New Faces at Groundswell
We are excited to announce the addition of three new staff members at Groundswell International: Zach Brehmer, Director of Resource Development; Rhonda Devan, Finance Director; and Alejandra Arce Indacochea, Regional Coordinator for Latin American and the Caribbean. Learn more about Zach, Rhonda, and Alejandra and send them a word of welcome!
Zach Brehmer joined the Groundswell team at the end of April. Previously, he spent over five years working as a lead development and program associate for water and sanitation programs in Haiti; acting as International Action’s Executive Director and as a consultant for IMA World Health. Before his time in Haiti, Zach worked at Generations Incorporated as an Americorps State Member. There, he ran a literacy program at a school and a Boy’s and Girl’s Club in Dorchester, MA. Zach is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in Anthropology, and earned a Master’s in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“What really drew me to Groundswell is the focus on partnering with the local farmers and leaders. Groundswell works with farmers, encouraging locally-led critical thinking, organization and innovation, resulting in farmers restoring their land, growing more and healthier food, and improving their income. Groundswell does this because farmers want and need to lead the improvement in their own lives. To me, this is what sustainable development is all about.”
Rhonda Devan joined the Groundswell team in June. She is the Director of Finance for Groundswell International, and is responsible for the organization’s overall financial and accounting areas. In addition, Rhonda owns her own accounting firm where she provides similar accounting and financial services to small businesses and nonprofit clients in the Asheville, NC area. She has also served as the Chief Financial Officer for various entities over her career in North Carolina and New York. Rhonda, who is a Certified Public Account in both New York and North Carolina, received her MS in Education / Certificate of Advanced Study, School Business Administration from SUNY at Brockport and her BS in Accounting from Roberts Wesleyan College.
“I am excited about the work Groundswell is doing to empower women as leaders in their communities, as well as Groundswell’s work in these communities to develop sustainable food systems.”
Alejandra Arce Indacochea joined the Groundswell team in August. She is Groundswell’s Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. She has supported projects in Agroecology and Sustainable Rural Development since 2003. Her most recent achievement is a collaboration to document and support the conservation of native potato diversity amongst smallholder farmers in the Peruvian central Andes. Alejandra has also served as a consultant for the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and as Peace Corps Agriculture Volunteer in Paraguay. A native from Peru, Alejandra has lived in seven countries, and speaks four languages: Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. She holds a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of California-Berkeley. In 2007 Alejandra completed a Master´s degree in Agroecology and Rural Sustainable Development from the Universidad Internacional de Andalucia (UNIA). She is currently Ph.D. candidate in Agroecology at the University of Antioquia in Colombia.
“I am most compelled by Groundswell´s people-centered and collaboration-building philosophy to foster human innovation, healthy communities and sustainability.”