Koya
Changemakers

Michael Hensel

Founder

Michael Hensel is a heart-centered humanitarian, driven by a strong passion to deliver social and environmental impact.

Focused on educating whole communities with aquaponics as ‘nature’s inspired technology and design,’ it is with these innovative farming techniques that he founded Koya Project.

Generating sustainable food sources across impoverished communities and paying the knowledge forward through education are cornerstones.

Michael is also the founder and aquaponics educator at Bali Aquaponics, where he is inspiring his students to use the knowledge of aquaponics to make a difference in the world.

“Being able to make a positive impact on others while doing what I love means happiness and fulfillment to me.”

Shafi Karim

CEO

Shafi Karim is best known for his genuine yearn to translate his entrepreneurial spirit into the non-profit sector, supporting initiatives dedicated to the development of economically disadvantaged communities across the world.

He also serves as CEO of Aquaponics Design Company (ADC), a business specializing in the design and construction of high-end self-sustaining indoor/outdoor aquaponics gardens – with a portion of all projects donated directly to Koya Project.

A Wildcat from the University of Arizona, Shafi has experience in a diverse range of verticals including: advertising, government technology, branding, marketing, sports media, public relations, psychology, biology, research, business development, corporate partnerships and hospitality.

Fluent in Bengali and a student of Spanish, Shafi is dedicated to expanding Koya Project’s outreach worldwide.

Rosette Abud

Director of Growth, Latin America

While building her professional career, Rosette has always maintained a strong sense of philanthropic service with a focus on underserved children. As an active board member on the El Rio Vecinos Young Professionals, she has helped raise over $300,000 for emergency dental care for children. She volunteers countless hours in support of various initiatives such as the Children’s Back to School Immunization Event.

As Head of Growth and Vice President of a social media start up venture, Rosette Abud, drives the strategic vision of marketing and public relations. She is responsible for expanding user base while empowering and encouraging them to spread kindness consciously.

Rosette graduated from the University of Arizona earning a Bachelors Degree in Communications with Minors in Criminal Justice and Spanish. In addition to her rigorous academic commitment, she completed an athletic career as a 4-Year Member and Social Chair of the Wildcats Cheerleading Program. During her free time, Rosette enjoys athletic activities and challenging herself and inspiring others in their health and wellness journeys.

Jorge Rico

Director of Growth, Asia

Jorge’s background is in sustainability management, renewable energy and aquaponics design, all of which brings to his role a wholistic approach to support different communities with different interests.

His current activities for Koya Project includes managing the ‘Little Hearts’ project near the banks of the Mekong river in Tuol Meas village; teaching and training at the ‘Light of mercy’ home for disabled youth in Phnom Penh among the deaf and blind.

Dan Matulich

Director of Growth, North America

Dan is a certified aquaponics designer and a passionate advocate for sustainable agriculture. Since 2011, Dan has studied aquaponics and permaculture with the hope of someday changing our food systems to more sustainable, accessible, and decentralized networks.

After years of equipping himself with the knowledge, Dan is ready to do his part to end hunger world wide. Dan will be working with the team in Watts, California to establish an educational, productive, accessible aquaponics system. This system will act as a model for future systems in one of the most recognized food deserts in America, providing freshly grown vegetation to the population there and showing the future generations what’s possible with aquaponics.

Marc-Henri R Michaux

Ambassador

Marc-Henri is a seasoned strategy consultant with over 15 years of global experience in business development, delivering tailor-made analytics and designing/implementing fact-based strategies. He has worked in many industries (Financial Services, Real Estate, Entertainment, Food, Cosmetics, Apparel & Other Consumer Products ) and countries (United States, Brazil, Mexico, China, France, South Africa, the Middle East…).

Marc-Henri graduated from a French Ivy League school (Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Mines-E94) before joining Mars & Co Consulting (a spin off of the Boston Consulting Group). More recently, he has contributed to significantly reduce the delinquent mortgage portfolio at Bank of America helping the bank keeping people in their homes. He speaks fluently English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Richard Peters

ambassador

Richard Peters is lawyer and accountant by background and a serial entrepreneur by trade. He has acted as founder in both e-commerce and brick and mortar businesses with a specialization in business development, strategy and early stage growth. His most recent venture is founding The Hive, a successful restaurant concept in Santa Monica, which generated $1m+ in revenue within its first year. Richard is still active as an attorney in the state of California specializing in contracts and business law.

As a born and raised South African, Richard has a deep understanding of what challenges we face with food shortages and how devasting it can be. Richard hopes to bring this passion to the Koya Project to help serve these underprivileged people around the World.

Tamie Tran

Ambassador

Tamie Tran is a passionate humanitarian who has dedicated her career to helping the lives of those in need. A graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, her background is in Environmental Economics and Finance.

Tamie is excited to continue towards this aim with her involvement in the Koya Project. A strong supporter of human rights and educational opportunity, her life purpose is to improve the lives of others and to make a positive impact on the world.

Priscilla Llorenz

Ambassador

Priscilla Llorenz is an entrepreneur, humanitarian, and psychologist, specializing in overall strategy, implementation, and commercialization of new products and small to midsize companies.

Growing up in Tijuana, Priscilla witnessed first hand the devastating effects of poverty on her community and has made it one of her life’s goals to make a difference and improve quality of life for children in Mexico and around the globe. She currently channels her passion for helping others as a volunteer empowering children victims of domestic violence but sees that there is much more to be done.

Through Koya, Priscilla is combining her professional expertise with her passion for making a difference by empowering underprivileged communities with the knowledge and tools to bring them one step closer to self-sufficiency.

Ermine Norodom

Koya Project Godmother & Ambassador

Humble, kind, funny and generous. These are a just a few words to describe Princess Ermine Norodom of the kingdom of Cambodia.

Ermine has been instrumental in helping the koya project make a footprint in Cambodia. She has opened doors, seamlessly linking our project to the right people and places for maximum impact.
All because she believes in us and what we do. It is people like Ermine that enable us to achieve our mission of tackling world hunger one community at a time.

When she’s not creating prosperous partnerships, Ermine runs her own charity called Shanty Town Spirit. She tirelessly champions the cause of slum communities in and around Phnom Penh, supporting those who would otherwise be forgotten with access to essential education and healthcare.

In a world often filled with self-important narcissists, Ermine is a beacon of hope for the poor, the hungry, the sick and the uneducated. It is through her own empowerment she sets the tone for inspiring empowerment in others. By helping to meet some of the basic needs of the poor, she builds the platform for children and their families to aspire to reach for their goals and dreams.

For Ermine, education is the fundamental key to transcending poverty. If one family member can get an education or technical training, then they have a greater chance of obtaining a better job and a higher wage, and hence a better quality life.

We are very grateful to Ermine for all her support and encouragement. You are an inspiration and remind us to keep striving to be better versions of ourselves. You show us that one person truly can make a phenomenal difference in the lives of so many.

Christopher Martin

International Youth Ambassador

As a dedicated leader and professional role model through his work in the non-profit sector, Koya Project is proud to appoint Christopher Martin as an International Youth Ambassador.

Christopher is the youngest ambassador for Koya Project with a passion for helping others and will utilize his talents and play a critical role to raise awareness, advocate, and fundraise.

Christopher has a history of donating to soup kitchen’s from coast-to-coast. He has been involved in helping individuals in the East Coast affected by Hurricane Sandy. Christopher created “Swim for the Cure” a charity to help children with cancer.
Christopher believes every child should have a chance for a healthy and happy life.

Christopher does not see a limit to the possibilities in helping others. He is compassionate and has an enormous amount of empathy for others especially those less fortunate.

Griffin Clark

Ambassador

Griffin Clark is an aspiring entrepreneur with a deep passion for software development and robotics. He is dedicated to contributing his time to the well-being of those in need. He has traveled the world with non-profit groups such as Hands of Peace, Rustic Pathways, and is committed to helping to improve the quality of life of others. Leveraging off of his experiences building houses in Mexico, teaching english in Thailand, and farming in Fiji, Griffin is enthusiastic about bringing aquaponics to those who cannot reliably feed themselves.