Mark Blackett, AMEA
Global Network Director
Mark Blackett is a Chartered Accountant who worked for KPMG and multinational companies before leaping into development work 17 years ago. Mark has worked for large and small NGOs leading innovations on social marketing and inclusive business development, as well as contributing to a number of large scale humanitarian responses. Mark has worked in Uganda, Sudan, Vietnam and Ethiopia and led Rikolto East Africa’s inclusive business programme before coming onboard as AMEA's Global Network Director.
Alan Johnson, IFC
Alan Johnson is a Lead for IFC’s Agribusiness Advisory Services - Smallholder Supply Chains, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is the global lead for Stronger Smallholder Supply Chains, a program aimed at linking smallholder producers to the commercial supply chains of IFC agribusiness clients. Alan manages a number of maize and soy supply chain projects in East Africa. He was previously based in Washington DC as a Global Product Leader for Farmer and SME Training in IFC’s Sustainable Business Advisory. Alan joined IFC in 2008 from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) where he led DFID’s global programme, “Making Markets work for the Poor”. He has a Masters Degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of New England in Australia where he was a Commonwealth Scholar.
Ian has extensive experience in international finance and project management in both commercial and not for profit enterprises. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in the UK and auditing with PwC in the Netherlands he joined Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) as European finance manager for computer repair. After working as Chief Accountant for Shell International in PNG he returned to technology with DEC before moving to Sun Microsystems, holding various international finance director positions in operations, business process and financial structure reengineering and shared services implementation. After assisting Google in their European startup he moved into the not for profit sector as COO at the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and then at Wetlands International, before joining SNV as Corporate Controller for 6 years. At SNV he led the global finance function during the successful transition from subsidy to external project funding, realigning the finance and control processes with the new business model. Ian holds a Business Studies degree from Teesside University in the UK.
Lucas Simons, SCOPEinsight
AMEA Initiator and Strategic Advisor to the Board
Lucas Simons is founder of NewForesight, an International operating strategic consultancy company dedicated to turn sustainability challenges into market opportunities. Through his work he has been active in over 16 different sectors and markets and he is the trusted advisor of many of the top Trade and Industry in Food and Agriculture, Governments, NGOs and leading International Organizations like World Bank, IFC, FAO and the UN. For his impactful work and achievements he was honored by the World Economic Forum as Young Global Leader and he was named Ashoka Fellow for being a systemic Change Maker. Four times he was mentioned in the top 100 most influential sustainable thought leaders of the Netherlands.
Hélène M. Van der Roest, ICCO
Hélène has working experience in the banking, finance management and business sector in Europe. She moved to East Africa in 2004 and since then lived most of the time in Kenya. She has worked in Management and Leadership of NGO’s and Social Enterprises, as well as conducted training and program business implementation in the development sector covering many African countries. Hélène fulfilled roles as regional director / interim director and did a wide range of consultancies in financial and organizational analysis as well as development assignments, related to baselines, monitoring and evaluation work of programs. She also supported the establishment of some small-scale enterprises through micro loans and training programs. Hélène has been managing USAID and EU funded programs in the East African Region including South Sudan for Education and Food Security and has ample experience in lobbying and advocacy at consulting levels. With her partner she established a foundation that focuses on creating Social Enterprises at grassroots level. Since January 2017 she works as Regional Manager Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, with ICCO Cooperation. She is a board member with a role to focus on networks and associations relevant to Social Enterprises. A strong thinker and visionary with proven business establishment, management and leadership skills as well as diverse skills in development, lobby and advocacy work in Africa.
Karina Wong, Small Foundation
Karina Wong is Senior Executive at Small Foundation, a family foundation aiming to catalyse the proliferation of sustainable income-generating opportunities for extremely poor people in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Karina has over 16 years of combined experience in finance and international development working with a wide range of organizations from for-profit Fortune 500 companies to non-profit community based organizations. She has been involved in impact investing in Africa for the past decade, and her interest lies in the intersection of entrepreneurial development and poverty alleviation. Karina has a Business and Spanish degree from Indiana University and a Masters degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.
Sabrina Amburgey, ACDI/VOCA
Sabrina has 20 years of practical international development experience in capacity building, program design, training/facilitation, product development, planning and consulting across a range of development sectors. She began her career at Pact, where she played a central role in developing Pact’s Organizational Capacity Assessment methodology and trained over 1,000 people worldwide in its use. As a member of Pact’s Capacity Building Services Group she designed and administered a number of organizational capacity building and assessment projects; collected, documented, packaged and disseminated lessons learned and best practices; and identified, developed and tested new/improved capacity building products and services. Since joining ACDI/VOCA in 2010 she has helped design and grow its program portfolio, particularly in relation to smallholder agriculture and market systems, and the U.S. Government Feed the Future initiative. In 2013 she completed the Springfield Centre’s Making Markets Work for the Poor training program. In her current position, Sabrina helps guide overall direction for the development of new initiatives and strategic partnerships across ACDI/VOCA and its affiliated institutions.