Leadership Team

Meet our leaders

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

Surita Sandosham, President and CEO, Heifer International

Photograph of Surita Sandosham

Surita Sandosham joined Heifer International in 2022. Born and raised in Singapore, Sandosham has more than two decades of senior leadership experience at global nonprofit organizations. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Heartland Alliance International, a humanitarian and human rights nonprofit based in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to Heartland, Sandosham was Vice President of Programs at the global nonprofit Synergos in New York, building multisectoral partnerships on behalf of smallholder farmers and other vulnerable populations.

Sandosham is a lawyer by training who graduated from City University London and the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. As an international development practitioner and human rights advocate, she has served in leadership positions at Amnesty International, Equality Now, Rockefeller Foundation, Synergos, and Heartland Alliance International, working to accelerate agricultural growth, address malnutrition, improve retention rates in education and support economic development for marginalized communities.

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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 Degree in Education from the University of Liverpool and a Master of Science in Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

Marcia Rasmussen, Chief Financial Officer

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Marcia Rasmussen joined Heifer International in January 2011. Prior to joining Heifer, Rasmussen served in various financial and analytical roles for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a multinational producer of paper-based products, and Fives Giddings & Lewis, a leading manufacturer of metal-cutting machine tools.

Rasmussen holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.


Elia Makar, Chief People Officer 

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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.

Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President of Africa Programs 

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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.  He is also a former member of the 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. 

Christy Moore, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Philanthropy

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Christy Moore has worked with Heifer International since 1994. As Senior Vice President of Marketing, she has developed well-performing and sustainable fundraising programs, attracting new donors, retaining current donors and reactivating past donors, as well as increasing the number of monthly donors supporting Heifer’s projects around the world and here in the U.S. She has risen through the ranks at Heifer International, is responsible for more than 70 percent of the organization’s income and directs its mail, telemarketing, mass marketing, email marketing and digital marketing and engagement teams. Moore has won the Fundraising Success’ Nonprofit Fundraising Star Award given by editors at Fundraising Success Magazine, she was named Top Women in Fundraising and her team was awarded the Nonprofit Organization of the Year Award by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Patrick Bryski, Senior Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships

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Patrick Bryski joined Heifer International in November 2022. He leads Heifer’s Business Development and Partnership activities where he manages Heifer’s partnerships with Institutional Donors, Tier-One Foundations, Global Corporate Partnerships and Alliances, and the Proposal Design Hub. Born in Canada and raised overseas, Bryski has three decades of senior leadership experience in international development as a partner at global consulting firms. Most recently, he served as Executive Director and Partner of Deloitte Southeast Asia where he established the International Development business and oversaw all development programs in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar and across the emerging markets of Southeast Asia. Prior to that he was a Partner at Deloitte and at KPMG Consulting/BearingPoint where he led international development practice areas operating in the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Central, South, and Southeast Asia regions at various points in his career.

Bryski has an educational background in finance and international relations and has managed a vast array of international consulting programs focused on private sector development, financial sector strengthening and restructuring, public sector reform, and capacity development across the public and private sectors. In his work, he draws on strong communication and relationship-building skills to form strategic alliances and drive organizational impact, drive business growth, and achieve critical international development objectives.

Kim Ahlgrim, Vice President of Risk Management & Assurance

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Since joining Heifer International in 2006, Kim Ahlgrim has served as a leader in the organization’s global finance and administration functions. As Vice President of Risk Management and Assurance, Kim’s focus is promoting risk awareness and effective risk management toward achievement of Heifer’s mission to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Kim and her team work closely with global colleagues by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice, and insight relevant to the organization’s strategies and objectives. She is a member of the CEO’s Cabinet and reports regularly to the Audit Committee of Heifer International’s Board of Directors.

A long-time Arkansan, Kim holds a BA degree in Business and Economics with an Emphasis in Accounting from Hendrix College. Her pre-Heifer professional experience included public accounting and several years in the banking industry. Kim is a member of the AICPA, the IIA, and the ACFE.

Peter Goldstein, Vice President of Communications

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Peter Goldstein joined Heifer International in fall 2022 with 15 years of experience in in the global development sector across strategic communications, resource mobilization and partnerships. Prior to joining Heifer, Peter led global communications at HarvestPlus, a flagship program of the CGIAR that develops and promotes nutrient-enriched staple crops for smallholder farming households. His career has also included work in the areas of gender, reproductive health, economic empowerment and financial inclusion.

Before shifting to the global development sector, Peter was a journalist based in Europe and the U.S., with reporting and editorial positions at the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and Kiplinger. He holds a master’s degree in African Studies and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a bachelor’s degree in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is fluent in French.

Francine Hill, Vice President of Global Finance Operations and Compliance

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Francine Hill has served Heifer for more than 30 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the College of William and Mary and a Master's Degree from the University of Kansas. Francine is a results-oriented and focused team member who strives to provide strategic and analytical leadership, development and adoption of practices in financial management, and cohesive grants proposal pricing and compliance. Under Hill’s guidance, the Global Finance Operations and Compliance team is dedicated to maintaining strong Cost Proposal and Award Compliance functions within Heifer and to working closely with the international offices to implement consistent financial management practices.

Ben Wood, Managing Director, Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, & Learning

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Ben Wood is a researcher focused on changing the world through data-driven programming. His focus is on monitoring and evaluation (M&E). He started his career looking at improving the quality and reliability of rigorous evaluations. He conducted and managed several rigorous evaluations of international development projects, including estimating the influence of Malawian food price policies on health and Rwandan agricultural encouragement schemes on poverty. More recently he pivoted to standardizing and enhancing the reporting of implementation M&E with Heifer. He co-designed and led the roll out of Heifer’s Household Transformation Model. He regularly interacts across Heifer’s internal and external stakeholders to align Heifer’s organizational framework with the data the organization collects. He also leads a team that designs the HQ level data collection tools and quality assures the data that are submitted for organizational reporting. Whenever possible, he finds ways to expand his work at Heifer to include research, including work on personal transformation, women’s empowerment, carbon sequestration, and sustainable livelihoods. He holds a PhD in Agriculture and Applied Economics from the University of Illinois and an BA in African American History from Carleton College.

Antoinette Marie, Director of Heifer Labs

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As Director of Heifer Labs, Antoinette leads development and deployment of digital transformation projects that help smallholder farmers cross the digital divide and achieve a sustainable living income. Antoinette’s team specializes in solutions for social impact in the areas of agriculture, identity, supply chain, fintech, and decentralized organizations. She believes in building equitable entrepreneurial environments hand-in-hand with those who are marginalized, discriminated against, and silenced. Antoinette works to empower these solution-drivers to harness their own power to effect measurable change.