Keynote Speakers

Thursday, November 8, 7:00 p.m.

Greg Brenneman 2017Greg Brenneman

Executive Chairman of CCMP and author

Right Away & All At Once

Greg Brenneman is Executive Chairman of CCMP, a large private equity firm, and a member of the firm’s Investment Committee. Greg plays an active leadership role in executing the firm’s overall strategy while remaining actively engaged in completing transactions, developing strategies and coaching the senior management of CCMP’s portfolio companies.

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Thursday, November 8 - Friday, November 9

David RichertDavid Richert

Richert Racing

Meet David Richert, of Richert Racing, who will join us at Convention for our tour to the Indianapolis Speedway, our dessert reception on Thursday evening, Friday seminars and the kick-off event for MEDAx.

David will talk about how racing, business and faith intersect in his career. He has discovered that racing is different than other sports where if you have talent as an athlete, opportunities are available. He notes: “In auto racing, you can literally be the fastest race car driver in the world but if you do not have the financial ability to pay the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars necessary to advance through the levels, you will go absolutely nowhere.”

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Friday, November 9, 12:00 p.m.

Lunch Conversation

Join us for a conversation to explore intersections between small-holder farmers in North America and in developing regions.

We’ve invited two business owners from East Africa and a business owner from Indiana to talk about how they are working on new ways of doing business to succeed in challenging environments. Marianne Unruh, MEDA Board member and founder of Fresh Solutions, which provides on-the-ground produce buying services, will moderate our discussion.

Marianne UnruhMarianne Unruh

Founder, Fresh Solutions and MEDA Board member


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.

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Sarah William KessySarah William Kessy

Managing Director, Halisi Products Limited

Sarah William Kessy is Managing Director, Halisi Products Limited, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, a food processing company. Halisi Products manufactures food products by sourcing raw materials from small-holder farmer suppliers in main three categories: cereals, legumes and bee products. Additional raw materials sourced include maize, soya, honey, beans, nuts, spices, finger millet and tea leaves. Halisi’s end market products include Nutritional Flour, Honey, Soya Drinks, Cinnamon Powder, Ginger Powder, Peanut Butter, Cardamom Powder, Tea Masala, and Pilao Masala. Currently Halisi is working with 1,000 small-holder farmers from various regions through selected local collectors in each source. These Regions are Arusha, Manyara, Simanjiro, Kilimanjaro, Singida, Tunduma, Kahama and Dodoma.

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Rose Mutuku low resRose Mutuku

Founder, Smart Logistics Solutions

Rose Mutuku is the Founder of Smart Logistics Solutions based in Machakos, Kenya. Rose started the business after leaving East Africa Brewing, Ltd. where she recognized a business opportunity in the brewery’s inability to secure sufficient quantity and quality of grains. She began the business by working with 800 farmers to improve productivity, particularly of sorghum which she supplied to the brewery. Over the years since her 2009 start-up, she has expanded to work with 5,000 farmers. Smart Logistics continues to sell large volumes of cereals and legumes to large firms and they also process legumes, packaged for retail, targeting households of modest means. Cooking these processed beans requires less time and fuel than unprocessed beans.

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Lali Hess low resLali Hess

Owner and Executive Chef of The Juniper Spoon

Lali Hess is owner and executive chef of The Juniper Spoon, a full-service catering company serving Central Indiana. A graduate of Goshen College, Lali completed a two-year farming internship with the Sisters of St. Francis at Michaela Farms, Oldenberg, IN; worked in various independent restaurants in Ohio; cultivated a market garden in Indiana, and worked for a catering company in Pennsylvania before venturing to start her own business in Crawfordsville, IN in 2004.

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Saturday, November 10, 9:00 a.m.

GROWMEDA Year in Review / Annual General Meeting

President Allan Sauder and staff will highlight the major accomplishments of the past year, including stories from clients and partners from around the world. Officers of MEDA’s board and staff will present reports on MEDA’s finances, investments and future directions. Voting members of MEDA will also take actions on several items of business.


The 2018 Membership Package will be available for download in the fall

Saturday, November 10, 6:30 p.m.

Allan SauderCelebration of Allan Sauder's work at MEDA

Allan Sauder started at MEDA 1987 as Project Director for the Mbeya Oxenization Project in Tanzania. He then served as Director of International Operations & Director Africa & Asia before becoming the Executive Vice President, International Economic Development in 1998. Throughout his career he has focused on finding innovative business solutions to poverty and became known in development circles as someone who could “put wheels on theories”.

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Sunday, November 11, 9:00 a.m.

Shannon Dycus low resShannon Dycus

Co-Pastor of First Mennonite Church in Indianapolis

Intersections: Her Touch, Our Faith and the Power of Jesus

Shannon W. Dycus is Co-Pastor at First Mennonite Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she leads missional and faith formation ministries for the congregation. She is active with Faith in Indiana, a local PICO network of faith communities seeking justice and holds multiple leadership positions with Mennonite Church USA. Shannon has published articles for The Mennonite, Leader and is currently completing the 2019 Mennonite Women USA Bible study guide.

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