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Leadership

BenDawson

Ben Dowson

Country Director

Ben Dowson is a British-educated business leader with over 25 years of management experience in Southeast Asia across a wide range of industries in the energy, natural resources, and education sectors. He has pioneered new businesses in advanced engineering and clean energy across the Asia-Pacific region while working for multinationals such as Wood Group and private-equity start-ups such as Cascadiant. A long-term resident of Southeast Asia, Ben brings a wealth of project delivery and business development knowledge in a local setting and is renowned for his local acumen and for managing complex issues in challenging environments.

JimboSanchez

Jimbo Sanchez

Deputy Country Director

Raised in a political family, Jimbo has embraced a life of public service, dedicating himself to community work in Butuan. He promotes local awareness through partnerships with ANC, the History Channel, and National Geographic, highlighting the region's beauty and culture. Attuned to tribal communities' needs, he fosters dialogue across networks to drive meaningful change. Jimbo is also active with the Balangay Disaster Resilience Operators, overseeing 67 missions in the Caraga Region, and serves on the board of Butuan City Rural Bank, reinforcing his commitment to community upliftment.

AnselmoCabrera

Anselmo Cabrera

Managing Director

With over 25 years in ENR project management for USAID, JICA, GIZ, ITTO, and World Bank, specializing in climate change, biodiversity conservation, and watershed management. A Registered Forester and Environmental Planner, proficient in creating over 50 plans, including FLUP, CLUP, DRRM, LCCAP, and IWMP. Expert in financing systems like PES, User fees, and partnerships. Skilled in assessing carbon-financed projects and implementing CCBS and VCS standards. Robust in M&E systems, partnership-building, and stakeholder engagement. Experienced trainer, resource speaker, and GIS user. Proficient in project management, budgeting, procurement, and leadership, excelling in multinational and multicultural teams.

BonnieSanchez

Bonnie Sanchez

Director of Finance

Bonnie is a seasoned finance executive with over 20 years of experience in Finance & Accounting (F&A). He has worked extensively in multinational settings, developing a strategic perspective and a well-rounded financial skill set through exposure to F&A best practices from top firms like Chevron, Citi, and Xerox. Bonnies’ expertise includes financial analysis and forecasting, budgeting, risk management, and internal controls. Early in his career, Bonnie received training in Business Risk Advisory from SGV & Company, an Ernst & Young member firm. This training, coupled with his experience in finance and accounting, has given him a unique perspective on risk management and the ability to identify and mitigate potential financial risks.

BuboyAgullion

Buboy Aguillon

Director of Program Development

Buboy Aguillon is an expert in the design, formation and mobilization of organizations, specializing in situational analysis, risk assessment, project diagnosis, and the design and implementation of interventions. A native of Mindanao, he studied political science at the University of the Philippines, before embarking on a career that has taken him throughout the Philippines, as well as to the remoter parts of Southeast Asia, and beyond. Buboy has worked as a program designer, trainer, facilitator and moderator for grassroots organizations and NGOs in areas such as upland development, agricultural productivity, peace building, conflict transformation, sustainable livelihoods, and enterprise development.​

ShaylaSanchez

Shayla Sanchez

Operation Coordinator

Raised in Manila, Shayla's eyes were opened to the richness of the Mindanaoan culture when she moved to her husband's hometown of Butuan City in 2014. A former international flight attendant, Shayla became a hospitality management consultant and a social entrepreneur after retiring from the airline industry. As a social entrepreneur, she works with different communities to raise awareness about their culture and traditions. In addition, she works with local tribal producers of forest-made products such as abaca bags, coffee beans and hand-woven clothing to help improve their products, and through their strategically located souvenir shop, she enables them to reach a wider market. Her work as a writer and contributor for when in manila.com since 2010 has also allowed her to work with different businesses in the tourism sector to help promote Mindanao, and particularly the Caraga Region.

DEPARTMENT HEADS

Reymar

Reymar Ballescas

Head of Geomatics

Cyril

Cyril Cortez

Head of Forest Reforestration

Elpedio

Elpedio Lapad

Head of Community Organizing and Developing

Rey

Rey Lara

Head of Sustainable Agriculture

Owen

Owen Jaen

Head of Communication Marketing and Branding

Cheng

Cheng Libres

Head of Office and Admin

Carmela

Carmela Tamya

Head of Human Resources

"Our Forest. Our Future."