Thekla is founder and director of Grounded. She is responsible for strategy of the company, and supports the team where possible in project development. She is Grounded in the Baviaanskloof in South Africa, where she is managing the Baviaanskloof Development Company together with the farmers.
Gijs is a co-director of Grounded. He has a strong financial background, and therefore helps the team with building business models and structuring investments. In addition, Gijs is very passionate about farming, and spent three years travelling the world and talking to a wide variety of farmers. Gijs is Grounded in Zambia, where he is developing a business together with farmers to support the establishment of a wildlife corridor.
Liz is an environmental scientist, and has worked in the biodiversity and climate change field in South Africa for over 10 years. At Grounded, Liz is responsible for building partnerships and business development within the Langkloof in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Next to that, she is our environmental consciousness, and supports the team on the development of landscape-wide restoration plans.
Dani is our accountant and administration manager. Dani makes sure we are well-organized. She has a background in auditing and accounting and is passionate about numbers. She assists all the projects with financial projections and bookkeeping. She is conscientious, a self-starter, and loves fun.
Rutger is our business developer who is Grounded in Madagascar. He lived in Madagascar, where he managed a company processing and selling indigenous products. He is now responsible for developing our Madagascar project, together with the local team. Rutger has extensive experience in business development in Africa.
Fafah is responsible for working with local farmers in Madagascar to try and find innovative landscape restoration solutions. Fafah started her career at the Economic Development Board of Madagascar, and then partnered with a friend to start Heri Madagascar, a solar energy company. She also has three years of experience working directly with farmers via a local medical mission, and is active in strengthening the vanilla bean production value chain.
Cindy is responsible for mapping markets and developing the marketing strategy for essential oils, honeybush and other natural products that are produced by our local farmers. She will also support in identifying potential customers and partnerships. Cindy has a strong background in consumer marketing insights and is passionate about understanding people and their behavior.
Donovan is Grounded in the Langkloof of the Eastern Cape and has lived on the landscape for the past nine years, since leaving behind a corporate life in commercial property and project management. For the past five years Donovan has immersed himself in all aspects of the Honeybush industry, from harvesting, to cultivation, processing, marketing and sales and exports. Along the way he has built up a network of industry contacts and has also worked closely with local community co-ops to integrate them into the Honeybush value chain. His current focus is on the ground support for the development of a landscape business plan and sustainable honeybush business in the Langkloof.
Stephie is Grounded in Zambia, where she will develop markets with, and for farmers in the Simalaha Conservancy. She is committed to understanding and improving livelihoods and socio-ecological processes across Southern Africa. This new chapter comes after exploring and collecting information for a book on South West Angola, work on joint ventures in Namibian Conservancies and two years in Baviaanskloof (South Africa) coordinating research. Before that, Stephie graduated from Stellenbosch with a Honours degree in Geoinformatics. Honorary degrees are also awarded for her passion for adventure and travel.
Bennie is a soil scientist with more than 25 years of experience in supporting farmers holistically. He helps Grounded to develop business models that work for farmers while restoring soil quality at the same time.
Nico works for Agri-Infinitum and is expert in best practice soil management. He supports Grounded projects with his expertise on soil health and systematic farm planning through the use of a tried and tested data-driven approach.
Theresa is a powerful visual storyteller with a knack for distilling complex information into compelling content that is simple yet engaging. She is a seasoned creative collaborator with a rare talent for extracting clarity out of chaos with consummate ease.