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Our Staff

Investing in Potential

African Wildlife Foundation has always been an organization about people. Empowering people is at the heart of our mission statement, and this philosophy extends to the relationship we have with our employees. We value dedication and initiative, and actively look for opportunities to nurture potential within our team. This is why AWF is filled with success stories—such as a one-time research intern who now manages all of AWF’s conservation work in the region in which he grew up, or a young Peace Corps volunteer who worked his way up to eventually become AWF’s chief executive officer (CEO). The staff listed below provide just a few examples of the careers in African conservation that AWF offers.

Leadership Team
Kaddu Sebunya

Kaddu Sebunya

President, Nairobi, Kenya

Kaddu has more than 15 years of experience, ranging from grassroots to national and regional technical support in the United States, the Americas, Africa, and Europe. He has worked with several international organizations and holds two master’s degrees—an M.A. in law, policy, and diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and an M.S. in sustainable resource management and policy from Imperial College at Wye, London University. As President, Kaddu serves as the primary spokesperson for, and the personal embodiment of, AWF’s vision of wildlife thriving in modern Africa. As one of the principal leaders of the organization, he helps drive the long-term strategy and culture of AWF.

Jeff Chrisfield

Jeff Chrisfield

Chief Operating Officer, Washington, D.C., USA

Jeff began his career as an auditor and consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and later served as Controller in a for-profit biomedical contractor. Unsatisfied with simply earning a salary, Jeff decided to join African Wildlife Foundation as Accounting Manager in 2002. He has since progressed through several positions within AWF, serving as Chief Financial Officer for several years before being appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2013. As COO, Jeff provides leadership for all of AWF’s program activities, streamlining operations to ensure that conservation goals are achieved on time and within budget. He has been key to maintaining AWF’s financial growth and stability. Jeff is a Certified Public Accountant with a B.S.B.A. in accounting and finance from American University.

Craig Sholley

Senior Vice President, Washington, D.C., USA

Craig's experiences with wildlife and conservation began in 1973 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher in the late 1970s, Craig studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey and, in 1987, became director of Rwanda's Mountain Gorilla Project, of which African Wildlife Foundation was a sponsor. Craig has acted as Scientific Advisor for the award-winning IMAX film, "Mountain Gorilla," and with National Geographic, he surveyed the conservation status of mountain gorillas in the aftermath of Rwanda's civil war. Craig’s direct involvement with AWF began as a Senior Associate and member of AWF’s Board of Trustees. He became a full-time employee of AWF in 2001 and now serves as Senior Vice President.

Kathleen Fitzgerald

Vice President, Programs East and Southern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

Kathleen has more than 20 years' experience directing landscape-scale conservation and community engagement. Prior to joining AWF, Kathleen held key positions at the Land Stowe Trust, the Wildlands Project, Wild Earth, and was a co-founder and the first Executive Director of the Northeast Wilderness Trust. Since joining AWF, Kathleen has been key in AWF’s land conservation projects across Africa, including establishing community conservancies, securing wildlife corridors, and improving management of protected areas and community lands. Kathleen has lived in Africa since 2007. She holds a master’s degree in botany from the Field Naturalist Program at the University of Vermont and is trained as a naturalist.

Philip Muruthi

Vice President, Species Protection, Nairobi, Kenya

Philip, who has worked with African Wildlife Foundation for more than 16 years, faces conservation challenges from a broad perspective. His role is to ensure strong/appropriate conservation science inputs to AWF's integrated conservation strategies that take into account landscape-level approaches, social issues, and economic issues. He is responsible for issues as varied as the kind of endangerment classification a species should receive, or how resources should be allocated and oversees AWF's species program. In addition, Philip represents AWF in the international conservation dialogue, such as at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress. Philip’s educational qualifications are extensive, including both an M.S. and Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University, and numerous publications.

Charly Facheux

Vice President, Policy and Strategy, Nairobi, Kenya

Charly began his career as a researcher focused on the economics of forest resources. Driven by his desire to “build the bridge between conservation and development” for local communities, he joined AWF in 2009 as Senior Program Officer for the Congo landscape. Known for his high standards and a knack for motivating teams in difficult circumstances, Charly took on the role of Vice President for Conservation Projects in 2015. He spends 40 percent of his time in the field to understand the challenges on the ground. Charly holds an M.S. in international management and external trade from the École Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales in Douala, Cameroon.

Tyrene Haralson

Vice President, Finance and Administration, Washington, D.C., USA

Tyrene has 20 years of non-profit financial management experience and has worked with several universities and other non-profits in the Washington, D.C. area. She joined AWF as Budget Manager in 2007 and moved through two director-level positions within the finance team before becoming Vice President, Finance and Administration in 2014. In this role, Tyrene overseas all of AWF’s support teams, including finance, administration, human resources, and information technology and infrastructure. She has played a key role in centralizing the organization’s financial functions and ensures that AWF makes the most of its resources. Tyrene holds a B.A. in accounting from Clark Atlanta University and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

Lindsay Kosnik AWF

Lindsay Kosnik

Vice President, Development and Marketing, Washington D.C., USA

Lindsay has over 30 years of experience in international development, spanning land conservation, poverty eradication, and species protection. Since joining African Wildlife Foundation in 2016, she has overseen strategy and day-to-day operations for corporate and foundation relations, membership, major gifts, planned giving, data services, as well as all aspects of marketing—print, digital and social. Over 10 years, Lindsay lived and worked in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Congo, and has traveled extensively across the continent. She attained a B.A. in secondary education from the University of Vermont and a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) from Cornell University.

Jef Dupain

Vice President, Programs Central and West Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

After a decade of conserving wildlife on behalf of African Wildlife Foundation, Jef has rightly developed his reputation as an authority on great ape conservation in Africa. Reflecting on his decision to join AWF: “Coming to AWF was an easy decision. AWF looks at sustainability ecologically, economically, and socially, which is a perspective that I strongly support." Jef holds degrees in biology and zoology from the University of Antwerp, has served as an associate professor for great ape conservation at Kyoto University, and has nearly 20 years of practical experience working on great ape conservation in and out of the field. 

Brian McBrearity

Vice President, Management Systems, Nairobi, Kenya

Brian is an experienced international development professional with expertise in areas such as program management, microfinance, agriculture development, and value chain analysis. He has lived and worked in East and Southern Africa and comes to African Wildlife Foundation with a varied background, including positions at TechnoServe, FINCA, and AllianceBernstein. Brian joined AWF in 2012 as the program director for conservation enterprise, and has led the African Conservation Schools program since early 2015. Brian holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University.

 

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Staff

Jimmiel Mandima

Director, Program Design & Partner Relations, Washington, D.C., USA

Hailing from the Masvingo Province in Southern Zimbabwe, Jimmiel has been interested in conserving African wildlife his entire life. "African Wildlife Foundation's mission fits what has always been my passion—to contribute to environmental conservation work that connects community livelihoods." Jimmiel began his career with AWF in Zimbabwe and now uses that experience to represent AWF in policy discussions with the U.S. government and other public-sector constituents. Jimmiel holds an M.S. in applied zoology with a focus on aquaculture and fisheries management from the University of Kuopio.

Manfred Epanda

Manfred Aimé Epanda

Country Coordinator, Cameroon

Manfred has more than 15 years of experience in the field of conservation and development, working at the grassroots up to the national and regional level in Cameroon and within the Congo Basin. In 2006, he received a Whitley Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature for his significant contribution to community conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources in Cameroon’s Dja Biosphere Reserve. Manfred holds M.S. degrees in both Forestry and in International Relations with a specialization in Environmental Management. He joined the African Wildlife Foundation in 2015 and has been working hand in hand with Cameroonian authorities to achieve AWF’s mission to ensure wildlife thrives in a modern Africa.  

Jia Qiao AWF

Jia Qiao

Advocacy Officer, China

Jia grew her passion for conservation during her time at the Great Apes Survival Partnership under the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, where she learned about the serious threats facing Africa’s great ape populations. Holding a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Nanjing Agricultural University in China, she also attended Egerton University, Kenya for a six-month exchange program. Seeing both the positive and negative impacts arising from the growing presence of Chinese business in Africa, Jia strives to ensure that the resulting relationships are mutually beneficial on the basis of environmental and wildlife conservation.

Kirstin Johnson

Kirstin Johnson

UK Director

Kirstin has over 25 years of experience in international development and conservation. Passionate about primates and wildlife conservation, she started out as an anthropologist, conducting M.S. research on the interface between communities and wildlife in the Budongo Forest in Uganda, and later Ph.D. research in the Tsavo region of Kenya. For the last 15 years, Kirstin has also supported the well-known Maasai-owned and run Il Ngwesi ecotourism programme in Kenya in a strategic and advisory capacity, serving on the Board of Directors. Kirstin joined the African Wildlife Foundation in 2017 and is leading the expansion of AWF in the UK, focusing on building our network of donors, supporters and growing our profile and influence.

Denis Galave AWF

Denis Galava

Director of Media Relations & Advocacy, Nairobi, Kenya

Denis has enjoyed a rich career in journalism, having served as a writer, columnist and managing editor with East Africa’s two largest newspapers, the Daily Nation and The Standard. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and holds an M.S. from Oxford University, an M.A. from Coventry University, and a B.Ed from Kenyatta University. An exceptional storyteller with a passion for effecting social change, Denis joined African Wildlife Foundation in April 2017 with a vision to make AWF the focal point for innovative and practical solutions to conservation challenges in Africa.

Althea Wilson AWF

Althea WIlson

Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Washington, D.C., USA

Althea spent the first 12 years of her career developing multifaceted partnerships with corporations and foundations, while working at Free the Children, African Leadership Foundation and Plan International USA. A native of Sierra Leone, Althea joined African Wildlife Foundation in 2016 to lead the Corporate and Foundation Relations team, unable to resist the opportunity to channel her energy towards working on the development of sustainable solutions that are critical to Africa’s economic prospects. Althea holds a degree in Economics and International Political Economy from Trent University and an M.A. in Development Economics from Vanderbilt University.

Nicholas Mulei AWF

Nicholas Mulei

Controller, Nairobi, Kenya

Nicholas joined African Wildlife Foundation in July 2009, starting out as a Finance Compliance Officer. He has since been promoted four times to reach his current position as AWF's Controller. He is responsible for ensuring that financial policies and procedures provide adequate controls over AWF assets, expenditures, and financial accounting. With over 10 years of experience in auditing and accounting in nonprofit organizations, Nicholas also oversees all program, donor and organization audits mandated by AWF’s donors as well as countries of operation. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with an M.S. in Finance & Accounting from Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) University.

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