EARTH University Foundation was formed to support the educational vision of EARTH University through generous gifts from the global community and other programs and initiatives. The Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mark S. Brouse
Position: Chairman / Country: USA
Mark S. Brouse retired as president of VISTA Staffing Solutions, Inc., the physician staffing segment of On Assignment. Mr. Brouse joined On Assignment as a result of On Assignment’s December 2006 acquisition of VISTA, a company he co-founded in 1990. Mr. Brouse began his career in pharmaceutical sales in 1980, and in 1986 joined CompHealth, a locum tenens staffing company, where he led specialty teams serving psychiatry and internal medicine clients before founding VISTA. Currently, Mr. Brouse is a member of the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Northern Utah and is a past president of that board. He provides mentoring for social entrepreneurs via his participation in the Ashoka Support Network, which supports Ashoka fellows throughout the world. Mr. Brouse is also a member of the National Advisory Board for the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and is an active investor and member of the Salt Lake City Angels. Previously, Mr. Brouse served as a member of the board of Utah HealthCare Institute, a not for profit entity providing Salt Lake City with quality healthcare through St. Marks Family Medicine Residency, and PEHR Technologies, an electronic medical records company. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Chemistry from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Position: Vice Chair / Country: USA
Erika Gonzalez-Akre is a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). The SCBI is the leading branch from the Smithsonian dedicated to save wildlife species from extinction and train future generations of conservationists. Erika’s research focuses on tree ecology, botany and conservation biology. Erika grew up in Venezuela and holds a B.S. in Earth Sciences Education (Cum laude, Institute Pedagogico de Caracas, 1997), a M.S. in Geology (Universidad Central de Venezuela, 2002) and a M.S. in Tropical Botany (University de Los Andes, 2007). She also serves on the board of the Virginia Native Plant Society.
Position: Secretary / Country: USA
Tracy Hoover is an experienced non-profit executive, impact strategist and respected social sector thought-leader. As president and chief executive officer of Points of Light, Hoover led the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteerism. Hoover joined Points of Light in 2008 and served as chief of staff and chief operating officer before taking the helm of the organization in 2013. Before joining Points of Light, Hoover was the executive director of Hands On Atlanta, a Points of Light affiliate. Today, Hoover consults with leaders from non-profit organizations, Fortune 500 companies, social enterprises and B-Corp start-ups. She has contributed to six books and delivered more than 100 talks on topics such as: the promise of citizen action at scale; corporate social responsibility and shared value; accelerating change through disruptive innovation; global citizenship and borderless problem solving; and the emergence of the trust economy and its impact on changemaking. Hoover received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee. She and her husband, Scott Hoover, live in Atlanta.
Position: Treasurer / Country: USA
Mark McGahan is currently President of MJM Holdings, LLC. Through December 2015, Mark was President of Cummins Power South, an Atlanta-based distributor sales and service organization affiliated with Cummins, Inc. Mark has experience in merging organizations and has successfully overseen transitions of Cummins Power South from a privately held corporation to a JV reporting to a Board of Directors to full acquisition by Cummins Inc., delivering growth, top financial results and leadership measures in each transition. Cummins Power South was awarded the Cummins’ Chairman’s Award for Six Sigma three times and consistently ranked in top 3 distributors in a multi-measure Cummins performance assessment. Mark lives in Atlanta and is the proud father of three children. Mark’s interests include boating, fishing, golf and yoga.
Position: Trustee / Country: USA
Adrienne Meisel is a Director of Center on Deafness, a member of the JVS Advisory Board and serves as a community representative on the Health and Human Services Commission of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Her professional life included two careers, the first in education and the second in financial services. She taught and supervised programs for the hearing impaired and administered federal grant for low-incident handicapped students in Chicago’s north and northwest suburbs. Her career in financial services included commercial and private banking positions at The First National Bank of Chicago and its successor organizations. Adrienne earned a B.S. in Education from the University of Illinois, a M.A. in Speech from Northwestern University, and an MBA from Loyola University. As avid hikers, she and her husband, Rand Sparling, enjoy domestic and foreign travel.
Position: Trustee / Country: USA/Mexico
In 2001, when Andros Bracamontes graduated from EARTH he was told by his friends in his home state of Chiapas, Mexico, that if he wanted a good future he should go somewhere with more opportunities. But he ignored them. His loyalty to his family’s 130 year history in the coffee business took him back to Chiapas, where he hoped to revive the family farm after it was hit by the coffee crisis of the ‘90s.
Upon his return, Andros became an agricultural consultant. He worked on sustainability projects with local government, NGO’s, and regional coffee farms. These projects provided Andros with income to help his family farm, Finca Perú París, achieve its organic certification in 2004. Soon thereafter, he was approached by a buyer from a California-based coffee roasting company looking to buy organic beans. The buyer, Pete Rogers of The Rogers Family Company, was so impressed with Andros’s knowledge of organic agriculture that he soon approached him with a different offer. Rogers Family Company wanted to open its own coffee plantation in the region, and Pete had a key role in mind for Andros.
Currently, Andros manages the business’s Mexican operations, which consist of three organic farms and an exporting office. He is also involved in the implementation of environmental and social measures at the company. He promotes the conservation of primary forests on the farm’s property and the enactment of fair labor policies. This includes infrastructure improvement to offer workers better living conditions and healthy and nutritious lunches for the 500 seasonal workers that are employed in the high season. In the area of social responsibility, Andros brought a unique proposal to the company’s portfolio, suggesting that The Rogers Family Company support an EARTH scholarship. Pete Rogers liked the idea so much that the company supported two EARTH students – one from Chiapas, Mexico, and one from Panama, both of whom are now graduates.
Position: Trustee / Country: USA
Born in Albuquerque, NM, and raised in Boston, MA, Christopher Carter infuses a blend of ethnic and urban influences in all of his artistic work. Carter graduated with an MFA in Sculpture from UC Berkeley and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He has held teaching positions at UC Berkeley, as a visiting professor and lecturer, and at The Art Institute of California, San Francisco, as an instructor. Christopher Carter continues to create, exploring new themes and materials in his lifelong pursuit of individual expression. Carter’s home and studio are located in Miami, FL, where he lives with his wife and daughter.
Claire “Yum” Arnold
Position: Trustee / Country: USA
Claire Arnold is the Founder and CEO of Leapfrog Services, Inc., a managed services provider. Yum serves on the Board of Trustees of EARTH University Foundation and Spelman College, as well as on the Governing Board of The Woodruff Arts Center, and is a member of the Atlanta Committee for Progress. Additionally, she Chairs the board of Achieve Atlanta and is Deputy Chair of The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She holds a B.A. and an Honorary Doctorate from Mary Baldwin College.
Position: Trustee / Country: Puerto Rico & United States
Georgie Benardete is a technology investor and entrepreneur. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Align17, a private platform for family offices and ultra-high net-worth individuals to identify vetted, impactful investments. She previously co-founded and was the Head of Strategy of OrchardMile.com, a luxury fashion marketplace for busy women. Previously, she was Managing Director at Multicultural Capital. Ms. Benardete started her career at OPIC, Coopers & Lybrand and JP Morgan in Wall Street. A committed environmentalist, Ms. Benardete founded Yeslist.com, Turkey’s largest green portal. She is also part of Al Gore’s Climate Project as a speaker, a founding member of the Charly Alberti R21 Foundation in Latin America and a LEAD International Fellow. In 2012, the World Economic Forum recognized her as a Young Global Leader for her global leadership in environmental progress – the first Puerto Rican to be bestowed with this honor.
Ms. Benardete is an active investor and part of the investment committee in Belle Capital USA, an early-stage VC fund that promotes investments in companies with strong female leadership. She earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service (with honors) from Georgetown University, where she was a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellow. She finished undergraduate studies at University of Puerto Rico, completed the executive education program at the Harvard Kennedy School and coursed special International & Policy studies at American University and Carnegie Mellon University.
Position: Trustee / Country: Ecuador
Gustavo Manrique is the President of Sambito in Guayaquil, Ecuador, a company focusing on environmental sustainability. Gustavo is very pro-active in all issues regarding climate change and has been a spokesperson for such issues. He leads a business ecosystem with an impact in Latin America involving tires, oil, water, carbon footprint recycling companies as well as the Latin America Green awards. In 2020 considered one of the 100 most influential leaders in climate change in Latin America. He received an Agronomy degree from EARTH University and has been instrumental in maintaining EARTH’s relationships with its alumni in Ecuador. He has also played a pivotal role in EARTH’s fundraising efforts.
Position: Trustee / Country: USA/Ecuador
Gustavo Puente is the Senior Vice President of Procurement at Kalsec® where he leads the company’s global procurement strategy. Gustavo joined Kalsec’s procurement function in 2005 and accomplished an exciting and rapid career growth taking on several global sourcing and supply chain responsibilities at the manager and director level. In 2013 Gustavo became an Officer in the Kalsec organization. He also held a developmental role as Vice President of Global Accounts Management until early 2019. Gustavo has always had a passion for agricultural businesses, believing that agriculture was key to the prosperity of Latin American economies. In his career, Gustavo and his team have led efforts to create or transform Kalsec’s supply in many countries including the US, Peru, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, and others. These agribusiness projects have had a positive impact on wealth creation, ultimately cascading to the communities where raw materials are grown by small and large farmers. Kalsec is a leader in its industry in transformative areas such as plant breeding, pesticide management, traceability, and responsible sourcing. Gustavo Puente obtained his Masters degree in Agricultural Economics with an emphasis in Agribusiness from Michigan State University. He also holds a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences from EARTH University in Costa Rica. Gustavo has also participated in several Executive Education programs at Northwestern University and MIT.
Position: Trustee / Country: England
Ian Davidson is the Managing Director, International of The Martin Agency, a firm whose client list includes Geico, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the JFK Library and Museum. Prior to joining The Martin Agency, Ian worked at McCann-Erickson London for thirteen years as one of their top international account leaders, and at Publicis for nearly seven years, working across a wide range of business categories, including Personal Care, Retail and Cosmetics with Boots, and OTC Pharmaceuticals with GSK. Ian joined the Executive Committee of The Martin Agency in 2013.
Jane Cocke Black
Position: Trustee, Former President / Country: USA
Jane Black is the President of the Exposition Foundation, Inc. and the Exposition Company. She is currently the Chair of the Ben Franklin Academy Board of Trustees and the former President of the EARTH University Foundation Board of Trustees and Piedmont Hospital Foundation. She is an emeritus board member of the High Museum of Art and the Woodruff Arts Center. Mrs. Black received the Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2007. She attended Mt. Vernon Junior College and the University of Georgia.
Position: Trustee / Country: United States
Julia Novy-Hildesley is Professor of the Practice and Executive Director of Stanford’s Leadership for Sustainability Program which explores the mindsets, knowledge and tools leaders need to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and resilient society. With 20 years’ experience leading non-profit and philanthropic organizations, Julia Novy- Hildesley is recognized for her innovative leadership in designing and scaling entrepreneurial solutions to global challenges that integrate economic, social and environmental objectives. In 2013, she founded Resilience in Action, dedicated to helping 21st century leaders cultivate resilience in their lives, organizations, and sectors. In 2010, Novy-Hildesley was recognized as a distinguished Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and served as a Topic Leader for the Clinton Global Initiative on “Market-based solutions to environmental challenges.” A Fulbright and Marshall Scholar, Novy-Hildesley speaks French, Spanish and Kiswahili, and has lived and worked extensively in developing countries for agencies, including the World Bank, USAID and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Mark J. Ohrstrom
Position: Trustee / Country: USA
Mark Ohrstrom is the President and Chief Investment Officer at Larkspur Management, Inc. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of: Advanced Systems Technology, Inc., and Larkspur Investment Holdings. Serves on the boards of several corporations, universities, and foundations, including the Piedmont Foundation, an endowment of The Piedmont Environmental Council, Oak View National Bank, Windy Hill Foundation, and Shenandoah University. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Shenandoah University.
H. Ross Arnold, III
Position: Trustee / Country: USA
Ross Arnold is CEO and Chairman of Quest Capital Corp, a private investment company. He serves on the boards of Endurance Gold Corporation, a Vancouver stock exchange company, Warren Wilson College, and Duke University’s Advisory Board of the Nicholas School for the Environment. He graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctorate degree.
Position: Trustee / Country: USA
Sonia leads Children Investment Fund Foundation’s climate change portfolio, which includes vital work on energy and industry decarbonization, air quality, and food systems transformation. It invests in crosscutting tactical approaches such as climate diplomacy, litigation, business engagement, and communications. Previously, Sonia was COO of a biomass start-up in Africa. Before this, she spent 7 years at EcoSecurities, a large carbon offset project developer, where she was US Country Director and Global Head of Origination.
Sonia has worked for UNEP. She holds a BSc in Environmental Sciences from Madrid University, an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University, and an Executive MBA from the London Business School. In 2009, Sonia was named a World Business Council for Sustainable Development Future Leader; in 2014, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader; and in 2015, a Rising Talent by the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society.
Charlotte S. Metcalf
† Samuel Kaymen