Our Team

Our expertise is private investments in emerging markets

Mauricia A. Geissler

Mauricia A. Geissler
Investment Committee

Mauricia serves Sarona as an independent investment committee member. She recently retired after serving for 16 years as Amherst College’s first CIO. Under her leadership, the investment office grew to eight professionals and the endowment assets grew from $800 million to $3 billion. Mauricia has also held senior investment positions on three sides of the fiduciary table – as consultant with SEI Corporation, investment manager with Putnam Investments, and asset owner with Lucent Technologies. She has expertise on issues related to investment governance and fiduciary oversight, as well as across multiple asset classes. Today, Mauricia serves as a Trustee for the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; investment committee member for both the community foundation and the Amherst Survival Center; and is a member of the Advisory Board of Harpswell Capital Advisors, LLC. Mauricia has a degree in Finance from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

J. Alex Hartzler

J. Alex Hartzler
Investment Committee, Board of Directors

Alex not only serves Sarona as an independent investment committee member, but he has always been a strong supporter of the firm as it evolved over the years. He has been an advisor and member of the firm’s Board of Directors. Over his career, Alex has been most active in impact investing (Sarona and MicroVest, among others), the technology sector (EVP and Partner of Webclients.net from 2000 until the company’s sale to ValueClick in 2005), and real estate development (Managing Partner of WCI Partners). He began his career as corporate attorney with Buchanan Ingersoll in Pennsylvania. Alex is a graduate of Penn State University (BA, Econ), The George Washington University Law School (JD), and was a Fulbright Scholar in Cologne, Germany.

Tracy Hilpert

Tracy Hilpert
Board of Directors

Kim Pityn

Kim Pityn
Board of Directors

Natalie Trunow

Natalie Trunow
Investment Committee

Natalie has over 25 years of experience in asset management. Ms. Trunow serves on the boards of Columbia Threadneedle mutual funds, CCCMD (formerly Guidewell Financial) and Healthcare Services for Children with Special Needs Foundation investment committee. She also manages private investment portfolios and consults asset management firms on investment strategy and investment products as a CEO and owner of Millennial Portfolio Solutions. Among Ms. Trunow’s many professional roles were Chief Investment Officer for Calvert Investments, and Section Head and Lead Portfolio Manager for GM Asset Management. Over the years, Ms. Trunow presented extensively at industry conferences such as CFA Institute and Institutional Investor Forum. Ms. Trunow has served on the Agenda Advisory Committee for Institutional Investor Forum and was an active member of New York School Volunteer Program and Junior Achievement. Ms. Trunow graduated cum laude from New York University with Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and holds an MBA in Finance from New York University Stern School of Business.

Gerhard Pries

Gerhard Pries
Founder and Executive 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.

Paulus J. Ingram

Paulus J. Ingram
Co-Managing Partner

Paulus is responsible for Sarona’s investment team and chairs the firm’s investment committees. His 25 years of alternative investment experience includes a significant period at APG with roles such as Global Head of Hedge Fund Investments, Senior Portfolio Manager of the Opportunity Fund, Sustainability and Governance Specialist, and participant in the firm’s private market investment committee, investing approximately $20 billion per year. Today, Paulus serves as a Strategic Advisor to Capricorn Investment Group, the family office of Jeff Skoll and the Skoll Foundation. He is a member of the British-American Project, an international fellowship fostering the special relationship which emerged during World War II. Paulus has a MA in International Finance from the University of Amsterdam, a Master of Laws from Vrije University in the Netherlands, has completed Oxford University’s Said School of Business Private Equity Program, holds a BA from Amherst College, and CAIA and CFA certifications.

Serge LeVert-Chiasson

Serge LeVert-Chiasson
Co-Managing Partner

Serge oversees Sarona’s impact imperative and manages the firm’s legal and compliance work. Prior to joining Sarona in 2008, Serge 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. Today, he serves on several private equity funds’ advisory committees, corporate boards, and sits on the board 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.

Deborah de Rooij

Deborah de Rooij
Managing Director of Private Debt

Deborah oversees all private debt investments at Sarona, and is responsible for the sourcing, diligence and monitoring of investments in the Sarona Trade Finance Fund. She has over 30 years’ investment experience in fixed income, alternative credit and manager selection. Prior to joining Sarona, Deborah served as Head of Emerging Market Debt and Head of Global Manager Selection at the Dutch pension asset manager APG Asset Management. She also worked as Senior Portfolio Manager of Global Credits and Emerging Markets for Achmea Global Investors, a large Dutch asset manager for pension funds. Deborah holds an RBA (certified European financial analyst) designation from the CFA Society VBA Netherlands and has a BA in Economics from the Economic School of Amsterdam.

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.

Ralitsa Rizvanolli

Ralitsa Rizvanolli
Director of Investments, EMIIF

Rali is responsible for the sourcing, diligence and monitoring of investments in the Emerging Markets Impact Investment Fund, a trust funded by the Government of Australia. She also supports Sarona’s other investment mandates, particularly in the SE Asia region, bringing 12 years of experience in SME and microfinance investing. As an investment manager at Triple Jump, a Dutch impact investing asset manager, Rali built a portfolio of private equity and fixed income investments for an emerging market SME fund (Dutch Good Growth Fund), and served as Portfolio Manager with responsibility for credit risk analysis and top down allocation for microfinance funds. She started her career in microfinance, having held various positions at MIX (Microfinance Information Exchange). 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.

Patrick Hergt

Patrick Hergt
Director of Investments, MRCF

Patrick is responsible for the sourcing, diligence and monitoring of investments in the MEDA Risk Capital Fund, funded by MEDA. He also supports Sarona’s other investment mandates, particularly on the private equity side. Over the past eight years, he has risen through the ranks as a Sarona Investment Associate, focused on private equity. 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 and a BSc in general management from EBS University, Germany. He is a CFA level III candidate.

Emre Karabekirogullari

Emre Karabekirogullari
Senior Investment Associate

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, particularly in 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.

Mat LeRoux

Mat LeRoux
Controller

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 holds an honours diploma in accounting and is a candidate in the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) program.

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.

Victoria Harvie

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.

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.

Winnie Mandela Odhiambo

Winnie Odhiambo
Senior Impact Associate

Winnie Mandela Odhiambo is an Investment Professional with an average of 15 years’ experience in diverse disciplines in Finance including but not limited to Asset Management, Venture Capital and Private Equity, and Impact Investing. Prior to joining Sarona, Winnie was Africa and Middle East Regional Representative at Developing World Markets Asset Management where she was charged with Origination, Structuring and Portfolio Management of Financial Institutions investments in her region. She has held various senior roles with an impact focussed advisory firm (I-DEV International) and various impact funds such as AfricInvest Group and Acumen Fund Inc.

She is currently pursuing a Master of Laws degree in International Business Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Prior to this she earned her Master of Science degree in Finance and Investments from the University of Nairobi, School of Business and holds a Certificate in Private Equity and Venture Capital from Harvard Business School, as well as a Certificate in Advanced International Corporate Finance from INSEAD. Winnie also holds a Bachelor of Economics Degree from the University of Nairobi, School of Economics and is fluent in English and French. Her hobbies are practising Yoga and travelling.

Anna Lopez

Anna Lopez
Investor Relations Manager

Anna joined Sarona in 2021 and is responsible for supporting the investor relations function and fundraising activities of its successor funds. Anna has over nine years of experience in financial services, private markets, and capital markets. Prior to Sarona, she held two roles as IR Manager in capital markets, managing institutional and retail investors. Additionally, she supported the fundraising and back-office IR operations at two fund/asset managers based out of Toronto, with a focus on infrastructure and real estate. She is a candidate in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) 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
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).