CEO and Managing Partner: Gerhard Pries provides the leadership and vision that defines Sarona. During his 20 years of frontier and emerging market investing with MEDA, Pries has founded a number of investment firms and funds, including the Latin America Challenge Investment Fund, MicroVest Capital Management, and Sarona Asset Management. He currently serves on the Board of Grand Challenges Canada, ImpactAssets, and a number of companies in the Sarona portfolio. Pries is a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant, and started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, with formative experiences in international development finance, and work with Mother Teresa.
Partner, MD Impact Investment Advisory & CCO: Serge LeVert-Chiasson is accountable for the impact investment advisory and compliance activities of Sarona. He has worked with Sarona Asset Management (formerly MEDA Investments) since 2008. LeVert-Chiasson serves on several private equity funds’ advisory committees, corporate boards, and chairs the Canada Forum for Impact Investment and Development (CAFIID). Prior to Sarona, LeVert-Chiasson was an underwriter and loan officer at Export Development Canada, a business analyst at Crédit Lyonnais, and founding chair of Agro Capital Management, a Ukrainian agricultural equipment leasing company. He holds an MSc in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics, an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business, and is a CFA charter holder.
Partner, MD Fund Investments: Menno Derks is responsible for selecting, reviewing, and negotiating investments in private equity funds. Derks leads Sarona’s activities in market mapping, portfolio construction, and investment monitoring. Prior to Sarona, he served as senior investment manager and investment committee member at PGGM, a large Dutch asset manager for pension funds. Derks also worked at FMO, a Dutch development bank, and ABN AMRO Asset Management, where he designed and launched investment funds for institutional and private clients. Menno holds an MA in Business Engineering from the University of Twente, and is a CFA charter holder.
J. Alex Hartzler
Chair of the Investment Committee: J. Alex Hartzler has always been a strong supporter of Sarona as it evolved from its historical role within MEDA to becoming an independently-owned, private firm. He is managing partner of WCI Partners, and Chairman of the Board of Ten Thousand Villages. Hartzler served as Executive Vice President and Partner of Webclients.net from 2000 until the company’s sale to ValueClick in 2005. Initially, he worked as a corporate attorney for Buchanan Ingersoll. Hartzler is a graduate of Penn State University (BA, Econ), The George Washington University Law School (JD), and was a Fulbright Scholar in Cologne, Germany. Hartzler also sits on the Sarona Advisory Board.
Dirk de Vlaam
Managing Director Investor Relations – Europe: Dirk de Vlaam is responsible for growing relationships with clients and contributing to the firm’s overall business development. He joined Sarona in August 2018. De Vlaam was previously a senior officer of institutional marketing and sales with Triple Jump, and prior to that, was head of sales and marketing at Franklin Templeton in the Netherlands.
Investment Associate: Emre Karabekirogullari is responsible for sourcing and analysing investment opportunities, performing due diligence, as well as participating in the internal investment decision process. In the last ten years, he has had several roles in M&A, and the private equity industry, focused mainly on impact investing. He worked as an M&A advisor at Dexia in the Istanbul office, was a fund of funds investor at European Investment Bank, served on the board as a consultant to the investment committee of Microfinance Enhancement Facility (MEF) Fund through Innpact, a Luxembourg-based consulting firm, and more recently, Karabekirogullari led fundraising and deal sourcing efforts for Fidesa Ventures, which is a private impact investing fund. Karabekirogullari holds an MBA degree in corporate finance from La Salle University, Philadelphia.
Investment Associate: Patrick Hergt is responsible for sourcing and analysing new investment opportunities, performing due diligence, as well as monitoring and reporting on fund investments for Sarona’s portfolio companies. He started his career in private equity as an analyst with Munich Private Equity Partners. Hergt holds an honours degree in business administration from Brock University and a BSc in general management from EBS University, Germany. Hergt has passed level II of the CFA exam.
Marketing and Communications Associate: Sheila Scott is responsible for guiding the production of marketing materials, managing the Sarona brand, developing content for various channels, and coordinating external marketing efforts. Prior to Sarona, Scott led the marketing program for a regional destination marketing organisation, and was a senior specialist in marketing and communications for a leading public accounting and advisory firm. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from Western University, and a post-graduate certificate in graphic design from Humber College.
Controller: Mat LeRoux is responsible for financial management, administration, and reporting of Sarona and its investment funds. He joined Sarona in 2013 as an accountant before transitioning to accounting manager in 2016. In 2017, he transitioned to his current role. Prior to Sarona, LeRoux spent six years in various Canadian companies and developed experience in audit, tax, financial reporting, and business management. He holds an honours diploma in accounting and is currently working towards his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.
Corporate Accountant: Victoria Harvie joined Sarona in 2018 and is responsible for the corporate accounting. Harvie has seven years of progressive experience within corporate accounting at several companies. At her most recent position, she was responsible for managing the accounting cycle, including financial statement preparation, forecasting, and tax preparation. Her experience is enhanced by her Bachelors degree of business administration. She is progressing towards her Chartered Professional Accountant designation.
Senior Fund Accountant: Kwaku Addo-Abedi is responsible for financial and data analysis for Sarona’s investment portfolios to support portfolio monitoring, fund financial reporting, investor reporting and compliance, fundraising, and due diligence. Prior to joining Sarona, Addo-Abedi worked at State Street as a NAV supervisor/business analyst. He is a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant (CMA, CPA) and holds an MBA in finance from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Accountant: Geoffrey Henry joined Sarona in 2017 and is responsible for corporate accounting while also providing additional support on fund reporting. Henry has an education and working background in accounting from the U.K., where he was born. In his education, he received a Higher National Diploma in business & finance and a certificate from the Association of Accounting Technicians, before setting out on a career as a bookkeeper/accountant, working primarily in manufacturing and technology industries. He is continuing to enhance his career by working towards becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant.
Personal Assistant: Adam Pries manages the office operations in Canada, and supports the managing director of impact advisory, while also continuing to develop internal IT and compliance systems. Pries rejoined Sarona after spending a few years in other roles working with domestic SMEs in a variety of different fields.
Personal and Investor Relations Assistant: Ashley Nagel supports Sarona’s CEO and provides guidance, support, and information to Sarona’s investors. Prior to joining Sarona, Nagel completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Guelph in political science. She also graduated from the Paralegal program at Mohawk College with honours and is a licensed paralegal in Ontario.
Daniel den Ronden
Personal and Investor Relations Assistant: Daniel den Ronden manages the office operations in Amsterdam and supports the European co-managing partner in liaising and supporting European prospective and existing investors. He finished his education at the HES International School of Business and University VLEKHO in Brussels.
Sarona Advisory Council
CEO, Sarjay Inc.
Sari Miller has been a lead investor, partner and president in numerous start-ups, funds, companies, and social ventures.
In the last decade, she has focused on impact-for-profit ventures. Miller has been the founding angel investor and is board/advisory member of LeapFrog Investments, Purpose Global, Grassroots Business Fund, Code Ocean, Inc., and the SoCap Group. She is a partner and advisor at numerous companies, including Gigawatt Global, MobileODT, Edenworks, Pledgeling, and SaaS. Miller sits on the Board of Directors of Digital Divide Data, non-profit, which trains and employs 900 impoverished young adults in Cambodia, Laos and Kenya.
Partner, Kelly Santini LLP
With more than 30 years of legal experience, Lawrence Kelly serves a large and diverse business clientele. His in-depth understanding of topics such as debt and equity financing, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance helps entrepreneurs, venture capital funds, financial institutions and businesses in technology, real estate, and insurance accomplish their business objectives.
Kelly is actively involved in charitable fundraising, including as Chair of the Ottawa Hospital Eye Institute Campaign, Co-Chair of Major Gifts at St. Francis Xavier, Expanding Futures Capital Campaign, and St. Patrick’s Home for the Aged. In 2015, Kelly was the recipient of the County of Carleton Law Association’s Gordon F. Henderson Award for community service.
J. Alex Hartzler
Managing Partner, WCI Partners