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Carla D. Martin, PhD - Board President, former Executive Director (2016-2023)

Carla D. Martin is the Founder and Board President of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and Deputy Director of Undergraduate Studies and Professor at the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Her work as a socially engaged anthropologist is currently focused on the ethics of labor in cacao and chocolate, and before that on the politics of language and music in Cabo Verde and its diaspora. 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. Additionally, she founded and continues to collaborate with the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to reducing inequality and information asymmetry throughout the cacao and chocolate value chain. This work has brought her into community with workers at cacao farms and chocolate factories in dozens of countries

 Find her online at LinkedIn


Michael Ehis Odijie, PhD - Board Vice President

Michael E. Odijie is a Research Fellow at the University College London, working on the AFRAB project ‘African Abolitionism: The Rise and Transformations of Anti-Slavery in Africa’. His training training was at Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria (BA [Hons] History and International Studies) and University of Sheffield, UK (MA and PhD, supervised by Professor John Hobson). I spent two years as a postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge.

 Find him online at UCL and LinkedIn.

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Adam McGee, PhD - Board Treasurer 

Adam McGee is the Managing Editor of Inquest, the magazine of Harvard’s Institute to End Mass Incarceration. Before joining Inquest, he served as Managing Editor of Boston Review for nearly a decade, where he was also founding Arts Editor of the magazine’s Arts in Society project. He had previously served as Acting Managing Editor of Transition. As an editor, he has worked with New York Times best-sellers, MacArthur geniuses, and winners of Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, NAACP Image Awards, the Robert Frost Medal, Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke Awards, and Lambda Awards. He holds a PhD in African and African American Studies from Harvard University and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Prior to becoming a full-time editor, he taught religious studies and anthropology at Harvard, Tufts, and Northeastern. His scholarship focused on religions of the Black Atlantic and the role of religious bias in perpetuating racism.

 Find him online at LinkedIn

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Kathryn Sampeck, PhD - Board Secretary

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 LinkedIn. 

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Marlon F. Ac-Pangan, PhD - Board Member

Dr. Marlon F. Ac Pangan is a postdoctoral associate at the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Dr. Ac-Pangan's current research focuses on the use of analytical chemistry and sensory science to understand the impact of growing conditions (terroir) and processing practices (i.e., fermentation, drying, and roasting) in the quality of food products and fermented beverages oriented to high-value niche markets, such as craft chocolate, craft “hard” cider, wine, and
specialty coffee. The major areas of his research include food and flavor chemistry, food and beverage fermentation, metabolomics, and sensometrics. Due to the nature of his research, Dr. Ac-Pangan is in constant collaboration with policymakers, horticulturists, crop scientists, agricultural economists, and smallholder farmers in the U
nited States, Latin America, and The Caribbean. Before joining Virginia Tech, he earned his doctoral degree in food science and human nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, his master's degree in rural development from the University of San Carlos in Guatemala, and his bachelor’s degree in food technology from Zamorano University in Honduras. He also worked for several years in specialty coffee and fine or flavor cacao supply chains in Central America.

 Find him online at Google Scholar.

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Amanda Berlan, PhD - Board Member

Amanda Berlan is Associate Professor in Responsible Business at the School of Work Employment Management Organizations in the University of Leicester. Amanda previously held research and teaching posts at Coventry University (2013-2016), the University of Manchester (2009-2012) and the University of Oxford (2006-2009). A Social Anthropologist by training, her broad interest is in the field of sustainable agriculture, with a particular focus on cocoa and the chocolate industry.

 Find her online at LinkedIn.

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Megan J. Elias, PhD - Board Member

Megan Elias is a historian whose work and research explore the rich history of food and culture through prisms of food writing, markets, and home economics. She is currently the Director of Boston University's Food Studies Programs, as well as a University's Professor of the Practice. Dr. Elias has designed and taught classes in the areas of food studies, food in world history, food and gender, American women’s history, and African American history. Elias is the author of Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture (2017) as well as four other books about food history, including Food in the United States, 1890–1945, which was selected by the American Library Association as an Outstanding Academic Text for 2009. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters about food history and serves as editor-in-chief for Food, Culture & Society. She has been a co-recipient of several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, among other organizations.

 Find her online at BU.


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José López Ganem - Executive Director

José López Ganem is an academic and nonprofit professional conduction interdisciplinary research drawing on the fields of food, history, culture, public policy, trade, and sensory analysis. He is currently a lecturer and outreach coordinator at Boston University's Food Studies Programs. His professional experience includes work in cultural ambassadorship for Mexico and Mesoamerica, as well as an engaged period in the food industry in New York City. He concluded his business administration studies at Culinary Institute of America in 2018, and received a master in Food Studies at Boston University’s Metropolitan College in 2022. He is a board member of the Graduate Association for Food Studies (GAFS) and the Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA).

Find him online at @JoseLGanem and LinkedIn.


Caitlin Galante DeAngelis Hopkins, PhD - Senior Advisor

An author and historian with a special interest in cemeteries. If I’m not out in a burial ground with my camera, I am probably in an archive, reading other people’s mail. I live in Massachusetts with her wife and two children. In the past, I have written about burial grounds in 17th- and 18th-century New England and served as the head Research Associate for the Harvard and Slavery Project.

My new project is a book, The Caretakers, about gardeners who cared for British military cemeteries in France after the First World War and joined the French Resistance in the Second. Dr. Hopkins graduated from Brown University in 2005 with a BA in and in 2014received a PhD in American Studies and an MA in History from Harvard University.


Summer Allen, PhD - 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.


Alexis H. Villacis, PhD - Senior Advisor

Alexis Villacis is an Assistant Professor of Agribusiness at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU). Alexis is an applied microeconomist studying the social welfare implications of cacao and chocolate value chains, with a particular interest in food security, behavioral economics, and climate change. Previously he was a Visiting Scholar at Innsbruck University (Austria), and has received fellowships from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD). Alexis has been a recipient and co-recipient of several grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Inter-American Development Bank to study cacao and coffee value chains in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Before joining ASU, he worked for the government of Ecuador and collaborated with the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) promoting policies and programs aimed at assisting cacao producers in Latin America. Alexis holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech, a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and a B.Sc. in Agribusiness Management from Zamorano University.


Sarah Williams, PhD - Senior Advisor

Sarah Williams teaches at The Evergreen State College, which offers interdisciplinary, team-taught, multi-quarter programs that emphasize experiential learning in relation to social and environmental regeneration. Recent and future programs include: Chocolate, Oysters and Other Place-Flavored Foods; Eating Media: Food's Power as Medium and Message; and, Bittersweet: Cocoa and Permaculture in Trinidad.


Megan De Kok - Creative Manager 

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. 

 Find her online at

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Richard M. Juang  - Legal Counsel

 Find him online at LinkedIn.

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