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Our Team

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 Investments 

Rali is accountable for investment selection, execution and monitoring of investments for Sarona’s funds and impact mandates on behalf of third-party clients such as governments and non-profit organizations. Rali ensures that ESG and impact are embedded into the investment process. 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 practice. 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’s accountant, accounting manager and Financial 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.

Emre Karabekirogullari

Emre Karabekirogullari
Director of Investments 

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.

Marie Torres

Marie Torres
Director of Impact 

Marie Torres leads our impact programs inclusive of gender and climate at Sarona. She is an international development professional with deep knowledge of the Southeast Asian market. Prior to joining Sarona, she was a Senior Manager at Investing in Women (IW), an Australian Government initiative. She oversaw a portfolio of impact investment firms and played an integral role to advance IW’s blended finance strategy and gender lens investing. Prior to that, Marie was an Assistant Manager of ICCO Foundation’s (now CordAid) global Guarantee fund. Working across the region, she led ICCO’s Financial Services program delivering investments and grants to small to medium enterprises, local banks, and business solution providers. Marie holds an MBA and a BA in Development Studies. She also has a Diploma in Corporate Finance and is completing her MA in Women and Development.

Marleen Ter Mors

Marleen Ter Mors
Director of Shared Services

Marleen is responsible for the shared services division in Sarona. Shared Services aims to function as the CFO and back-office support for emerging managers. The team partners with the fund manager in providing excellent fund accounting, compliance support, risk management, valuation support and investor support.

Marleen is passionate about enabling investing in impact at scale to build inclusive communities on a healthy earth. She is dedicated to supporting Sarona partners on their impact investing journey paving the way towards a brighter future through innovative and impactful strategies.

Over the last 17+ years, she has worked in the operational investor services area in fund administration, with specific focus on fund of fund, hedge fund and private equity. Marleen has served as a manager of investor operations at Citco Fund Services in both Curaçao and Canada, followed by a director role at MUFG Investor Services. She has developed experience in business management, relationship management, operational excellence, AML&Compliance, investor reporting and due diligence.

She holds a degree in business administration from Saxion University in the Netherlands.

Kwaku Addo-Abedi

Kwaku Addo-Abedi
Manager of Fund Operations 

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.

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.

Shameek Patel

Pulkit Baid
Investment Analyst 

Pulkit Baid is responsible for sourcing, diligence and monitoring investments at Sarona Asset Management. Prior to joining Sarona, Pulkit was a Venture Fund Associate at Accelerating Asia Ventures covering early stage investments across South and Southeast Asia along with pipeline creation and portfolio management. Pulkit pursued his undergraduate degree at Singapore Management University and obtained a double major in Economics and Finance. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Pulkit undertook several PE and fintech internships which helped him develop deep industry insights.

Kristina Kuznetsova

Kristina Kuznetsova
Impact Associate

Kristina is responsible for Impact Measurement and Management within Sarona. With ten years of experience in project management and M&E, Kristina is a strong advocate for using data and technology to drive positive social impact. Prior to Sarona, she served as the Deputy Country Director for MEDA Ukraine. In this capacity, she led the impact team and contributed to the successful management of a $20 million initiative benefiting approximately forty thousand farmers in Southern Ukraine. Before that, Kristina worked as a Manager at Datalab Argo, specializing in the development and distribution of software for farm management. She holds the MSc degree from the University of Bologna, Italy.

Funmi Makinwa

Funmi Makinwa
Investor Relations Associate

Funmi is responsible for Investor Relations within Sarona. Her work experience spans diverse industries including international development, finance and compliance. Prior to joining Sarona, Funmi was involved in impact driven venture capital investments in early-stage startups across Africa at Co-Creation Hub. Funmi has an LLB from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and a BA from American University, Washington D.C.

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).

Cindy Wang

Cindy Wang
Manager of Corporate Accounting 

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.