Board of Directors
Julie E. Oswald
Chair of the Board
Board Chairman, Rotherwood Investments, LLC; Managing Trustee, Oswald Family Foundation
Julie holds leadership management roles for Oswald Family interests and holdings including philanthropic activities, land management and operating companies. As Board Chairman of the Oswald Family Foundation for 17 years, Julie led the board's International Committee with a strategic granting program aimed at supporting global social entrepreneurs with scaleable, replicable, systems-changing models.
In recent years, the Oswald Family Foundation has committed to investing 10% of it's portfolio into mission related investments (MRI's). The Board is continually evaluating hybrid for-profit and not-for-profit models, best practices and looking for meaningful social impact measurement systems. Julie and the Oswald Foundation are both grantors and investors with Cheetah Development.
She is acting CEO and Board Chairman of Pacer Corporation, an industrial minerals supplier. Her international philanthropic experience involves strategic support for social entrepreneurs who have ideas for broad system change. She has been a supporting partner in transformational endeavors in the fields of microfinance, rural African healthcare franchises, educational systems, and advocacy for women's economic empowerment. More locally, her active support and focus tends toward mental health, spiritual growth and peacemaking.
Dr. Mark Ereth
Vice Chair of the Board and Chair Emeritus
Founder and CEO, Transfuse Solutions, Inc.
Transfuse Solutions improves patient outcomes and decreases hospital expenses by reducing unnecessary blood transfusions with our evidence-based patient blood management solutions. These include customized educational courses, our Bloodhound IT solution, and cultural change components. Our Mission: To work directly with patients, providers, hospitals, and blood centers to provide excellence in patient blood management thereby reducing unnecessary blood transfusions.
Dr. Ereth is a Mayo Clinic physician and Professor of Anesthesiology with subspecialty training and practice in cardiovascular anesthesiology. He graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, and the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.
Dr. Ereth is an internationally known expert in anesthesiology, transfusion, platelet function, and blood management who is a frequent speaker at medical schools and hospitals around the world. He has experience consulting with medical products companies, startups, and medical services in the US, Europe and the Middle East. He is also a Founding Board Member of Zybac. Dr. Ereth leads a multidisciplinary research group at Mayo, has had more than 100 research papers and abstracts published, and holds several US patents for medical devices.
President, Agricultural Services, Conservis
Conservis supports the top agricultural producers in the world with industry-disrupting SaaS management systems to change the business of professional farming. Conservis has been confirmed as the industry leader for agricultural producers to get the most out of the possibilities of Big Farming Data.
Eric has built a long career in technology and trading in the agriculture sector including executive positions with The Yield Lab, CP Holdings, LLC, and The Scoular Company. He founded the international agricultural trading and logistics company International Proteins Corporation as well as Global Risk Management (GRM). GRM is the premier commodity price risk management platform for the food, agriculture and biofuels super-segment.
He gained knowledge of African agriculture serving on the U.S. Advisory Committee of the The Institute of Agriculture, a department of Tumaini University in Iringa, Tanzania.
He has also served as the president of the American Fats and Oils Association, a trade association and rule-making body for the trading of animal and vegetable fats, oils and proteins.
His community service roles include serving on the board of the Minnesota International Center, his church’s Church Council, and co-founder and president of Parents United for Public Schools.
Founder, Awenawe Investment Company
Chilwa grew up in a rural village in Tanzania and rose to become a senior economic policy maker in the Bank of Tanzania - a central bank for Tanzania. She has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Dar-Es-Salaam and Masters Degree in Agricultural Economics from Michigan state uni
versity. Over the course of her career with the Ministry of Agriculture and later with the Bank of
Tanzania, she trained extensively in rural development policies; monetary and financial policies and financial sector management, respectively. Chilwa worked with the Ministry of Agriculture for 7 years before joining the Bank of Tanzania for 25 years. She retired in 2012 at the level of Director of Financial Stability.
Through her engagements with Government and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), Chilwa had gained a deeper understanding of value chain challenges, as well as limitations associated with financing rural development and in particular, financing agriculture.
Chilwa's passion is to make a difference in the lives of the poor in rural Tanzania through facilitation and/or direct engagement in Microfinance; transformation education and Christian ministry works. In line with her passion, Chilwa became a strong supporter of Cheetah's Vision and it's Model of Operations. Consequently, she supported Cheetah Development since it's establishment in Tanzania and became one of its founding board members.
Founder and CEO, Cheetah Development
Ray Menard first visited Africa in 2008. It was his business startup and development
experience that led him to notice the challenges facing small businesses. He spent 2 years in Africa studying the barriers to small and medium enterprise (SME) capitalization and growth. He applied what he learned to develop a model that helps SMEs find success in the challenging African environment. That model became the basis for Cheetah Development.
Ray’s career is unusually varied across several industries including industrial products,
manufacturing, services, call centers, distribution, consumer electronics, software, and
medical devices working in C-level positions or as a consultant. As a result, Ray possesses an extraordinarily varied set of skills being shifted to the critical and risk-laden projects within companies.
At the World Trade Center recovery effort, Ray led the critical path task: the logistics and
security for all debris hauling. In a setting of extreme pressure, hazardous environment,
snarled traffic, failed communications, and oversight by over 20 agencies, he brought a
solution on-line within three weeks. As a direct result, the clean-up was completed at less
than one quarter of the expected time and budget, saving billions.
Over his 30 year career Mr. Menard has held positions as CEO, COO, Board Member, SVP (Marketing and Sales, Business Development) Division Manager, Director (Product
Management, Alliances) and Founder. He has worked in start-ups, growth, turn-around and Fortune 500 situations in local, national and international settings.
He holds 20 patents in three different industries and is a frequent speaker and author. He is married and has three adult daughters.
Dr. Ndaga Mwakabuta
Technical Specialist at Cummins Power Generation, President of the Diaspora Council of Tanzanians in America
Dr. Mwakabuta, born and raised in Tanzania, works for Cummins, a global company with a broad range of power generation products and serving customers in a wide variety of industrial and consumer markets around the world. He has Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee.
Dr. Mwakabuta is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and life member of the Phi Kappa Phi Society. Before pursuing his doctorate studies in the United States, Dr. Mwakabuta was a fulltime lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam and a part-time lecturer at the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) in Dar Es Salaam.
Dr. Mwakabuta is the president of the Diaspora Council of Tanzanians in America (DICOTA), previously served as a Secretary for the Steering Committee that organized the DICOTA 2010 Convention held in Minneapolis, Minnesota and as a Treasurer prior to the election of DICOTA in 2011. He is also a Board Member for the East African Diaspora Business Council (EADBC).
In Tanzania, Dr. Mwakabuta served as a General Secretary for Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) - previously known as Tanzania Solar Energy Association (TASEA); an association for stakeholders championing the recognition of solar and renewable energy technologies.
Partner, Platinum Group
Bob Stewart brings more than 25 years of business experience to serve the needs of Cheetah Development, including management roles for Cargill, Inc. and Surface Mount Taping Corporation. Currently Bob is a business consultant and private equity investor with Platinum Group, based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He serves on several for-profit corporate Boards. His background includes corporate, securities and transactions law at Fredrikson & Byron and auditing for Price Waterhouse and Company. For six years, Bob was president and director of the Merchants’ Exchange, the oldest organized commodity exchange in North America.
Bob has significant experience in multi-national business ventures, particularly in Asia. Bob and his family lived in Kuala Lumpur for several years during his tenure with Cargill. He also served the United States as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Bob holds a law degree from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Although he does not maintain his professional licenses, he is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member of the Minnesota State Bar.
Bob is married, resides in Edina, Minnesota where he serves on the city council, and is active in school, scouting and youth sports activities for his three children.