Our Leadership

John Ellenberger

Senior Vice President

John leads the Land O’Lakes International Development organization, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1981 by Land O’Lakes, Inc.  He assumed the role in January, 2017 after leading U.S. Dairy Foods and dairy foods teams since 2008. Before joining Land O’Lakes, John led corporate marketing at American Medical Systems and spent 15 years in various marketing leadership roles at General Mills. John serves on the boards of the American Butter Institute, ServeMinnesota and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. He earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Jon Halverson
Vice President

Jon Halverson joined Land O'Lakes in June 2012. As Vice President for International Development, Jon provides the strategic, business and administrative leadership for the organization. He has more than 20 years of experience managing international business development, developing sustainable business models, and leading executive teams in strategy development and implementation. His international experience includes both living and working overseas. In Africa, he successfully spearheaded more than 70 food and agriculture investments and led a business development process that generated more than $38 million in sales. In addition to his work experience, Jon has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College and a Master’s of Business Administration from Regis University.


Susan Bornstein
Director, Technical Services and Strategic Partnerships

Susan Bornstein joined Land O’ Lakes in 2014 as the Director of Practice Areas and Strategic Partnerships for Land O'Lakes International Development. Susan leads a team of technical experts that provides support to projects, new business development and thought leadership.  She also drives the organization's strategic partnerships strategy, including working with private sector companies and foundations.  Susan has over 20 years of partnership development, project design and management experience in international agriculture and enterprise development. Prior to working with Land O’Lakes, Susan spent 17 years at TechnoServe, Inc. including as the Senior Director for Program Development, Deputy Director for Africa, and Acting Country Director for Kenya. There, she managed a number of public-private partnerships with leading multinational agribusinesses. Susan has worked with programs in Africa, Latin America and India. Susan was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. She has a Master’s Degree in International Transactions (Africa trade focus) from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies (Africa focus) from Michigan State University.

Timothy Nzioka
Director of

Timothy Nzioka is Land O’Lakes International Development’s Director of Programs  Africa. Mr. Nzioka joined Land O’Lakes in 2013 as Chief of Party for the USAID-funded Powering African Agriculture program and was promoted to his current position in 2014. He has over 20 years of development experience acquired working in several African countries, including 7 years with the United States African Development Foundation as their Country Representative in Uganda and later as their Regional Representative for Eastern Africa. He also spent 6 years as the CEO for the Kenya Gatsby Trust. Tim is an entrepreneur in his own right, and established his own consulting firm where he was responsible for more than 20 major consulting assignments in several African countries over a period of 6 years, in areas including institutional development, impact investing, technical assistance in value chain development, technology and market linkages. He has a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Stirling in the U.K., and received his undergraduate degree in Economics.

Mary Jo Robinson
Director of Finance, Administration and IT

Mary Jo Robinson is the Director of Finance, Administration and IT for Land O’Lakes International Development. Mary Jo has been with Land O’Lakes for 25 years. During that time she has held a variety of financial and operational roles with both Land O’Lakes, Inc. and Land O'Lakes International Development. She has worked exclusively in international development since 2002. Mary Jo holds a BA in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, an MBA in International Financial Management from the University of St. Thomas, and is registered as a Certified Public Accountant with the State of Minnesota.

Lauren Ruth
Director of Program Operations

Lauren Ruth is the Director of Program Operations for Land O'Lakes International Development. Lauren provides oversight to the program operations, contracts and compliance, and commodity departments. Previously, she worked with Land O’Lakes in Africa as Country Manager for Zambia programs and as Chief of Party for the Tanzania Dairy Development Program. Prior to working with Land O’Lakes, Lauren spent 7 years at Chemonics International, including as the Deputy Chief of Party of a $30 million agriculture competitiveness and export program in Ghana. Lauren has supported programs in more than 20 countries. Lauren started her work in international development as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa.

Leah Lamon
Director of Communications
Leah joined the Land O'Lakes International Development team in September as Director of Communications. But, she isn’t new to Land O’Lakes. Leah spent the past three years as the Director of Integrated Marketing Communications for the Dairy Foods business. In that role, she was part of the team that identified and hired a new communications agency and developed new brand frameworks and new campaigns for the Land O’Lakes and Kozy Shack brands. With the Land O’Lakes Foundation, she developed the Pin a Meal. Give a Meal. cause marketing campaign, which donated $900,000 to Feeding America. Prior to Land O’Lakes, Leah worked in Marketing Communication roles at General Mills, CNS (the Breathe Right company), Minnesota Public Radio and Airborne. She has a B.S. in Food Science and an MBA in Marketing, both from the University of Minnesota. Leah has two daughters, and is looking forward to diving in, learning a lot, getting her boots on the ground and making a difference with the ID team.
George Solo
Senior International HR Manager
George serves as the Senior International Human Resources Manager for Land O'Lakes, Inc. and Land O'Lakes International Development. Prior to this role, he served as Regional HR Director, Africa with Opportunity International network (global nonprofit organization). George is a native of Liberia and holds academic degrees and certifications from University of Liege, Cornell and Harvard business school. His professional philosophy is engrained in servant leadership and teamwork. 

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