Our Team

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A diverse group of dynamic individuals make up the COSA team. We share some things in common: 

  • A high level of personal initiative and passion for creating a more sustainable world
  • A strong set of world-class skills and a commitment to doing great work
  • A deep respect for scientific methods and for the value of diverse perspectives
  • An affinity for being practical and having a sense of humor
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  • show bio Daniele Giovannucci
    President & Co-Founder

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    Daniele Giovannucci is the President of the Committee on Sustainability Assessment and leads the network of global partnerships that are a hallmark of its participatory learning process for improving sustainability practices.
     
    His enthusiasm for a pragmatic approach to research and development stems from15 years as a business executive in food-related firms. Later, as Senior Consultant to the World Bank (Markets and Agribusiness Thematic Team), he helped evolve the design of sustainability components for many rural development and agribusiness projects for nearly a decade. He has developed or managed projects in more than 30 countries since he began working on the sustainability issues of developing nations in 1992.
     
    Over the last 15 years, Daniele has led or contributed to the strategies of a number of major development institutions and several governments. In 2011-12, he led the global teams formulating the strategic input on Food and Agriculture for the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development and for the landmark Rio+20 Earth Summit launch of the UN’s SD-21 Report.
     
    Downloads of his published work rank him in the top 1% of the more than 240,000 professional authors tracked by the Social Science Research Network (including translations) and his newest major works (co-authored) are Sustainable Development in the 21st Century (United Nations DESA) and Measuring Sustainability: COSA findings in 12 countries for coffee and cocoa.

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  • show bio Mica Bennett Mica Bennett
    Special Project Advisor

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    Mica Bennett is the Special Project Advisor for the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA), and brings 25 years of senior level management experience to her work. Mica has coordinated COSA’s relationship with The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and was an affiliate researcher for the Consultative Group on International Research (CGIAR). She has an Masters of Business Administration from Cornell University and an Masters in International Development from University of California at Davis. She previously served in the State Auditor General’s Office, as advisor for the California State Legislature, and was Manager of the Decision Support section at the California Franchise Tax Board. She has conducted field work and resided in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Mica currently lives in the United States.

     

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  • show bio Renee Bourque
    Innovation and Learning Resources Advisor

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    Renee Bourque brings more than two decades of experience as an author, teacher, and consultant to her role as Innovation Resources and Learning Advisor. She is guided by a personal vision to “promote the necessary conditions for communities to thrive”  and will aggregate and articulate lessons learned across COSA’s consortium and its partnerships to a spectrum of audiences and help secure necessary resources for development.

    Renee is the founder of Bright Star Grant Consultants where she has advised non-profits, governments, and universities across the globe. The 5th Edition of her book (Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals) won the Axiom Prize for Philanthropy and is widely used as a standard textbook. Renee is a Senior Lecturer of Philanthropy and Grant Writing at the University of Washington. She also serves as President of her family’s foundation.​

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  • show bio Melanie Chiara, Administration Melanie Chiara
    Administration

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    Melanie Chiara supports the COSA Finance Manager to ensure the timely and accurate organization of our financial accounts. Melanie has a strong background in project management, accounting, payroll and benefits administration with other non-profits including the United Way, where she was also an active member of the Resource Development and Finance Interdepartmental Processes Committee. Melanie’s expertise and bookkeeping experience are a valuable contribution to COSA’s Pennsylvania-based administrative team.

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  • show bio Keith Child
    Senior Research Advisor

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    Keith Child, Senior Research Advisor for COSA, is an Impact and Evaluation Specialist with a considerable track record in both research and development. He has extensive experience in team leadership and in the design, establishment and management of monitoring and evaluation systems for CGIAR research programs and for large international NGOs. His experience includes traditional development environments and emergencies.

    Keith received his Ph.D. in Comparative Politics from Queen’s University specializing in International Relations and Comparative Development. He has 15 years of experience in agricultural development issues in Africa and Central Asia. Most recently he was Principal Scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute and Director of Evaluation, Research and Learning at the Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan. Keith has worked as a Professor of political science at several Canadian universities and as a security analyst for the Government of Canada.

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  • show bio Carlos De Los Ríos, Regional Research Coordinator for Latin America Carlos De Los Ríos
    Regional Research Coordinator for Latin America

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    Carlos is an economist with a passion for rural development. He has over a decade of experience working in one of the oldest and most respected research centers in Peru. His work has focused on agricultural and development economics with an emphasis on rural finance. His most recent efforts have centered on public and private impact evaluations of development initiatives, a topic that was a part of his PhD studies at the University of California at Davis. Carlos also has an appointment as Senior Researcher in the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.

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  • show bio Matthew Himmel
    Project and Systems Coordinator

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    Matthew Himmel is Project and Systems Coordinator for COSA. His role is to facilitate the preparation and smooth execution of COSA projects around the world. Matthew’s work on small farms in Central America and Europe 15 years ago fueled his early interest in agriculture. After graduating from Hamilton College (Biology and Soil Science) he managed a marketing cooperative of immigrant and refugee farmers at Tufts University’s New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. To develop his foundational knowledge of results-based evaluation and how enterprise can effect collective impact, he completed his MBA at Harvard Business School.
    To deepen his first-hand experience with Latin American and African farmer groups he took on short term roles at Root Capital and Technoserve. Most recently Matthew managed the Outgrower and Social Impact efforts of a large exporting and processing plantation from their operational base in Peru and guided the organization through a fair trade certification process. His pragmatic, systems-oriented approach aligns with COSA’s science-based methods for understanding sustainability. Matthew resides in the US with his wife. 

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  • show bio Udo Höggel Udo Höggel
    Training Advisor

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    Udo Höggel is the Training Advisor to Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA). Decades of experience are evident in the array of thoughtful tools and approaches that Dr. Höggel makes available to COSA trainers. Even COSA’s most experienced trainers find his input valuable so they can more effectively prepare institutional partners and surveyors to conduct COSA research. His extensive linguistic and field experience in Asia and Africa deepen his sensitivity to clients and help ensure the most appropriate approaches are taken regardless of the country or situation.

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  • show bio Patrick Kerr
    Executive Assistant

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    Patrick Kerr is the Executive Assistant for the Committee on Sustainability Assessment. Graduating in May 2015 with honors from College of the Holy Cross, Patrick brings a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science along with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies to COSA. Though a recent graduate, he offers in-depth research experience, which he showcased in his senior honors thesis entitled “Politics Tangled in the Web.” In addition to his work as a student, Patrick has managed several jobs and internships, which have given him a strong background in bookkeeping and office operations. Passionate about the homeless and hungry of Philadelphia, Patrick has volunteered at the Sarnelli House in Kensington for nearly a decade. Patrick’s interest in issues concerning justice and sustainability motivate his work. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Public Policy.

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  • show bio Friedrich von Kirchbach
    Senior Advisor

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    Friedrich von Kirchbach brings 30 years of leadership experience with the WTO-affiliated International Trade Centre (ITC), most recently as the Director of Country Programmes. He has led the development of ITC’s market analysis tools (e.g. Trade Map, Market Access Map and Standards Map) in his previous capacity as Chief of the Market Analysis Section. Friedrich previously served as a Research Fellow at the Euro-Asia Centre of INSEAD in France, and as an expert in the United Nations Joint Unit on Transnational Corporations in Bangkok.  He also has experience consulting to various private initiatives and other international institutions, such as the International Institute for Labour Studies.

    For over twenty years, Friedrich has owned and operated an agricultural enterprise in Börln, Germany. He co-registered a design patent for battery collection with the World Intellectual Property Organization. He has a Ph.D. in International Economics from the University of Regensburg and received his Masters of Economics  in Heidelberg, both with the support of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, Germany’s leading academic scholarship program.

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  • show bio Ron Kopicki Ron Kopicki
    Senior Advisor

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    Ron Kopicki is a Senior Advisor for the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA). He contributes to its strategic planning and advises its client engagements worldwide. Ron brings 40 years of experience to the organization in pro-poor economic development, agricultural investment, and supply chain and agro-industrial development. Ron worked more than two decades as the Supply Chain Advisor for both the World Bank in dozens of countries and was Director of the FAO Investment Centre. He developed both the policies and the practical structures for investment in new supply chains, agriindustrial clusters and agribusiness incubators. He also assisted more than a dozen countries in privatizing their state-owned companies. COSA also benefits from Ron’s senior management experience as an executive in the private sector. Ron holds AB and MA degrees from Cornell University and an MBA from Stanford, and he lives in the US with his wife, Anne.

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  • show bio Francesca Martonffy
    Advisor

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    Francesca brings nearly two decades of experience in international development and education. Most recently, she worked for UNICEF on polio eradication in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Previously, she served as Director of Global Changemakers, a network of young social entrepreneurs in 128 countries, as an Associate Director of the World Economic Forum, where she was also a Global Leadership Fellow, and as National Program Director of the World Affairs Councils of America.

    Francesca has also served as a consultant to institutions including Transparency International, UNESCO, and the World Bank. She is past Chair of Art Enables and serves as an advisor to the board of All Special Kids, a Geneva-based NGO for children with developmental disabilities and mental illness.

    Francesca holds an MPP in International Security and Political Economy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where she was a Kennedy Fellow and full scholarship recipient, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

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  • show bio Jessica Mullan Jessica Mullan
    Measurement Systems Manager

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    Jessica Mullan leads diverse aspects of our advanced measurement systems including the work on Performance Monitoring and the development of Indicators among our partners and clients. She has a strong background in agricultural sustainability, working in both large-scale and smallholder systems. Jessica has led several strategic projects including the development of the FAO’s SAFA smallholder survey instruments and the Performance Monitoring systems being used by a number of leading global organizations to assess the sustainability practices in their supply chains.

    Her prior work focused on the technical aspects of Agriculture and Climate Change and she helped develop and then pilot a greenhouse gas calculator (The Cool Farm Tool) for farms as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation projects while at the Sustainable Food Lab. She has consulted to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on issues of information and communication technology for development on agriculture, health and gender initiatives. Her own research on sustainability has gone beyond supply chains to include sectors such as the development of technology industries, particularly IT services sector, in Mexico. Jessica holds a B.A. from Boston University in International Relations and an M.S. in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis.

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  • show bio Claudia Muñoz
    Field Research Coordinator

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    Claudia Muñoz coordinates COSA research field work in Guatemala. Her valuable insights and local partnerships stem from 15 years working with small and large coffee producers in Central America as a verification auditor (C.A.F.E Practices, 4C and Forestry Stewardship Council). She has also conducted M & E in Colombia and Costa Rica. She developed a guide for assessing the sustainability of coffee farms in Guatemala and works with both conventional and certified value chains where she helps to identify the structural barriers to better practices for producer organizations.

    Originally from Colombia, Claudia received her undergraduate degree in Agricultural Engineering from the National University of Colombia and a Master’s in Tropical Agroforestry from the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE) in Costa Rica. Claudia has taught university level tropical agroforestry and organic agriculture. She lives in Guatemala with her family.

     

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  • show bio Pavel Munoz Pavel Muñoz
    Software and Technology Consultant

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    Pavel Stephan Muñoz, an Information Systems Engineer, has been working in the field of Information Technology since 2005, and brings unique skills and commitment to COSA’s Programming team. He has worked extensively with Linux servers, programming in Java and Python languages and being an Open Source enthusiast. Based in Nicaragua, Mr. Munoz has worked with tech design and development teams from around the world including Argentina, Mexico, France, El Salvador and Guatemala.

    He has a Master in Telecommunications from the Universidad Iberoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnologia, and in 2005 he won first place in the competition for Best Visual Basic with Databases Programmer at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua. Pavel Stephan lives with his family in Managua.

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  • show bio Saurin Nanavati Saurin Nanavati
    Director of Partner Relations

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    Saurin Nanavati is the Manager of Partner Relations and Learning for the Committee on Sustainability Assessment. He leads work with dozens of global organizations that are formulating diagnostic tools with COSA to better understand Producer Organizations and he also manages key processes for the overall learning that is generated together with COSA Research Partner Institutions. Saurin specializes in Organizational and Business Development processes and has spent the past 12 years managing international development programs and formulating systems for producer organizations to access information, capital and markets.

    Prior to COSA, Saurin served as Vice President of Root Capital and developed the organization’s Financial Advisory Services program, which delivered financial management training to 300 producer organizations across Latin America and Africa. Saurin previously worked with the Grameen Foundation where he managed the collaboration of a multi-stakeholder partnership, using mobile technology and agriculture research  to track plant diseases affecting food security in Uganda. In India, Saurin served as Program Director for Zameen Organic, where he supported the organization of 5,000 small scale cotton farmers into a certified Fair Trade-Organic supply chain. He served 2 years in Peace Corps Panama and received a Bachelor degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MBA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He resides in New Jersey and in his spare time supports Haitian coffee farmers as an advisor for the Singing Rooster Coffee Company.

     

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  • show bio Glenn Ortiz
    Research Assistant

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    Glenn Ortiz is a Researcher whose principal focus has been rural and indigenous communities principally for the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP). Glenn has also served in various capacities for AIESEC around the world, was recognized for his leadership with the Ashoka Youth Change Makers award, and has worked in economic data visualization. Glenn is an honors graduate of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. His areas of interest include development and behavioral economics, agricultural economics, and economic integration. Glenn is currently completing his Master’s thesis project and resides in Lima.

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  • show bio Gayatri Ramnath
    Regional Research Coordinator for Asia

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    Gayatri Ramnath is the Regional Research Coordinator for Asia for the Committee on Sustainability Assessment and brings in-depth experience designing and managing policy research projects in developing country contexts. Her areas of interest focus primarily on livelihoods, market based interventions and inclusive development. She was most recently the Head of Research and Policy Initiatives at Jana Foundation, one of India’s largest financial inclusion organizations. Here, she led a team of analysts to work on strategic research projects and partnerships, financial inclusion policy and establishing evaluation frameworks for partners and programs. She holds a PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University, VA, where she focused her doctoral research on access to finance, innovation and the micro-enterprise sector in India.

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  • show bio Pablo Ramirez - COSA Advisor Pablo Ramirez
    Advisor

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    Pablo Ramirez brings valuable expertise and supply chain leadership to COSA as a Senior Advisor. Pablo managed the Starbucks Ethical Sourcing programs in coffee, cocoa and dairy and also directed the Starbucks $50M global farmer fund (impact investing vehicle). Passionate about integrating sustainability practices into core business, he has world-leading expertise in continuous improvement processes, standards, and verification systems and practical experience across agricultural commodities that include soy and beef supply chains.

    Pablo is a frequent speaker at international conferences on risk assessment, financing resiliency, and stakeholder engagement. He has addressed the United Nations Climate Conference COP 20 and the International Coffee Organization as well as provided guidance to those working at the ground level such as the Grameen Foundation and Guatemalan cooperatives.

    Before moving to the United States Pablo gained valuable experience working for the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) and NGOs on environmental and productivity issues. He earned an MBA from the University of Illinois, a Master of Agribusiness from Texas A&M University, and a degree in Animal Science specializing in Financial Evaluation of Agricultural Projects in his native country Colombia. In his free time, Pablo is an avid endurance mountain biker.

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  • show bio Nick Reddel Nick Reddel
    Information Technology Lead

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    Nick Reddel is the Information Technology Lead for the Committee on Sustainability Assessment. An Australian, Mr. Reddel has also worked extensively in Europe and the US designing advanced systems for data capture and data management. These custom systems provide critical advantages for COSA to be efficient in its field work and in the structuring and security of its considerable data from countries, firms and farmers. With the COSA team, Mr. Reddel has developed COSATouch to greatly improve fieldwork and the structures to store and analyze large data sets. He contributes his technical expertise to the COSA team from his home in the US.

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  • show bio Louise Salinas Louise Salinas
    Director of Administration

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    Louise Salinas is the COSA Director of Administration and brings several decades of diverse management experience to the position. Most recently she played a key role as Associate Director of an international nonprofit organization where she was responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning of its operations across The Americas (Canada to Chile). In addition to her organizational roles she was instrumental in building new partnerships among diverse stakeholders. She had a prior career in marketing and brand management while living in Mexico and has also run a small business. After St. Joseph’s University she undertook graduate-level studies in Environmental Management and Sustainability Policy (New Jersey Institute of Technology). She currently lives near Philadelphia, USA.

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  • show bio Jim Saunders Jim Saunders
    Financial Manager

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    Jim Saunders is the COSA Financial Manager with major areas of responsibility that include accounting, finance, tax, payroll, budgets and forecasting. He has operated as the Chief Financial Officer for several multi-million dollar corporations in his 35-year career. He holds the grade of Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He holds a MS in Accounting and Business Education and an MBA in Finance (Drexel University). He lives in Morton, PA with his wife and 2 family.

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  • show bio Elena Serfilippi
    Coordinator for Resilience Research

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    Elena Serfilippi is Coordinator for Resilience Research. She is an economist with significant experience in research and a passion for agricultural and development economics. She is particularly interested in the adoption of new agricultural technologies; her doctoral research focused on the adoption of genetically modified seeds varieties. Her field work includes collaborating with the BASIS I4 group in impact assessment of area-yield index insurance in Burkina Faso. Elena holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Ancona, and a PhD in Economics from the University of Namur.  She currently resides in Peru.

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  • show bio Christopher K. Sellers
    Director of Global Operations

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    Chris is the Director of Global Operations. He has been a leader and pioneer in the international consumer products, retail and technology industries for more than 25 years. He brings a similar passion and pragmatism for solving operational challenges to COSA.

    As an executive with the Coors Brewing Company, Information Resources, and Accenture, Chris leveraged his experience in the use of consumer and product data. He later co-developed Syncra Systems, a recognized leader in Supply Chain Optimization, Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR) technology that was featured in a Harvard Business Review Case Study and was later purchased by Oracle.

    At EDS (HewlettPackard), he served as President of the Consumer and Retail Industries Consulting Practice before becoming CEO of the World Wide Retail Exchange where in a merger with GNX, he formed Agentrics, a business-to-business global trading exchange whose consortium comprised the world’s 50 largest retailers. Most recently, as founding CEO and Executive Chairman of MoBeam, he delivered revolutionary technology to a decades-old challenge – enabling mobile phones to transmit barcodes.

    Chris is internationally published and a frequent speaker at executive industry forums. He was named by Supermarket News as one of the “Power 50” – People who Drive the Industry (2006-2007). He serves a number of Boards including the State Bank Group, GDSN, Inc. the Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Standards CPFR, and SA2 Worldsync as well as numerous associations.  

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  • show bio Gabriela Soto
    Coordinator for Indicators and Metrics

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    Gabriela Soto serves as Coordinator for Indicators and Metrics. She is an expert in agroecology and its practical applications with 25 years of experience as a Professor of Agroecology and Soil Ecology at the University of Costa Rica, the National University, and CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza) where she was also the Coordinator of the Agriculture Ecology Master’s Program. As a researcher, her primary areas of focus have been impact assessment of certifications and soil science.

    In addition to her work in teaching and research, Gabriela has considerable experience in the practicalities of sustainability programs, certifications, and organic farming. She was elected global Vice President of the Board of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), has directed a farmer-owned National Certification Agency in Costa Rica, and has trained inspectors for a variety of certification programs. She serves on boards and advisory panels of leading institutions in the fields of both ecology and agriculture and resides on her coffee farm in Costa Rica.

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  • show bio Vivek Voora
    Research Associate

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    Vivek’s focus as a Research Associate is on a landscape approach to water, energy and food security and how this is affected by the implementation of agricultural sustainability standards. His particular concentration is on cotton.  For more than 15 years Vivek’s  professional work experiences have ranged broadly  from sustainable development policy research at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to operating the Global Atmospheric Watch laboratory in the High Arctic. Vivek brings a socio-ecological systems perspective to his work with an appreciation for understanding how social, economic and ecological dynamics interact to enable sustainable development.

    His sustainable development work and research, primarily as an IISD Associate, have included natural capital, market-based instruments, ecosystem services, sustainable water management, sustainability standards, and peak phosphorus. He is a professional engineer with masters’ degrees in Environment and Management and in International Development  and is pursuing his PhD at the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary).

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  • show bio Meg Weaver
    Lead Content Writer/Editor

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    Meg is COSA’s Lead Content Writer/Editor. She has nearly 20 years’ experience in communications, having worked in scholarly book publishing, at a policy think tank, at the National Geographic Society, and, most recently, as the Technical Communications Director at ACDI/VOCA. While there, she coordinated the communications efforts of the organization’s 49 projects in 30 countries. She is energized by how creative and consistent communications can amplify the impact of development initiatives and help improve people’s lives.

    She served briefly as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan and has volunteered in various capacities in her community, including serving as a teacher and literacy mentor, conducting homeless outreach, and fundraising to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

    She holds a BA in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Anthropology and International Development from the George Washington University. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs of Maryland with her family.

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  • show bio Audra Wilson-Max Audra Wilson-Max
    Communications Manager

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    Audra is the Communications Manager for the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) and also CEO and Founder of Brand Africa.

    She shapes COSA’s content and messaging and how best to communicate its work to increase awareness of COSA information and ensure that its material is widely understood. Audra’s diverse background includes nearly a decade as Head of Communications for a leading international financial services institution in the UK. She also has years of experience working around the world with design and communications teams in different sectors and has recently returned to focus on her passion for African development. She contributes her communications expertise to COSA from her base in Zimbabwe.

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