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 complete the Crop Trust’s mission.
Marie HagaExecutive 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 BramelDeputy 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.
Claudia Freitas CruzAssistant to the Executive Office
Claudia joined the Crop Trust in December 2014. She is responsible for providing administrative support to the Executive Office and to the Crop Trust’s Executive Board. In addition, Claudia supports the Crop Trust’s Senior Management Team and providing overall administrative support to Crop Trust staff. Claudia has over 14 years experience as an Assistant Attachée in several postings in Asia and Europe with the German Foreign Office. Claudia is fluent in German, English and Portuguese and has a beginner’s knowledge of Japanese. Claudia is a German citizen.
The Science Team
Luigi GuarinoSenior Scientist
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.
Matija ObrezaInformation Systems Manager
Matija joined the Crop Trust in March 2013. He has extensive experience in software development and databases. Matija worked with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria, where he implemented genebank management software and several applications supporting information management systems. After his stay in Ibadan, Matija moved to Europe to work with the Open University of the Netherlands as part of the team implementing an on-line learning environment. At the Crop Trust, Matija is managing the GeneSys II Project and is the Crop Trust’s focal point for informatics.
Hannes DempewolfScientist and Project Manager
Hannes Dempewolf is a scientist at the Crop Trust and mainly works in the framework of the Crop Trust’s project Adapting agriculture to climate change: collecting, protecting and preparing crop wild relatives. He has a particular interest in exploring ways in which crop wild relatives and landrace diversity can be used in breeding programs more effectively by better linking genebanks to breeders (and vice versa). H Hannes has studied Botany at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in Scotland and completed his PhD training at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He has been involved in and led various research projects on plant genetic resources in Peru, the Caribbean, southern Kenya and Ethiopia in the past. His scientific interest focuses on the evolution, maintenance and conservation of agrobiodiversity, the importance of such diversity for farming communities and the role it can play for sustainable development and food security.
Charlotte LustyGenebank Programmes Coordinator
Charlotte joined the Crop Trust as Scientist in 2008. She worked previously in the Commodities for Livelihoods Programme at Bioversity International, coordinating a project on micronutrient-rich banana and working on the development of strategies and projects for banana, cocoa and coconut networks. Between 1993 and 2000 she worked as a Research Officer at the Species Programme of the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, UK. She was trained as a zoologist and spent a number of years in East Africa at the Jane Goodall Institute and other research stations studying primates. Charlotte is British.
Janny van BeemGenebank 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 BonglimTechnical Assistant
Beri joined the Crop Trust in May 2013. She is responsible for analyzing findings and data from the Crop Trust’s Global system project. She is a graduate from the University of Bonn Agricultural science and resource management in the tropics and sub-tropics (ARTS) program. Beri carried out her Masters research at the Africa Rice Centre, Cotonou, Benin on rice seed priming. She also received a best student award for the ARTS program for 2012. Prior to joining the Crop Trust she volunteered as an Exhibitor for the UNCCD capacity building market place. In her home country Cameroon, Beri has been actively involved in development work, though her work with non – governmental organizations as a project coordinator or project assistant.
Cristian MorenoTechnical Assistant
Cristian joined the Crop Trust in October 2013. He recently completed his Master’s degree from the University of Bonn in Tropical Agriculture. He obtained his Agricultural Engineering degree at the National University of La Plata in Argentina, his home country. As a young scientist, he was in charge of a research farm for native and exotic pastures in Argentina. During this time he collected seeds and established trails with promising native grasses and forages legumes for animal husbandry. He also conducted research and assisted teaching at university of Buenos Aires on ecology and management of natural grasslands as well as studied the response of plant functional traits to grazing in South African grasslands. More recently, Cristian has worked at Fairtrade International where he has acquired experience with data management and database development. At the Crop Trust he will put these skills in practice to facilitate the flow of plant diversity data in an informative and user-friendly way.
The Partnerships and Communications Team
Michael KochDirector of Finance
Michael Koch joined the Crop Trust in October 2013, overseeing the organization’s finance department and work in building partnerships and communications. Michael leads the Finance team and the Partnerships and Communications team. Michael worked at the World Bank for more than twenty years, initially on development projects in agriculture and finance in Eastern Europe and North Africa, then as funding manager issuing bonds in the capital markets. From 2003, Michael oversaw the World Bank’s donor relations, first as finance manager of the International Development Association, then as director of financial management, and thereafter as director of global partnerships and trust fund operations. In 2010 he guided discussions leading to a realignment of voting rights at the World Bank. Michael also worked at Commerzbank Securities, Deutsche Bank, Daimler Benz, and McKinsey. He holds a PhD in Development Economics from Goettingen University in Germany, a Masters degree in Economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a vocational banking degree from Deutsche Bank, and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Michael is a German citizen.
Krupali PatelPartnerships Manager
Krupali joined the Crop Trust in May 2013. Her main responsibility is to build relationships with the private-sector, foundations and individuals to implement the Crop Trust’s fundraising strategy. Over the last ten years, Krupali has secured philanthropic funding for a range of international not-for-profit organizations, including the School of Oriental and African Studies, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and others. She has also been involved with a number of special projects including the Millennium Seed Bank, Matched Giving and a range of Capital Campaigns. Krupali holds a BSc Hons degree in Ecology and Agricultural Biology from the University of Hertfordshire. Following her studies, she volunteered for six months at Jatun Sacha Biological Research Station in Ecuador and has ever since, developed a long-standing interest in preserving plant diversity. At present, she is studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) at Edinburgh Business School. Krupali is a British citizen.
Luis SalazarCommunications Manager
Luis joined the Crop Trust in October 2013 where he 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. During the past 15 years, Luis has worked in the marketing and communications industry – in the United States, Central and South America, and France. Adapting to different cultures and working in different languages, he has played an assortmant of executive, managerial, and technical roles. His experiences include developing PR campaigns for NGOs, designing branding strategies for start-ups, and leading his own photography studio. His interest in biodiversity, agriculture and food security developed and consolidated during his 2005-2010 tenure as Communications Director at Zamorano University, an international, nonprofit agricultural university based in Honduras. Luis holds a Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon, a Masters degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton, and a BS in Marketing from the University of Mobile, Alabama. A citizen of El Salvador, he is fluent in Spanish and English and has intermediate knowledge of French.
Brian LainoffPartnerships and Communications Officer
Brian joined the Crop Trust in August 2012. He works on partnerships and communications and is currently managing the Crop Trust’s online presence through the website and social media. Brian assists in media relations and creating communication material for communications and fundraising. Brian was the first recipient of the Cary Fowler ’71 Environmental Studies International Fellowship from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. He graduated with BAs in Environmental Studies and English. Previously, he worked for the Office of the Mayor of Memphis, where he was integral in the creation and organization of the first annual GreenUp Memphis festival. Brian also spent time at The Leadership Academy, now the New Memphis Institute, as a Communications Intern. At Rhodes, Brian researched the social and economic effects of green space in Memphis as well as the impact of the environment on American literature. Brian is a dual American/Italian citizen.
Julia GreenePartnerships Fellow
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.
The Finance Team
Janet MuirFinance Manager
Janet joined the Crop Trust in 2014. As Finance Manager, Janet has responsibility for managing the financial operations of the Crop Trust, which includes supervision of income, investments, treasury functions, operational expenses and grant awards. In addition, Janet contributes to the corporate management of the Crop Trust by assisting the Director of Finance in tasks relating to the development and implementation of the organization’s strategy, program, policies and procedures. Prior to joining the Crop Trust, Janet worked from 2003 – 2014 for the University of Dublin, Trinity College as Financial Resources Manager, and a member of the senior financial management team, with responsibility for all aspects of financial reporting and strategic financial planning for Ireland’s top ranked university. Janet has also worked with Interactive Services Limited, a leading e-learning organisation, and with Lidl Ireland GmbH in financial controller roles. She is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland, having qualified with Ernst & Young, and holds an MBS in Accounting, a B.A. (Hons) in Accounting & Finance and a Graduate Certificate in Corporate Treasury from Dublin City University. Janet is an Irish citizen.
Stefan ThyenContracts and Grants Manager
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.
Anna StolyarskayaFinance Officer
Anna joined the Crop Trust in September 2007. She is responsible for the management of the financial operations for the Crop Trust and support of organization’s daily activities. Prior to joining the Crop Trust, Anna worked in the Finance Department at CTBTO (Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization) located in Vienna, Austria. She began her career at the United Nations Office in the Treasury Division in Vienna. Anna completed her degrees in Accounting and Business Administration at the Vienna University. Anna is a Russian citizen and speaks Russian, English, German, and Italian.
Amanda DobsonFinance Assistant
Amanda joined the Crop Trust in August 2009. She currently works in the finance department dealing mainly with treasury operations but assisting in all areas of financial administration including project finance and auditing. She began her work at the Crop Trust as a Programme Assistant to the Global System Project where she worked with the scientific team to implement a major project to rescue and regenerate collections in over 70 countries around the world. In the later phase of the project, Amanda was responsible for the safety duplication of the regenerated collections into regional genebanks and the Global Seed Vault. Prior to joining the Crop Trust, Amanda was an intern at Bioversity International where she worked as an intern for the Public Awareness Unit. Amanda holds a BA in Business Administration from John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. Amanda speaks English and Italian. Amanda is an American citizen.
Mary GhiraFinance Assistant
Mary is a Finance Assistant at the Crop Trust. Mary has a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration. In addition to longstanding experience in previous positions with the German civil service in which she provided general administrative support, Mary has significant experience in facilities management, finance and procurement. Mary is fluent in German and English and has a beginner’s knowledge of French.
David WestphalFinance Assistant
David has a university degree in Economics from the Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-University in Bonn, Germany. David gained experience in the area of finance through a traineeship with M.M. Warburg & CO Luxembourg in the Money, Foreign Exchange and Securities departments and the Custodian bank. He also had previous administrative experience with HNC HealthNetConsult GmbH in Bonn where he worked for approximately three years. David, who is a German national, has lived in Sri Lanka and the United States. He is fluent in English and German.
The Corporate Operations Team
Layla DaoudCorporate Operations Manager
Layla joined the Crop Trust in April 2007. She is responsible for managing the Crop Trust’s Corporate Operations and Human Resources functions. Prior to joining the Crop Trust, Layla worked for Bioversity International in the Global Partnerships Programme from 1994 to 2007 focusing on project administration support, communications and information. Prior to this, Layla worked at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations World Food Council Secretariat and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. A graduate in Human Development from the University of California Davis (UCD), Layla undertook advanced studies in education at UCD where she obtained a teaching credential. Layla is American. Her first language is English. She is fluent in Italian and has a working knowledge of Spanish.
Nella BauseCorporate Operations Assistant
Nella joined the Crop Trust in March 2013. She is responsible for assisting with Corporate Operations as well as Human Resources support at the Crop Trust. She holds a BSc in Travel and Tourism Management as well as an MSc in Human Resources Management, both of which she obtained in the UK. Prior to joining the Crop Trust, Nella held operations and management assistant positions in renowned hospitality organizations such as The Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Colorado, Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai and The Wales Millennium Centre in the UK. Nella also provided administrative and operational support to the City of Hanover KunstFestSpiele Team during the classical arts Festival in 2010 and 2012. Nella speaks German, English and a little Swahili. She is German.
Dagny PoserTravel and Meeting Assistant
Dagny joined the Crop Trust in May 2013. She has more than 14 years significance experience in the travel industry and holds a college degree in tourism as well as a degree from the German Chamber of Commerce in travel and tourism. Dagny is responsible for planning, arranging and coordinating all of the Crop Trust’s travel, meetings and conferences worldwide. She developed the travel department and drafted the travel policies and procedures. In addition, she supports the Administrative Team and gives support to the Crop Trust staff. Prior to joining the Crop Trust, Dagny worked abroad in the USA, Great Britain and Sweden in various areas of the travel industry. As a German citizen, Dagny speaks fluent German, English and Swedish and has now begun studying french.
Alireza MohammadiIT System Administrator
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 TanangcoJunior Travel and Operations Assistant
Leo joined the Crop Trust in April 2014. He is responsible for providing administrative assistance to the Crop Trust in the area of travel and operations. Leo has gained relevant experience working on large conferences organized by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification where he worked as a Junior Secretary/Consultant, providing logistical and travel arrangements for the French-speaking countries for the conferences CRIC11 and the COP11. Here he gained experience in general office and organizational tasks, maintained contact with delegates and with embassies and assisted with travel arrangements. Leo is a national of the Philippines. He speaks fluent English, Tagalog, German and French.