Ray Menard
Founder and CEO, Cheetah Development

Leads with his visionary solution for a huge, previously intractable problem.

When Ray Menard visited Africa in 2008, he was struck by the pervasive problem of poverty. A serial entrepreneur across varied industries, he began to study the challenges facing small business through his lens of business startup, capitalization, and growth. As he applied what he learned to help small and medium enterprises (SME) succeed in the challenging African environment, he has successfully tested models that fill the gaps that exist in the value chain.  As a result, he has become convinced that it is possible to lift one billion small holder farmers out of poverty, and that is now Cheetah’s vision.  Ray possesses an extraordinarily varied set of innovation and implementation skills and experiences across multiple functions and industries, including twenty patents. A notable accomplishment was leading the logistics and security for all debris hauling at the World Trade Center recovery effort.  In a setting of extreme pressure with dozens of agencies and organizations, he led the completion of the effort in less than one quarter the expected time and budget, saving billions.

Brad Brown
Vice President, Impact Investment and Philanthropy

Leads relationships with impact investment and philanthropy communities. Led the creation of Cheetah Development’s first impact investment funds.

Brad Brown worked as a business consultant for 25 years serving high growth small/medium enterprises before committing to use his skills for social impact using the power of the marketplace. A pioneer in impact investing, Brad created Minnesota’s first impact investing angel network for early stage social businesses. He believes that impact investing should align the investor’s values so that the investment supports, rather than conflicts with, those values. He has been the executive director of SVP Minnesota, a venture philanthropy organization, and was responsible for an emerging business loan portfolio and an entrepreneurship development program at a community foundation.  He also created an awards program to seek out, support, and promote Minnesota’s most innovative and effective social entrepreneurs.  

Brad joined Cheetah because it was a singular opportunity to work in a living laboratory building models and tools for impact investment. Cheetah allows him to act on two core beliefs: that poverty is not an inevitable condition, and that moving people out of poverty requires the dynamism of entrepreneurial businesses.

Joy Hazucha
Senior Vice President People, Culture, and Growth
Vice President, Operations, Reservoir Tanzania, Ltd.

Leads the people processes and culture development that will allow Cheetah employees, leaders, partners, and farmers to grow, thrive, and share Cheetah’s success.

Leads our Reservoir solar dryer business, improving food security, nutrition, and income for smallholder farmers.

Joy Hazucha spent more than 30 years advising many of the World’s leading organizations in how to better align their people with their strategy, while also helping to build one of the premier global Human Resource consulting firms.  She applies scientific principles to define the type of talent needed, measure the current state, and close the gaps with development and/or recruiting.  In addition to providing strategic HR consulting services to clients, she has at various points led the R&D/ IP function, leadership talent analytics, and contributed to thought leadership. She has published research on global leadership, succession, women in leadership, and leadership development through experiences. She has lived and worked on three continents, and enjoys the richness of cross-cultural interactions.

She joined Cheetah because she is passionate about its mission, using business as a tool for economic development, and the opportunity to build a transformative culture that supports fast business growth.

 
 

Marco Johnson
Vice President Field Operations and President, Pearl Foods

Leads operations on the ground in Africa, across multiple businesses and countries.

Marco Johnson’s career has focused on expanding economic access for the less fortunate in many difficult regions of the World, with a proven track record of producing high impact results in challenging environments. These mission-oriented projects have included repatriating over 5,000 refugees and IDPs in the former Yugoslavia, designing and fundraising for programs that assisted female-headed refugee families returning to Afghanistan, facilitating over 1,200 Farmer-to-Farmer cultural exchanges between the US and developing countries, and providing access to microfinance for vulnerable women in post-tsunami Indonesia. Marco's private equity experience includes building Ukraine’s largest cable TV and internet service provider through the acquisition and merger of more than 50 companies across 19 cities.  

He joined Cheetah because, while development initiatives do generate localized successes, he understands that it will take the enormous capital mobilization of the private sector to effectively address poverty and development issues. He believes that impact entrepreneurship is the solution to lifting a billion smallholders out of poverty and generating lasting social and environmental development.

Jerry Diaz
Country Manager, Cheetah Development Tanzania and Malawi

Jerry leads operations on the ground in Tanzania and Malawi, where he directs Cheetah Development's staff working with farmers to improve their income.  Jerry's first assignment with Cheetah was to set up Cheetah Malawi by understanding the market, finding partners, and preparing to launch operations there.

Jerry began his career in IT system administration and development for the Tanzania national airline, where he developed their online booking engine and website. He learned the value of multi-tasking and problem-solving, but especially of working with people to transform an idea into a tangible reality. His early leadership experience also includes managing a staff of 40 people at a bakery.

He joined Cheetah to use these leadership and problem-solving skills to make a direct difference for the poor of his country. Giving back is part of his personal philosophy, so he was excited that Cheetah Development values this, too.

Jerry was born and raised in Tanzania, and has his BS in Software Engineering from Aptech.

 

Erick Motta
Finance Manager, Cheetah Development, Tanzania

Erick manages the finance function, supporting all 3 companies in Tanzania: Cheetah, Pearl Foods, and Reservoir, and working closely with Cheetah US. Effective operations of this function, in compliance with General Accounting standards and government regulations, is essential to our accountability to investors and donors.  He works closely with the field teams to ensure accurate farmer records, and to ensure prompt payments. Erick also manages many key relationships, with grant makers, professional service providers, and local government entities.

He joined Cheetah as a volunteer in 2012, while studying at Ruaha University. He progressed to Accountant, then Senior Accountant, and was promoted to Finance Manager in 2014.

He joined Cheetah because it provides many opportunities to grow professionally.

He was born and raised in Tanzania, and holds a BBA in Accounting and Finance from Ruaha University.