LITTLE ROCK, AR, February 27, 2023 – Heifer International announced today the appointment of three new members to its board of directors: Nomsa Daniels, Daron Joffe and Marianella Baez Jost. Their appointment brings the board to 17 directors, representing diverse backgrounds in business, agriculture, academia and the private sector, who guide the organization’s strategic vision.
“Between them, Nomsa, Daron and Marianella bring a wealth of expertise in sustainable agriculture, smallholder market access and social enterprise investing across Africa, Central America and the United States,” said Heifer International President and CEO Surita Sandosham. “We are excited to be able to benefit from their passion and knowledge in service of the smallholder farming communities we engage worldwide.”
Nomsa Daniels is the CEO of Blue Zebra Projects (Pty) Ltd, a South African company that works with social enterprises in Africa to help them expand into new markets, raise capital and magnify their impact. She also serves as an executive director of Anibok Investment Research Chambers (Pty) Ltd, and she played an instrumental role developing and conducting research projects to advance women’s financial inclusion in 10 African countries as a founding member of New Faces New Voices (NFNV).
Marianella Baez Jost is the founder and director of Farmers Project Specialty Coffee, a group of Costa Rican producers who established a true direct trade model and now enjoy long-term partnerships with roasters in the USA and Canada. Her role in the coffee value chain affords her unique insights into market practices, gender equity in farming and sustainability challenges, and her passion to empower other women in coffee led her to serve on the board of directors of the International Women Coffee Alliance – Costa Rica.
Georgia-based Daron Joffe is a nationally recognized biodynamic farmer, educator, consultant, speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the recently published book Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities and Give Back to the Earth, and is the founder of Farmer D Consulting. Daron joins Heifer’s board with over 20 years of experience designing and building community farms and gardens all over the United States.
“We are thrilled to welcome Nomsa, Marianella and Daron to our board of directors, and we look forward to working alongside them as we harness their talents and unique perspectives to advance Heifer’s mission to end poverty and hunger while caring for the earth,” said Randi Hedin, Heifer International board chair.
Heifer International team members across the globe implement the board’s values and policies and, in turn, build inclusive economies that empower millions. At least one director resides in each of the international program areas where Heifer carries out its work. All directors are independent voting members.
About Heifer International
Since 1944, Heifer International has worked with more than 42.9 million people around the world to end hunger and poverty sustainably. Working with rural communities in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, including the United States, Heifer International supports farmers and local food producers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that provide a living income. For information, visit https://www.heifer.org.
Board Member Biographies
Nomsa Daniels is the CEO of Blue Zebra Projects (Pty) Ltd, a South African company that works with social enterprises in Africa to help them expand into new markets, raise capital and magnify their impact.
Nomsa is also an Executive Director of Anibok Investment Research Chambers (Pty) Ltd. The company conducts research and finds investment opportunities in Africa for its clients. Its principal client has been the African Opportunity Fund LP which is listed on the London stock exchange. AOP has invested in a wide range of African asset classes, including equity, debt and real-estate. Also active in the venture capital space, Anibok has invested in start-ups covering sustainable forestry, agriculture, education, microinsurance and technology.
Over and above her work in the private sector, Nomsa has extensive experience in the development/NGO sector, having served as CEO of the Graça Machel Trust, where she led a team of program specialists who drove the Trust’s work in Women’s Economic Advancement, Children’s Rights, Nutrition, and Leadership and Governance across Africa. As CEO she harnessed her experience in advocacy, policy development, research, network building, stakeholder engagement and fundraising to amplify the work of the Trust at national, regional and global levels.
As a founding member of New Faces New Voices (NFNV) and its first Executive Director, she led the organization to be at the forefront of pan-African and global initiatives aimed at accelerating women’s financial inclusion and women’s leadership in the financial sector. Through various NFNV programmes, she was instrumental in developing and conducting research projects to advance women’s financial inclusion in ten African countries as well as managing a network of seventeen chapters, spread throughout the continent.
Nomsa currently serves as a member of the International Advisory Council of APCO Worldwide, and on the boards of Edulution Learning South Africa NPC, Roedean School South Africa, and the Sešego Foundation.
She has a master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the City University of New York, Hunter College, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto.
Marianella Baez Jost is the Founder and Director of Farmers Project Specialty Coffee, a small group of Costa Rican producers who established a true direct trade model and now enjoy long-term partnerships with roasters in the USA and Canada. Farmers Project was the product of Marianella’s extensive local knowledge gained from ownership of Café Con Amor Farm in the mountains of Naranjo, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
Her unique role in the coffee value chain allows her to constantly engage with farmers and consumers, providing unique insights into market practices, gender equity in farming and sustainability challenges. Her passion to help empower other women in coffee led her to serve on the Board of Directors of the International Women Coffee Alliance – Costa Rica.
Born and raised in Costa Rica, she always admired the United States as a nation of opportunity and prosperity. Her desire to learn English drove her to obtain a scholarship to study in the U.S. She graduated from the University of Nebraska, with a degree in Business Administration with emphasis in International Business.
Prior to her foray into coffee, she developed and led study abroad programs for Florida State University. Professional positions earlier in her career allowed her the opportunity to live in various states and work in a diverse range of industries from Telecommunications to Finance, Logistics and International Trade.
Marianella divides her time between her two homes in Costa Rica and the Unites States. She and her husband reside in North Carolina with their Golden Retriever, Guapa. She loves to travel, trail bike and hike in the woods and mountains.
Daron Joffe is a nationally recognized biodynamic farmer, educator, consultant, speaker and entrepreneur, and the author of the recently published, acclaimed book Citizen Farmers: The Biodynamic Way to Grow Healthy Food, Build Thriving Communities and Give Back to the Earth.
He is the founder of Farmer D Consulting and has over 20 years of experience designing and building community farms and gardens all over the country. Past clients include agrihood communities, resorts, retreat centers, spas, hospitals, nonprofits, schools, cities and private landowners.