Meet Our Leaders
Tevis Howard, Founder & CEO
Tevis has spent 10 years building Komaza, with no end in sight. He was an award-winning science nerd in his youth, and earned a B.Sc. in Neuroscience from Brown University. He has since been recognized by several leading impact investors and was named as a Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneur. Originally from Palo Alto, California, he now lives in Kenya full time.
Ayesha Wagle, President
Ayesha joined Komaza in 2013, bringing a wealth of financial and investment experience. Previously she was Senior VP at MCE Social Capital, running an innovative social impact loan portfolio, and a Wall Street currency trader at Morgan Stanley. She holds an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins and a BA in Economics & IR from U Penn.
Erin Tyburski, Business Development
Erin is a skilled project manager who joined Komaza in 2011 as an Operations Associate, and has been repeatedly promoted for demonstrated excellence with several complex projects across the company's entire value chain. Previously, she served in the Peace Corps, supporting dryland farmers in rural Kenya. Erin holds a BS in Business Administration from University of Oregon.
Emanuel Dominic, People Operations
Emanuel has seven years of Kenya HR experience, and joined Komaza in 2015 to drive fast growth. He was most recently People Operations Director at Bridge International Academies, where he led recruitment and training of thousands of teachers. Originally from Germany, he holds a BA in International Trade from the Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Patrick Wambua, Finance/Admin
Patrick joined Komaza in 2014 to lead continuous improvement of our finance and administration departments. He has over 9 years of experience running multi-million-dollar budgets for international organizations in Kenya prior to Komaza, and worked for 3 years in California as a CPA and auditor. He holds a BA in Business Administration from Fresno Pacific University.
Charles Gitahi, Nursery
Charles joined Komaza in 2012 to develop our seedling nursery, and brings deep technical expertise on tree propagation. He grew up working at Kenya's largest nursery, the Tree Biotechnology Program Trust, and has previously established a successful landscaping business. He holds a BA in Landscape Architecture from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
Helen Antoni, Harvest
Helen joined Komaza in early 2016 to develop our tree harvesting supply chain. Previously she was Head of Department for Supply Chain at Civicon, Kenya's largest construction company, where she managed complex procurement, logistics and transportation operations. She has an MBA from University of Cape Town and grew up on Kenya's coast.
Jeff Bates, Farmer Relations
Jeff joined in 2016 to develop Komaza's farmer engagement strategies. He brings over four years of entrepreneurial experience working with Kenyan farmers, including building a vertically-integrated vegetable company & establishing a successful tree plantation. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from U Washington and BA from Azusa Pacific.
DAN MCGOVERN, FIELD OPERATIONS
Dan joined in 2016 to lead rapid scaling of Komaza's forestry operations with smallholder farmers. He previously ran East Africa Training operations at One Acre Fund, East Africa's fastest-growing farmer organization, and brings four prior years of teaching experience. He earned a MA in International Education from Columbia and BA from Macalester College.
Meet our Board
With Tevis & Ayesha, our California Board includes leaders in East African and global business:
Steve Beck is Co-Founder & MD of Novastar, a Nairobi-based VC firm, and Komaza's largest investor to date. Formerly, he led an investor circle backing East African startups; was CEO of Geneva Global, doing due diligence on development programs; and has done a decade of strategy consulting as MD of Monitor Group and Gemini Consulting. Steve has a Stanford BA in Economics & IR and PhD in Government from LSE.
Joris De Vries is Investment Manager at HRSV, a Dutch impact investor, and was the first investor in Komaza's for-profit entity. He brings 6+ years of East Africa operational experience, concurrently serving as MD of FT Kilimanjaro, a rural multi-sectoral development program in Tanzania. He was Director of Strategic Partnerships at Millennium Promise, and holds a BA & MA in African Studies and an MBA from Fordham University.
Michael Jones is currently CEO of Wearality, a virtual reality startup. Previously he served for seven years as Chief Technology Advocate at Google, traveling the globe to speak with governments and businesses about the future of technology. Prior, he served as CTO of Google Maps, Earth & Local Search, and was the creator of Google Earth. He is a prolific inventor, computer programmer, and popular public speaker.
Paul Thomas was CEO/President of several public and venture-backed tech companies, with diverse experience in management, fundraising and M&A, especially for startups. He served as Komaza's first President in 2012-2013, when he helped launch our for-profit entity. He now teaches business at his alma mater, Northern Arizona University, where he studied forestry until switching to business in his final year.