Eliot has worked for over a decade in the non-profit sector in Latin America. Prior to working with Runa Foundation, Eliot served as Executive Director of Finca Project, a reforestation and environmental education initiative in Costa Rica. He has worked as an environmental consultant and advisor to climate change negotiations at the United Nations. Eliot received his masters degree in environmental management from Yale University where he studied tropical forestry and conservation finance. Eliot brings to Runa his expertise in agricultural cooperative development, tropical forestry, and non-profit management. He is a professional adventurer and a good cook.
Sydney works with Runa Foundation in our Archidona office, managing our various projects in Ecuador and Peru. Sydney has spent much of the last 10 years working and travelling throughout Latin America. She has worked as an independent consultant in Mexico and Guatemala, and travelled throughout the continent carrying out community development projects in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Bolivia. She received her Master’s in Development Practice from the University of Florida, where she was President and Fellow of the Tropical Conservation and Development program. She is way better at cooking than Eliot and also likes to read books and listen to music.
Ian is a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and has a specific interest in mapping, sustainable forest management, agroforestry payment for environmental services and community enterprise development. His work at Runa specifically focuses on using market-based mechanisms to improve forest and agricultural management practices with guayusa producing communities. Prior to Runa he has worked on a variety of issues related to REDD+, the bushmeat trade and sustainable forestry in Southeast Asia, Latin America and the United States. When not working he can sometimes be found at some of Napo’s rivers with his family. He aspires to have a number of hobbies like reading books, gardening, playing sports, spear fishing and horseback riding.
Raine started with Runa Foundation as an intern in the winter of 2014 and has since been directing Runa Foundation’s Fair Trade activities with guayusa producer cooperatives. In addition to working with indigenous communities in the creation of sustainable enterprises, she manages the accounting of regional activities, supervises local staff members, and helps to guide Runa’s intern and volunteer program. Though she grew up in Montana, and loves going home, she enjoys the excitement, the unexpected, and the “go with the flow” attitude that comes with living and working in the Amazon. She attended Seattle University and has a B.A. in International and Environmental Studies. Raine lives in Tena and in her free time she loves to travel, play soccer, read, and is always down to dance.
Carlos is from the Kichwa community Tambayaku, which belongs to the organization Pueblo Kichwa Rukullacta. Since he was very young, Carlos has grown up drinking guayusa, the traditional drink of the new day, together with his parents in the early hours of the morning. His parents sell guayusa leaves and make a small profit for their daily subsistence. Within the responsibilities of his work, Carlos manages the social premium fund, which is obtained from the sale of Fair Trade Certified guayusa. Runatarpuna pays the social premium to the 13 guayusa producing associations with whom Runa works. His responsibility is to ensure that the associations comply with the investment plans, the good use of the funds, and to encourage the associations to make strategic long term investments. After his work day with Runa Foundation, Carlos likes to play sports such as football and ecuavoley, and also to work on his farm. Carlos is also a guayusa producer.
Félix is from the Kichwa community of Mushullacta, which belongs to the organization Pueblo Kichwa Rukullacta. Before coming to Runa he worked as a primary school teacher. He started working with the Foundation in April of 2016 as an intern, and now works full time as a field technician, organizing logistics for farmers’ meetings, writing meeting announcements and invitations, and monitoring activities. When he is not working, Félix enjoys working on his farm, swimming in the rivers, and bike riding. Félix speaks fluent Kichwa and Spanish and he currently lives in the community of Mondayacu with his family.
Carmen is a Kichwa local from the Napo province of the Ecuadorian Amazon. She works for the Foundation supporting the team in all areas of our work with local communities and associations. Carmen speaks both Kichwa and Spanish as her native languages and she is learning English as well. During her free time, Carmen enjoys playing soccer, dancing, singing and running. She is very fond of her culture, traditions, and language.
Prior to joining Runa, Leonidas worked for the Ministry of Environment as a guide and forest ranger. During that time he summited Sumaco Volcano a number of times often leading tour groups. Leonidas is fluent in both Spanish and Kichwa and is currently learning English. He is a true forest expert with extensive knowledge of the plants, animals and landscape that makes up the Napo-Galeras region. He is currently working to implement a number of activities including the creation of new agroforestry value chains, eco-tourism development, participatory wildlife monitoring and sustainable forest management in his home community of Mushullacta.
Daniel is the newest addition to our team, having joined Runa in February of 2016. He lives in the Kichwa community of Puni Kotona, where he is working to promote sustainable forest management and to create new value for crops found in agroforestry systems with members of his community. When not working with Runa, Daniel serves the community as a substitute teacher and as a singer/songwriter of Amazonian Kichwa music.