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Our Team

Sarona Asset Management Group Photo

Our expertise is private investments in emerging markets

Governance

Mauricia A. Geissler
Investment Committee

J. Alex Hartzler
Investment Committee, Board of Directors

Tracy Hilpert
Board of Directors

Kim Pityn
Board of Directors

Natalie Trunow
Investment Committee

Gerhard Pries

Gerhard Pries
Founder and Board Chair

Gerhard is the founder and leader of the Sarona team, overseeing all aspects of the business, today and into the future. He believes passionately that thoughtful and caring private business must lead the development of vibrant and healthy economies that deliver prosperity for all. As a visionary impact investing leader for over 25 years, Gerhard has been a founder and/or director of MicroVest Capital Management, MEDA Investments Inc, Grand Challenges Canada and ImpactAssets, among others. He began his career in the mid-market advisory practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, with formative experiences in international development finance. Today, Gerhard is a sought-after speaker and advisor, addressing topics of economic growth and development, and private-public collaboration to build healthy new economies.

Serge LeVert-Chiasson

Serge LeVert-Chiasson
Managing Partner, Chief Compliance Officer 

Serge is the leader of the Sarona team, overseeing all aspects of the business, today and into the future. As Chief Compliance Officer, he also oversees the compliance program at Sarona. He believes passionately that thoughtful and caring private business must lead the development of vibrant and healthy economies that deliver prosperity for all. Prior to joining Sarona in 2009, Serge was vice president of MEDA Investments, 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. Today, he serves on several private equity funds’ advisory committees, corporate boards, and was the founding chair of the Canada Forum for Impact Investment and Development. Serge 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.

Ralitsa Rizvanolli

Ralitsa Rizvanolli
Partner, Head of Impact Mandates 

Rali oversees the implementation of tailored impact mandates under Sarona’s management and is accountable for the development of the Sarona impact function. Rali manages Sarona’s relationships with impact focused clients, in particular public funders and non-profits and oversees the implementation of technical assistance programs. Rali is passionate about deepening the gender lens and climate risk assessment capabilities at Sarona, believing that investing with both lenses leads to better financial and sustainability outcomes. Prior to Sarona, Rali was an investment manager at Triple Jump. Rali built a portfolio of private equity and fixed income investments primarily in Africa and MENA for a fund of funds (Dutch Good Growth Fund) funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to that Rali was a Portfolio Manager with responsibility for credit risk analysis and top-down allocation for microfinance funds. She started her career in microfinance, holding various positions at MIX Market, a data and market intelligence platform for the microfinance industry. Rali holds a B.A. in International Relations from Pomona College in California and an M.A. in International Development from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Rali was born and raised in Bulgaria and has spent extensive time working and living in emerging markets including Albania and Mexico. Rali currently heads Sarona’s Singapore office.

Patrick Hergt

Patrick Hergt
Partner, Head of Business Development 

Patrick leads Sarona’s business development efforts, including Investor Relations, Marketing and Fundraising. Over the last ten years, Patrick has served many aspects of the business, most notably as Director in our private equity practise. He has engaged with the impact investing community since joining the company and has represented Sarona at both a community and global level, from speaking and mentoring at local universities to meeting with heads of state at the United Nations. Today, he serves as a Director on the Board of the Canada Forum for Impact Investment and Development. Patrick started his career in private equity as an analyst with Munich Private Equity Partners. He holds an honours degree in business administration from Brock University, a BSc in general management from EBS University, and is a CFA® charter holder.

Mat LeRoux

Mat LeRoux
Partner, Head of Finance and Operations 

Mat is responsible for the financial management of the firm and all of its investment mandates. Mat has served as Sarona accountant, accounting manager and finally Controller since 2013. He previously spent six years in various Canadian companies and developed experience in audit, tax, financial reporting, and business management. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and holds an honours diploma in accounting.

Menno Derks

Menno Derks
Managing Director of Private Equity

Menno oversees all private equity investments at Sarona, and is responsible for the sourcing, diligence and monitoring of investments in the Sarona Global Growth Markets Funds. Prior to Sarona, he served as senior investment manager and investment committee member at PGGM, a large Dutch asset manager for pension funds. Menno 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.

Emre Karabekirogullari

Emre Karabekirogullari
Director of Investments, Private Equity

Emre is responsible for sourcing, diligencing, proposing and monitoring investments, particularly in private equity. Over the last 10 years, he has worked in the private equity and investment banking sectors, with a specific focus on impact investing. Emre has served as an M&A advisor at Dexia in Istanbul, as a fund of funds investor at the European Investment Bank, and as a board consultant to the investment committee of Microfinance Enhancement Facility through Innpact, a Luxembourg-based consulting firm. More recently, he led fundraising and deal sourcing efforts for Fidesa Ventures, a private impact investing fund. Emre holds an MBA in Corporate Finance from La Salle University, Philadelphia.

Shameek Patel

Shameek Patel
Senior Investment Associate

Shameek is responsible for the sourcing, diligence and monitoring of investments, both in private equity and private debt. Prior to Sarona, he was an Investment Manager at Absolute Return Partners in London where he covered alternative credit strategies. Previously, he gained experience at Rothschild & Co’s Merchant Banking Division, Apollo Global Management in European Credit and Goldman Sachs’s Finance Division. Shameek holds a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance from the University of Durham and an MPhil in Management from the University of Cambridge.

Kwaku Addo-Abedi

Kwaku Addo-Abedi
Manager of Fund Accounting

Kwaku is responsible for financial management and data analysis for all of Sarona’s investment mandates, supporting portfolio monitoring, financial reporting, investor reporting and compliance, fundraising, and due diligence. Prior to joining Sarona, Kwaku worked at State Street as a supervisor/business analyst. He is a Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant (CMA, CPA) and holds an MBA in finance from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Cindy Wang

Cindy Wang
Senior Accountant

Cindy joined Sarona in 2015 as a corporate accountant for 2 years and rejoined in 2021 assuming Victoria’s responsibilities during Victoria’s maternity leave. She has 3 years of senior auditing experience and 6 years experience of corporate accounting in different industry. She holds a graduate diploma in accounting from McGill University and is a graduate in the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) program.

Victoria Harvie
Senior Accountant

Victoria joined Sarona in 2018 and is responsible for the corporate accounting. She has nine years of progressive experience within corporate accounting at different companies. She holds a Bachelors degree of business administration and is a candidate in the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) program.

Geoffrey Henry

Geoffrey Henry
Accountant

Geoff joined Sarona in 2017 and is responsible for corporate accounting while also providing additional support on fund reporting. He hails from the UK, where his education and accounting background was formed. 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 an accountant, working primarily in manufacturing and technology industries. He is a candidate in the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) program.

Adam Pries

Adam Pries
Senior Marketing Associate

Adam manages Sarona’s marketing & communications, as well as overseeing the firm’s information technology and compliance systems. He has worked with Sarona in several stints, interspersed with university studies and roles in industry.

Kariba Spiff

Kariba Spiff
Compliance Associate

Kariba is responsible for Compliance and Administration within Sarona. She has 8 years of experience in regulatory compliance, corporate and commercial law. Prior to joining Sarona, she was the Company Secretary and Compliance Officer at Mixta Real Estate Plc (Mixta Africa). Kariba has an LLB from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and an LLM in Commercial and Corporate Law from Queen Mary, University of London. She is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom).

Kristina Kuznetsova

Kristina Kuznetsova
Compliance Associate

Kristina is responsible for Compliance, Administration, and Impact within Sarona. Kristina has over eight years of experience in the agricultural and business field. She was most recently involved in a large agricultural value chain development project for MEDA Ukraine where she led the impact data and helped manage a $20 million project benefiting nearly forty thousand farmers in the South of Ukraine. Prior to joining Sarona, Kristina served as the Deputy Country Director at MEDA Ukraine, and as Manager at Datalab Agro Ukraine. Kristina holds an MSc degree from the University of Bologna, Italy.