About Fair Trade USA

Who We Are

Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities. Fair Trade USA educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farmers with tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople.

Senior Management

  • Paul Rice
    President & CEO
  • Todd W. Stark
    Chief Operating Officer
  • Mary Jo Cook
    Chief Impact Officer
  • Chisara Ehiemere
    Vice President of Certification
  • Chris Jones
    Vice President, Resource Development
  • David Krier
    Vice President of Finance and Administration
  • Geraldine Diaz Ko
    Director of Institutional Funding
  • Maya Spaull
    Director of New Category Innovation
  • Jennifer Gallegos
    Business Development Director, Coffee
  • Hannah Freeman
    Business Development Director, Produce and Floral
  • Sri Artham
    Director of Strategic Accounts
  • Mike Vincent
    Executive Program Director
  • Catherine Sinclair
    Certification Director
  • Ben Corey-Moran
    Director of Coffee Supply
Paul Rice
President & CEO

Paul opened our first "national headquarters” — a one-room office in a converted warehouse in downtown Oakland — in late 1998. Since launching the Fair Trade Certified label, Paul has pushed to mainstream the Fair Trade movement and expand its impact on farmers by innovating the model, partnering with over 800 U.S. companies and expanding certification across new product categories. This vision and leadership helped push U.S. retail sales of Fair Trade products to an estimated $1.5 billion in 2011, enabling millions of small farmers and workers to live better.

Paul came to Fair Trade by way of the mountainous Segovias region of northern Nicaragua, where he served for 11 years, organizing cooperatives and training farmers. While in Nicaragua, Paul founded and led PRODECOOP, the country's first Fair Trade, organic coffee export cooperative, which introduced him to the transformational power of Fair Trade. Subsequently, Paul served as strategy consultant and development advisor to 22 cooperative enterprises throughout Latin America and Asia, helping them become more competitive, democratic and self-reliant. Paul’s first-hand experience over the last 30 years in the areas of global supply chain transparency, social auditing, sustainable agriculture, and cooperative enterprise development is unique in the certification world.

Paul has received numerous honors and awards for his pioneering work as a social entrepreneur in the Fair Trade movement.  In 2000 he received the prestigious international Ashoka Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. In 2001 Paul was recognized by the AVINA Foundation for his "leadership for change.” Paul was honored by the Klaus Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the World Economic Forum as one of the world's top 40 Social Entrepreneurs in 2002.  Fast Company magazine named Paul “Social Capitalist of the Year” four years in a row (2005-08). Paul also received the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and has been honored by the Clinton Global Initiative for his leadership in Fair Trade.  Paul holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. 

Watch Paul's speech from the 2011 TEDx AshokaU event

Todd W. Stark
Chief Operating Officer

Todd joined Fair Trade USA in 2008 with more than 25 years of experience in the consumer goods and produce industries, and a strong desire to do mission based work.  Todd leads Fair Trade USA's overall business operations, which span the entire supply chain: Business Development, Marketing, Strategic Relations, Supply Chain Services, and Certification & Impact, the heart of the Fair Trade USA licensing model.   A proponent of social entrepreneurship that directly benefits the developing world, Todd brings to the organization broad business experience in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

During over two decades with Procter & Gamble Company, Todd rose through levels of increased responsibility in Sales, Marketing, Information Technology, and Supply Chain.  Five of those years were spent in P&G's Latin America Division, where he was responsible for the production, supply chain, and export operations of P&G's highly profitable Caribbean operations.  He also spent seven years leading the company's global e-Retailing supply chain ventures, working with almost 100 major retailers and start-ups around the world to build an entirely new retail channel.

Subsequently, Todd spent several years with Chiquita Brands International, running North American fruit ripening and distribution operations, and then the global ocean shipping subsidiary, Great White Fleet, moving fruit cargo, as well as selling and shipping automobiles, resins, papers, and other ocean cargos between multiple continents.  Throughout his career, he has gained valuable experience in running businesses, acquisitions & divestitures, inter-country sourcing, and general management.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University.

Mary Jo Cook
Chief Impact Officer

Mary Jo Cook, Chief Impact Officer at Fair Trade USA, has led the nonprofit organization through two years of innovation designed to dramatically increase the impact of Fair Trade and better serve the needs of farmers, workers, industry and consumers. She was recently named one of Progressive Grocer’s 2012 Top Women in Grocery for her notable contributions to shifting the food industry’s relationship with its supply chain.

Before joining Fair Trade USA, Mary Jo was Vice President of Innovation at The Clorox Company where she created and led the company's first cross-functional innovation group which developed and launched products like GreenWorks from Clorox. She also established the position of Vice President of Sustainability to help Clorox use an environmental sustainability lens to both decrease its footprint and cost, as well as become a catalyst for growth. In 2006, BusinessWeek recognized her as one of the “Top 25 Innovation Champions.”

In addition to her business career, Mary Jo contributes her time to numerous local nonprofit organizations, including LeaderSpring, which provides leadership development and management training to Executive Directors.

Chisara Ehiemere
Vice President of Certification

Chisara Ehiemere has served as the Vice President of Certification with Fair Trade USA since 2006. Chisara’s responsibilities include direction of the certification of US traders and manufacturers, and registration of producer and exporter partners from producing countries. Prior to working with Fair Trade USA Chisara worked in supply chain and logistics consulting, international procurement and small producer projects in Guatemala. Chisara has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University.

Chris Jones
Vice President, Resource Development

Chris joined Fair Trade USA in February, 2014, with responsibility for all private and public donated revenue, including funding from individuals, foundations, corporations, events and government agencies.

Chris brings more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, grant-making, and non-profit management.  Most recently, he was director of development for Guide Dogs for the Blind, the second largest guide dog school in the world and a global leader in service dog production.  Prior to that, Chris served as VP of Development and then COO for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund-the nation's largest Latino education organization-where he grew fundraising by more than 60%, and established national partnerships that helped reach millions more Hispanic youth.  Before that, Chris oversaw Microsoft's corporate giving outside the U.S., working to align and optimize community affairs programs in more than 45 countries on six continents.  During the 1990s, Chris led the corporate and foundation relations efforts at both UCLA and the University of Washington.

A civil engineering graduate of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, Chris spent the first decade of his career as a working engineer and program manager for projects throughout Latin America and Asia.

David Krier
Vice President of Finance and Administration

David began his career with one of the Big Eight public accounting firms, focusing on non-profit organizations and retail clients.

After earning his certification as a Public Accountant David accepted a position as Controller for a firm that administers benefits for organized labor. He soon became Chief Financial Officer and spent nearly twenty years as the firm's CFO during a period when the organization grew five-fold to become the largest third party Taft-Hartley administrator in the country. After the sale of the administration company and his children's graduations from college he began the next stage of his career with a move to Fair Trade USA. David is able to use his accounting and business skills and his background managing growth to deal with Fair Trade USA's unique combination of complex non-profit accounting with both retail and service industry features.

Geraldine Diaz Ko
Director of Institutional Funding

Geraldine is responsible for developing and implementing strategies for securing support from foundations and government agencies (domestic, bi- and multi-lateral). This includes managing the proposal development team, overseeing program design and proposal development, and driving prospect research due to her international development and fundraising background. Prior to joining Fair Trade USA in January of 2011, Geraldine held programmatic and development positions with Creating Economic Opportunities for Women, the International Finance Corporation and the International Rescue Committee. Her private sector experience before graduate school includes business development and consulting for Pallotta Teamworks (California AIDS Ride and Avon 3-Day Walk), Ernst and Young LLP and technology start-up ventures. Geraldine holds a MSc in Social Policy and Development Studies from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science with a minor in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Geraldine also studied abroad at 国際基督教大学 in Tokyo, Japan. Her language proficiencies include Japanese, Tagalog and Kapampangan. She is currently learning Spanish and Mandarin.

Maya Spaull
Director of New Category Innovation

Maya's commitment to economic sustainability for farming communities and her deep belief in positive systems change is grounded in her early work as an ethnobotanist.

Maya has found her niche at Fair Trade USA, spearheading strategic development of new Fair Trade categories. In this role, she works from idea inception to market launch, connecting all stakeholders in the sector and building Fair Trade supply chains. Maya has worked at Fair Trade USA since 2004, managing a multitude of products including tea, spices, honey, wine and cosmetics development with global brands. Maya is an experienced ambassador for Fair Trade USA , often visiting with Fair Trade producer groups and representing the organization at global industry events. Prior to joining Fair Trade USA, Maya worked in the gemstone industry on sourcing and sales. She also developed and sold her own line of jewelry. Maya is an avid gardener, music and art enthusiast, yogini, world adventurer and works locally in the Bay Area on sustainable food issues.

Jennifer Gallegos
Business Development Director, Coffee

Jennifer comes to Fair Trade USA with 20 years sales and marketing experience and over 10 years of experience in the coffee industry.

Most recently, she served as Vice President of Sales with Coffee Bean International, which is headquartered in Portland. Her responsibilities included strategic sales planning and developing private brand business partnerships with national chains. She was heavily involved in product and program development, marketing, process improvement, outbound communication, category management, and financial assessments. Under Jennifer's sales leadership, Coffee Bean became one of the country's leading specialty coffee roasters, and the size of its business nearly quadrupled during her tenure. In this period, Coffee Bean also emerged as one of the nation's fastest-growing Fair Trade Certified™ licensees. Previously, she worked in channel management, account management, and brand management with PepsiCo and was involved in PepsiCo's joint venture teams with Lipton® and Starbucks®, the latter of which sparked her interest in coffee. Jennifer is also on the BOD and chair of the Strategic Alliances committee of the International Women's Coffee Alliance, as well as on the on the International Relations Council of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Gallegos is a graduate of Colorado State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. She lives in Southern Colorado with her husband Brett and dogs Doka and Dehlila.

Hannah Freeman
Business Development Director, Produce and Floral

Hannah joined Fair Trade USA in 2003 to pursue her passion of using business opportunities to transform the lives of farmers and farm-workers.

Before joining Fair Trade USA, Hannah led the corporate sales department of a natural bread company and got a taste for promoting products that support the health of consumers and of the entire supply chain. She recently completed her MBA at Portland State University and has a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Seattle Pacific University. Her favorite part of her job is traveling with US buyers to introduce them to the farmers and communities behind their fresh produce & flowers. When she's not working, she can be found gardening, biking and fly fishing.

Sri Artham
Director of Strategic Accounts

Sri Artham comes to Fair Trade USA after having spent several years burnishing his fair trade credentials as both a Pro Bono consultant and a contractor with Fair Trade USA advising on strategic, cross-functional issues.

Prior to joining Fair Trade USA full-time, Sri spent most of his career as a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting advising Fortune 500 companies on strategic issues such as finding new growth and working across international markets. Sri is a native of Canada having received his BASc in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. In addition to North America, he has lived in Asia and Europe and has traveled extensively, including a year spent traveling the globe while earning his MBA at INSEAD and the Wharton School of Business.

Mike Vincent
Executive Program Director

Mike joins Fair Trade USA with a passion for developing market-based solutions for sustainable community development and building the conscious consumerism movement in the United States. As Executive Program Director, Mike is responsible for organizational strategy and executive-level initiatives & relationship management.

Mike began his career in Accenture’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) practice, consulting for clients in Europe, East Asia and the United States. He also spent a year and a half in Accenture Development Partnerships, the firm’s corporate social enterprise. After Accenture, Mike moved to Latin America to teach mathematics and reading to children outside the school system, and to start a social enterprise that would serve as a parent organization to street children centers globally. Outside of work, Mike has volunteered extensively with youth and education programs, and has served on the boards of directors of Leadership High School and Friends of the Children in San Francisco.

Mike received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Santa Clara University and his Masters in Business Administration from the University of California Berkeley.

Catherine Sinclair
Certification Director

Catherine joined Fair Trade USA in January 2008 with a dedication to social justice and an interest in sustainable agriculture. With a solutions-based approach that enables business partners to participate in Fair Trade and ensures the necessary foundation & credibility of our organizational programs, she leads the certification team with a focus in Produce, Consumer Packaged Goods and New Categories across the supply chain.

Catherine explored the Andes and began her career in disaster response and community services with the American Red Cross in Boston before migrating west to sunny California. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction from the University of Michigan.

Ben Corey-Moran
Director of Coffee Supply

Ben joined Fair Trade USA in late 2012 to help strengthen Fair Trade’s role as a platform for sustainable supply chain management, in service of the needs of farmers and their buyers alike. As Director of Coffee Supply, Ben leads the organization’s investment in producer services, industry collaboration, and supply chain development.

Ben’s career in coffee began in 2003 when he joined Thanksgiving Coffee Company, a pioneering specialty roaster and early fair trade innovator. While at Thanksgiving, Ben managed coffee buying and supply chain development operations, working with farmers and cooperatives throughout Latin America, Asisa, and Africa. Continuing Thanksgiving’s long history of innovation, Ben led the Company’s efforts on cooperative development and climate change adaptation, for which his work was awarded the 2012 Sustainability Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Ben also served as company President from 2009-2012. Ben is a former member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Sustainability Committee, Fair Trade USA’s Roaster Advisory Committee, and United Students for Fair Trade’s National Advisory Board. He holds a BA in International Affairs from Lewis and Clark College, in Portland, Oregon.

Board of Directors

  • Ron D. Cordes
    Chairman of the Board
  • Helmy Abouleish
    CEO, SEKEM Holding
  • Michael Besancon
    Former Senior Executive, Whole Foods Market
  • Theresa Fay-Bustillos
    President & CEO, Community Initiatives
  • Carlos González
    Commercial Director, Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC)
  • Pamela Hartigan
    Director, Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford University
  • Mary Ellen Iskenderian
    President and CEO Women’s World Banking
  • Rick Larson
    Director of Sustainable Ventures, The Conservation Fund
  • Erik Nicholson
    National Vice President, United Farm Workers of America (UFW)
  • Paul Rice
    President & CEO, Fair Trade USA
Ron D. Cordes
Chairman of the Board

Ron Cordes has been involved in the investment industry for 25+ years, having founded and sold over this period three companies involved in the real estate investment /management, mutual fund and investment advisory businesses.  Most recently, he sold AssetMark Investment Services to Genworth Financial (NYSE:GNW) in 2006, and currently serves as Co-chair of Genworth Financial Wealth Management, which is responsible for over $ 20 bb of assets under management for individual and institutional clients.

Ron is a co-author of “The Art of Investing & Portfolio Management,” published in 2004 by McGraw Hill, and was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005.   He holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Ron is also Co-Founder of the Cordes Foundation which he established in 2006 with his wife Marty, and is a member of the Board of Regents for the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, as well as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the University’s Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship.  In addition, he serves as Co-Chair of the Opportunity Collaboration, a global poverty business retreat,  and a board member of the Boards of the East Bay Community Foundation, MicroVest Capital Management, and the Sarona Frontier Markets Fund.

Helmy Abouleish
CEO, SEKEM Holding

Helmy Abouleish - Graduate of Faculty of Commerce, Major in Business Administration of Cairo University and Marketing Diploma of American University in Cairo - is deeply involved in the development of SEKEM - an initiative started 1977 in the Egyptian desert striving for sustainable development in the fields of economy, culture and social / political life. Further to his engagement as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SEKEM Holding, Helmy Abouleish has been very engaged in the national and international political sphere fostering responsible competitiveness, social entrepreneurship and the abatement of the huge problems of the 21st century, such as climate change and food security.

Under his stewardship of its commercial arm, the SEKEM Initiative received the “Right Livelihood Award 2003” for sustainable development, better known as “Alternative Nobel Prize”, and became a member of the Schwab Foundation for Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs.

Currently, he is the Chief Executive Officer of SEKEM Holding that consists of five companies (ISIS For Food Industries, ATOS Pharma, NatureTex, Lotus and SEKEM for Land Reclamation), which cover the fields of biodynamic agriculture cultivation, production of phyto-pharmaceuticals, Organic textiles and foodstuffs, with a capacity of 1600 people.

From June 2005 until December 2006, he has been appointed as the Executive Director of the Industrial Modernization Centre (IMC), the biggest development fund in Egypt funded by the EU and the Egyptian Government, aiming at improving sustainable competitiveness of Egyptian enterprises.

Helmy Abouleish was the Chairman of the Egyptian National Competitiveness Council (ENCC) from 2004 to February 2011and Chairman of the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB) from June 2004 to June 2006.

He represented SEKEM in the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, 2009, 2010 as well as on various regional events of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and various other national and international events and conferences.

Michael Besancon
Former Senior Executive, Whole Foods Market

Michael Besancon brings more than 40 years of hands-on experience within the natural/organic food and grocery sector to the board of Fair Trade USA, two decades of which he spent at the global level of Whole Foods Market (WFM). Most recently, he served as their Senior Global Vice President of Purchasing, Communications and Distribution.  

Beginning as the Director of Purchasing for Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Foods Markets, a Whole Foods-owned company, Mr. Besancon was then hired as the Southern Pacific Regional Vice President for WFM, where he oversaw purchasing, distribution, and operations of the region. He was later promoted to Mid Atlantic Regional President, Southern Pacific Regional President, and finally to Senior Global Vice President of Purchasing, Communications and Distribution in 2008, a position he held until retiring in 2012. Besancon also led the company’s Green Mission task force, guiding the purchase of an unprecedented 100 percent electricity offset of wind renewable energy credits.

Throughout his career, Michael Besancon worked with vendors across the globe to dramatically shift traditional retail approaches to selling food. By supporting the purchase of high quality products, he was able to encourage customers to connect not just to the food they buy, but also the people who produce it and the land it’s grown on. In the grocery sector, Michael helped fuel the mainstream expansion of the national and worldwide organic food movements that have changed the way millions of people eat, how food is grown, and how the entire grocery industry sells natural, non-GMO and organic food.

Besancon also co-founded a number of companies, including: Follow Your Heart Natural Foods Store, one of the very first and longest continuously operated natural food stores in the United States; Naturally Fast, a chain of Natural Food fast food restaurants in Southern California; and B & W Natural Food Brokerage, a national food brokerage group growing that represented many of the leading vendors in the natural and organic food industry.

Theresa Fay-Bustillos
President & CEO, Community Initiatives

Theresa Fay-Bustillos is a consultant for International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation and Vice President of Worldwide Community & Corporate Citizenship for Levi Strauss & Company for over eight years.  She was responsible for leading their corporate social responsibility, philanthropic and employee community involvement activities globally. The Foundation provides $10 million in grants in 35 countries to alleviate poverty for women and youth through a focus on creating assets and promoting savings, supporting market conscious approaches and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.  In addition, the company and foundation established the Workers’ Rights program aimed at educating apparel workers, enforcing workplace rights and creating public policy change. 

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975 and University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 1980, Ms. Fay-Bustillos became a trial attorney specializing in labor and employment law, voting rights, education and immigrants’ rights issues. She litigated class action and complex cases at the U.S. Department of Labor, the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF), U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Law Offices of Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak and Baller. Theresa briefly became an Administrative Law Judge and taught civil rights litigation at the University of Southern California Law School before changing careers and moving to the field of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy.

Carlos González
Commercial Director, Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC)

Carlos Alberto González was born on a coffee farm in Costa Rica and has built his career working with small coffee farmers. For the last 30 years, Carlos has worked at Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), first locally at 18 years old leading co-ops in his home province of Cauca and later at the national level. In recent years, Carlos headed the national cooperative division of the Federation and currently serves as the Commercial Director at FNC’s Headquarters.  With his background at one of the largest rural NGOs in the world, Carlos Alberto González brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Fair Trade USA board.

In his role at FNC, Carlos seeks to improve the well being and the quality of life of over 500,000 coffee growing families in Colombia.  Carlos’ legacy includes helping small farmer cooperatives become more competitive and profitable by developing their capacity to produce specialty coffee and capture emerging opportunities in the global specialty coffee market.  Under its sustainability programs, FNC has developed a sustainability policy focused on coffee growers that includes productivity, social and environmental initiatives. 

In addition to his experience at FNC, Carlos has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Confederación Nacional de Cooperativas de Colombia and a member of the Board of Directors from different organizations related to the Colombian Coffee industry.

Carlos has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira in Colombia, a Management Specialist degree from Universidad de la Sabana, and a Finance Specialist degree in Universidad Javeriana in Colombia.

Pamela Hartigan
Director, Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford University

As the Director of the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, and a Volans Founding Partner, Pamela Hartigan brings over three decades of diverse international expertise to the board of Fair Trade USA.

Throughout her career, Dr. Hartigan has held numerous leadership positions in academia, the non-profit sector, and public health. In addition to being  named the first Managing Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2000, Pamela also ran the Department of Health Promotion at the World Health Organization (1999-2001); and was Programme Manager and Area Coordinator for Applied Field Research in the Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) of the World Bank, WHO, and UNDP (1997-1999). Additionally, between 1990 and 1997, she worked in WHO’s Regional Office for the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), as Chief of the Gender, Health and Development and Manager for Special Initiative in the HIV/AIDS Programme.

After spending the first 17 years of her life in Latin America, Dr. Hartigan went on to graduate from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She also holds a Masters degree in International Economics and a Masters in Education and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. In addition to her current work with the Skoll Centre, Pamela is a frequent lecturer on social innovation and entrepreneurship at graduate schools of business in the USA, Europe and Asia, and is an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia School of Business in New York City. She serves on the Board of five social enterprises and advises many more.

Her most recent book, co-authored with John Elkington, is entitled The Power of Unreasonable People: How Entrepreneurs Create Markets that Change the World. It was published in 2008 by Harvard Business School Press.

Mary Ellen Iskenderian
President and CEO Women’s World Banking

Mary Ellen Iskenderian is President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, the global nonprofit devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they require to achieve security and prosperity. Ms. Iskenderian joined Women’s World Banking in 2006 and leads the Women’s World Banking global team, based in New York.

Prior to Women’s World Banking, Ms. Iskenderian worked for 17 years at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank. Before, she worked for the investment bank Lehman Brothers. Ms. Iskenderian is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a member of the Women’s Forum of New York, serves as an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative and is a judge for the annual Financial Times Sustainable Banking Awards. Ms. Iskenderian holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Rick Larson
Director of Sustainable Ventures, The Conservation Fund

Rick directs ShadeFund, The Conservation Fund’s (TCF) on-line crowd-funding site for small businesses in forest- and farm-dependent communities nationwide (www.shadefund.org). He also directs the North Carolina operations of the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) (www.ncifund.org), which provides patient capital to environmental and natural-resource based businesses in the Southeast.  ShadeFund and NCIF are the business lending arms of TCF, a national land and water conservation organization with a unique dual mission of environmental protection and economic development (www.conservationfund.org). 

His prior experience includes:  Managing Director of SJF Ventures, a $45 M mission-driven venture capital fund based in Durham, NC; National Director, REAL Enterprises, a nationwide entrepreneurship education program for rural youth and adults;  and shop floor supervisor and financial controller for the Cummins Engine Co.

 He is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School and a Lecturer at UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he teaches courses on Impact Investing and Financing Social Ventures.  Rick earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a BA in History and French from Amherst College.

Erik Nicholson
National Vice President, United Farm Workers of America (UFW)

For over 20 years, Erik Nicholson has been an activist for human rights and farm worker justice, serving as an organizer, trainer and advocate for farm workers at both the local and national levels. Currently, he is the National Vice President of UFW and a member of UFW’s National Executive Board, the largest farm workers union presently active in 10 states.  In this role, Erik oversees the development of UFW’s international infrastructure, improving advocacy on behalf of farm workers and creating meaningful change in workers’ lives, including fair wages, health coverage, retirement security and more.

Erik has extensive experience in areas relating to pesticide use, child labor, consumer outreach and education, and legislative issues. Most recently, Erik conducted field assessments of best practices on large Fair Trade Certified flower estates in Latin America. He is now helping Fair Trade USA to develop new farm worker training programs as they expand their model to empower and support farm worker communities in coffee and other commodities.    

Prior to joining the UFW, Erik worked for 12 years with Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United (PCUN), a farm worker union based in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. At PCUN he negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement covering farm workers in the history of Oregon agriculture. He has also served as one of two national farm worker representatives to the Environmental Protection Agency’s national pesticide advisory committee, the Pesticide Program Dialog Committee.  In addition, he has served on the Board of the Washington State ADRS Agricultural Employment Mediation Program, Washington State Farmworker Housing Trust, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Stakeholder Advisory Committee on the Cholinesterase Monitoring Rule. Furthermore, Erik was an appointed member of the Governor's Industrial Safety & Health Conference.

In the late 1980s, he worked for two years in Central America documenting human rights abuses. Nicholson has a B.A. from Duke University.

Paul Rice
President & CEO, Fair Trade USA

Paul opened our first "national headquarters” — a one-room office in a converted warehouse in downtown Oakland — in late 1998. Since launching the Fair Trade Certified label, Paul has pushed to mainstream the Fair Trade movement and expand its impact on farmers by innovating the model, partnering with over 800 U.S. companies and expanding certification across new product categories. This vision and leadership helped push U.S. retail sales of Fair Trade products to an estimated $1.5 billion in 2011, enabling millions of small farmers and workers to live better.

Paul came to Fair Trade by way of the mountainous Segovias region of northern Nicaragua, where he served for 11 years, organizing cooperatives and training farmers. While in Nicaragua, Paul founded and led PRODECOOP, the country's first Fair Trade, organic coffee export cooperative, which introduced him to the transformational power of Fair Trade. Subsequently, Paul served as strategy consultant and development advisor to 22 cooperative enterprises throughout Latin America and Asia, helping them become more competitive, democratic and self-reliant. Paul’s first-hand experience over the last 30 years in the areas of global supply chain transparency, social auditing, sustainable agriculture, and cooperative enterprise development is unique in the certification world.

Paul has received numerous honors and awards for his pioneering work as a social entrepreneur in the Fair Trade movement.  In 2000 he received the prestigious international Ashoka Fellowship for social entrepreneurship. In 2001 Paul was recognized by the AVINA Foundation for his "leadership for change.” Paul was honored by the Klaus Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the World Economic Forum as one of the world's top 40 Social Entrepreneurs in 2002.  Fast Company magazine named Paul “Social Capitalist of the Year” four years in a row (2005-08). Paul also received the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and has been honored by the Clinton Global Initiative for his leadership in Fair Trade.  Paul holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. 

Watch Paul's speech from the 2011 TEDx AshokaU event

Advisory Council

  • Kenneth J. Beeby
    Attorney (Consultant) Retired Vice President General Counsel of Ocean Spray Cranberries
  • Thomas Bullock
    Former President and CEO of Ocean Spray Cranberries
  • Susan Clare
    Business Consultant
  • Andrew J. Ferren, Esq.
    Partner, Goulston & Storrs
  • Sean Foote
    Labrador Ventures. Professional Faculty, UC Berkeley
  • Todd Gentzel
    Chief Strategist, Yaffe Deutser
  • Carlos Alberto Vargas Leitón
    Financial Manager, CoopeTarrazu R.L. Costa Rica
  • Douglas Lind
    Founder and Managing Partner of The Sigma Group of America
  • Joshua Mailman
    Sirius Business Corporation
  • Julia Ormond
    Actress
  • William B. Rosenzweig
    Managing Director, Physic Ventures
  • Kim Samuel-Johnson
    Director of The Samuel Group of Companies
  • George Scharffenberger
    Special Assistant for International Development Policy and Practice, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California Berkeley
Kenneth J. Beeby
Attorney (Consultant) Retired Vice President General Counsel of Ocean Spray Cranberries
Thomas Bullock
Former President and CEO of Ocean Spray Cranberries

Tom Bullock, the President and CEO of Ocean Spray Cranberries from 1997 until 2000, brings a unique background and set of skills to the task of corporate governance. He is an executive with years of packaged goods marketing experience, a well as an in-depth knowledge of the food and beverage industry. He has served on two corporate boards, the Avedis Zildjian Company (1992-1999), the world-leading maker of cymbals and drumsticks, and Mac-Gray Company, where he currently serves as the chairman of the board. Mac-Gray is a New York Stock Exchange company which offers laundry, copier and other services, many using smart-card technology.

As the CEO of Ocean Spray, he introduced twenty new products and executed an overhaul of operations intended to improve customer satisfaction, speed-to-market and operations efficiencies with significant savings. Recognizing the healthy qualities of the cranberry, he initiated research into its medical benefits with Harvard Medical School. The research set industry standards and initial results proved the efficacy of the cranberry as a curative and preventative of urinary tract infections. The research continues on many other health and medical benefits of the cranberry, placing Ocean Spray as an industry-leading agriceutical company. Bullock directed the entire Ocean Spray Marketing and Sales effort from 1983 to 1994 through the period of tremendous growth and prosperity. During that time the company grew from $450 million to $1.4 billion.

Susan Clare
Business Consultant

Ms. Susan Clare has been a business consultant and lender in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.  Most recently she was the Executive Director of a loan fund that provides technical assistance and financing for worker-owned businesses. In this capacity, she worked with many start-up or emerging businesses.  Previously she spent ten years as a lender to healthcare and higher education clients with Chemical Bank, and before that, four years as a consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton in their healthcare practice. She serves as Treasurer of the board of directors of the Oxfam America Advocacy Fund. Also in connection with Oxfam she is a member of an advisory board for an endowment for COICA, a coordinating body of indigenous peoples from ten countries of the Amazon rainforest.

She serves on the board of the ICA Group, a national not-for-profit organization that seeks to create and save jobs through the development and strengthening of employee-owned and community-based businesses. She also serves on the board of the National Coalition Against Censorship and national organization devoted to defending free speech.  She has an undergraduate degree in English from Barnard College and Master’s degrees in both business administration and public health from Columbia University.

Andrew J. Ferren, Esq.
Partner, Goulston & Storrs
Sean Foote
Labrador Ventures. Professional Faculty, UC Berkeley
Todd Gentzel
Chief Strategist, Yaffe Deutser
Carlos Alberto Vargas Leitón
Financial Manager, CoopeTarrazu R.L. Costa Rica

Carlos Vargas began his work with cooperatives in 1979 with CoopeSanta Elena R.L. in Monteverde where he was the general manager for 18 years. From 1997 to 2004 he worked as general manager of COOCAFE based in San Jose, Costa Rica. Carlos was responsible for the marketing and coffee sales of nine COOCAFE affiliated cooperatives. Aside from his management experience, he has supervised other developmental and financial projects with Tostadora de Café, and worked on evaluations of production and industrialized coffee. He received a Bachelor degree in Finances Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from the Universidad Interamericana in 2002, and is completing his Masters degree in General Management. His educational background includes studies of Cooperatives and Rural Development in Israel (1989), and Leadership Management in Cost Rica (1997). Actually he works as CFO of CoopeTarrazu R.L., one of the largest coffee cooperatives in Costa Rica.

Douglas Lind
Founder and Managing Partner of The Sigma Group of America
Joshua Mailman
Sirius Business Corporation
William B. Rosenzweig
Managing Director, Physic Ventures

William B. Rosenzweig has spent more than twenty years integrating the practices and perspectives of an entrepreneur, venture investor and educator. Will is co-founder and Managing Director of Physic Ventures, LP, the first venture capital firm dedicated to investing in keeping people healthy by providing capital and expertise to science based, consumerdriven health and sustainable living companies. Based in San Francisco, the firm’s strategy is to capitalize on major economic, social and political trends shaping the rapidly evolving landscape of personal and planetary health. As an entrepreneur, Will has been involved as a founder and executive of more than a dozen earlystage ventures. Will was founding CEO (and Minister of Progress) of The Republic of Tea, an award-winning specialty tea company that is credited with creating the premium tea category in the United States. He has played key leadership roles at Nakamichi, the TED Conference, Odwalla, Leapfrog Toys, Brand New Brands, Hambrecht Vineyards and Wineries, Kingdom of Herbs, and Winetasting.com.

At Physic Ventures, Will leads the firm’s venture origination activities and supports portfolio companies in the areas of entrepreneurial leadership, business design, brand strategy and consumer marketing. Will serves as a member of the board of directors of GoodGuide, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, Attune Foods, EnergyHub, and Own.

From 1999-2008, Will served on the faculty of the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkeley, where he taught the MBA courses in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Venture Development. He continues to serve as advisor to the Global Social Venture Competition and has been a visiting faculty member at London Business School. He has been a Price Kauffman fellow and has served as a mentor in the Kauffman Fellows program. From 2000-2004, Will was also a team member for the Rockefeller Foundation's ProVenEx Fund, an investment vehicle seeking "double bottom line returns" in for-profit businesses. He was the coproject director and co-author of Rockefeller Foundation sponsored research on Impact Assessment. Will co-authored the bestselling book The Republic of Tea: How an Idea Becomes a Business (Doubleday 1992, 1994), which was recently named one of the 100 best business books of all time.

Kim Samuel-Johnson
Director of The Samuel Group of Companies
George Scharffenberger
Special Assistant for International Development Policy and Practice, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California Berkeley