OCDC Board of Directors

Paul Guenette — ACDI/VOCA
Executive Vice President, Communications & Outreach

Paul GuenettePaul Guenette is an economic development manager with expertise in agribusiness and trade. He oversees a communications team and provides leadership in corporate planning and developing public-private partnerships with external corporations.

In a career spanning 40 years and 70 countries, Paul has designed and managed large, integrated, sustainable development programs. His experience includes long-term development assignments in Senegal, Mauritania, Indonesia, Barbados and Kenya, where he headed agribusiness programs that incorporated policy reform, cooperative and other business group strengthening, equity financing and investment promotion. His consulting assignments have included designing and implementing enterprise development programs for USAID, conducting international marketing workshops for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, analyzing agribusiness global trends for the World Bank, and designing a farmer organization program for IFAD.

Paul is corporate secretary for ACDI/VOCA and ASI, and serves on the board of the Washington Chapter of the Society for International Development. He speaks fluent French. He earned his BA at Kalamazoo College and his MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

William Sparks — ACDI/VOCA
Vice President, Technical Learning and Application

William SparksWinner of the Dr. J.P. London Award for Promoting Ethical Behavior, William Sparks brings 20 years of business and development experience to building organizational capacity. He has worked on assignments and technical projects in Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East, including Feed the Future and economic growth programs that strengthen the competitiveness of farmer associations and cooperatives.

Currently, Bill serves as vice president for ACDI/VOCA’s research and development team, which designs and implements capacity-building, behavior-change and technical interventions. Innovations from the group include the Sell More For More™ program, which links farmer organizations to markets by improving their ability to meet quality specifications and manage operations effectively. Under the USAID-funded Cooperative Development Program, he created the M4 farmer organization rapid assessment tool to help organization leaders and members identify priority development needs and assess ongoing performance. He has authored publications on development and behavioral change and co-created ACDI/VOCA’s AchieVe performance management system to help organizations onboard, develop and retain talent.

Bill earned a master’s in organization development from Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s in business management and psychology from Woodbury University. He also completed the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL)program at the University of Missouri.

Pete Giacomini — CRI
Senior Vice President, Business Development

Pete GiacominiIn his role with CRI, which he has held since January 2013, Pete Giacomini is creating new opportunities for CRI's growth through development of global and domestic alliances, advancement of research programming, and consideration of acquisitions that expand services and markets for its cooperative businesses.

Prior to joining CRI, Pete was COO for AgSource, where he began working in 1985. He also served as president and CEO of the Wisconsin Dairy Herd Improvement Cooperative and director of field services and jersey marketing service for the American Jersey Cattle Association. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in agricultural economics and dairy science.

Dean Gilge — CRI
Associate Vice President, Global Development

Dean GilgeDean Gilge has 30 years' cooperative experience, working for Cooperative Resources International (CRI) and its predecessors in various management positions.

In 2005, Dean became COO of IndiaGen PVT Ltd., a joint venture between CRI and the National Dairy Development board (NDDB) in Hyderabad India. IndiaGen began with 40 service technicians. Under Dean’s leadership, within two years it had established seven different regional offices with 1,000 technicians breeding cows throughout India. In 2007, he returned to CRI USA to take on his current role. He has worked in over 40 different countries, establishing various livestock development programs through commercial business development and donor-funded programs.

Matt Rhody— CRI
Manager, Cooperative Development Program

Matt RhodyAt CRI, Matthew Rhody manages the Cooperative Development Program (CDP) and supports other CRI international development programs. He served in the Peace Corps in Panama from 2005 to 2007, directing community development projects. Between 2009 and 2010, he worked for CRI as a bovine reproduction specialist, conducting on-farm breeding programs for dairy and beef herds. In 2012, Matt returned to CRI to manage its current CDP, which focuses on transforming dairy and beef cooperatives into profitable enterprises in South Africa and Nicaragua.

He received his bachelor's degree in global studies from Ripon (Wis.) College.

Dr. Barbara Czachorska-Jones — Global Communities
Director of Operations, Policy and Innovation

Barbara Czachorska-JonesBefore she joined Global Communities in the early 1990s, Dr. Barbara Czachorska-Jones pursued a legal career in Poland, receiving her doctorate degree in law from the Institute of Legal Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

In her various senior positions at Global Communities, she has managed cooperative housing and development projects focusing on cooperatives in the Philippines, South Africa, Bosnia, Poland, Mongolia and Rwanda. Barbara has extensive experience managing shelter delivery projects, housing and privatization reforms, civil society and capacity building, development of cooperatives and training and leadership programs.   

In her involvement with OCDC, Barbara has been integral to the CLARITY project since its inception, using her legal and regulatory experience to contribute to the design and content of this initiative. She continues to work on cooperative advocacy projects and as lead specialist on several collaborative projects focusing on cooperatives.

Kristin Wilcox Feldman— Global Communities
Technical Specialist, Cooperatives and Food Security

Kristin WilcoxKristin Wilcox has more than 10 year’s experience working internationally with farmers and cooperatives to improve yields and increase incomes in East Africa, Mongolia and Indonesia.At Global Communities, she provides strategic and technical leadership to cooperative development-, food security- and livelihoods-focused programming, while incorporating value-chain competitive approaches to improve local food systems.

In addition, she works alongside local governments to strengthen the policies and regulations to create better enabling environments and extension systems that support small businesses and cooperatives in both urban and rural areas. Kristin has led the creation of performance-enhancement tools such as the Cooperative Performance Index and curricula for cooperative member participation, such as the Make it Happen Campaign for Equity and Empowerment.

Kristin holds a master’s degree in global policy and strategy with a focus in quantitative policy analysis from the University of California-San Diego. In 2016, she completed the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership (GICL) program at the University of Missouri.

Scott Aebischer — HealthPartners, Inc.
Senior Vice President, Customer Service and Product Innovation

Scott AebischerScott Aebischer and his staff are responsible for serving more than 1.36 million HealthPartners members through several service centers, including member services, CareLineSM nursing services and Nurse NavigatorsSM. He also is responsible for the organization’s product development, marketing and sales systems, market research and strategic information and overall web development. Since 1997, Scott has led HealthPartners’ USAID-funded programs in Uganda.

Before joining HealthPartners in 1991, Scott worked as the manager of provider relations at PreferredOne and was director of social services with Fairview Hospitals. He holds a master's degree in public health administration and a BS from the University of Minnesota.

Barbara Tretheway — HealthPartners, Inc.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Barbara TrethewayIn her role at HealthPartners, Barbara Tretheway provides comprehensive legal advice and direction to the management and governance of HealthPartners and its affiliated entities. She also manages the legal, clinical and enterprise risk management and sustainability functions of the organization.

Prior to joining HealthPartners, she practiced law at Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A., in Minneapolis. Barbara received her JD degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She is a recipient of the 2011 Diversity in Business Award and regularly has been recognized as a Super Lawyer in health care. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, Wisconsin State Bar Association and American Health Lawyers Association. Barbara also serves on the boards of Mississippi Market, a natural foods cooperative, and People, Inc., a mental health agency.

Greg Grothe – Land O'Lakes
Practice Manager, Market Access

Greg GrotheGreg Grothe currently serves as practice manager for market access at Land O’Lakes International Development.In his role, Greg manages USAID-funded cooperative programs focused on value-chain development of dairy and multi-purpose cooperatives in four East African countries. He also provides technical oversight and support to a portfolio of enterprise acceleration and market development programs in Africa and Asia.

Over his 15-year career, Greg has served in international business leadership roles in both financial services and agribusiness industries. He also has worked in a number of roles that have promoted the development of cooperative businesses in emerging economies, including serving on the investment committee for the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation’s All Nations Fund.

Alex Serrano – NCBA CLUSA
Vice President, Development and Technical Services

Alex SerranoAlex Serrano's areas of expertise include producer organization and agribusiness development, market analysis and linkages, and project design and evaluation. Serrano has spent the past 28 years has served in a variety of roles in Africa and around the world working on rural group business development and market linkages.

For example, as NCBA CLUSA country director in Mozambique, he assisted with the development of a network of more than 500 rural group businesses at the primary and secondary levels, involving more than 16,000 members, and helped to establish market linkages with agribusiness for local, regional and international markets.

Alex holds a BA in business administration and economics and an MA in international administration.

Amy Coughenour Betancourt – NCBA CLUSA
Vice President, International Programs and Development

Amy Coughenour BetancourtAmy Coughenour Betancourt joined the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) in 2011 as vice president of international development. She oversees CLUSA’s $30+ million international portfolio in 15 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Prior to joining NCBA, Amy served as deputy director of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF. She also worked for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on its Americas Program Caribbean initiatives and the Center for Occupational Research and Development, a workforce education and training organization. She currently serves on the board of Cooperative Business International (CBI Global).

Amy holds an MA in international policy studies (Latin America) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a BA in German and received a teaching Fulbright scholarship in Germany.

Dr. Dan Waddle – NRECA International
Senior Vice President of Operations

Dan WaddleDr. Dan Waddle is an expert in rural electrification project and program design with more than 25 years’ experience in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has extensive experience in small- to medium-scale power generation, including grid-connected and off-grid technologies, as well as load forecasting, financial analysis and geographic information systems applications for rural electrification planning and analysis. Waddle has managed numerous projects funded by USAID, the U.S. Department of Energy, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and a host of local sponsors. He received his doctorate of engineering from Texas A&M University and his M.S. and B.S. from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

Paul J. Clark – NRECA International
Senior Advisor

Paul ClarkPaul Clark has served NRECA International in various capacities, retiring as a vice president in 2008. He has extensive experience with rural electric cooperative development overseas, primarily in Latin America and Asia. Prior to joining NRECA in 1981, Paul was a member of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee professional staff from 1977 to 1981 and legislative assistant to Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado from 1975 to 1977.

 

Dr. Brian Branch — World Council of Credit Unions
President and CEO

Brian BranchDr. Brian Branch was appointed president and CEO of World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) in 2011. He has worked at WOCCU since 1990 and has been engaged in development fieldwork, research and implementation for more than 30 years.

At WOCCU, Brian also has held positions including economist, manager of research and development, regional manager for Latin America, director of technical services, vice president of development services and executive vice president and COO. He has worked with credit unions, microfinance and other financial institution services for more than 20 years. Brian has developed programs to update and expand the savings-based financial services of credit unions worldwide. His technical duties have included designing programs to transfer financial management practices, policies, procedures, tools, products, technologies and management skills to credit unions in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean.

During his career, Brian has undertaken credit-union development assignments in 45 countries worldwide, from Afghanistan and Argentina to Vietnam and Zambia. He co-authored Striking the Balance in Microfinance: A Practical Guide to Mobilizing Savings (2002) with Janette Klaehn and co-edited Safe Money (2000) with Glenn Westley.

In 1990, he received his PhD in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in 1981 his MA in Latin American studies at the University of Texas-Austin. He received his BA in government and Spanish, graduating magna cum laude from Bowdoin College, Maine, in 1979.

Michael Edwards — World Council of Credit Unions
Chief Counsel and Vice President for Advocacy and Government Affairs
Current OCDC board president

Michael EdwardsIn addition to Michael Edwards’ responsibilities for legal matters at the World Council of Credit Unions, he also advocates on behalf of credit unions before international standards setting organizations, such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Accounting Standards Board, the Financial Action Task Force and the G20, as well as before the European Commission, the European Parliament and other European Union entities. Michael also supports the advocacy efforts of WOCCU’s members at the national level and performs World Council's role as the secretariat of the International Credit Union Regulators' Network (ICURN). 

Prior to joining World Council, Michael worked for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in Washington, D.C., as its senior assistant general counsel.  At CUNA, he advocated for credit unions’ interests before U.S. regulatory agencies and the U.S. Congress and advised on litigation and other legal matters. Michael also has worked as an articles editor for the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law Review and for a Philadelphia law firm. He holds JD degrees from American University-Washington College of Law, an MA in international affairs with an international development specialization from American University-School of International Service and a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Paul HazenPaul Hazen became executive director of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council in February 2012. Previously, he represented one of its member organizations and served as OCDC’s board chair and as a board member. One of his most-recent initiatives with OCDC is the formation of its Research Group, whose mission is to research, formulate and share effective strategies for the development, performance and growth of cooperatives in developing countries.

Throughout his career, Hazen has championed the U.S. cooperative system, which encompasses 29,000 co-ops; generates $654 billion in revenue; and creates more than two million jobs, representing $75 billion in wages and benefits. U.S. co-ops include Ace Hardware, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Sunkist, REI and the Associated Press. Hazen helped establish federal legislation promoting rural cooperative development, formed a national network of co-op development centers and initiated national research into the impact of co-ops on the U.S. economy.

Prior to joining OCDC, Hazen was CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Cooperative Business Association. Under Hazen’s leadership, NCBA’s cooperative development portfolio grew from $8 million to over $30 million annually. During his 25-year tenure with the organization, he held key positions, including chief operating officer, vice president of public policy, vice president of member services and director of consumer cooperatives.

Active in cooperative matters at many levels, Hazen is the one of the founders of DotCoop, the top-level domain for cooperatives around the world. He also serves on the boards of the National Cooperative Bank, Capital Impact Partners and the Community Purchasing Alliance Cooperative. Past board service includes the International Co-operative Alliance, Consumer Federation of American, Cooperative Development Foundation, Cooperative Business International and NCB Retail Finance Corporation.

In demand for his cooperative expertise, Hazen speaks frequently at national and international forums on the role of cooperatives in community and economic development. He is a past recipient of the CEO Communicator of the Year award from the Cooperative Communicators Association.

A native of Wauzeka, a rural community in western Wisconsin, Hazen holds a B.A. in economics and finance from the University of Wisconsin.