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Management Team

An incredible team of expert staff runs the organization from offices in Montreal and Vancouver (Canada), and in San Juan de Limay and Somoto (Nicaragua).

In Canada

Kahlil Baker, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Kahlil is responsible for the overall direction of the company from strategic partnerships, business and technology development. He spent the last decade building Taking Root from the ground up as co-founder and executive director. For his work with Taking Root, Kahlil was featured in a primetime television documentary by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as one of Canada’s next generation of talented change makers. Prior to working at Taking Root, Kahlil spent 5 years in the Canadian silvilculture industry, as a natural resource consultant, an advisor for various international forest carbon standards, and as a fundraiser for Greenpeace.

Kahlil holds a Ph.D. in forest economics and a M.Sc. in forest biometrics, both from the University of British-Columbia. He also holds a B.A. in economics, and professional certificates in business development and permaculture. He is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and is currently learning German.

Jane Boles, M.A.

Chief of International Operations

Jane brings over a decade of experience in sustainable land use management to Taking Root, with experience in both the private and not for profit sectors. She specializes in the use of innovative market mechanisms, including carbon finance and impact investment, to design and implement programmes that incentivize sustainable land use. Jane has worked extensively in the Congo Basin (Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Burundi) where she was instrumental in the design and implementation of carbon financing programmes designed to avoid deforestation of intact rainforests. She now works primarily on sustainable agricultural initiatives with a regional focus on Latin America.

Jane is a manager with the Vancouver-based environmental consulting firm Naturebank, and sits on Taking Root’s Board of Directors. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in Political Science and a Masters’ degree in Environmental Management. Her dissertation focused on the financial viability of using private sector investment to transform Peru’s smallholder-based coffee sector towards climate-friendly production practices.

Newton Tse

Software developer

Newton is the lead developer of Farm-Trace, Taking Root’s technology platform that brings traceability to production while increasing farmers’ yields. Newton specializes in backend development and geospatial database management. Prior to Taking Root, he worked for the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia doing forestry data management, manipulation and storage, specifically in geospatial applications. He has a degree in computer science from the University of British Columbia.

In Nicaragua

Elvin Castellon, M.Sc.

Chief of Nicaraguan Operations

Elvin Castellon represents Taking Root in Nicaragua. He spent the last decade building the operational capacities of the program from establishing procedures, recruiting and managing staff, to building relationships with local authorities.

Elvin is a man who gets things done with whatever resources are available to him. As a child, he worked barefoot on his parents’ farm selling their produce in the nearby town to help them earn a subsistence until he got his first pair of shoes at the age of nine. At the age of 16, he was conscripted into the military during Nicaragua’s revolution and trained as a paramedic to embalm the bodies of the deceased until he was eventually injured by gunfire. After the war, he returned to work on the farm until he was injured in an accident. Unable to work as a labourer, he was given a job as an office clerk for an international development organization where he progressively worked his way up the ranks until eventually founding two successful NGOs and paid his way through school. Elvin holds a Masters’ degree in agro-business and a B.A. in agronomy. In his spare time, he grows coffee with his family on their farm.

Elsa Gonzales

Head Community Technician and Office Manager, Limay

Elsa is an engineer in agricultural production systems, living in San Juan de Limay. She is responsible for working directly with participating subsistence farmers, helping to ensure the success of their reforestation efforts. She also manages the other community technicians.

Through her work with Taking Root, Elsa hopes to create solidarity among communities, provide opportunities for families to earn extra income, act as a role model for others and build environmental awareness among subsistence farmers. She is originally from the municipality of Condega, in northern Nicaragua.

Randolph Bayardo Castellón Betanco

Technical Assistant and Community Technician

Randolph is an agricultural engineer specializing in Agricultural Production Systems with a degree from the University of Northern Nicaragua. He is in charge of the information exchange between Canada and Nicaragua as well as tree monitoring on the ground. Randolph is pleased to help others and provide economic support for farmers through his work with Taking Root.

Alexis Peralta Espinoza


Alexis is an authorized public accountant, member of the public accounting college of Nicaragua with a post-graduate degree in fiscal auditing. His work experience includes working as an accountant with Empresas Industriales Condega, as a manager at a microfinance institution, as an accountant for an agricultural cooperative, and as a professor at the faculty of Economic Sciences at several universities in northern of Nicaragua. He has been working with Taking Root / APRODEIN since October 2016.

Zeidy Karina Aguilera Joya

Office Manager and Administrative Assistant, Somoto

Zeidy has a college degree in Business Administration with a concentration in English and digital technologies. She has worked in various commercial and foodservice industry businesses in Somoto, Nicaragua.

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