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|Heifer CEO Pierre Ferrari|
|Press Release announcing Heifer's new CEO|
|Watch a video of Heifer's new CEO|
Pierre Ferrari, Heifer International's chief executive officer, was born in Africa in what was then the Belgian Congo (Zaire from 1971-1997 and today the Democratic Republic of Congo) in a French-speaking family that had been in Africa for three generations on his father's side. His mother was also born in the Congo, the daughter of Belgian colonial administrators.
With the turmoil of civil war in the early 1960s, the family moved to Kenya where Ferrari lived until he went to England for his secondary and university (Cambridge) education. English is his acquired, second language, and his parents have since emigrated to and live in Belgium. Ferrari describes this refugee experience as leaving him with a sense of "openness and freedom" that allows him to adapt easily and navigate globally and also makes him see the world as a very real and complex place.
Ferrari's wife, Kim, refers to him as "Pierre from Everywhere," but he says that only when he gets to Africa does he feel truly at home. His childhood in Africa also connects him to Heifer's agricultural and values-driven mission. His grandmother had a vegetable wholesale business in the Congo, and she worked closely with village farmers who produced the vegetables.
When living in Nairobi, Ferrari witnessed and became "keenly aware" of the utter despair and poverty in those urban slums.
His initial connection to Heifer was as a donor. His children (two sons and two stepdaughters) were encouraged to donate goats through Heifer. He remembers going to a wedding where guests were directed to give 100 goats through
|From left: Olivia Stallings, Elsa Stallings, Pierre Ferrari, Kimberly Ferrari, Peter Ferrari, Kasumi Kato. Ferrari's son, Oliver Ferrari, is not pictured.|
Heifer in lieu of traditional gifts. Just recently, his wife wrote to all their friends asking them to honor his birthday with gifts of yaks for Tibet through Heifer.
As a marketer, Ferrari marvels at the emotional connection the gift of animals has for the donor and the recipient, and as a spiritual person, he values the transformational power that giving has for the donor.
"I think the Heifer mark or brand is actually a love mark," Ferrari said. "It's an opportunity for people to do what most humans want to do all the time, which is to extend love to other people. And Heifer does it in two ways. One, for the recipient of the gift, meaning their family members and friends who are receiving the alternative gift, and two, it's brilliant in that it also is an opportunity to give a gift to someone who can use it and leverage it dramatically for a better life. So for me, Heifer is an organization that provides a lot of people an opportunity of being very loving."
The theme of self-sufficiency and Passing on the Gift resonates with Ferrari, and he speaks of the importance of passing on knowledge and hope along with the animal's offspring that is at the heart of POG.
As an entrepreneur, investor in social change and former CARE officer, he understands and values the fact that Heifer's engagement starts with an exit strategy based on the fundamental belief in the universal power of self-reliance and entrepreneurship. He believes Heifer's values-led approach "does it right" by creating local partnerships and engaging local managers.
He sees great potential for Heifer to use its expertise and high regard to advocate for poor people and sensible, sustainable development. He did this at CARE and believes Heifer would have even greater impact with policy-makers.
Ferrari is not a specialist but a synthesizer, a strategic entrepreneur who has the capacity for and has been successful at systematic thinking. "I love to think in systems," he says. "I can go from A to Z by seeing the big picture. I have a skill in doing this, and it gives me a lot of pleasure."
Ferrari is energetic, enthusiastic, extroverted, engaging. He reads voraciously, mostly about economics and sociology—the core disciplines of a good marketer and entrepreneur.
In his more recent roles as a social venture investor and director, Ferrari understands better than most the importance of the "triple bottom line"—people, planet and profit—and his experience at Coca-Cola taught him the critical importance of the "value chain" that shares, rather than exploits, the returns generated by growth and prosperity.
No one could be more enthusiastic about the CEO position at Heifer than Ferrari.
One could correctly characterize Ferrari as a marketer and entrepreneur and more recently as a social venture developer. His father and grandfather were businessmen in Africa. He has an MBA from Harvard, was a leader with several beverage companies, most notably, Coca-Cola, and has been adept at finding and developing market "niches," e.g., sports marketing for Coke.
In 1995, he left an ascending career at Coca-Cola where he was senior vice president of marketing (USA) and joined the executive team at CARE. The life change followed his epiphany that selling sugared beverages to kids was not what he wanted to do nor what his life experiences had prepared him for. He wanted to use his skills and aptitude to help, invest in and partner with people living in material poverty so they could achieve self-sufficiency, independence and health. His work for the past 15 years has reflected that commitment.
In discussing the Heifer brand and its appeal, Ferrari describes some very exciting ideas about expanding its appeal to women in particular, noting that we are not only donor-centric, but also tap into Heifer's political and social commitment to helping poor women achieve economic security.
As a director for Ben and Jerry's, Hot Fudge Social Venture Fund, Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products, Small Enterprise Assistance Fund and Maji Mazuri, Ferrari studies, invests in and directs the development of sustainable
|Heifer CEO Pierre Ferrari|
enterprises that use capital in a responsible way to create employment, wealth and respect for the environment. Ben Cohen, the founder of Ben & Jerry's, specifically cites Ferrari's superior ability to direct resources to where they will do the most good.
As someone who has been a leader on nonprofit boards for a decade or more, Ferrari is well versed in board roles and responsibilities. He understands the Carver principles used by Heifer's board of directors and their rationale as well as their limits. He believes in sharing information and the importance of transparency.
"I am humbled, joyful and deeply grateful for this opportunity to help lead Heifer forward. We have a proven program with more than 66 years of experience in helping people use their own skills and entrepreneurship to move from poverty to prosperity.
"This, along with the wisdom, passion and knowledge of Heifer's worldwide staff, donors, partners and others provides us all a very promising future."
Join Pierre and Heifer as we continue the fight to end hunger and poverty. Give a tax-deductible Heifer gift today.