Board of Directors
Oscar Castañeda (Chair), a native of Guatemala, is currently serving as Vice President of the Americas Program for the Heifer Project International and has worked for more than two decades designing, implementing and evaluating community food systems and sustainable development programs. Before joining Heifer, Mr. Castañeda was employed in a like-minded organization – World Neighbors – serving as the Guatemala Country Director and the Mesoamerica Area Representative. His formal education includes a bachelor of science in agronomy from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala; a doctorate in agricultural sciences with a dissertation on biological pest control from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany; and a post-graduate degree in business administration from the Center for Business Development in Guatemala. He also worked as a consultant and as a part-time university professor in the field of agroecology, organic agriculture, and planning, monitoring and evaluation of development projects. He is the author of several publications on organic agriculture and biological pest control and has presented numerous workshops and seminars on topics including agroecology, organic agriculture, participatory rural appraisal, project planning, monitoring and evaluation, biological pest control and sustainable agriculture. Oscar is fluent in Spanish, English and German.
Natalie Elwell (Vice Chair) is the Agricultural Development Advisor for USAID’s Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade Bureau (EGAT)/Office of Women in Development (WID), where she is responsible for addressing gender issues related to sustainable broad based economic growth, international trade, and poverty reduction strategies, policies, and programs. She also provides Agency-wide leadership in economic and natural resource issues related to increasing the effectiveness of USAID’s development strategy by integrating gender throughout its programs overseas and at headquarters. Ms. Elwell has extensive experience providing consultative leadership and technical assistance on improving gender equity in all sectors of rural community development, and she is highly skilled in project management, monitoring and evaluation, and impact analysis. Her professional experience includes over 7 years as Associate Vice President of Action Learning & Gender Equity at World Neighbors and more than 2 years as Program Coordinator at the Cleveland International Program. Prior to embarking on a career in international social change and development, Ms. Elwell served as a Peace Corps volunteers in Moldova. Elwell holds a master of arts in sustainable development from the School for International Training and a bachelor of arts in Communication from Cleveland State University.
Stephen Sherwood (Treasurer) and his wife Myriam Paredes own a family farm in Ecuador, where they are activists in national and regional food movements. In addition to his earlier work at Cornell University, the International Potato Center, and World Neighbors, Steve is a co-founder of the Ecuadorian NGO EkoRural and Groundswell International, a global partnership of grassroots organizations dedicated to people-centered development of community food systems. Throughout his career, he has been a proponent of locally led, endogenous approaches to social change and development. Drawing on over 20 years of experience, Steve is a lecturer and research fellow in Rural Innovation and Social Change at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
Kathleen Earl Colverson (Secretary) is the Team Leader and Senior Social Scientist for Poverty, Gender and Innovation Systems at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) based in Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to holding this position she served as the Associate Director of the International Center at the University of Florida and, prior to that, as the Regional Director of Programs in North America at Heifer International, with particular focus on the development of local food systems. She also taught Animal Science for many years, including time on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona. Kathy received her Ph.D. from Cornell University working with indigenous women farmers in Honduras. She has over 15 years of management experience, which includes strategic and operational planning, and 25 years of formal and non-formal experience in education and training. Her areas of expertise include gender and agricultural development, participatory extension approaches and integrated community development. Kathy’s international experience includes work in Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Syria, Honduras Haiti and Ecuador.
Jamie Wimberly (Board Member) founded and currently serves as CEO of the Distributed Energy Financial Group LLC (DEFG LLC). Mr. Wimberly has more than 15 years of experience in the energy and environment space and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top energy experts. He has published more than 50 articles and/or been cited in a number of trade and mainstream publications, including The Economist, USA Today, Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, to name a few. In addition to DEFG LLC, Mr. Wimberly currently serves on the Board of Directors of Lunera Lighting, a LED flat panel lighting company. Prior to founding DEFG LLC, Mr. Wimberly co-founded and formerly served as President of the Center for the Advancement of Energy Markets (CAEM), a non-profit think tank focused on the energy sector. Mr. Wimberly served as the Vice President of the Consumer Energy Council of America (CECA), the oldest public interest organization in the nation focusing on the energy, telecommunications and other network industries providing essential services to consumers.
Fatou Batta (International Council Representative) is the Executive Director of Association Nourrir Sans Détruire (ANSD), Groundswell’s national partner in Burkina Faso, and serves on Groundswell’s Board as the Representative of Groundswell’s International Council. Until 2009 Ms. Batta had worked for over 15 years as World Neighbors’ Area Representative for West Africa, overseeing all aspects of strategy, programs and management for the region (4 countries). Prior to joining World Neighbors, Ms. Batta held several positions with the government of her native Burkina Faso, where she helped to develop family planning policy and planned and administered projects sponsored by international and bilateral agencies. She received her Master’s degree in Public Health from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. She did her undergraduate work at School of Technical Education in Paris and has recently completed a diploma in participatory development at the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.
Edwin Naylor (Honorary Member) was Groundswell’s first Board Chair and he is now an honorary Board Member. Ed has 51 years of organizational management experience, including over 16 years serving as President/CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area, Washington, DC (1987-1995) and Executive Director/CEO of Lutheran Social Ministry of the Southwest, Phoenix, AZ (1978-1987). In 1995 Mr. Naylor retired from Lutheran Social Services to found The Naylor Group, which offers consultation services to non-profit organizations around the country. He has provided strategic planning, organizational assessments, board development and training and other professional services to dozens of nonprofit clients from 18 states. He also worked as a Senior Consultant for the Child Welfare League of America for 14 years and recently served as Executive Director of the Association of Lutheran Older Adults (ALOA) for 2 years (2003-2004). Currently Mr. Naylor is the founding Coordinator of the Verde Food Council, a collaboration of four food banks in the Verde Valley of Arizona. Naylor holds a master’s degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Gettysburg College.