The MEDA Board of Directors is composed of volunteer members who bring together diverse skillsets in areas including entrepreneurship, finance, business operations, and investment. The board develops and guides organizational strategy, provides governance oversight, and proactively monitors risk (fiduciary, operational, reputational, etc.). Members serve a maximum of three 3-year terms. Four core committees operate within the board: executive, finance, audit, and nomination. For more information on the work of each committee, click on the links below.
The Executive committee meets 5 times annually to review the organization status, ensuring alignment between strategy and performance. The committee reviews board nominations and supports the board chair in setting meeting agendas.Close
The Finance Committee is responsible for overseeing MEDA's administrative and financial activities.Close
The Audit Committee is responsible for ensuring that reliable financial and management audits are carried out on MEDA projects and that audit policies are current, safeguarding the effectiveness and efficiency of operations.Close
The Board Membership and Nomination Committee is responsible for identifying, recruiting, nominating and training new members of the Board and its committees. It ensures the recognition of the services of retiring directors, staff, advisors, and others who merit recognition by MEDA. In addition, this committee ensures performance evaluations are completed for the Board and individual directors.Close
Chair / Ontario, Canada
Jenny Shantz of Mercedes Corporation, and co-owner of Stone Crock Inc, a family operated restaurant and food service business, has actively been involved in St Jacobs’s operations since 1991. She has managed and developed the St. Jacobs Country brand since 2002, creating a partner marketing consortium and taking an active role in regional tourism development efforts.
Jenny is vice chair of the Grand Philharmonic Choir and past president of the Centre for Family Business, Waterloo Region. She continues to be active with a number of community organizations including The Mennonite Story Inc.
“MEDA is hopeful and positive. In a world of distress and turmoil, MEDA’s work and involvements encourage us to keep looking forward. Not only is it motivating for those businesses and clients who we partner with around the world, but also for us as donors who get involved and contribute on various levels. MEDA is creative and not paternalistic. It actively creates projects and partnerships that have potential to outlive MEDA’s involvement.”
Jenny and her husband, Willem Moolenbeek, live in Waterloo, Ontario.Close
Vice Chair / Finance Committee Member / Kansas, USA
Greg Gaeddert is a managing partner with B12 Capital Partners and B12 Real Estate Advisors, a private equity investment firm located in Kansas City, MO. He has experience in investments focused on manufacturing, distribution and real estate related entities. His private equity investment interests are the culmination of five -years of direct employment in manufacturing entities and eleven-years of commercial banking, most recently as executive vice president and commercial banking group manager for one of the large regional U.S. banks. Greg serves on the boards of numerous manufacturing, distribution, and financial servies and non-profit entities. He is a graduate of Bethel College, and the University of Kansas where he earned an MBA with a focus on finance.
Greg enjoys the work of MEDA and its ties to the global community. The “blended finance” that MEDA has become known for resonates with him due to its similarities to the private equity investing, consulting and end market customer engagement roles of his “day job.” Providing business solutions to poverty is more than a passion, it’s a responsibility for those of us fortunate enough to offer assistance to the working poor with aspirations for more.
Greg and his wife, Terri, live in Leawood, Kansas. They have three children. Greg’s interests include travel, history, art and outdoor sport.Close
Treasurer / Finance Committee Chair / Alberta, Canada
Karin Krahn works for an oil and gas company (Nexen, A CNOOC Limited Company) in Calgary, AB. She is currently the Manager, Operations and G&A Accounting for the Canadian Operations. Previously she was the Manager, Risk Management and Internal Controls for the company. Karin received her Canadian CPA designation in 2002 after graduating from University of Saskatchewan with a BA, majoring in Psychology and a BComm, majoring in Accounting. In between degrees, she worked with adults with developmental disabilities placing them into wage-earning positions.
While serving on the Abundance Canada (formerly Mennonite Foundation of Canada) board, Karin met Abe Fehr, a current MEDA board member. After many conversations about similar values and interests, Karin found herself drawn to the mission that MEDA has to reach out globally to assist people to enhance their livelihoods and support their families through business opportunities that they see, but need a little assistance.
Karin and her partner, Harold, enjoy watching sports, specifically football, both Canadian and the NFL. Both have spent time travelling with previous jobs and roles so spending a little more time around home and at their little place in Radium Hot Springs, BC are high on their relaxation list.Close
Secretary / Ontario, Canada
Gary Leis is President and CEO of Leis Pet Distributing Inc., which distributes pet food and supplies to independent pet retailers across Eastern Canada. Between the head office in Wellesley, Ontario and a second location in Moncton, New Brunswick, Leis Pet employs 65 full and part time employees.
As a long-time social and peace activist, Gary has always struggled trying to justify feeding pets for a living but has found comfort in MEDA. "Belonging to an organization like MEDA, meeting other business people and financially supporting the poorest of the poor in an entrepreneurial setting has given me a sense of social responsibility. What better way to achieve world peace by meeting the basic needs of people around the world?"
Gary was first introduced to MEDA through the local Waterloo chapter, where he became a member of the local board for nine years and served six years as Board Chair. As a semi-retired person, he felt the need for a new challenge. It was his belief in MEDA's mission, coupled with his business experience, that made MEDA a natural fit.
Gary says it's not only important to help people start businesses, but also to complete the value chain from producer to the end user, as MEDA does. He added how rewarding it is to see their lives improve in a sustainable way. "My MEDA dollars are multiplied many times over by government and other funders. The management and staff at MEDA are second to none. I trust them with my donated dollars."
Gary and his wife, Brenda Sauder, have three children and six grandchildren. Active in his community, Gary is a member of the Wellesley Lions Club and is a member of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church. His hobbies include golf, hockey, camping and fishing.Close
Board of Directors
Audit Committee Chair / Ontario, Canada
Abe Fehr is the owner of Uni-Fab, a metal fabricating company they founded in 1991. With 130 employees, Uni-Fab specializes in custom metal fabrication of machine enclosures that they ship across North America as well as globally.
Abe and his wife Lisa became acquainted with MEDA in 2005 on a MEDA tour to Egypt. They liked what they saw, and in 2008 went on a MEDA tour to Romania. In 2009, Abe also visited MEDA's Ukraine Horticultural Development Project (UHDP). On his time on the Board they have also visited MEDA projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana & Nicaragua. Seeing projects first hand reinforces his support for MEDA.
He particularly appreciates MEDA's emphasis on creating multiple levels of value chain for the clients we work with.
Abe and Lisa, married 35 years, have three grown children: Helen, married to Geordie Hagerman, she is a teacher in Kitchener-Waterloo; David, is working in construction in Calgary; and Mary, who is studying for her Master's in Business at Wilfred Laurier University. Besides being an avid golfer, Abe also owned the Leamington Flyers Junior Hockey team for the past 8 years.Close
Past Chair / Manitoba, Canada
Bert Friesen founder, President, CEO and Board Chair of Medicure Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization cardiovascular drugs for the U.S. market. He is also founder, President and CEO of Genesys Ventures Inc., which helps scientists commercialize their human therapy research. Genesys selects the most promising prospects and helps them form a company, license the technology, provide all the regulatory and financial expertise, and try to commercialize the business. Dr. Friesen played a key role in founding several health industry companies including the first employee and President of the Winnipeg Rh Institute for over 20 years where he oversaw the development of WinRho, a drug which prevents Rh disease of the newborn.
"What initially intrigued me about MEDA was the combination of providing a forum to explore and discuss work and faith, and then to help the poor with a business solutions" says Bert. He found the emphasis on efficiency and sustainability appealing. "That's what I do for a business, so I really associated with that."
His appreciation for the international dimension deepened when he joined a MEDA trip to Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia with Gerhard Pries to see how business solutions relieved poverty. "The entrepreneurship surprised me," Bert recalls. "To see firsthand the excitement and entrepreneurship of Bolivian farmers at work was awakening."
Bert is a big sports fan. He loves golf and plays whenever he can. He played hockey in university and still straps on the skates.Close
Andreas Quiring has served as the managing director of Andreas Hermes Academy in Germany since 2008. The Academy offers continuing education for individuals and their companies, with a focus on agricultural studies, the food industry, and rural areas. Andreas studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Bonn.
Andreas brings Agricultural and Development Experience and the German/European Mennonite Perspective to the MEDA board.
He was drawn to engage as a director by MEDA’s passion for its work and a desire to contribute to MEDA’s continued presence in Europe.
Andreas has 3 daughters and lives with his family in Bonn, Germany, where they attend Ev. Mennonitengemeinde Neuwied church.Close
Bethany Fosdyck is the founder, owner and president of Bushbaby a children’s outfitter offering functional apparel and gear. Bushbaby operates with the goal of fostering healthy outdoor activities for youth and their families.
After graduating college, Bethany worked in Kenya with Mennonite Central Committee as a handicraft design liaison with Ten Thousand Villages. She has served on several boards in her community, including the Illinois Mennonite Conference’s Missional Leadership Team and the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum fundraising committee. Bethany brings experience in management, merchandising and business operations to the MEDA board.
Drawn to MEDA by its work enabling sustainable livelihoods, Bethany holds a deep respect for the organization’s vision and mission.
Bethany lives in Illinois with her husband Russ, and attends First Mennonite of Morton Illinois.Close
Nominating Committee Chair / Pennsylvania, USA
Crystal Weaver is a visionary who enjoys creating businesses that contribute specifically to the social landscape of Lancaster city.
Her specific passion and experience is in creating job opportunities within the hospitality sector that are meaningful, empowering, and forward thinking. Crystal loves connecting people and places in ways that have lasting impact.
Her strong work ethic and commitment to the city have been evident in the success of Prince St Cafe, Passenger Coffee Roasting, as well as prior city business ventures in a market stand and residential housing. Despite her upbringing on a working farm in Millersville, Crystal has lived in Lancaster city for over a decade and cannot imagine life any other way.Close
Dallas Steiner is CEO of Venture Products Inc. with its headquarters in Orrville, Ohio. Venture is a global company that designs and manufactures two product lines: VENTRAC, a compact tractor with over 30 commercial grade, and TILMOR, a small agricultural tractor built for small-scale farms. With more than 40 years of experience in designing, manufacturing, and marketing outdoor power and agricultural equipment, Dallas is responsible for leading product growth in global markets and provides leadership to expanding export sales. He has vast experience in global networking and relationship building around the world.
Dallas’s first acquaintance with MEDA goes back to the late 1970s when he served with Mennonite Central Committee in Bolivia and worked collaboratively with MEDA's agricultural team. "MEDA provides that spark of hope in a person's life that can ignite into a flame," Steiner says. "When that flame ignites, it makes such an impact and changes their own personal life, their families, schools, churches, communities and countries. I am honored to be a part of this type of activity!"
Dallas lives in Ohio with his wife Rhoda. They have 5 children and 11 grandchildren, and attend DaySpring Christian Fellowship in Massillon OHIO.Close
Donovan Nickel enjoyed a 30 year career in the high technology industry, primarily in semiconductor and enterprise computer system development. He served as VP at Hewlett Packard, leading global business divisions providing enterprise IT servers and storage equipment. After an early retirement, he has been involved with business and investment management, consulting, home construction, a farm operation of wheat, corn, and beans in Kansas, and engagement with nonprofits. Donovan has BS and MS degrees in Electronics and Computer Engineering, and an MBA from Lehigh University College of Business.
Donovan appreciates MEDA’s track record of effectiveness in creating positive development outcomes in frontier market countries. His values align with MEDA’s focus on sustainable economic and opportunity development through market based business principles and investments.
Donovan and his wife Jewel live in Colorado, and have three daughters. They attend church in Crested Butte.Close
Elke Horsch is a teacher at the Gerhardinger Schule in Schwandorf, Germany. The school has an emphasis on teaching kids with a migrant or refugee background.
Elke has a Master’s in Psychology from the University of Mannheim. She was born in Romania in a German family and emigrated in 1981 with her family to Germany. Elke is fluent in English, German, French and Romanian.
Elke has been an active member of MEDA for many years. She is thrilled by the idea of helping people to make a sustainable living, and has chosen to engage as a MEDA director out of this passion.
Elke lives with her husband Philipp in Schwandorf, Germany. They have three children. In 2005, they joined with 4 other families to establish the Mennonite church Evangelische Freikirche, Mennonitengemeinde Schwandorf where they continue to attend.Close
Nominating Committee Member / Washington, USA
Jeremy works in global sales and scale engagement with non profit customers in the Microsoft Philanthropies Technology for Social Impact group. He has worked for both Microsoft Ireland and Microsoft Vietnam, recently serving as Chief Operations Officer and Chief Marketing Officer for Microsoft Vietnam Jeremy is an avid learner, earning degrees from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, George Washington University, and Rose-Hu Iman Institute of Technology.
Jeremy first connected with MEDA when he was in college through the Northern Indiana chapter. He has acted as advisor of several technological improvements at MEDA over the past years and appreciates MEDA's value of faith and development via business solutions with a focus on vulnerable populations in emerging markets.
Jeremy and his wife Pa'lee have enjoyed raising their three children across different cultures and being active members of church communities wherever they are living.Close
Finance Committee Member / Indiana, USA
Jim Alvarez is chief financial officer of Everence, a financial institution with over $3 billion dollars in assets which offers banking, insurance and financial services with community benefits. Jim joined Everence in 2006 after gaining broad industry experience in food processing and international grain markets in Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Texas. He got his start in the family grain and feed business in 1988 after earning an MBA in Marketing from Pennsylvania State University and a BA Economics from Goshen College. Jim has served as Goshen College’s Director of Family Business, and as an Assistant Professor of Business. He brings expertise in strategic planning, finance, and economics to the MEDA board.
Drawn to MEDA by its focus on business solutions to poverty, Jim appreciates MEDA’s close connection of donors, staff and board members to project clients around the world. Jim describes his involvement with MEDA as a fulfilling experience, and the interactions with clients as bringing him “tremendous joy.”
In addition to his role as a board director with MEDA, he serves as board member for the Goshen Health System in Goshen, Indiana, and Mennonite Health System in Puerto Rico.
Jim lives with his wife Diane in Indiana. They attend Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.Close
Audit and Nominating Committee Member / Florida, USA
Jim Miller is founder and CEO of JMX Brands, a Florida e-commerce company recognized as one of the top 1,000 internet retailers in America. The company’s flagship brand, DutchCrafters, is the largest e-commerce brand of Amish-made furniture.
Jim was also founding director of Goshen College Sarasota, and has taught at Goshen and Eckerd colleges. He served as associate pastor at Bahia Vista Mennonite Church (1993-1998), in various capacities with Southeast Mennonite Conference, and in a transitional role as bi-vocational pastor at Covenant Mennonite Fellowship (2011-2013), where he still attends.
A graduate of Goshen College, he earned a Master’s Degree in management from the University of South Florida, and studied at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Eastern Mennonite University and Bethel Theological Seminary.
Jim gives generously of his time through community service, including twice as president of MEDA’s Sarasota chapter and playing a formative role in the chapter’s development. He is currently a member of the board of directors at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.
“For me MEDA’s faith perspective is compelling. MEDA blends compassion with effective solutions to change economic systems. While this is not the only appropriate response to poverty, it certainly resonates with me as a way to use my gifts as a business leader to following the way of Jesus in a complex world.”
Jim and his wife, Linse, have two adult sons, James and Alexander, and two teenage daughters, Alysa and Brielle. His interests include tennis, boating, fishing, reading and traveling.Close
Nominating Committee Member / British Columbia, Canada
After graduating from UBC with a BSc degree in horticulture in 1980, John and his wife, Kelly, established Valleybrook Gardens Ltd. This wholesale perennial nursery grew into one of Canada's leading nurseries, with locations in British Columbia and Ontario. Recognized for its innovation and marketing, Valleybrook successfully created several plant brands to build leading market share. After forty years in the industry, John and Kelly sold their last nursery in 2019. They retain ownership of the plant brands and the perennials.com website, and continue to lead garden and nursery tours around the world through Valleybrook International Ventures Inc. John and Kelly were finalists in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year program, and winners of the Canadian Outstanding Young Farmer competition, among other awards and recognition.
John has been involved with MEDA since his university days. MEDA's work with small-scale producers in developing countries resonates with his own entrepreneurial spirit. "I love to see opportunity, get something started, get in there and be hands-on," he says. "I've always been a great fan of using good business principles to solve problems," he says. "I'm passionate about helping to identify and remove road blocks preventing enterpreneursentrepreneurs in developing countries from reaching their potential as well."John and Kelly have four daughters and twelve grandchildren. They attend South Abbotsford MB Church in Abbotsford. Close
Joyce Bontrager Lehman
New Hampshire, USA
Joyce Bontrager Lehman has been working in international economic development for the past 20 years, first with the MEDA Consulting Group and most recently as a Program Officer with the Financial Services for the Poor team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she managed a $100 million grant and contract portfolio that funded projects throughout the developing world. From 2003 through 2007, Joyce spent most of her time in Afghanistan working with the World Bank, USAID and other bi-lateral donors to establish and support a microfinance sector. Currently, she is an independent advisor with a focus on financial inclusion using digital delivery channels.
While she admits to having been invited to join other boards, she acknowledges MEDA's "is the one I felt was most closely aligned with my own work and passion. I also like the way MEDA staff involves the board in the field projects or MEDA investments as appropriate." She is now on the board of MiCredito, a microfinance institution in Nicaragua that's partially owned by MEDA and MEDA members.
"The business approach to poverty encourages, even demands, innovation and flexibility in project design. Things change quickly in the industry and MEDA has been good at responding to new priorities...if I didn't love and believe in what the organization is doing, I wouldn't be able to support it."
While hard to pick a favorite memory, Joyce shares that she'll never forget the first microcredit client she visited in Managua in 1998. She recalls being so impressed at how an illiterate woman knew both the CHISPA (a MEDA-supported microcredit program) loan terms and how much additional daily income she was able to make by using the $75 loan to purchase four months of firewood for her tortilla stand in bulk instead of every day. "The increase in income was enough to permit her to send one of her boys to school and also to buy fruits and vegetables so her family could have a more nutritional diet. Illiteracy does not imply incompetence."
Living in New Hampshire, Joyce has two adult children who live on the west coast – one in Seattle and one in Portland, Oregon. She loves to travel, especially to places she hasn't been before, and is nearing her goal of travel to 100 countries.Close
Audit Committee Member / California, USA
Marianne Unruh developed a passion for produce selling peaches out of an old pickup truck in high school. After studying Biology at the University of Kentucky, she decided to return home to California and jump head-long into produce. For numerous years she worked as a commodity manager for a large retailer buying and selling fresh produce.
In 2006, Marianne decided she missed being in the fields and decided to start her own business, Fresh Solutions. Today Fresh Solutions provides on-the-ground buying services to retailers and food service vendors in several states following the produce seasons. She also serves on the board of the Mennonite Aid Plan of the Pacific Coast.
Marianne attends First Mennonite in Reedley, California, and is Auntie M to numerous nieces and nephews. She is a huge San Francisco 49er fan and loves watching college football. She also enjoys classic cars.
Why MEDA? "I was first drawn in by like-minded business people who were willing to open up about their business experience. Through the years I have kept coming back to MEDA because of their creative, business-minded solutions to poverty."Close
Audit Committee Member / Indiana, USA
Myrl Nofziger has had a 54-year career in real estate. He is board chairman of Hoogenbomm-Nofziger, which has led the development of has developed many properties in the vicinity of Goshen, IN, including apartments, commercial, retail, office, bank and industrial buildings. Myrl holds several residential and commercial real estate certifications and brings expertise in business management to the MEDA board.
A graduate of Goshen college and Indiana University, Myrl has served on many boards in his community - churches, businesses, banks and public companies. He is passionate about philanthropy, estate planning, deferred giving and working with endowments for non-profits. A long-time MEDA supporter and Sarona investor, Myrl has attended many conventions and traveled to various MEDA projects.
Myrl and his wife Phyllis, split their time between Goshen, where they attend College Mennonite Church, and Palm Springs California. They enjoy spending time with their four children and six grandchildren.Close
Finance Committee Member / Ontario, Canada
Rick is general manager of Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd., Ontario's largest feed mill. The business his father began in 1958 now operates 24 hours a day, six days a week, providing a complete range of nutritional solutions for Ontario's livestock and poultry farmers.
Rick is a director of Ontario Agri Business Association, Chesley Lake Camp and Hallman Chapel. He enjoys playing golf and curling, chess and math puzzles and reading.
Rick likes the way MEDA uses microfinance to help women (and families) gain independence and status in countries where this is not the norm. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Elmira, Ontario. They have two daughters and two grandchildren.Close
Audit Committee Member / Florida, USA
With a background in Property and Casualty Insurance, following her graduation from Hesston College Verda established her own agency, Mutual Aid Services, working there for 20 years and overseeing day to day operations, human resources, fiscal management and marketing. Verda has belonged to several associations over the years, including the Professional Insurance Agents Association of Sarasota/Manatee County, the Professional Insurance Women’s Association of Sarasota/Manatee County, as well as several civic organizations and church boards in her community. Verda was recognized as Woman of the Year of Sarasota County based for her involvement with professional, civic, church, and child advocacy organizations.
Verda's 25 years of involvement with MEDA has inspired a passion and interest in international development, experiencing different cultures, and meeting new people. Prior to serving on the MEDA board, Verda engaged as a board member with the Sarasota, FL MEDA hub, assisting with audits and helping plan MEDA board tours to Tajikistan and Tanzania.
Verda lives with her husband, Dale, in Florida USA. They have 2 children and 6 grandchildren, and attend Cape Christian Fellowship in Cape Coral, Florida.Close
Nominating Committee Member / Kansas, USA
Yvonne Sieber is the new Chief Philanthropy Officer of Bluestem Communities, a growing corporation of retirement communities in South Central Kansas, effective July 2014. For the past seven years, she was VP of Advancement at Hesston College and had previously served on their Board.
With an MBA and undergraduate business degrees from Hesston College and Bethel College, most of her career has been in health care, undertaking various management and executive roles in the areas of human resources, finance and philanthropy. She notes that MEDA's "business approach to poverty solutions, as well as the quality of leadership and membership, was impressive. I'm pleased to join the Board of a growing organization that is diligently measuring results and outcomes."
Yvonne has attended the last six MEDA conventions in her role at Hesston College and has encouraged the college's business students to get involved with MEDA. "I value the engagement of MEDA's clients, staff, members and Board. I also value MEDA's innovation, flexibility and results-oriented approach."
Yvonne looks forward to learning more about MEDA and visiting a project in the field during her first term on the Board. She hopes to help spread the word about MEDA's impact on improving lives, a quality Yvonne appreciates. "I support MEDA because I see it making a difference to many."
Married to Gerry Sieber, a cross-country coach at Hesston College, they live together on an eight-acre farm along a peaceful creek. The couple has two adult daughters - one married with three children in Illinois and the other married with two children in AbuDhabi. Yvonne enjoys country living, travel, sports, historical fiction and a newly formed gospel choir.Close
Finance Committee Member / Colorado, USA
Zach Bishop is Senior Vice President, Public Finance for D.A. Davidson & Co. in Denver, specializing in investment banking for local governments. His work primarily involves raising capital for real estate development, whether for a new residential neighborhood or the redevelopment of blighted urban projects. That gives him a lot of affinity for the deeper undercurrents of MEDA's investment activities. His father, Tom, was a long-time member of MEDA's board of directors who also served as MEDA treasurer, chair of its finance committee, and as a member of the board of MEDA Investments Inc./Sarona.
"What attracted me to MEDA is the sustainable, market-based approach," says Zach. That was reinforced in February when Zach toured MEDA's Ethiopia project, which assists rice farmers and weavers. He was struck by the number of non-government organizations (NGOs), as seen by all the signs in the towns and along the roadside. While he does not doubt those organizations' good intentions, he believes MEDA scores higher on long-lasting sustainable impact. He was also highly impressed by MEDA's Ethiopia staff.
Zach and his wife, Christina Alderfer, have two sons, four and two, and keeping up with them almost constitutes a hobby for Dad. "They're big train lovers so we're always looking for the next train ride for them," he says.Close