Crop Trust Staff - Rice un Uruguay

The Staff

The Crop Trust considers its staff its most important asset.

The Crop Trust is a small organization with a big mission. With less than 25 people, the Crop Trust has staff of broad talents and exceptional drive to ensure the conservation of crop diversity, forever.

Executive Office

  • Marie Haga

    Executive Director

    Marie Haga joined the Global Crop Diversity Trust as Executive Director in March 2013.  She had previously been member and Deputy Chair of the Global Crop Diversity Trust Executive Board.

    Ms. Haga has a background from Foreign Service as a career diplomat, from politics and private sector.

    She has held various positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affaires including to the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Embassy in New Delhi. She was politically appointed and held the position as State Secretary/Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affaires 1997-1999.

    Ms. Haga has wide experience from politics and served as a Member of Parliament in Norway from 2001-2009. She was political advisor to the Minister for Development Cooperation from 1997-1998. She was Chairperson of the Centre Party from 2003-2008. Ms. Haga has held three Ministerial positions: Minister of Cultural Affairs (1999-2000), Minister of Local Government and Regional Development (2005-2007) and Minister of Petroleum and Energy (2007-2008).

    Marie Haga has held the position as Director for Renewable Energy in the Federation of Norwegian Industries (2009-2011) and as Secretary General of the Norwegian Air Ambulance (2011-2013) – the biggest voluntary organization in Norway.

    Ms. Haga has been on several boards, including as Chair of the Governing Board of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) (2009-2013) and Chair of the Governing Board of the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway (2010-2013)

    Marie Haga has also published three books – one novel and two on Norwegian politics.

  • Paula Bramel

    Deputy Executive Director

    Paula joined the Crop Trust from the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria, where she was Deputy Director General. At IITA she was responsible for the leadership and management of the Institute’s research agenda, which has some 100 scientists and 250 support staff located in 12 African countries. She has more than 30 years of experience as a researcher and plant breeder in Africa, Asia and North America. This experience includes 11 years as a Tenured Associate Professor of Agronomy at Kansas State University, as a sorghum breeder, and 6 years at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in India as Principal Scientist, Genetic Resources.

  • Nella Bause

    Personal Assistant to the Executive Director

    Nationality: German
    Languages Spoken: German, English and Swahili
    Favorite Crop: Sweet potato

    Nella is responsible for providing administrative and general support to the Executive Director and the Organization’s Executive Management Team. In addition, she provides secretarial support to the Executive Board and assists with the logistical arrangements for the Donors’ Council meetings.

The Science Team

  • Luigi Guarino

    Senior Scientist

    Nationality: Italian
    Languages Spoken: English, Italian, Spanish
    Favorite Crop: Mango

    Luigi oversees the Crop Trust’s programmatic work while leading the Science Team. Luigi co-authors one of the most eminent Twitter accounts and blogs on crop diversity conservation in the world. Luigi is a member of the Senior Management Team. Read more about Luigi.

  • Peter Wenzl

    DivSeek Liaison

    Nationality: Austrian
    Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, and German
    Favorite Crop: Lulo (Solanum quitoense)

    Peter is the Crop Trust’s Liaison for DivSeek, a global, community-driven initiative to harness genetic resources for food security and climate adaptation. He helps to network and add value to individual projects that make use of the latest technologies to unlock the ‘genetic potential’ of genebank accessions. Read more about Peter here.

  • Matija Obreza

    Information Systems Manager

    Nationality: Slovene
    Languages Spoken: Slovene and English
    Favorite Crop: Yam

    Matija is responsible for information systems at the Crop Trust and global information systems in support of the conservation of crop diversity such as Genesys.

  • Hannes Dempewolf

    Scientist and Project Manager

    Nationality: German
    Languages Spoken: English and German
    Favorite Crop: Sunflower

    Hannes is a member of the Science team at the Crop Trust and manages the Project “Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting and Preparing Crop Wild Relatives. Read more about Hannes here.

  • Charlotte Lusty

    Genebank Programmes Coordinator

    Nationality: British
    Languages Spoken: English, French
    Favorite Crop: Pea

    Charlotte coordinates the Crop Trust’s work to oversee the technical and financial management of the CGIAR gene banks. Read more about Charlotte here.

  • Janny van Beem

    Genebank Quality Management

    Janny joined the Crop Trust in August 2014. She is responsible for the development and implementation of Quality and Risk Management Systems (QMS) covering relevant aspects of Center genebank activities to ensure high standards in the conservation and distribution of plant genetic resources. Janny holds a doctorate degree from Cornell University in plant breeding/genetics, and has worked at CIMMYT, CIAT and CIP in breeding and conservation of maize, beans, wheat and potato. Former expertise includes quality management and supervision of ISO-accredited systems (ISO/IEC 17025:2005) and liaison with national commissions in Mexico and Peru for the protection and equitable sharing of plant genetic resources and their traditional knowledge. She is a national of Colombia.

  • Beri Bonglim

    Technical Assistant

    Nationality: Cameroonian
    Languages spoken: English, French, German, Lamnso
    Favorite Crop: Groundnut

    Beri provides assistance in the management of the Crop Wild Relative project. She is also responsible for maintaining, compiling and analyzing data from the Global System Project and is the Crop Trust Focal Person for the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.



  • Cristian Moreno

    Technical Assistant

    Nationality: Argentina and Spanish Dual Citizen
    Languages Spoken: Spanish, English and German
    Favorite Crop: Forages

    Cristian assists in managing and monitoring the Genebanks CRP program. He seeks progress towards reaching technical targets of genebank performance indicators within a rational and efficient global system of ex-situ conservation.

  • Nelissa Jamora

    Impact Assessment Fellow

    Nationality: Philippines
    Languages Spoken: English, Filipino
    Favorite CropRice

    Nelissa works on assessing the value of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, supporting the Crop Trust’s scientific outreach.

The Partnerships and Communications Team

  • Michael Koch

    Director of Finance

    Nationality: German
    Languages: English, German, French and Spanish
    Favorite Crop: Potato

    Michael oversees the work of the Finance Team and the Partnerships and Communications Team. In Finance his primary focus is on innovative approaches of raising donor funding and on the investment of the Crop Trust Endowment Fund. On Partnerships, Michael concentrates on outreach to current and prospective donor governments and selected private partners. Michael is a member of the Senior Management Team of the Crop Trust. Read more about Michael here.

  • Krupali Patel

    Partnerships Manager

    Nationality: British
    Languages Spoken: English
    Favourite Crop: Maize

    Krupali’s main responsibility is to build relationships with the private-sector, foundations and individuals to implement the Crop Trust’s fundraising strategy.

  • Luis Salazar

    Communications Manager

    Nationality: Salvadoran and French Dual Citizen
    Languages Spoken: Spanish, English, French
    Favorite Crop: Sunflower

    Luis leads the development of the organization’s overall communications strategy. In building and strengthening relationships with the Crop Trust’s various stakeholders, he oversees the organization’s public and media relations, branding strategy and program publications.

  • Brian Lainoff

    Partnerships and Communications Officer

    Nationality: American and Italian Dual Citizen                          Languages Spoken: English                                                                Favorite Crop: Grasspea

    Brian is responsible for private sector partnerships and outreach, global media outreach and the Crop Trust’s online communications efforts.

  • Julia Greene

    Partnerships Assistant

    Nationality: American
    Languages Spoken: English and French
    Favorite Crop: Chickpea, because the plant is at home in dry environments and captures its own nitrogen, so irrigation and fertilizer are seldom needed.

    Julia supports the Partnerships & Communications Team in all aspects of the Crop Trust’s outreach to current and new donors, including governments and private sector partners.

  • Cierra Martin

    Partnerships Fellow

    Nationality: American
    Languages: English
    Favorite crop: Banana (musa). Bananas and plantains are the developing world’s fourth most important crop after rice, wheat and maize and remind me of my Cuban roots.

    Cierra supports the Partnerships & Communications Team in all aspects of the Crop Trust’s outreach to current and new donors, including governments and private sector partners.

The Finance Team

  • Janet Muir

    Finance Manager

    Nationality: Irish
    Languages Spoken: English
    Favorite Crop: Potato

    Janet manages the financial operations of the Crop Trust, which includes supervision of income, investments, treasury functions, operational expenses and grant awards. Janet is a member of the Senior Management Team. Read more about Janet here.

  • Stefan Thyen

    Contracts and Grants Manager

    Nationality: German
    Languages Spoken: German and English
    Favorite Crop: Chickpea, because more than 95% of both production and consumption happen in developing countries.

    Stefan is the primary contact for contractual issues and is responsible for the administration of the organization’s scientific and corporate contracts and proposals.

  • Abdul Wajid

    Finance Officer

    Nationality: Pakistani
    Languages Spoken: English, Pashto, Urdu, Hindi, some Persian (Dari) and Arabic
    Favorite Crop: Wheat

    Under the direct supervision of the Finance Manager Abdul is responsible for assisting in the management of the financial affairs of the Organization including the financial statements, multi-year budgets, cashflow forecasting, investments and management accounting.

  • Anna Stolyarskaya

    Finance Officer

    Nationality: Russian
    Languages Spoken: English, German, Italian and Russian
    Favorite Crop: Wheat

    Anna is responsible for overseeing the financial operations of the organization and ensuring timely and accurate financial reports and practices including cash management, payroll, financial disbursements and ledger.

  • Amanda Dobson

    Finance Officer

    Nationality: American
    Languages Spoken: English and Italian
    Favourite Crop: Yam

    Amanda works in the finance department where she is responsible for project finance, contracts, budgets and donor reporting.


  • Mary Ghira

    Finance Assistant

    Nationality: German
    Languages Spoken: German and English
    Favorite Crop: Banana

    Mary concentrates on Accounts Payable, but also assists in all areas of financial administration including project finance and auditing.

The Corporate Operations Team

  • Layla Daoud

    Corporate Operations Manager

    Nationality: American
    Languages Spoken: English, Italian, and Spanish
    Favorite Crop: Chickpea

    Layla is responsible for managing the corporate operation of the Crop Trust consisting of Human Resources, Travel, ICT services and Facility Management.

  • Dagny Poser

    Travel and Meetings Officer

    Nationality: German
    Languages Spoken: German, English and Swedish
    Favorite Crop: Coconut 

    Dagny is responsible for planning, arranging and coordinating all of the Crop Trust’s travel, meetings and conferences worldwide.

  • David Westphal

    Corporate Operations Officer

    Nationality: German
    Languages: English, German
    Favorite Crop: Rice

    David is responsible for assisting with Corporate Operations as well as Human Resources support at the Crop Trust.

  • Alireza Mohammadi

    IT System Administrator

    Nationality: Iranian
    Languages Spoken: English and Persian
    Favorite Crop: Coconut, because the coconut palm will continue to provide everything from food and drink to rope, cooking oil, cosmetics – and sustainable livelihoods for 10 million poor households.

    Ali is responsible for the organization’s IT-related issues and for implementing IT security strategies and IT projects.

  • Leo Tanangco

    Junior Travel and Operations Assistant

    Nationality: Filipino
    Languages Spoken: Tagalog, English, German and French
    Favorite Crop: Chickpea 

    Leo assists with travel and corporate operations at the Crop Trust.