Alexandra Spieldoch, CEO
Alexandra has served as CEO of Bountifield International/CTI since 2013 and brings more than 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector with expertise in gender, food security, agriculture, and economic policy. Prior to joining Bountifield, Alexandra served as director of the Trade and Global Governance program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and global coordinator of the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders in Agriculture (NWMLA). She has contributed to numerous articles and books related to global governance, gender and food security, rural livelihoods, and sustainable development. Alexandra received her M.A. in International Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Her B.A. is from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri with a major in French literature. She has a certificate in business from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Rouen. She lived in France and Argentina and speaks both French and Spanish.
Andrews Chiwawula Because
Andrews Chiwawula Because
Agricultural Engineering, Malawi
Andrews is a holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering, obtained from the University of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture in 2008. He works with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Lilongwe, Malawi as an Agricultural Engineering Technician.
Prior to this, he worked with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Malawi for three years as an Agricultural Officer, responsible for Farm Mechanization. He has vast experience in operation and servicing of agricultural farm machinery, conducting staff training, managing programs and providing extension services in crop development.
His areas of interest and specialization are design, development, and evaluation of implements, irrigation and other farm structures.
Partnership and Development
Martha D. Hirpa
Senior Advisor, Strategic Partnership and Development
With about 30 years of experience in international development Martha Hirpa has worked with a number of development organizations and agencies at different levels , including national, regional and international. Her career path included serving on key roles and positions within a number of organizations, including her most recent position as a VP of Institutional Partnerships at Heifer International, in Washington DC. Over the years, Ms. Hirpa successfully led various international development projects, initiatives and policy dialogues, spanning across the regions of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the North America, partnering with many bi-lateral and multi-lateral agencies, national governments, civil society and NGOs, as well as private sector.
Ms. Hirpa’s major professional areas of focus, include agriculture and rural development programming and evaluation, social and human capital strengthening, strategic leadership, partnership and resource mobilization, organizational effectiveness and managing changes, among others. In particular, Martha is passionate about policies, systems and practices that impact the resource poor people, including but not limited to smallholder women and men farmers, small and medium sized businesses operators, and marginalized groups - women, youth and low-income population. Her dedication to equitable and sustainable development makes Ms. Hirpa to always emphasis inclusive development.
Communications and Marketing Manager
Wells Frank Kumwenda
Wells Frank Kumwenda
Technical Advisor, Malawi
Wells Frank Kumwenda is a dedicated agricultural engineer and rural development specialist, with many years of experience managing projects in poverty reduction, improving food security, nutrition, and rural development among vulnerable communities. He has worked on groundnut shelling, lifting, and sorting equipment for many years while at Chitedze Research station, where he was head of agricultural engineering.
Wells received his Masters in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Malawi Bunda College of Agriculture.
Country Representative – Malawi
Wongani brings years of experience working with smallholder farmers in various value chains, including groundnuts. Over the years, Wongani has championed new innovations to smallholder farmers and worked with farmers organizations by linking them to formal markets and improving their agricultural productivity.
Before joining Bountifield, Wongani worked with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, National Smallholder Farmer Association of Malawi, and most recently, the One Acre Fund. He received a Master of Arts Degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Malawi.
Global Team Lead
Nadia is a business and development leader with 18 years of experience in sustainable agriculture program planning and coordination, public-private collaboration, project development, strategic communications, impact monitoring and financial management. A champion of new models for smallholder commercialization and SME development through market systems facilitation, she has held previous roles at Institute for Policy Studies, the Council on Foundations, Fintrac Inc., and Farm Africa.
She has also consulted with various organizations doing work in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Venezuela.
Nadia is an MBA candidate at Warwick Business School, UK, earned an MA from the School of International Service at the American University, USA, and received her BA in Political Science from University of Central Florida, USA.
Antony Masinde Kilwake
Antony Masinde Kilwake
Kenya Country Director
Antony Masinde Kilwake is a Business Analyst and Market Systems specialist in Agribusiness especially development of agro-Processing Enterprises and Postharvest management. Antony worked in Private sector in Manufacturing of Intermediate Industrial product as well as fast moving consumer goods and later transitioned to development to work with smallholder farmers, SMEs and other enterprises to foster trade systems integration in mainstream markets through commercialization and market development. He has proven skills in Smallholder farmers’ design of input delivery systems, financial inclusion mechanisms and appropriate technology scaling through multi-sectoral partnerships.
Antony has over 16 years of experience in designing cottage Agro-processing and commodity aggregation systems, smallholder supply chain integration schemes, Youth and Women Enterprise development solutions as well as managing smallholder Inclusive Market Access & sustainable business model approaches. He has regional experience working in Eastern Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia) as well as Western Africa; Nigeria working on diverse value chains; Ethiopia on Sesame, Groundnuts and staples- Maize and sorghum, Rwanda; Horticulture- Potato, leafy vegetables and fruits. He is a member of International Union of Food Scientists through Kenya National Society of Food Scientists with Qualifications in Bsc. Food Science and Technology and Masters in Business Administration –On; Operations Management option from the University of Nairobi.
Country Representative – Senegal
Chief of Party for USAID I Yombal mbojj, Country Represetative – Senegal
Aliou has many years of experience working with small farmers, Senegalese governmental organizations, international NGOs, and the private sector. He has worked as an advisor on agriculture and rural development with the Senegalese agencies SAED and ANCAR, training farmers to improve crop productivity, connecting them to the market and facilitating access to capital. Before joining Bountifield, Aliou worked as a Value Chain Manager for a USAID-funded project focusing on sorghum and millet in Senegal. Aliou has a degree in Agricultural Engineering and a Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) at University Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar. Aliou is also a Geographic Information System specialist and has used this skill to gather important agricultural data throughout Senegal.
Africa Program Manager
Mai Yang is an international development practitioner with experience in monitoring and evaluation, program development, and management. Ms. Yang has managed multi-million dollar U.S. government-funded projects as well as non-government-funded programs, provided monitoring and evaluation support, and conducted evaluations of USAID programs. At Bountifield, she serves as Africa Program Manager, overseeing programming in Malawi and Senegal. She holds an M.A. in International Affairs with a concentration on Governance and Rights from the New School University, and a B.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas.
Board of Directors
Governing Board Members
Lee Wallace - Board Chair
Owner and CEO of Peace Coffee
Lee Wallace is the Queen Bean of Peace Coffee, a mission-driven coffee company based in Minneapolis. Founded in 1996 by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Peace Coffee works for economic justice for coffee farmers, promoting healthy local economies and sustainable business practices. Historically a wholesale company, Peace Coffee has been expanding into retail and is currently operating four coffee shops in the Minneapolis area.
Named one of Minneapolis’ 40 Under 40 in 2012, Lee speaks frequently about fair trade, ethical business and building a successful company. Lee’s professional background includes entrepreneurship, economic development, small business incubation, and natural foods.
In her spare time, Lee enjoys reading, gardening, playing ice hockey and collecting pets.
Bernhard Van Lengerich - Vice Chair
General Mills Inc.
Bernhard van Lengerich
Former Chief Science Officer, General Mills
Bernhard van Lengerich studied food and biotechnology at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, and completed his dissertation entitled "Development and Application of a Systems Analytical Model for the Extrusion of Starches and Starch Containing Ingredients" in 1984 with summa cum laude. He worked at Werner & Pfleiderer in the United States as a process engineer and, subsequently, at RJR Nabisco, New Jersey, U.S.A., as director for extrusion research. Van Lengerich joined the Buhler Corporation in Switzerland as vice president for research and development for the Food Group and was responsible for global R&D.
In 1994, van Lengerich joined General Mills Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., and recently retired from his position as chief science officer and vice president, technology strategy. Van Lengerich is the inventor of more than 70 U.S. and international patents of food products, processing, ingredients, extrusion, and microencapsulation and has several patents pending. He has published more than 50 international publications and four book chapters on food processing, systems analysis, and food extrusion. Van Lengerich serves as honorarium professor at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Al Sullivan - Treasurer
Managing Partner, Kinnan Capital
Al Sullivan is the Managing Partner at Kinnan Capital, a small private equity firm in Wayzata, MN focused on making acquisitions in the small-to-middle market. He has spent nearly a decade analyzing, investing in, and managing both public and private companies. Prior to his career in finance, Al was a software engineer with Minneapolis-based FICO. He has a breadth of experience in the financial service sector and beyond, including software development, marketing, sales, and consulting. Al earned an MBA from Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia in 2010 and a BS in Computer Science from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) in 2000. He currently lives outside Minneapolis with his wife and two sons. He enjoys playing hockey in the winters and pretty much anything gets him outside in the summer.
Andrea Kajer - Secretary
Government Affairs Expert
Manager, Government Affairs at Comcast
Andrea currently manages local regulatory, franchising, and public policy matters in the Twin Cities region for Comcast. Andrea is a visionary leader with three decades of success providing guidance to organizations in both the public and private sector. She has previously been a leader in organizations as diverse as the Minnesota Historical Society, the City of Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Wild.
General Mills Inc.
ITQ Director, General Mills Inc.
Todd Harper is a Director of Innovation, Technology and Quality (ITQ) for General Mills Inc. and currently leads global science to business research for the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has over 25 years of combined leadership experience in Research & Development, Quality, Regulatory and Supply Chain in Canada and the United States. Todd has previous not-for-profit experiences with the Ontario Cereal Industry Research Council (OCIRC) associated with the University of Guelph; he was a board member for over five years and proudly served as President for two years.
He served as a board member of Community Support Services of Missouri for two years while residing in Joplin, Missouri. Additionally, he led the United Way campaign for GMI factory in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, raising over $300,000 in funds for the community. He is a senior member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) professionals where he maintains certifications in HACCP principles and Quality Auditing. Todd is an active member of International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) for North America, focusing on science that improves human health and well-being. Todd holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Franklin College of Indiana.
Mironet Consulting, Inc.
Founder, Mironet Consulting, Inc.
Rob was a senior scientist at Control Data Corporation (and its follow-ons) for 26 years, working first in research, then in applications, and finally in computer services. He left Control Data in 2000 to form Mironet Consulting, Inc., which provided technical support to individuals, small companies, and not-for-profits. Rob retired in 2012. Rob grew up in Connecticut and earned degrees in meteorology from the Univ. of Michigan and MIT. In the Air Force, he was a weather officer and completed 22 years of reserve duty, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. As a meteorologist, Rob has a keen interest in climate change and an appreciation of its effect on small landholders in Africa. As a board member of a small grant-making foundation, Rob has a growing interest in being able to help non-profits to help the world in small but meaningful ways. Rob is married and lives in St Paul.
Advisory Board Members
Retired, Corporate VP and CTO, Cargill
Ron retired from Cargill in 2009 after 38 years of service. During his career with Cargill he lived in Argentina and Canada and several locations within the USA while engineering, building and operating food processing plants. He had been responsible for Plant Operations, Food Safety and Environment, Health and Safety, and Engineering. Ron has an interest in continuing to help people in the developing world through technology and education. He is supporter of Engineers without Borders. Ron also chairs the Dean's Advisory Board for the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota. He has supported the University through scholarships, fellowships and by endowing a chair in renewable energy. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1972. He is a registered professional engineer. Ron is a member of the Board of Trustees of Science Museum of Minnesota. An avid outdoorsman, he owns a small woodland that he stewards for wildlife.
Steve is an international agricultural development specialist with more than 40 years of experience in designing and delivering technical services and training, as well as managing projects for smallholder farmers, especially in Africa. Trained as an agronomist, Steve has special expertise in postharvest processing technologies, grain storage, certified seed production, and crop quality standards. He served as a rural development volunteer for Peace Corps in Benin, field agronomist for ICRISAT in Senegal and Mali, and the in-country director for a crop storage and marketing project in Rwanda financed by USAID and implemented by the University of Minnesota (UMN). For 15 years, he helped manage a special USAID-supported partnership between UMN and ag universities in Morocco. More recently, he worked for seven years as a senior technical adviser for MCC on a major Morocco ag project. Steve has been actively involved with Bountifield since the 1990s, and helped design and initiate implementation of the McKnight-funded project on groundnut technologies in Malawi and Tanzania, as well as the new USAID-funded project to commercialize Bountifield’s millet threshing technology in Senegal.
Consulate General of Canada
Trade Commissioner for Agri-Food at the Consulate General of Canada
Christina Connelly has served as Trade Commissioner for Agri-Food at the Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis since 2014, where her role is to facilitate trade and investment opportunities between Canada and the US-Upper Midwest in agriculture and food. Previously, Christina worked for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for seven years managing international trade programs and bioenergy policy efforts. She also spent several years evaluating state and federal energy, immigration, and defense policies in both Minnesota (Office of the Legislative Auditor) and Washington, D.C. (U.S. Government Accountability Office).
Christina holds a master’s in public policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School, a graduate certificate in international trade policy from the George Washington University, and a B.A. from St. Olaf College. She is a Certified International Trade Professional through the Forum for International Trade Training. Christina serves on the Executive Board of the Plant Protein Innovation Center at the University of Minnesota; she has previously served on the boards of The Minnesota Project and the Minnesota District Export Council. She lives in St. Paul with her husband, three children, and a 110-pound golden doodle.
Susan Cornell Wilkes
Adventures in Giving LLC
Susan Cornell Wilkes
Founder and President at Adventures in Giving LLC
Susan is the Founder and President of Adventures in Giving, LLC. Her company provides management and consulting services to family and small foundations on effective international grant making and organizes trips for foundation families and groups to developing countries to meet potential partners and visit grant sites. A Native of Washington, D.C. and educated at Harvard, Susan launched her career in the independent sector as a co-founder of internationally acclaimed Up With People Inc. She has since collaborated with corporate, private and community foundations in a broad range of philanthropic and international development activities in 30 countries, as well as in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York, Minnesota and Arkansas, where she worked with President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Prior to creating Adventures in Giving Susan spent two years collaborating with members of the Rockefeller family in an innovative effort to involve foundations and corporations in stimulating the creation of venture capital funds in Africa and Latin America through profitable investments in entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development for positive social impact. An advocate of microfinance, Susan and her husband Jim Klobuchar, well-known Minnesota columnist, author, mountain climber and adventure travel leader, published "The Miracles of Barefoot Capitalism", the story of microcredit organizations, programs and clients whom they interviewed on three continents. Susan is a family member Trustee of the Peter C. Cornell Trust, established in 1949 in Buffalo, New York by her great uncle, father of the famous American actress, Katharine Cornell.
Loralee Di Lorenzo
Loralee Di Lorenzo
Community Volunteer, Retired
Loralee has a wealth of experience in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, most recently at J. Murphy & Associates, which provides strategic development and creative communications services for nonprofits. Previously, she held various positions at Ameriprise Financial Services over a 13-year career including roles in variable assets, life insurance, financial planning, and new product development.
Her past volunteer roles with nonprofits include member of the board with Women’s Advocates, President of the Board for the Junior League of Saint Paul, and President of the Minnesota Public Radio Community Advisory Council.
Loralee has been a proud supporter and "pollinator" of Bountifield International | CTI for over 10 years prior to joining the board. Currently retired, she enjoys travel, tennis, yoga, St. Croix River recreation, Nordic and Alpine skiing, and spending time with her husband, Gene, daughter, Lucia, and cat, Hank.
Independent Design Professional
Vice President, Corporate Plant Operations at Cargill
Doug Dunlay was named Vice President of Plant Operations for worldwide Grain, Cotton, Salt and Animal Nutrition businesses in 2004. He joined Cargill in 1985 as a production supervisor trainee at Cargill's port terminal in Tampa, Florida. Doug has held numerous plant and regional plant operation positions including Reserve, Louisiana, Southeast Missouri region, Portland, Oregon Export group and Operations Leader for U.S. grain business. He received his bachelor's degree in Agriculture Economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1984. Doug along with his wife Terry and three sons Zachary, Andrew and Benjamin reside in Minnetrista, Minnesota.
Assistant General Counsel – Thomson Reuters
Donna has provided legal counsel related to product development, editorial and innovation at Thomson Reuters for over 30 years. She is actively engaged in promoting legal pro bono efforts within Thomson Reuters by bringing global participants and leaders together to offer opportunities to employees to give back to the communities where they live. She is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Access to Justice Committee, the Minnesota Corporate Pro Bono Council, and focuses her own pro bono efforts on asylum representation and providing research services related to women's rights issues. Donna learned about Bountifield when providing legal pro bono assistance to the organization and has been a strong supporter ever since.
TCF Equipment Finance
SVP Deputy Chief Credit Officer - TCF Equipment Finance
Paul is a returned Peace Corps volunteer who spent 2 years working as a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer in Mali, West Africa. His first exposure to CTI was through an internship for CTI in the early 1990's prior to attending the Monterey Institute of International Studies where he studied development. In addition to an MA in International Policy Studies, he holds a BA from Occidental College in Los Angeles and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. Paul joined GE Capital in 1998 and held a variety of positions in Operations and Risk Management. In December 2014, he moved to his current role at TCF Equipment Finance where he manages credit underwriting teams and coordinates enterprise risk management reviews for the business.
Paul, his wife Becky Dankowski, and their 3 young children live in South Minneapolis.
General Mills Inc.
Retired Biochemist, General Mills Inc.
Don Jacobson’s career as a biochemist focused on Research and Development at both the General Mills and Pillsbury companies in Minneapolis. The interesting, but complicated, story of Don’s career is how he managed to be the only person to work at both places twice — then retire with the summation of 31 years at both companies. Don’s career was derailed in 1995 by a brain aneurysm that required three years of rehabilitation at the Sister Kenny Institute, after which Don was rehired at Pillsbury. The brands that Don touched throughout his career were an eclectic combination, including: pet foods, soy-based meat analogues, coffee replacements, Bisquick™, Godfather’s Pizza™, microwave popcorn, potato processing, and Green Giant™ frozen vegetables. Don capped off his professional career in the research libraries of both companies doing literature and patent searches.
Lewis Kamiri, Ph.D.
Lewis Kamiri, Ph. D.
Retired R&D Executive, Syngenta Corporation
Dr. Kamiri grew up on a mixed smallholder farm in Kenya, which raised food, ornamental, and fruit tree crops, livestock and poultry. He graduated from Western Illinois University with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Biological Sciences and from Michigan State University with a Ph.D. degree in Botany and Plant Pathology.
He began his professional career in the private sector researching, developing, registering, and positioning crop protection products, seeds, and biotechnology products for use by farmers across the globe on diverse crops and agricultural farming systems. His assignments and work experience spanned three continents; Africa, Europe, and the Americas. He retired from Syngenta Corporation in 2012 after 32 years and now spends his time and energy sharing his knowledge, experience, and skills with smallholder farmers in Africa and Central America either on short-term consultancy or volunteer assignments. Lewis has been a volunteer and supporter of CTI, now Bountifield International.
T.E. Ibberson Co.
Retired, President T.E. Ibberson Co.
Steve was named President of Ibberson Companies in 1999 and retired in 2017. He joined Ibberson in 1993 as Project Manager. Steve has worked on numerous projects over his 40 year career in grain, feed, flour, pet food, ethanol, cement, coal, soybean processing, barge loading and ship loading terminals in North America and over 14 countries. He received his B.S and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from Iowa State University. He received his M.B.A. from University of South Dakota. He is a registered Professional Engineer. Steve and his wife Marlys reside in Chanhassen, MN.
Gerard Klein Essink
Gerard Klein Essink
Director/Entrepreneur at Bridge2Food
Gerard is an entrepreneur in innovation, networking and capacity building. His mission in life is to put energy in advancing and accelerating professionals for a better food world. He set up Bridge2Food in 2002. Bridge2Food has grown since 2005 into an international networking company and respected brand. He believes in step-by-step growth: His company is growing annually with more than 20% in revenue since its start. He studied food technology at Wageningen University and has ever since been actively seeking the common ground between actors in value chains (retail, industry, suppliers, technology and research) and cross-functional platforms like business/marketing/sales and innovation/research/development. The innovation opportunity lies in bringing different experiences together and then driving them for growth (sometimes by giving or leading by example of actively connecting one with another).
Former Executive Vice President, Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS)
David has nearly 50 years of experience in grain and oilseed supply-chain operations applied research, continuing education, and strategic thinking, including more than 37 years of not-for-profit organization executive management experience. He is recognized by the American Society of Association Executives [ASAE] as a Certified Association Executive [CAE]. The CAE designation is the highest level of certification in association executive management.
David served 1987-2019 as Executive Vice President and Secretary of the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS); an international not-for-profit professional association. As GEAPS’ chief staff executive, David collaborated with the elected officers, board directors and committee leaders to ensure GEAPS achieved its full potential through strategic thinking and effective and efficient operations plan development and implementation. He also managed the organizations’ strategic alliances and relationships with grain industry stakeholders.
David served 2008-2019 as a member and 2011-2018 Chair of the Kansas State University Grain Science and Industry Advisory Council.
He is a member of the American Society of Associations Executives, and Associations North. In addition to his association executive credentials, David is a registered architect and licensed interior designer.
David received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, as well as a Master of Architecture and BS in Environment Design degrees from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
Meredith Kruger Kos
Meredith Kruger Kos
Foundation Impact Analyst, General Mills
Meredith connects people, information and resources to address global food and agriculture challenges.
She has worked extensively across South East Asia, Southern Africa and Eastern Africa, ensuring smooth operations of multi-million dollar development programs funded by bi-lateral donors, foundations and private corporations.
She is passionate about food security and agriculture, particularly when it comes to bridging government and private-sector resources.
Flour Fortification Initiative
General Manager – Minneapolis at Perficient Inc.
Scott joined Cargill, Incorporated in 1980 as a trainee at Cargill's Oilseeds Processing Plant in Washington, Iowa. After serving in supervisory positions for Cargill Flour Milling in New York, Chattanooga and Kansas, he was named Regional Superintendent for Cargill Flour Milling in 1989 and Manager of Operations for North American Flour Milling in 1993. In 1996, Scott was named Vice President, Global Wheat Flour Milling Operations, which included flour mills in the United States, South America and India. In 1999, he was named Vice President, WorldWide Dry Milling Operations, which added the dry corn mills in the U.S. and U.K. In 2002, Worldwide Citrus was added to Scott's responsibilities. Scott was seconded to Allied Mills, a joint venture acquisition in Australia, for just short of one year in October 2002 as General Manager.
He then returned to the United States as Vice President, Dry Milling/Citrus Operations. Scott was named Vice President, Corporate Procurement Leader, North America in November 2005. In July 2006, he was named Vice President, Global Procurement Leader. He retired from Cargill in June 2010. In August 2010 Scott started working with the Flour Fortification Initiative as the Industry Liaison. In March 2011, he was appointed Director. Scott received a B.S. degree in Milling Science and Management from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, in 1980.
Independent Development Consultant
Stefano Perugini is an executive professional and consultant with more than 25 years of experience with high profile institutions and governments like the United Nations, European Union and several International NGOs. Stefano has worked closely with extremely marginalized communities in several countries across the globe. He worked many years serving numerous assignments and operations ranging from war zone areas to the United Kingdom. He was Head of Institutional Partnerships – Foundations Partnerships at UNICEF in London. Assignments included work with the Voluntary Services Overseas International and BRAC in London, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in South Sudan, the European Union Delegation to Eswatini (Swaziland), and the United Nations Development Program in Yemen, among others.
He holds two master’s degrees, in public administration and in international studies with a bachelor degree in economics. He now lives in Minnesota. He is the former Development Director of Heart Link.
Greater MSP Partnership
Regional Strategy Manager, Greater MSP Partnership
Daniel Sopdie, MBA, is the Regional Strategy Manager at Greater MSP Partnership, where he builds, supports and guides teams and coalitions of partners to execute the regional economic development strategy. Before joining Greater MSP, Daniel was the Senior Program Manager at the Office of University Economic Development (UED) and Technology Commercialization at the University of Minnesota.
Daniel's other experience includes Starkey Hearing Technologies, Corporate Foundation, where he developed strategy and framework to implement global programs in collaboration with partners around the world. He also currently serves as a Social Entrepreneurship Fellow at The Resolution Project Inc. Daniel has a passion for sustainable food and agriculture systems and supporting the development of small enterprises in communities to develop local and regional economies.
Daniel earned bachelor’s degrees in Economics, Political Science, and International Relations from Wartburg College in Iowa and his MBA from the Opus College of Business, University of St. Thomas.