Marcus Shantz currently serves as President of Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He studied law at University of Toronto and practiced at Goodmans LLP in Toronto before returning home to work at Mercedes Corp., a local business known for developing the Farmers' Market and other tourism-oriented properties in and around St. Jacobs, Ontario.
Marcus reckons that he attended his first MEDA meetings before he was born. He is the son of Laura Shantz and longtime Board Director and Chair, Milo Shantz, and the brother of recent Chair, Jenny Shantz.
Marcus and his wife, Lisa, live in Kitchener and have three children: Timothy, Nathan, and Martin. They attend Rockway Mennonite Church.
Join us at the Annual Convention for a momentous occasion hosted by Robert and Lisa Shuh. Let’s collectively celebrate MEDA@70, with insights, stories, and reflections. They will be joined by a panel of special guests, including former MEDA staff, clients, and partners spanning the organization’s 70-year history. Together, we’ll honor the past, amplify the present, and sow seeds for an empowered future.
Get ready to be inspired by an extraordinary power couple who have transformed their passion for agriculture, international development, and community into a remarkable legacy. Introducing Robert and Lisa Shuh, the dynamic duo behind Shuh Orchards, where love for the land meets a commitment to making a positive impact.
From the very day of their union, Robert and Lisa embarked on a shared farming adventure, nurturing both crops and relationships. Their mission to be stewards of their blessings has borne fruit in bountiful harvests and deep-rooted connections. With four children by their side, they've weathered challenges and savored successes, growing apples and bonds alike.
Their transformative journey with MEDA began two decades ago, as they embarked on a life-changing chapter in Nicaragua. Robert led a project supporting sesame seed producers, an experience that kindled a lifelong dedication to MEDA's mission. His journey led him to chair MEDA Canada and MiCredito in Nicaragua, where his influence continues to shape sustainable change.
MEDA has been a leader in international development since its establishment 70 years ago. Many of the current ideas and best practices in international development have been central to MEDA’s practice for over fifty years. Examples include microfinance, agricultural finance, impact investing and locally led development. In this session, panelists will explore early programmatic interventions, MEDA’s leadership, how these interventions have evolved over the years and lessons learned along the way.
Lindsay Wallace currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Strategy & Impact at MEDA. With over 25 years of experience in international development, Lindsay has spearheaded economic analysis, impact measurement, program design, and strategic initiatives. Her expertise lies in conducting economic research and modelling across the education, agriculture, and financial inclusion domains. Additionally, Lindsay is the current board chair of the Canada Forum for Impact Investment and Development (CAFIID).
Recently, Lindsay held the position of Director of Strategy at Limestone Analytics, an international consulting firm. Her role encompassed steering strategy development, conducting market analysis, fostering business growth, and providing senior-level consultation on diverse projects within international development.
Prior to her consulting tenure, Lindsay dedicated eight years to the Mastercard Foundation, where she assumed multiple roles, including as Head of Impact/Director of Strategy and Learning. In these capacities, she orchestrated the conception of their new strategy, championing private sector growth and business-driven solutions to alleviate poverty. Lindsay’s career has been characterized by her steadfast advocacy for translating intricate concepts into accessible thought leadership, catering to diverse audiences. Lindsay’s academic background includes an M.A. in Public Administration and Policy from Carleton University, along with an M.A. in Economics specializing in Environmental Studies from the University of Toronto. Furthermore, she holds a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from McGill University.
Join MEDA’s Nadia Guerch, Sr. Director, LEAP, Global Programs and a panel of special guests as we discuss the power of partnership and its profound impact on entrepreneurs throughout MEDA’s history. Together, we will delve into stories of resilience, innovation, and impactful change, shedding light on the transformative power that arises when organizations unite for a common purpose.
Nadia Guerch is MEDA’s Senior Regional Director, LEAP, and an international development professional with 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and leading a diverse portfolio of youth development projects. She has solid technical expertise in economic empowerment approaches, with extensive experience in strategic planning, program design and development, organizational capacity building, multi-sectoral partnerships, and field operations management.
Nadia’s professional experience spans over 15 countries across Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia. Some of the clients and partners she has worked with include government agencies, local governments, global foundations, several development agencies, private sector organizations and international non-governmental organizations. Her most recent experience was as a Deputy Director with Youth Challenge International where, as a member of EQWIP HUBs Senior Leadership Team, she was responsible for the technical and operational oversight of $50M+ livelihoods programming in Senegal, Tanzania, Ghana, Peru, Bolivia, and Indonesia.
Nadia has a post-graduate degree in Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and International Law from the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). She also has a master’s degree in Psychology from University Paris V, Rene Descartes and is fluent in French, English, Spanish and Arabic.
Alloysius Attah launched Farmerline in 2013 to create lasting wealth for farmers through technology and sustainable farming practices.
He currently leads the company’s vision, fundraising, and strategy. Farmerline’s partnerships with over 80 organizations across 26 countries have served and digitized one million farmers. TIME Magazine recognized its Mergdata platform as one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2019.
Meanwhile, Alloysius has been lauded by organizations and world leaders such as former IMF boss Christine Lagarde, Echoing Green, CBNC Africa's Young Business Leader Award, and Bloomberg New Economy Catalyst for his work.
Verónica Herrera is MiCrédito's Chief Executive Officer. She holds a degree in Public Accounting with a concentration in finance from the National University of Managua, Nicaragua. She has completed additional studies in Bank Management and has comprehensive knowledge of banking in Nicaragua. More recently, Verónica completed The Strategic Leadership for Microfinance Program at the Harvard Business School.
Verónica's experience ranges from overseeing the financial and managerial operations of MiCrédito, preparing financial statements, raising $2-$5 million in capital funding from national and international organizations, establishing procedures for branch networks and monitoring compliance, ensuring branch compliance with internal and external standards, and managing and coordinating external audits.
Verónica is the 3rd daughter of parents who owned a micro-business. For 11 years, she worked for Nicaragua's People’s Bank and then began a career working with MEDA. She served as Finance Manager at CHISPA (a MEDA micro-credit program) and later at CONFIA/Procredit (the result of a merger). At CHISPA, she participated in the process of transforming the organization into a fully regulated financial institution. At CONFIA, she became key in establishing internal controls, maintaining daily relations with the bank's regulators, and provided timely reporting. A few years later, Verónica gathered a group of close colleagues to serve the rural poor with a brand-new micro-finance institution called MiCrédito.
Get ready to embark on a journey of inspiration and innovation at MEDA Convention 2023 as we proudly introduce our distinguished keynote speaker, Dr. Agnes Kalibata. A trailblazer in the realm of agricultural transformation, Dr. Kalibata’s remarkable accomplishments and visionary leadership are set to ignite minds and spark change within our community.
Dr. Kalibata joined AGRA as its President in September 2014. She leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.
Under Dr. Kalibata’s leadership, AGRA is working to increase the incomes and improve food security for 30 million farming households in 11 African countries by 2021 through targeted investments to strengthen 3 core areas: State capability and policies; input delivery systems in agriculture: and partnerships for inclusive agricultural growth
Prior to joining AGRA, Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) from 2008 to 2014, where she drove programs that moved her country to food security helping to lift more than a million Rwandans out of poverty.
Dr. Kalibata sits on various boards, councils and commissions including the Global Commission on Adaptation, the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum, the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, the Food and Land Use (FOLU) Coalition, the Architecture for REDD + Transactions (ART), the International Fertilizer Development Corporation (IFDC), Bioversity International, and Africa Risk Capacity, among others.
She has a distinguished record of accomplishment as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader. She served as the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit, accelerating action to transform food systems around the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. She was also awarded the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize, in 2012, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liège in 2018, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal in 2019 for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation through modern sciences and effective policy thereby improving livelihoods of smallholder farmers. She holds a doctorate in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Join us for our church service on Sunday morning, where César García will inspire us to translate our faith into action. We will explore how to heed God’s call of loving our neighbors as ourselves, especially in the context of our professional lives.
César García is general secretary of Mennonite World Conference (MWC), a global communion that serves some 1.5 million members worldwide. Rev. García is from Bogotá, Colombia, and his appointment in 2012 marked the first time a leader from the global South has served in this leadership role. He has been a church planter, pastor, and professor of Bible and Theology. Before his election, Rev. García was chair of the Iglesias Hermanos Menonitas de Colombia (Mennonite Brethren Churches of Colombia) and the MWC Mission Commission secretary.
César has been the general secretary of Mennonite World Conference since 2012. He grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, became a Christian there as a teenager, and responded to the call to be a pastor and church planter. He graduated from Colombia Biblical Seminary, then met and was influenced by Anabaptists and began reading Anabaptist writings. While planting and pastoring Strong Tower Mennonite Brethren Church in Bogotá, César was elected president of the Mennonite Brethren churches in Colombia. After completing an M.A. at Fresno Pacific Seminary in California, César was chosen as General Secretary of MWC. He is married to Sandra Báez, also a Fresno Pacific grad, and they have two grown daughters.
César was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He has been a member of the Colombian MB church since he was 13 years old. He has served in his conference as a church planter, pastor, and national Colombian MB church chair. He owns 2 Bachelor's degrees in Theology from Colombia and an M.A. in Theology from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary in California. Since January 2012, César serves as General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference.
César and Sandra have been married since 1991. They have two adult daughters: María and Paula.