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 30 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.

  • Bernhard Stocker

    Executive Assistant

    Nationality: Austria
    Languages Spoken: English and German

    Bernhard is responsible for providing executive-level administrative support to the Executive Director and the Organization’s Executive Management Team as well as to its Executive Board.

  • Dezreen Cameron-Stein

    Financial Accountant

    Nationality: Jamaica and United Kingdom
    Languages Spoken: English and German

    Under the direct supervision of the Finance director, Dezreen 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.

The Science Team

  • Paula Bramel

    Scientific Advisor

    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.

  • Luigi Guarino

    Director of Science and Programs

    Nationality: Italy
    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 Obreza

    Information Systems Manager

    Nationality: Slovenia
    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: Germany
    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: United Kingdom
    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.

  • Benjamin Kilian

    Plant Genetic Resources Scientist

    Nationality: Germany
    Languages Spoken: English, German, Russian
    Favorite Crops: Wheat, Barley, Lentils

    Benjamin works within the framework of the Crop Wild Relative Project, monitoring and providing support to pre-breeding activities on 19 crops involving more than 30 partner institutions, and coordinating efforts on the management of pre-breeding data. As the Crop Trust’s focal point for the DivSeek initiative he also provides guidance for our work on the use of genomics for more effective conservation and use of plant genetic resources.

  • 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.

  • Nora Castañeda-Álvarez

    Genesys Catalog Coordinator

    Nationality: Colombia
    Languages spoken
    : Spanish and English

    Nora works as part of the Science Team to contribute to the implementation of the Genesys Catalog of Phenotypic Datasets.

  • Beri Bonglim

    Technical Specialist

    Nationality: Cameroon
    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.



  • Faith Wambua-Luedeling

    Administrative Assistant

    Nationality: Kenya
    Languages spoken: English and Swahili

    Faith provides administrative support to the projects and other activities managed by the Science Team.

  • 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 Partnerships and Innovative Finance

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

    Michael oversees the work of the Partnerships and Communications Team. Michael concentrates on the outreach to current and prospective governments, foundations, selected corporate partners and household donors. In Innovative Finance his focus is on engagement with concessional lenders and capital market investors. Michael is a member of the Senior Management Team of the Crop Trust.

  • Luis Salazar

    Communications Manager

    Nationality: El Salvador and France
    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

    Lead Partnerships Coordinator

    Nationality: United States of America and Italy
    Languages Spoken: English                                                                Favorite Crop: Grasspea

    Brian manages and develops relationships with potential and current private sector partnerships and supporters including crop-based fundraising efforts, leads the Crop Trust’s communications and partnerships activities related to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and manages the Crop Trust’s online presence.

  • Julia Greene

    Partnerships Assistant

    Nationality: United States of America
    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’s role in the Partnerships & Communications Team is focused on government outreach. Her work is largely grounded in developing approaches to new donors and maintaining current relations, including through regional seminars and meetings of the Crop Trust Donors’ Council.

  • Cierra Martin

    Partnerships and Communications Assistant

    Nationality: United States of America
    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 assists in all aspects of the Crop Trust’s communication efforts and is responsible for handling media requests, content creation, maintaining the Crop Trust’s website and social media presence and coordinating media activity related to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. She also supports the development of private sector relationships.

  • Amanda Fuller

    Partnerships and Communications Fellow

    Nationality: United States of America
    Languages Spoken: English
    Favorite Crop: Forages, because they provide essential ecosystem services as well as nutrients for crops and food for livestock.

    Amanda 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

    Director of Finance

    Nationality: Ireland
    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.

  • Stefan Thyen

    Contracts and Grants Manager

    Nationality: Germany
    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 Stolyarskaya

    Finance Officer and ERP Project Manager

    Nationality: Russia
    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. As ERP Project Manager, Anna is responsible for the day to day management and monitoring of the ERP system with respect to Finance and HR modules, IT security and controls and the implementation and successful delivery of the ERP and any new systems.

  • Amanda Dobson

    Finance Officer, Projects and Contracts

    Nationality: United States of America
    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: Germany
    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

    Director of HR and Corporate Operations

    Nationality: United States of America
    Languages Spoken: English, Italian, and Spanish
    Favorite Crop: Chickpea

    Layla is responsible for the human resources and corporate operations of the Crop Trust. Layla is a member of the Senior Management Team of the Crop Trust.

  • Dagny Poser

    Travel and Meetings Officer

    Nationality: Germany
    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: Germany
    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: Iran
    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.

  • Isbandiyar Valiyev

    Junior ICT and Operations Assistant

    Nationality: Azerbaijan
    Languages Spoken: Azerbaijani, Russian, Turkish, French, and English
    Favorite CropAgroforestry Trees

    Isbandiyar is responsible for providing support with travel and meeting services and with ICT services.