Who We Are
Each FES team member brings unique perspective, experience, and talent to co-designing and implementing solutions to hunger and malnutrition that are impactful and commercially sustainable.
Food Enterprise Solutions is on a mission to energize the global food system to better balance global needs and profit. We leverage the powers of business, entrepreneurship, and innovation as key drivers in the global fight against hunger and malnutrition. We work in partnership with businesses and organizations to provide safe, nutritious, and affordable foods through supply chains that are commercially viable and environmentally sustainable. We offer expertise in partnership development, market analysis, project design & management, training, and specialized technical assistance to strengthen capacities of - and linkages among - key actors within food systems. Our team of experts has extensive experience working with food enterprises of all sizes – from village market vendors to major global corporations – across multiple countries and commodities.
Meet the Team
Founder and President
Russ has a long career promoting the private sector as a key driver for food security and economic growth. His work ranges from designing and managing agriculture research, extension and rural finance programs overseas, to evaluating project impact, to advising international donor agencies and foreign governments on how to structure policy priorities, regulatory frameworks, and programs that mobilize private capital and incentivize economic growth. Russ is passionate about the role of small- and medium-sized enterprises in promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and private investment that will feed the world's population and create wealth for those living in poverty. A solid team player and effective leader, Russ has a proven track record in portfolio management, staff development, client relationship management, public communications, market analysis, and business development.
Director of Programs
Roberta began her career serving in the Peace Corps as a livestock extension agent for the Ministry of Agriculture in Guatemala. This experience fueled her passion for helping farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs—particularly women and youth— to improve their business operations, financial viability, and access to markets. With core competencies in production planning and supply chain management in livestock, poultry, vegetables, coffee, and cacao, and other value chains. Roberta has designed, managed, and implemented agriculture programs that promote rural income and livelihoods, while contributing to sustainable, safe, and nutritious food systems. She is a certified Veterinary Technician, a fluent Spanish speaker, and has extensive program management expertise with multiple donor organizations, companies, and foundations across 39 countries.
Dr. Thoric Nils Cederstrom
Director of Research and Learning
Thoric - shown at left (in hat) talking with a colleague in Guatemala - is a champion of market-driven approaches to reducing hunger and malnutrition. He is experienced in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs that engage public, private, and civil-society institutions and key actors in building sustainable, commercially-viable, safe, and nutritious food systems. A recognized research analyst and program strategist, Thoric’s expertise includes developing cash-based interventions for rural livelihoods, conducting participatory food security assessments, designing stakeholder training and capacity building programs, and conducting anthropometric surveys. From his roots growing up on a family dairy farm in Missouri, Thoric went on to work extensively in Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia. He holds degrees in Development Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Agricultural Economics, and Archaeology, is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and conversational in French.
Senior Manager of Operations
Sarah is a sustainable food system enthusiast, a nature conservationist and has worked to alleviate poverty throughout her extensive career. She has implemented fieldwork in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean for non-profits and the private sector. She began her career in commercial development of the artisanal fisheries sector for FAO in Cape Verde and for the last several years has overseen programs in nutrition-led agriculture and building communities that are resilient to climate shocks and other crises. Sarah has designed and managed programs in sustainable agriculture and food security and safety, natural resources, value chains, training and intercultural communications. Sarah holds a master’s degree in International Administration from the SIT Graduate School, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and studied at the American University in Cairo.
Senior Technical Manager
Victor has led the technical design and operations of startup programs, notably in Vietnam and northern Ghana. He joins FES after serving as technical advisor in nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems for over 7 years. He brings skills in enterprise development and business services provision to small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as experience in applied research and project monitoring, evaluation and learning. Having spent roughly equal times in both field and headquarters-based management and technical positions, he now focuses on advancing market solutions that ultimately contribute to safe, nutritious and appealing foods in local markets. Victor holds master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois focusing on trade and policy, and Economics from Rutgers University majoring in finance.
International Programs Analyst
Jenna joins FES with over 20 years of experience interpreting and communicating complex and technical concepts in a sponsored research administration setting. This ability is reinforced by her background in natural and social sciences with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Fisheries Ecology and Marine Resource Management, respectively. Through employment with the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA/NMFS), Oregon Sea Grant, and five years serving as the Associate Director of Research and Communications for the USAID-funded Aquaculture and Fisheries Innovation Lab, she has prepared reports of accomplishments and metrics for sponsors and partners, authored peer-reviewed and technical publications to advance science, and produced posters and infographics to inform the broader public. Her writing has covered a broad range of topics including nutrition and food security, capacity building to empower women and youth, sustainable aquaculture and fisheries practices, ocean policy and management, and climate change adaptation.
International Programs Associate
Hallie joins FES in the International Programs Associate role after serving with the Peace Corps in Botswana as a Health & HIV/AIDS Civil Society Capacity Building volunteer. She worked in a larger village called Kanye where she was placed with civil society organizations combating the spread and stigma of HIV through testing, education, and organizational development. Outside of her work in her village, she was a member of the Peace Corps Botswana Food Security and Nutrition Initiative, conducting trainings with Batswana and other volunteers, as well as collaborating to produce easy-to-read, informative materials with permagardening, nutrition, and income generation among the topics. One of these trainings was with an educational organization that expanded their garden by six times after the two-day training and is selling the vegetables to support their continued efforts to empower youth and fight HIV. She holds a master’s degree in International Development from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Allegheny College.
Shola has vast and varied experience serving on USAID and USG contracts and cooperative agreements. He has managed finance, accounting, and operations on several USAID funded projects in the US and overseas in several Sub-Saharan African countries - Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, DR Congo Kinshasa, and Tanzania. An innovative, multi-tasking, multi-talented, versatile, and entrepreneurial international development professional, Shola has extensive practical hands-on experience ensuring compliance with USAID rules and regulations both at the field office and headquarters levels. Previously, Shola served on a USAID (FFP) Regis-Ag, Agriculture Value Chain project covering the two French speaking countries of Niger and Burkina Faso. Shola is a polyglot with a near-native fluency in French along with several other native and international African languages. Shola’s experience, technical knowledge, versatility, and willingness to serve in challenging locations have contributed immensely to the successful implementation of US government projects and contracts in which he has served.
Mariama Samb Dieng
BD4FS Senegal Program Director
Mariama is an expert in trade and development with fifteen years of professional experience that consists of managing gender-sensitive development programs covering several West African countries under donor funding. She has been in charge of regional agriculture and fisheries micro and small enterprise programs aiming to raise revenues and better market access through quality improvements. She is an expert field agent, adept at networking based on common values. Prior to joining FES, she served as the West Africa Fisheries Policy (REPAO) Program Manager for ENDA Tiers Monde. She also collaborated with the National Confederation of Employers of Senegal as Advisor in Business Development Services before her most recent position with the Japan International Cooperation Agency as the Program Officer for the agriculture and fisheries team and Country Officer for The Gambia. She holds a master’s degree in Development Studies and a Certificate of Continuing Education in Entrepreneurship and Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a bachelor’s degree in Business and International Trade from the University Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis in Senegal.
BD4FS Senegal Communications Specialist
Astou specializes in strategic research, business strategy, marketing and marketing communication. She is a certified expert in United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) upgrading and diagnosis; and has served as a promoter of export consortia and a trainer in marketing communication, luxury marketing, and project management. She has 13 years of experience in strategic research and planning of marketing and communications as part of projects conducted by UNDP (Study of the shea butter sector and promotion of women producers), QTV Gambia (Marketing and communication plan of a media company), the Ministry of Industry of Senegal (Study of agro-food sectors and local development), UNIDO in The Gambia (Institutional Partnerships), Enda Tiers Monde Senegal (Market analysis, marketing plan and training of agro-food SMEs), the Senegal Upgrading Program (Market analysis, marketing and communication plans of agro-food SMEs), German Cooperation GIZ (Study of the agro-food sector and packaging), among others. She has a DESS (Diploma of Higher Specialized Studies) in Marketing from ISMA/ENEA and a certificate in International Trade from ISG/University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar. She speaks Wolof, French, English and some German.
BD4FS Senegal MEL Specialist
Assane is a health economist and a development economist with over 11 years of experience in program management and monitoring and evaluation, with many of those years serving as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer in USAID and USDA funded projects. He began his career at the community level with a community-based nutrition program where he learned and practiced malnutrition prevention and management, community-based health, behavior change communication, water- sanitation and hygiene, and community-based monitoring and evaluation systems among other topics. Thanks to his experience in multisectoral projects, He has a good knowledge of food security, agri-business and nutrition areas specifically regarding monitoring and evaluation aspects. He has developed skills in data visualization, survey design, data collection with smartphones, and database design and management. He holds a master’s in Development Economics and a master’s in Health Economics - both from Clermont Ferrand University in France - and a master’s degree in Economics from Gaston Berger University in Senegal. Assane is fluent in French and Wolof, proficient in English, and speaks a little bit Arabic and Fulani.