Fairtrade America has named Peg Willingham as its new executive director.
In this role, Willingham will lead the U.S. chapter of Fairtrade International in increasing brand awareness and engagement with consumers and businesses; identifying new partnership opportunities; and expanding Fairtrade’s influence in policy circles and civil society.
“We are grateful to have Peg join the Fairtrade family and tap into her wealth of knowledge in affecting change across all the stakeholders involved in the Fairtrade system,” said Tim Beaty, chair of Fairtrade America’s Board of Directors. “Just as important as her expertise is Peg’s passion, perseverance and enthusiasm, which are core to the culture and values of our organization.”
Willingham has 30 years of international advocacy and nonprofit experience, serving most recently as the head of advocacy and policy at the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) HarvestPlus program. Willingham worked with governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America to combat micronutrient deficiencies and improve nutrition among smallholder farming communities.
Willingham joins Fairtrade America as the almost two million producers handle the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Willingham’s expertise in agriculture, resource mobilization, partnerships and policy will strengthen Fairtrade America’s approach to improving the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the globe, as well as to encourage more American companies and consumers to prioritize Fairtrade-certified goods.
“I feel lucky and excited to be joining this talented team and important global movement,” Willingham said. “Throughout my career, I have witnessed first-hand the challenges experienced by producers, including those cultivating coffee and bananas in Latin America, tea in Africa and rice in Asia. Collaborating with these communities, as well as with companies who partner with them, is a dream job for me. My first priority will be to listen and learn from my colleagues, board members, and key global stakeholders. I will bring a fresh perspective to an already strong organization and hope to catalyze new ideas.”