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Carla D. Martin : Executive Director and Board Member

Carla D. Martin, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and a Lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Carla is a social anthropologist whose current research focuses on ethics, quality, and politics in cacao and chocolate and draws on several years of domestic and international ethnographic experience. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Transition Magazine, Social Dynamics, The Root, US History Scene, Sodade Magazine,, The Savannah Review, and edited volumes. She lectures widely and has taught extensively in African and African American Studies, critical food studies, social anthropology, and ethnomusicology, and has received numerous awards in recognition of excellence in teaching and research. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of Transition Magazine.

 Find her online at and @carladmartin


Peter Giuliano : Board Member

Peter Giuliano is the Director of Symposium for the Specialty Coffee Association. In 1988, he began his career in coffee as a barista in San Diego. Since then, Peter has worked in a variety of coffee occupations, including roaster, cupper, manager, trainer, and coffee buyer. Peter became involved in the Specialty Coffee Association of America as a volunteer over a decade ago, when a workshop taught at SCAA headquarters inspired him to become more involved as a volunteer and trainer. Since then, Peter has been deeply involved in SCAA training programs, serving as Training Committee Chair from 2005-2007. He has been a volunteer for the Coffee Corps and other CQI programs, teaching cupping, roasting, and marketing programs. He is a proud member of the Roasters Guild, and was a founder of its Executive Council, sitting on the Council from 2001-2007 and serving as its chair in 2004. Peter has dedicated himself to coffee education and advocacy, and the recognition of extraordinary coffee and coffee professionals worldwide.  Find him online at and @petergiuliano


Kathryn Sampeck : Board Member

Kathryn E. Sampeck is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University and a 2015-2016 Central American Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and Fellow at the Afro-Latin American Institute at the Hutchins Center of Harvard University. Sampeck is a specialist in the archaeology and ethnohistory of Spanish colonialism. Her current research project, “Black Market: Early Colonial Cacao Wealth, Contraband Economy, and Afro-Central Americans in Colonial Guatemala,” examines the role of Afro-Central Americans and their daily lives in one of the most extreme colonial environments in Latin America, the birthplace of chocolate. Her writing has appeared in American Antiquity, Historical Archaeology, The International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Mesoamérica, Ancient Mesoamerica, The Journal of Latin American Geography, and Ethnohistory. She has received fellowships from the John Carter Brown Library and the John D. Rockefeller Library at Colonial Williamsburg and grants from the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Social Science Research Council, Fulbright program, and Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

 Find her online at and @kathrynsampeck


Christina Xu : Board Member

Christina Xu is an organizational designer and ethnographer based in New York. Recently, she has taught courses on entrepreneurial design through Orbital and SVA’s Interaction Design MFA program, run interim operations for Everybody at Once, and conducted ethnographic research with PL Data. She serves as an advisor for Orbital, a supportive space for independent creators in the Lower East Side, and the NYC Data & Society Research Institute. Previously, she ran Breadpig, a sidekick service for independent creators, where she advised on and produced $2 million worth of crowdfunding campaigns; served as the global coordinator for Awesome Foundation, an international group of guerrilla philanthropists; co-founded ROFLCon, an internet culture conference/convention that ran from 2008-2012; and wrote a thesis on the history of interfaces and protocols for instant messaging.

 Find her online at and @xuhulk



José López Ganem : Innovation and Research Director

José is an emerging academic on Mexican cacao and chocolate conducting interdisciplinary research drawing on the fields of history, culture, public policy, trade, and sensory analysis. He has presented his work at several scholarly forums such as Harvard University, Boston University, the Culinary Institute of America, and European Business School Paris, among others. He is also an instructor for the Cacao Grader Intensive, a curriculum developed by FCCI. His professional experience includes work in cultural and food studies, as well as an engaged period in the food industry in New York City. He graduated magna cum laude from the Culinary Institute of America in 2018 and from Boston University’s Metropolitan College in 2022 with a M.A. in Gastronomy and Food Studies. He is a board member of the Graduate Association for Food Studies. Find him online at @JoseLGanem and LinkedIn


Megan De Kok : Creative Director, FCCI rebrand

Megan has been doing it all for over 10 years: writing, photographing and designing for social media, revamping brands, styling and concepting photoshoots, managing websites and designing storefronts. But at the end of the day, she’s the type of person to keep candles and a lighter in her bag for your birthday cake, donut or burger. She lives in Hamtramck, a city within the city of Detroit with her cutie greyhound, Cindi.

 Find her online at


Summer Allen : Senior Advisor

Summer L. Allen, PhD, is a senior advisor with the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and a Senior Research Coordinator at the International Food Policy Research Institute. Summer is an agricultural economist whose work focuses on agriculture for nutrition and food security and sustainable development throughout Latin America, Africa and India. Before joining IFPRI in 2014, she served as the Research Coordinator for the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) where she evaluated the impacts of certification ofor producers of cacao and coffee. Summer has previously worked with the Economic Research Service (US Dept of Agriculture), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the US Environmental Protection Agency. She is currently based in California as a Visiting Scholar with the Food Security and Environment group at Stanford University.


Chef Stephen Durfee : Senior Advisor

Find him online at LinkedIn.


Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl : Senior Advisor

Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl is a third generation farmer from Papua New Guinea, who built a German social enterprise in Ecuador in 2009 to farm cacao and produce chocolate bars for Europe. While the tree to table concept worked, it became clear to her that the world did not need another chocolate bar, but rather contribution at the most vulnerable point of the supply chain, farmer households. The organisation evolved into education focusing on cacao farmer training, building nurseries and fields schools in Philippines and Papua New Guinea. In 2018, she began post-graduate environmental science research at the University of Sydney, Australia, in the area of effectiveness of cacao farmer training, and multifactorial impacts of farmer health, wealth, and productivity. She lives in Europe, and when not working in cacao, writes close to market strategy for the European Commission on sustainable finance and eco-innovation. She is a board member of the German Federation of Green Economy and the Greenpeace Australia Pacific GA. 

 Find her online at LinkedIn.


Cristin Nelson : Research Assistant

Find her online at LinkedIn

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Richard M. Juang : Legal Counsel

Find him online at LinkedIn.

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