The CEO and Founder of Eden, Dr. Stephen Fitch, grew up in the Philippines with a love for exploration and nature. As an avid diver and outdoor enthusiast, he was shocked to return to his boyhood home in 1997 and find the large-scale environmental destruction that had taken place. The jungles he used to play in had been cut down, the topsoil was eroding into the ocean as a result of deforestation, and the coral reefs he used to dive through and explore were being smothered from all the soil runoff.
Witnessing this type of ecological destruction in a place he called home, left a lasting impression. An impression that would then help pave the way for the creation and impact of Eden.
In 1998 Steve had the opportunity to begin working in Ethiopia and witnessed the same devastation and tragic consequences of deforestation on the lives of the local communities and the environment around them.
In 2004, while in Ethiopia, Stephen received a surprising request from President Haile Mariam of the Southern People’s Region to take over a failed seedling nursery and forest restoration project. Seeing this as an opportunity to make an impact and help reverse the devastating effects of deforestation he witnessed in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world, he answered with a definite ‘YES!’.
Funds were raised, staff came together, and now, almost 14 years later, Eden has planted millions of trees in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Haiti, Nepal, Indonesia, Mozambique, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Eden has also employed thousands of people living in extreme poverty, leading to a transformed socioeconomic life.
As CEO and Founder of Eden, Steve’s job is to ensure that Eden’s mission to "Plant Trees - Save Lives” ends up representing far more than mere words.
Andrew Kinzer and Alex de Sosa Kinzer
Andrew grew up in Kenya and from a young age, began to realize how the health of communities and the environment were interconnected. This realization directed him down a path of research and conservation work, focused primarily on the collaborative natural resource management of forest resources in East Africa. His MS in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan, Geographic Information Systems experience, heart for training and capacity building, and love for fieldwork have helped him develop Eden's teams and skills in the African countries where Eden works. When not working Andrew is generally camping, climbing, or hiking with his wife and daughter.
Alex is an ecological designer with a background in creating landscape-level solutions to environmental issues. While working toward her masters’ degrees in Landscape Architecture and Conservation Ecology, Alex developed her skills in project planning and management in international contexts. As one of Eden’s regional directors, Alex works with the U.S. International Operations team to direct the regional strategy for Eden’s growth in mainland Africa. She enjoys working with Eden’s on-the-ground teams to build tools and strategies to increase efficiency, productivity, and confidence in their context. She’s always inspired by the way Eden’s local teams use mental maps of their own communities to successfully restore habitats. It’s these local visions for thriving forests and communities that bring her into work each day. When she’s not at work, you can find Alex camping with her family, taking care of houseplants, or doing creative projects.
James (Jamie) Shattenberg
Jamie was born and raised a missionary kid in Madagascar. So naturally he’s found himself back there with his wife Alissa working as our International Project Leader. Alissa is a licensed midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner and has been putting her expertise to use as the Director of the Sarobidy Center. If ever there was a couple that could single-handedly save the world, it would be these two. When Jamie isn’t wrestling alligators (we have pics to prove it) and Alissa isn’t saving lives, they keep busy with their three children.
Natasha Kerr holds B.A. degrees in International Affairs & Latin American Studies from George Washington University. She holds a M.A. degree in International Development with a concentration in Environmental Studies from the University of Denver. Natasha has extensive experience working on national and international initiatives relating to issues of nutrition, education, agriculture, environmental justice, housing, immigrant & refugee rights. Natasha has managed agriculture programs in Afghanistan and environmental education programs throughout the U.S. and Latin America. She is inspired by Eden’s mission working to restore habit and build community across the globe. Natasha enjoys the outdoors, cultural events, live music, and travel.
Debbie has been supporting and working with Eden since its founding in 2005. After fulfilling roles in administration, community and social media management and marketing, she now serves as Eden’s Chief Development officer and manages Eden's growing number of partnerships with businesses, churches, schools, and groups. Presenting Eden publicly and building relationships with these businesses and groups is a high point of her work. When she’s not at work, you can probably find her enjoying time on the Colorado River or in Morro Bay with her family and her chocolate lab, Kona.
Edith joined Eden in late 2017 as the organization’s Director of Marketing. Her 12 years of experience in advertising, fundraising, and communications made her a natural fit. When she isn’t crafting the best way to share Eden’s story, you can find her and her husband at the local ballpark taking in a baseball game, or dancing.
Ian joined the Eden team as Director of Finance in 2019. Prior to joining Eden, Ian served in a variety of different nonprofit sectors ranging in size from large to small. Ian has spent nearly all of his professional career in the nonprofit sector in the areas of accounting, finance, and consulting. Alongside his awesome team, he manages Eden’s finances, accounting, and other business operations. When he is not working, you can find him backpacking in the Southern California mountains or dreaming about crushing miles on trail in the High Sierra.
Keith recently joined Eden as the Director for Expansion and Innovation. Keith grew up in Indonesia with an unquenchable love for life that reflects a high value for people and the world around us. Growing up hunting, fishing, diving, and exploring some of the most remote locations on earth gave Keith a deep appreciation for creation and people.
Steve Fitch called Keith in November 2020 regarding the need for Eden to identify local leaders in the Southeast Asian region. The ensuing dialogue led to Keith’s hiring in his current position with precise alignment in vision, mission, and organizational ethos personally and corporately.
Keith has worked for most of his professional life in the non-profit world. His focus is centered on galvanizing people with clarity towards a vision and helping them get there.
Mark spent 13 years working at Davis Wright Tremaine, a national law firm, first as Chief Marketing Officer and then as Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to that, he held positions in public affairs and client acquisition. He also spent six years working on Capitol Hill for Congressman Pete Stark and Congressman (now Senator) Ron Wyden. He holds a BA in economics from Haverford College and a Master’s in international trade and finance from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
With a Masters degree in Global Studies and an affinity for the outdoors, Sehr is a born and bred Canadian girl. As Eden's International Program Director, Sehr brings 10+ years of experience within the nonprofit sector and has extensive international and cross-cultural experience, with over 35 countries under her belt. When she is not at work, you can find her working on a new home improvement project or catching a flight to her next adventure.
Eden Reforestation Projects Board of Directors
Steve is an entrepreneur, adventurer, and visionary who sought and developed a solution for addressing the issues of deforestation and extreme poverty through the establishment of Eden Reforestation Projects. Since 2005, the organization has planted hundreds of millions of trees in multiple nations across three continents. Eden’s care for the planet begins with poverty alleviation, and the organization provides transformational employment to over 16,000 people.
Steve began his career in the Free Methodist Church, where he served as an inner-city youth leader, Pastor, and Superintendent. During his years as a Superintendent, he Co-Founded Continental New Life International (CNLI), which addressed issues related to poverty in Ethiopia through the establishment of medical clinics, a hospital, an HIV orphan daycare center, and six elementary schools.
Steve holds a BA in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University, a Masters of Divinity equivalent from Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific Graduate School of Theology, and a Doctorate from Azusa Pacific University, where he was the Doctoral Student of the Year.
Steve, and his wife Claudette, have three children and two grandchildren.
Prior to this role, he was the founder and principal of a Consulting firm that specialized in business strategy and organizational transformation. He also spent a number of years in senior executive roles at Western Union, a global financial services company. His roles included COO/Head of Strategy for Western Union Business Solutions, the leading non-bank provider of international B2B payments, and also as the Chief of Staff for the Western Union CEO.
Prior to joining Western Union, Mr. Kilbane founded and led OptiSource Partners, a strategic consulting practice, as well as two smaller ventures. His earlier consulting career included an Associate Partner with IBM Global Services and with KPMG. He was an officer in the US Army, serving in multiple roles in aviation units in the US and overseas. Kilbane holds a B.S. in Engineering Management from the United States Military Academy.
Mr. Barker began his career in the financial services industry as a trader and investment banker at Kidder Peabody, Piper Jaffray and Salomon Brothers. He holds a BA in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA from Columbia University.
Maureen is a true global citizen. She has lived, worked and travelled across all continents and speaks five languages. She believes that new models of change including hybrid partnerships and value creation paradigm shifts are required to address the challenges that our beautiful planet is facing. Her extensive experience in both private & public sectors, her global & capillary network, plus her vibrant energy give her a very unique perspective that
allows her to drive impactful changes.
Last but not least, Maureen is the proud mother of four multi-cultural teenagers. And a budding poet.
Patricia holds a BA from The New School for Social Research in New York, and an MA in Journalism from Northeastern University. Her co-op experience at Northeastern included work at the Christian Science Monitor Channel, an early pioneer in the 24-hour cable news space. Vos subsequently worked at WGBH (PBS affiliate), NBC’s Real Life, and WHDH (NBC affiliate), as well as for local independent producers who created program series for The History Channel, Telepictures, and others.
One freelance writing article led to a complete shift in gears. The article addressed the search for solutions among concerned racehorse owners and activists on what to do with the “slow” racehorse. Vos founded Tebogo Sport Horses, creating a social entrepreneurial solution: slow racehorses were purchased and retrained on a Virginia farm as sport horses, and resold to that market. Communications strategies highlighted the viability of this solution to broader audiences.
In addition to her position on the Board of Directors for Eden Reforestation Projects, Patricia serves as an Advisory Board member at The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Reforestation Projects Board since 2010.
Roger, and his wife Cathy, have three children and two grandchildren.