I’ve gotten to know VECO (now Rikolto) as a member of the Food Lab network, through the strategic learning assessments for both Central America and Latin America where I had the pleasure to meet both regional staff and visit some of the incredible farmer associations that Rikolto in the Andes regio and Central America are supporting.
I’ve found Rikolto to be one of the few organisations that reflect on their work and are willing to learn. Rikolto shares the same values regarding commitment to being a learning organization as the Sustainable Food Lab. What I love about the organisation is that it’s a mix between practical work on the field and a robust theoretical foundation. I was also struck by Rikolto's history: I haven't seen many successful mergers between 3 different civil society organisations and this is a testament to their adaptability.
My background is in supply chain management and ethical purchasing, managing cocoa purchasing from 1995-2002 at US specialty chocolate company and then running my own consulting company to help companies develop ethical sourcing programs.. I’ve always worked at the intersection between trade & development, and continue this work in our program on Agriculture & Development at the Food Lab.
In my role on the new Rikolto international board I will bring insights from this US perspective on business, where the dialogue is different to Europe on concepts such as corporate social responsibility and working with NGOs.
I look forward to being involved in the debates on the future of smallholder farming, on defining the global strategies for the future, and how Rikolto transitions to an effective and dynamic network organization.