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Allan Sauder speaks at Convention 2018

Waterloo, ON, February 27, 2018 - Allan Sauder, Mennonite Economic Development Associates’ (MEDA) longest serving president, told staff this week of his intention to retire at year-end, initiating an orderly leadership transition process which will take place over the balance of 2018. The board of directors will begin a global search to select a new leader.

 “My 31-year career with MEDA has been a wonderful experience and has given me opportunities that I would not exchange for any other. I am so grateful for the support I have received over the years from the board of directors, colleagues on the MEDA staff, partners, clients and the international development community in general.” Sauder said.  “As I look back, I am proud of the impact and growth that the MEDA team has been able to achieve, but I think most often of the many rewarding friendships that have developed along the way.”

Tim Penner, MEDA’s Board Chair said: “MEDA will miss Allan, but we understand his decision to embark on this next chapter in his life.  However, we are certain that the deep and rewarding friendships built will continue to exist.  Allan has the full confidence of the board and we are grateful that MEDA will have his continued leadership and guidance during this transition to new leadership.”

This announcement comes at a time in MEDA’s 65-year history when much progress has already been achieved. Last year the organization achieved a record high in donations and along with its 322 partners, was able to help 91 million families in 60 countries.  As the board launches the search for its next CEO, it will consult with staff and other stakeholders to develop an executive profile that builds on current organizational strengths and identifies best opportunities to make a difference in the world.  With a renewed vision for the future, MEDA will be well equipped to launch the search for its next CEO.

“MEDA has thrived under Sauder’s leadership and we deeply appreciate his over 31 years of dedicated service to MEDA,” Penner said.

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”.

In 2002, Sauder became MEDA’s President. Over the past 16 years, with Sauder as CEO and President, MEDA developed and implemented a strategic direction that was both grounded in MEDA’s Mennonite roots and adaptable to our complex multinational environment.  Sauder has led MEDA through its transformation from a small economic development organization to a large, thriving institution whose reach encompasses millions of people worldwide and whose reputation for providing innovative business solutions to poverty is widely known and highly respected.

The Board of Directors is forming a search committee. It will further outline the search process in coming weeks. 

“I am confident that our organization’s leaders, passionately committed staff, and deeply engaged constituents will diligently continue to deliver our mission of creating business solutions to poverty.” – Allan Sauder