the backbone for informed decision-making across all project levels, and is crucial for achieving our project goals. What truly ignites his passion is the process of anchoring the project M&E Framework, collecting and analyzing data, disseminating knowledge to our management at all levels, insightful reporting, and facilitating coordination with all stakeholders.

Jostino holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Statistics, Demography and Mathematics. He has a wealth of experience through his previous work in Project Monitoring and Evaluation. A notable achievement is his establishment of a District Council-Wide M & E System from scratch at Ntchisi District Council. When Jostino is not working, you can find him leading church services, or tending to his livestock.

Jostino Solomon Mbewe
Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Officer, Malawi

Mexico

Luis Alberto Castellanos

Executive Director, Mexico

As the Executive Director of our team in Mexico, Luis works to facilitate transformative development processes within the rural community. Luis has served Southeast Mexico for more than 20 years, and continues his passion through promoting a team committed to the mission and vision of the organization.

Luis earned his degree in Business Administration, and has a certification in Professionalization of Organized Civil Society by the National Institute of Social Development (Mexico). Previously, Luis has been a facilitator of community development for missionary training at the training center of the Assemblies of God (Camad). He enjoys reading books, drinking coffee and doesn’t miss an opportunity to crack a joke with his friends and colleagues.

Luis Alberto Castellanos
Executive Director, Mexico

Laura Adriana Sanjuan Gil

Program Coordinator, Mexico

As our Program Coordinator over the regional programs in Mexico, Laura works diligently to make sure all projects are running smoothly. She is passionate about listening and collecting the stories of the people who participate in the projects and the changes they experience in their way of thinking. Laura worked as a collaborator in the construction of a general historical database of our work performance. 

Laura has a degree in Public Accounting, and has experience as a facilitator of personal finance workshops within the community. She also contributed to the establishment of a sewing workshop in a community of Santa María Mixistlán with women from a local church, in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca. Laura enjoys painting in her free time.

Laura Adriana Sanjuan Gil
Program Coordinator, Mexico

Arbeis González Gómez

Operations Manager, Mexico
Arbeis González Gómez
Operations Manager, Mexico

Tanzania

Richard David Mhina

Country Director, Tanzania

As Country Director for Tanzania, Richard is responsible for managing our overall operations within Tanzania. He plays a pivotal role in delegating and directing agendas and strategy, setting annual plans, making sure organizational resources are effectively utilized, and communicating with stakeholders. Richard is passionate about helping others improve their lives, and has always been someone who wanted to help people, rather than just helping himself. Working as a country director with us gives him an opportunity to contribute in reversing poverty and restoring a degraded environment. 

Richard earned his Master's Degree in Business Management from Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute. He also has his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from Sokoine University. Through his time with us, he has helped grow the program from 1,600 families to 11,100 direct beneficiaries and over 50,000 indirect beneficiaries. Over 11 years, he’s also succeeded in reducing the cost per beneficiary by more than 500%. His passion is to share the knowledge of ecosystem health with people and the importance of organic farming in improved health and fighting hunger. Through his dedicated leadership, it was possible for our Tanzania program to receive the certificate of appreciation from the Ministry of Agriculture for successfully supporting ecological organic agriculture within the country.

Richard David Mhina
Country Director, Tanzania

Dafrozah Samagwa

Program Director, Tanzania

Dafrozah is responsible for ensuring effective communication between the field operations and the management team. She is passionate about facilitating change within the organization and taking on tasks such as creative program management, problem-solving, monitoring and reporting, and goal setting. Dafrozah is a catalyst for ensuring we achieve our goals of reversing poverty and deforestation, while ensuring that staff respect and value the community members we are serving.

Dafrozah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences and Management, as well as a Master of Science in Management of Natural Resources for Sustainable Agriculture from Sokoine University of Agriculture. When Dafrozah is not working or taking care of her family you can find her deeply immersed in reading a novel or motivational book. She developed this habit in secondary school whereby she was required to read 4 novels per week.

Dafrozah Samagwa
Program Director, Tanzania

Tabitha Mkazeni

Field Officer (Agriculture), Tanzania

Through her role, Tabitha provides technical support to farmers through training on sustainable use of agronomic practices. She offers extension support to farmers on the use of agroecology techniques and botanical pesticides to solve problems in the field. Through improving soil, she sees an increase in production and improvement of livelihood.

Tabitha has a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy, and has attended several workshops on organic pesticides. She continues to gain knowledge by attending symposiums on sustainable agriculture and organic banana production. Tabitha is passionate about learning new sustainable farming ideas from farmers in the field. In her free time, she enjoys listening to gospel music.

Tabitha Mkazeni
Field Officer (Agriculture), Tanzania

Charles Richard Maika

Field Officer (Environment), Tanzania

Charles provides practical knowledge to community members on ecological restoration through tree nursery preparation, management, and tree planting. He is passionate about conserving our surrounding environment through organizing our tree-planting campaigns. By involving the participation of community members and local government leaders, Charles has aided in the planting of over 40,000 trees for each planting campaign.

Charles has a Bachelor of Science in Forestry, and has skills in tree seed harvesting, and tree nursery establishment and management. He is also experienced in the areas of  tree improvement techniques such as grafting and budding.

Charles Richard Maika
Field Officer (Environment), Tanzania

Sinyati Ng'ida

Marketing & Evaluation Officer, Tanzania

Sinyati is passionate about listening to narrations from our beneficiaries and developing them into success stories. In her role, she provides technical know-how to the immediate team on new projects through recording, editing and producing videos. She is excited about communicating organizational activities which ensure projects are done efficiently. Sinyati’s work often involves influencing communities to adopt different technologies.

Sinyati has a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Studies. She is a people person and enjoys getting the opportunity to learn more about others through her work each day.

Sinyati Ng'ida
Marketing & Evaluation Officer, Tanzania

Thailand

Jumlong Pawkham

Country Director- UHDF, Thailand

Jumlong is responsible for cultivating a space of decision-making with the management team to ensure our work has a positive impact on the community. He has an abundance of practical work experience in sustainable agriculture for over 26 years. Through this, he has impacted his community by giving knowledge to others about sustainable practices that will be passed down through generations. 

Jumlong graduated with a Master’s Degree in Strategy for Development from Rajabhat Chiang Rai University. He is excited about the time he has put into our mission, and loves being an example to his community. Jumlong enjoys spending time with his whole family, and bringing everyone together through fishing.

Jumlong Pawkham
Country Director- UHDF, Thailand

Punyanuch Butrat

Office Manager, Thailand

As our Office Manager, Punyanuch thrives within an environment of honesty, and passion for working to honor God. She is very proud of her work and using our holistic approach to develop the work of God by bringing her fellow human beings together. 

Punyanuch is the Vice President of Ban Huai Mae Na Wang Church in Thailand. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Faculty/Business Administration and Marketing from Maejo University, Chiang Mai. 

Punyanuch Butrat
Office Manager, Thailand

Prachaya Kwanmaneekan

Watershed Manager, Thailand

Prachaya shows immense care and generosity for those around him in his role as Watershed Manager. His main responsibility involves caring for the watershed team, and making sure activities are carried out in the correct way. 

Prachaya is proud of his accomplishments in fostering the potential of community leaders to present community development plans to their local government. He has a Bachelor’s of Theology and Public Administration, and is excited about using his skills to further our mission within his watershed.

Prachaya Kwanmaneekan
Watershed Manager, Thailand

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