Meet The Team

We are a team of passionate and dedicated individuals who are committed to change and ending poverty in Africa.

Learn more about our programs.

John Leary
Executive Director
After 10 years of working and volunteering for Trees for the Future, John became Executive Director in 2013. John has deep knowledge of international agricultural development and extensive experience living with and among the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. He speaks three languages well (and another three languages not so well) and has lived and worked in 12 developing countries. John has dedicated his life to creating innovative training approaches that empower farmers to rise out of poverty, and he has created award winning high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech training programs that are currently in use throughout the developing world. He is now focused at helping Trees for the Future end hunger and extreme poverty for a million people. John recently authored his new book, One Shot: Trees as our Last Chance for Survival. Learn more here

Olivier Allongue
Forest Garden Training Center Coordinator
Olivier was born in France and spent a few years growing up in New Caledonia, an island in the Pacific, before moving to Bethesda, Maryland at the age of 5. He was raised bilingual, mastering both French and English at a young age and eventually pursued Spanish to become trilingual. After receiving a Bachelors degree in Spanish with minors in Math, Latin American studies and European studies from Salisbury University, Olivier began translating at Trees for the Future and has since expanded his role as coordinator of our online Forest Garden Training Center. Outside of the office, you can find him outdoors, hiking, playing or watching soccer, and traveling.

Ashleigh Burgess
Partnerships and Strategic Outreach Manager
Ashleigh came to Trees for the Future by way of serving as an Agroforestry Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, where she lived in a rural Serrer village and worked with the host community to plant trees and work on a variety of community development initiatives. Previously, she lived in Northern France as an English teacher and worked for the Sierra Club as a legislative affairs intern. She is a graduate of Michigan State University (Go Green!) and studied International Development from the Department of Community Sustainability there (Masters of Science). When she is not talking about TREES’ powerful work and exploring new opportunities and partnerships for the organization, she is all about being outdoors, gardening, speaking French, practicing her yoga moves, and looking for Michigan microbrews in DC.

Michael Carson
Director of Programs

Michael serves as TREES Director of Programs is responsible for assuring the program management and expansion of our Forest Garden programs. He has devoted his career to social and economic development, and his technical assistance and strategic advice has helped transformed small businesses, community-led health clinics and schools, and agriculture enterprises in conflict settings and emerging economies. Michael previously served in Senegal from 1998-2003. Under his leadership, Africare expanded its development program to engage in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management in the Casamance region, and micro-finance and health in Kaolack, Kaffrine and Tambacounda regions of Senegal.

Daniela Funez
Business Development & Partnerships Associate

Daniela holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from the Catholic University of Honduras (UNICAH) and a Master of Engineering in Water and Environmental Resource Management from UNESCO IHE, The Netherlands.

Poverty alleviation and natural resource preservation have been mainstays throughout her career thus far, whether working with an NGO focused on community livelihood projects or a socially conscious start-up, these objectives drive her forward and led her to TREES.

Daniela is committed to strengthening the relationships with our partners and finding innovative ways to contribute to our common objectives. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two girls, as well as running in Rock Creek Park so she can improve her mile time. (Working towards an always elusive 8-minute mile but for starters 9:16 would be great!)

Kendall Garifo
Senior Marketing and Communications Manager
Kendall has been passionate about international relations and development ever since she can remember. She holds a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Catholic University of America where her love for a mission-driven career only grew stronger. After finishing graduate school, Kendall joined the development team at Trees for the Future, later becoming our Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications. She helps us make an impact by using her educational and work experience in communications, marketing, public relations and international development to tell the world about what we do. Her roots lie in Mississippi but she’s lived and traveled all around the world. Outside of the office, you can find her looking for something new to learn, reading, gardening, hiking, at a Nationals game, spending time with her family, and trying new vegan recipes. Interested in learning about how trees can end hunger and poverty? Reach out to her at kendall@trees.org.

Arianna Huff
Programs and Operations Associate
Arianna recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.S. in Environmental Sustainability and minors in Spanish and Women’s & Gender Studies.  After an internship in college related to teaching others about food sustainability, she knew she wanted a career that involved both sustainable agriculture and helping others, which is why she moved back to Maryland and applied to work at TREES.  After several months of interning here, she moved to her current position as a Programs and Operations Associate.

Caroline Kateeba 
Business Development & Partnerships Associate
Caroline is a Business Development and Partnerships Associate for Trees for the Future. Prior to that, Caroline spent two years in Uganda as a Corporate Social Responsibility Officer and Marketing Associate for Crest Foam Ltd, a foam manufacturing company. She has also obtained experience Street Fundraising. She holds a combined Masters and Undergraduate degree, MSc (Hons) International Relations and Global Issues from University of Nottingham, UK.  She is also certified in Level 4 Professional Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.

Michele Levy, MPA, CFRE
Major Donor Consultant
Michele Levy works with individual donors to express their generosity and grow and create impact. She has worked in development and philanthropy for over 15 years. She holds a Masters of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management from George Mason University and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).  Michele is an AmeriCorps*VISTA alumna and has worked with a variety of local, regional and international nonprofits. When not at Trees, you can often find her traveling or enjoying the outdoors with her husband and two sons.

Mathius Lukwago
Uganda Country Coordinator
Growing up as a boy scout, Mathius learnt quite a number of lessons from our Founder Lord Baden Powell, and the one that took his attention was scout law Part IV “A Scout Conserves Nature” as simple as it sound it gave him a purpose to live for since our home was in the forest and he used discourage people from cutting trees. But without giving them alternative, he used to spend most of his time in the forest, walking, trekking, discovering, venturing and resting. People from his village used to collect firewood from the forest and the nearby forests. However, as time went on these trees started diminishing slowing until the forest disappeared, and if you have ever been there and visit the place now your eyes can’t believe what you see. As a Boy Scout, Mathius started focusing on planting trees. The limitation, however, was getting enough planting materials, so he started looking for tree planting workshops to get more information and contacts. In 2009, he was given an opportunity to support Trees for the Future’s Uganda program, formally including tree seed distributions and agroforestry trainings from that time many lives have been changed. Since then, Mathius says  it is amazing to see what TREES has achieved, and what my communities have benefitted.

Corrie Mauldin
Director of East Africa Programs

Corrie has years of experience working for both environmental NGOs and the Department of Interior while living in Washington DC. She lived for a couple of years in a remote forest village working with smallholder farmers in Cameroon, helped manage a CSA (community-supported agriculture) organic farm in the Northeast and monitored fish catch on vessels in the Bering Sea. As East Africa Regional Director, Corrie oversees a 16-person staff of Country Coordinators and Project Technicians throughout Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Muthui Musyoki
Kenya Country Coordinator
Muthui holds a Diploma in Organic farming, Bachelor’s degree in Environmental studies and Master’s degree in Rural Sociology and community development. He have 16 year’s experience in Community Development having previously worked at Kenya Institute of Organic Farming as Training Manager, Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers as Field Coordinator, Plan International as Livelihood Coordinator and Heifer International as Organizational Development Coordinator under Bill Gates funded project East Africa Dairy Development Project. Muthui joined Trees for the Future in May 2016 as Kenya Country Coordinator overseeing Forest Gardens projects in Kenya. He is currently managing projects in Ikinu  and Homa Bay with 687 farmers.

Adaobi Okafor
Director of Finance & Administration
Adaobi moved to the U.S. from Nigeria to pursue her education at Georgetown University. She fell in love with D.C. and its blend of cultures so she stayed to complete her Masters at Catholic University of America and start her career. She is passionate about helping nonprofits maximize their potential by maintaining a healthy financial outlook. When not analyzing spreadsheets and chasing down expense reports, Adaobi loves traveling and experimenting with recipes.

Heri Rashid
Tanzania Country Coordinator
Heri studied at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) taking BSc in Agricultural Education and Extension. Then in 1999, began working for African Coffee Company as coffee purchaser and collector in Kilimanjaro Region. In 2004, Heri  worked with Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Uluguru Mountains Agricultural Development Projects (UMADEP) as Mvomero and Kilosa districts supervisor. His main duties were to train and facilitate farmer in groups in business plan development and value chain development and linking farmers with market and service providers for sunflower, tomato, maize and local chicken production specifically in planning, develop, implement, monitor, mentoring, evaluate and ensure farmers benefits from use of good agronomic practices, stores and sell in profitable price ensuring productive and equitable participation of rural women and men in planning and implementing of sound project at household level. Heri also worked with MVIWATA (Farmer Groups Network) an umbrella for farmers groups in Tanzania as Regional Economic Facilitator in Morogoro for 1 year before being promoted to be Regional Coordinator in Shinyanga. His role involved training and facilitating farmers groups in business plan development and value chain development and linking farmers with market in paddy/rice and maize production. He also supported local communities to carry out advocacy and influence implementation of sound agricultural and economic policies, plans and deal with other challenges affecting their rural livelihoods. Heri also promoted equal participation of women and men in agricultural sector focusing on smallholder farmers and SACCOS development in rural areas. He joined Trees for the Future as Coordinator Central corridor in May 2015. In January 2016, he became Country Coordinator.

Jennifer Tepper
Director of Development and Communications

After 15 years of working in and with local, regional, and national nonprofits on leadership and governance, team-building and facilitation, business development and fundraising, communications and management consulting, Jennifer brings her skills and expertise to Trees for the Future as the Director of Development and Communications.  Jennifer is excited to use her knowledge of growing organizations to exponentially increase the revenue and the impact Trees for the Future.  Jennifer holds two masters degrees – an MBA from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and a MA in Peace and Development Studies from the University of Limerick, in Limerick, Ireland.  And has studied and traveled for academic, personal and field projects in Spain, England, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Taiwan and Hungary.  Most of these projects were related to disaster preparedness and relief, studies in business and corporate social responsibility, and human rights and post-conflict civil society development.  When Jennifer is not working with TREES, you can find her hanging out with her family and loved ones (2 teenagers, 2 neurotic rescue dogs, 1 squealing guinea pig, 1 low maintenance fish and 1 amazing life partner), playing or watching ice hockey and soccer, reading, exploring the great outdoors, or working with rescue pups.

Mohamed Traore
Senegal Country Coordinator
Mohamed  is TREES’ Senegal Country Coordinator, and is responsible for the management and growth of our Senegal Forest Garden program. From 2006-2008 Mohamed also served as a Trees for the Future Volunteer, responsible for diffusing agroforestry techniques in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger. He is an agricultural engineer, with a degree from the Institut Polytechnique Rural, Bamako, Mali. Prior to TREES Mohamed worked for 7 years with a National NGO focused on Environmental Protection and Wildlife, before completing a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from the Francophone University, Cairo, Egypt. Upon his return to Mali, he held the position of Food Security Coordinator and Head of Mission of the French NGO Planet Urgence, where he spearheaded Family Agroforestry, Home Energy and Food Security, Emergency Food Aid for 5 years.

Andrew Zacharias
Director of Monitoring and Evaluation
Andrew grew up in a small farming community in central Ohio. After studying Political Science at Miami University, he moved to Tanzania to volunteer with the Peace Corps. His professional and cultural expertise allowed him to then work for Trees for the Future, managing agroforestry programs across East Africa. Today, he uses his knowledge of data collection and geographic information systems to direct the department of Monitoring and Evaluation. He lives in Columbus, OH with his wife, Mary.

Board of Directors

Dr. John Moore – Prof. Emeritus Univ. of Maryland, Chairman

Mark Brown – Vice-Chair & Finance Committee Chair

Humphrey Mensah – Treasurer

Shannon Hawkins – FBR, Development Committee Co-Chair

Linda Sobel-Katz – Development Committee Co-Chair

Ariana Constant – Clinton Foundation

Therese Glowacki – Boulder County Parks and Open Space

Michael Gumbley – charity: water

John Leary – Trees for the Future

Steve Hansch – International Business & Technical Consultants