Leadership Team

Meet our leaders

Our leaders’ robust level of experience guides our work with farming communities to achieve living incomes.

Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO, Heifer International

Pierre Ferrari headshot

Pierre Ferrari joined Heifer International in 2010 with more than 40 years of business experience. He worked for many years at Coca-Cola USA, before deciding in 1995 to focus his energy and business acumen on social issues. Ferrari is a former chair and board member of Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream and a former board member of the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund. He received a master’s degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and a Master's of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

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Hilary Haddigan, Chief of Mission Effectiveness

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Hilary Haddigan has worked with Heifer since October 1999. As Chief of Mission Effectiveness, she leads the development of organization strategy, as well as cross-cutting initiatives that advance change. Prior to Heifer, Haddigan worked with Christian Aid in the UK, as a college chaplain in inner-city London, with the Volunteer Missionary Movement in Zimbabwe, and as a teacher in northwest England — her homeland. Haddigan holds a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Liverpool and a Master’s of Science in Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

Robert “Bob” Bloom, Chief Financial Officer

Bob Bloom headshot

Robert “Bob” Bloom has an accounting degree from the University of Illinois. Bloom brings a wealth of financial experience to Heifer. He has previously worked at Vestcom, a communications provider; Acxiom Corp., a data processing and content provider; a sporting goods company and an accounting firm.

Elia Makar, Chief People Office 

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Elia Makar joined Heifer in 2021, bringing more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources. Born and raised in Egypt, he has worked in various global markets and has spearheaded Human Resources teams in the technology, construction, education, and relief and development fields. Before joining Heifer, he spent 10 years with Relief International.   

Makar is focused on developing an organizational culture where everyone feels excited to show up to work — opting to transition the Human Resources Department to the People Department.  

Makar has a Master of Business Administration from Harriot Watt University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Cairo University. He is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and a Senior Certified Human Resources Professional.  

Oscar Castañeda, Senior Vice President of the Americas Programs

Oscar Castaneda

Dr. Oscar Castañeda has worked for decades designing, implementing and evaluating community-based sustainable development programs. Before joining Heifer, Castañeda served World Neighbors as country director for his native Guatemala. He has also been a consultant and part-time professor in the fields of agroecology and organic agriculture, authored several publications, and led numerous workshops on sustainable organic agriculture and project planning and monitoring. Castañeda is fluent in Spanish, English and German.

Mahendra Lohani, Senior Vice President of Programs 

Mahendra Lohani headshot

Dr. Mahendra Lohani, a native of Nepal, has served Heifer for more than 20 years as both a volunteer and senior leader. He is a veterinarian with masters and doctorate degrees in animal nutrition and agricultural economics. Under Lohani's guidance, the program is dedicated to building strong social capital in addition to livestock development and pro-poor wealth-creating value chains that integrate vulnerable groups into market activities in an equitable and fair manner.

Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President of Africa Programs 

Adesuwa Ifedi headshot

Adesuwa Ifedi joined Heifer International in March 2020. She has had a rich career spanning over 25 years across the nonprofit, education, finance, research and entrepreneurship sectors. Ifedi has worked to support several global NGOs and social enterprises find local relevance and customize their business model to meet the demand for services in Africa. Before she joined Heifer, she worked at Bridge International Academies as Vice President of Policy and Partnerships overseeing Bridge's expansion work across Africa through public and private partnerships.

Ifedi has a background in economics and statistics, an MBA from Lagos Business School and a Postgraduate in Entrepreneurship from Boston University. She is also a Fulbright Scholar and a Hubert Humphrey fellow from Boston University, where she focused on innovation that drives development in Africa.

A great communicator and networking expert, Ifedi has built consensus in hostile situations, particularly between public and private sector players. Driven by her passion for development in Africa, she has spent the last 18 years making markets work for low income families by working to provide access to education, finance and life skills.

Chad Avery, General Counsel 

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Chad Avery coordinates legal services in areas such as intellectual property, impact ventures, charitable solicitation, grants and contracts, compliance, nonprofit tax and corporate law. Prior to joining Heifer, Avery worked with the law firm of Gill Ragon Owen. Avery earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Central Arkansas, after which he served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan — where he taught business courses at Karshi State University and studied Russian. Upon returning, Avery earned his law degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, where he graduated with high honors. He has been admitted to the Arkansas and Missouri bars and is a member of the American Bar Association and FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

Ardyth Neill, Heifer Foundation President

Ardyth Neill is president of Heifer Foundation, an international philanthropic foundation established to raise and oversee financial assets to support the work of Heifer International; educating the public on planned charitable giving; and to serve as fiduciary for its donors.

Neill came to Heifer Foundation in 2001 after serving as director of accounting for more than four years with Heifer International. She served as CFO and vice president of asset management for Heifer Foundation from 2001–2012. Neill is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Little Rock and serves as president of the board of the Rotary Club 99 Foundation. She serves on the CARTI Board of Directors and Drury University’s Breech School of Business Administration’s Advisory Board.