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Board of Director Bios

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Robert Shuh

Chair

Robert Shuh has extensive workplace experience in primary agriculture in the dairy, poultry and field crop sectors in Southern Ontario, and in international economic development managing a sesame seed project (Produmer) for Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) in Nicaragua. Robert was President of MEDA Canada, board member of Agro Capital Management, and has held positions on the Executive and Audit Committees of Mennonite Savings and Credit Union He holds an MBA in Agriculture from the University of Guelph and has also studied theology and music.

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Joyce Lehman

Vice-Chair

More than twenty years’ experience in international microeconomic development, including 5 years as a Program Officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program, currently as an independent technical advisor to donor organizations that fund projects with a focus on financial inclusion. Bontrager Lehman was in private practice as a Certified Public Accountant and for 2 years (1997-1999) taught business courses at Goshen College. She began her career in international development with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), providing training and consulting services to microfinance institutions in more than 25 countries and serving as a faculty member at leading microfinance training institutes held in the United States, Europe and South Africa. From 2003 to 2007, she spent most of her time in Afghanistan working with the World Bank, USAID and other bi-lateral donors to help establish and support a microfinance sector.

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Jenny Shantz

Secretary

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 also participates in the strategic development of several company entities, including St Jacobs Outlets and the village properties. From 1992-2006, she produced and presented an annual series of music, dance and theater performances at St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre. Jenny is president of Grand River Child and Youth Services, 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

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Octavio Cortés

Director

Octavio Cortés is the former CEO of MiCrédito and holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and a Bank Management Diploma. He has been MEDA’s country manager during the past 10 years, overseeing the development of the different programs in the country. He was involved directly in supervising Chispa and in participating in its merger with other equity partners in order to establish the regulated financial institution called CONFIA. He also served as president of its board becoming acquainted with how a bank works in a regulated environment. He was instrumental in the establishment of MiCrédito in 2004.

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Serge Levert-Chiasson

Treasurer

Serge is the leader of the Sarona team. Chief Compliance Officer, he also oversees the compliance program at Sarona. He believes passionately that thoughtful and caring private business must lead the development of vibrant and healthy economies that deliver prosperity for all. Prior to joining Sarona in 2009, Serge was vice president of MEDA Investments, an underwriter and loan officer at Export Development Canada, a business analyst at Crédit Lyonnais, and founding chair of Agro Capital Management, a Ukrainian agricultural equipment leasing company. Today, he serves on several private equity funds’ advisory committees, corporate boards, and was the founding chair of the Canada Forum for Impact Investment and Development. Serge holds an MSc in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics, an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business, and is a CFA charter holder.

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Director

. 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 modeling 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.

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Verónica Herrera

Director

He has a Degree in Public Accounting with a Specialization in Finance from the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua. She has training in banking management from INCAE Business School in Costa Rica, has a diploma in microfinance from the University of Anahuac del Sur in Mexico, and recently, Verónica attended the professional training program "Strategic Leadership for Microfinance Programs" at Harvard Business School. She has been part of Boulder Institute programs twice, for Rural Microfinance in Turin, Italy, in 2015 and for Microfinance training in 2019, in Washington, DC, USA. 

For eleven years, Verónica worked for Banco Popular de Nicaragua in different key positions. She later began her relationship with the microfinance sector, first as Financial Manager for the MEDA Microcredit Program, then at CONFIA / Procredit Nicaragua. After several years, Herrera, along with a group of colleagues, founded what is now MiCrédito. She was president of ASOMIF for two terms, where she began to promote the proposal to capture deposits in microfinance in Nicaragua. In 2018, she was named by The Economist magazine as one of the influential Central American women leaders who were willing to change the region. In 2024, she will be awarded the Inspiring Leader award by Andares Mujeres in the 10+ years of leadership category. She is currently CEO of MiCrédito Holding Corp., managing assets of more than U$60 million dollars in those institutions and where she has been a key player in opening operations in Costa Rica and Honduras as she continues with her dream of improving the lives of people living in poverty through different large-scale financial services throughout Central America. 

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Gerhard Pries

Director

Gerhard is the founder and leader of the Sarona team, overseeing all aspects of the business today and into the future. He believes passionately that thoughtful and caring private businesses must lead the development of vibrant and healthy economies that deliver prosperity for all. As a visionary impact investing leader for over 25 years, Gerhard has been a founder and/or director of MicroVest Capital Management, MEDA Investments Inc., Grand Challenges Canada, and Impact Assets, among others. He began his career in the mid-market advisory practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, with formative experiences in international development finance. Today, Gerhard is a sought-after speaker and advisor, addressing topics of economic growth and development, as well as private-public collaboration to build healthy new economies.

Joyce
Jenny
Octavio
Serge
Lindsay
Robert
Verónica
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