Making Agriculture Work for the Farmers of the Future

Posted by Alexandra Tuinstra  |  Jan 17, 2017 12:24:15 PM


Noe Portillo of CAPUCAS, explaining how his cooperative is supporting farmers in diversifying into other crops like tomatoes. 

“If we don’t have coffee… well, we just have to look for another alternative.” In just a few words, CAPUCAS agronomist Noe Portillo perfectly sums up the practical and bold leadership that’s needed in coffee today.

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Topics: Central America, Leadership, Youth

Something Bigger Than Myself

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Dec 18, 2016 2:27:00 PM


Coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo: these high-quality and award-winning beans have been colorfully described as having “a very easy-to-like personality and unthreatening complexity.” But aside from the country’s coffee, so much in the DRC is, in fact, threatening — and at the same time complex.

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Topics: East Africa, Peace & Recovery, Leadership, Impact Assessment, Risk Management

Introducing Peter Bernard, Root Capital’s New Chief Operating Officer

Posted by Lauren Baum  |  Mar 1, 2016 2:02:42 PM


Peter Bernard, second from left, with his wife Susan, far right, and the Root Capital team in Senegal


Today, Peter Bernard joins Root Capital as our first chief operating officer.

A Wall Street veteran who most recently served as the chief risk officer at the global investment firm D.E. Shaw & Company, Peter is coming on board to lead Root Capital’s finance, lending, risk, advisory services, and talent functions.

Peter has been a part of the Root Capital family for quite some time, serving as a member of our board of directors from 2011 until just last week when he participated in his final meeting as a member, serving as vice chair. He and Root Capital Founder and CEO Willy Foote recently had an opportunity to chat about the evolution of Peter’s role at Root Capital and what to expect as Peter takes the helm as our first COO.

An edited transcript of their conversation is below.

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Topics: Leadership, Root Capital, Risk Management

Root Capital Client Shines at Bush Center’s 2015 Global Women’s Network

Posted by Lauren Baum  |  Sep 25, 2015 10:27:47 PM

Plenary panel at the 2015 Global Women's Network. Photo credit: ExxonMobil Foundation

Earlier this week, Iliana Martinez, the general manager of Cooperativa Esquipulas, a smallholder coffee farmer cooperative and Root Capital client in the highlands of Guatemala, and Root Capital’s SVP Catherine Gill joined First Ladies, private and public sector leaders, and the next generation of innovators in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s two-day Global Women’s Network summit.

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Topics: Women in Agriculture, Leadership

Happiness & Teenage Blues

Posted by Willy Foote  |  Sep 16, 2015 5:50:40 PM

What does it mean to live a purpose-driven life? What does it mean to be truly happy?

Good questions for the philosophers, so I’ll defer to one of the greats. Socrates theorized (and I’m paraphrasing here) that happiness is realizing one’s full potential in a context of virtue. Happiness isn’t the modern notion of potato chips and Monday Night Football. That’s pure pleasure, and fleeting. Being truly fulfilled, said the ancient Greeks, comes from earning an honest living while creating value in society so that others might benefit from one’s work and talent.

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Topics: Leadership, Root Capital, Willy Foote

Global Staff Retreat 2015

Posted by Lauren Baum  |  Sep 3, 2015 10:52:51 AM

This summer, Root Capital staff from Managua to Kampala packed their bags and headed to Cambridge, Massachusetts for a global retreat. With all 130+ of our colleagues, including 23 from Africa and 56 from Latin America and Haiti, we buckled down for an intense week of workshops, trainings, priority setting — and, of course, some serious team bonding. 

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Topics: Leadership, Root Capital