VP, Latin America and the Caribbean, TechnoServe
This job combines the best of the private-sector approach to the beauty of making the world a better place for millions of people who are not as fortunate as we are.
For two decades, Andrei Belyi T’01 had an international career in investment banking and consulting.
A native of Russia, Andrei worked in the Latin America corporate finance department of Credit Suisse First Boston, then he was part of the team that opened the São Paolo office for Morgan Stanley, and after Tuck, he worked for Bain & Co. in Australia before setting up his own independent advisory boutique in London. Six years ago at the age of 44, he pivoted his career into international development by joining TechnoServe, a Washington, D.C.– based international nonprofit that provides business solutions to poverty by working with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries.
As the vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, Andrei, who also sits on the Tuck Latin American Council, leads TechnoServe’s mission in 11 countries, with a combined staff of over 400 people implementing 27 programs with a $20 million annual budget.
In his own words, Belyi weighs in on working in international development.
If you think about the bottom-of-the- pyramid producers around the world—the small farmers and entrepreneurs—they’re frequently excluded from formal economies. They lack access to business skills, capital, and formal marketing channels. TechnoServe worked with nearly 500,000 small holder farmers and small business owners globally in 2017 across 30 countries, helping them do things like increase productivity of their farms, improve business management skills, access better markets to get better prices, and access finance to grow their farms and enterprises.
We support our work through fund-raising efforts across many public and private donors around the world. A lot of our funding comes from the U.S., Canadian, European, and local governments and multilateral development banks, but we also work with international corporations that source commodities in emerging markets. Companies like Nespresso, Coca- Cola, and Walmart want to include small producers in their supply chains, but also ensure quality and consistency in the products. It’s a win-win situation when we can help corporations achieve that while also helping small producers sustainably increase their incomes.
What I find in this industry is there’s a great need for professional management: how we think about strategy and resources, how we design programs, how we motivate staff to achieve sustainable results for our beneficiaries. TechnoServe is a mission-driven organization, not a profit-driven one, but there are always elements of professional management and leadership that really matter to achieve results expected by our donors. And it’s even more important in our organization that is quite decentralized and field-oriented. This environment combines the best of the private sector approach to the beauty of making the world a better place for millions of people who are not as fortunate as we are.
Some 95 percent of the coffee producers in the world are small farmers, and the same is true of cocoa and cashew producers. These crops are almost all grown on small plots of land by people who have little money to invest in their farms. There’s a huge opportunity to create value in these sectors through productivity and product quality improvements. Many U.S. and European consumers now want to know the story behind the coffee they’re drinking and the chocolate they eat, willing to pay healthy premium for these products. But they also want to know that what they purchase is grown sustainably without harming the environment. We help create incremental economic value in these chains and direct a higher share of this value to small producers.
What motivates me most is when I visit the field, talk to our beneficiaries, and see how our work impacts their lives and the lives of their families. These meetings, these touch points and conversations, are a favorite part of my job. That extra income we help small producers and business owners generate translates into better diets for their families, school fees for their children, and savings to re-invest in their farms. Our impact is tangible and I can see it through many individual stories.
Small actions have big consequences.
I once met a Mexican farmer near Puebla who grew vegetables on a rented acre of land. We provided him and other farmers in this community the technical assistance to be able to sell directly to Walmart Mexico. Before he joined the program, he was struggling to survive and was forced to go to the US illegally to look for work. He cried as he told us about his dreadful experience of walking for two weeks across the desert to reach the border and almost dying. Now he feels happy and accomplished as he is a small supplier to Walmart and he can have a dignified life, is able to provide for his family in his community, where he wants to be.
When 30-year-old post-MBA graduates ask me if they should consider a career in international development, I say, “Certainly, but not right away.” Don’t rush. Get your experience in the private sector. Understand how to create business value and get results for your teams and your clients, but then consider how to use those skills and experience later in a professional career to dedicate to international development. There is a lot of demand in this industry for people with strong business and management skills, and it comes with great job satisfaction and meaning in serving others.
How to Be a Successful Operations Leader
To succeed in operations, says ZOE COO Nicole Xu T’11, you need the short-term vision to run the business day-to-day, but you also need to be able to think three to five years ahead to build for the future.Read More
Improving Financial Health in the COVID-Era
Prudential President Jamie Kalamarides T'94 on how to improve your financial health during the COVID-19 era.Read More
Melissa Llarena T’10 on Feeling Empowered Amid Uncertainty
As a career coach and host of the An Interview with Melissa Llarena podcast, Melissa Llarena T’10 is driven by helping marketers and creative professionals rediscover their sellable strengths.Read More
How to Create a Customer-First Culture
Alison Elworthy T’11, SVP of customer success at HubSpot, offers advice on how to put customers first—no matter the size of your organization.Read More
How to Build Your Personal Leadership Style
Successful leaders develop their own authentic and personal leadership style, says long-time PetSmart CEO David Lenhardt T’96.Read More
How to Keep Your Company Data Secure
What Alison Connolly T’11 finds fascinating, most corporate leaders find terrifying. The director of strategic partnerships at DarkOwl is an expert on the darknet.Read More
How to Make a Successful Startup Pitch
In her seven years as a venture partner at LaunchCapital in Cambridge, Mass., Heather Onstott T’07 has heard about 1,000 pitches from startups.Read More
Marketing a Disruptive Brand
Together, two Tuck alumni, Kate Jhaveri T’03 and Michael Aragon T’01, led marketing and innovation at the growing global brand Twitch.Read More
Christoph Böhmer T’96 is helping lead a 500-strong volunteer effort to resettle Afghan, Iranian, and Syrian refugees in Germany.Read More
How to Promote Diversity and Nurture Talent
After Tuck, Suzanne Schaefer T’02 went into management consulting, figuring that eventually she might connect with a particular industry—to her surprise, she instead felt a strong pull toward recruiting and talent development.Read More
Gretchen Ki Steidle
Global Grassroots founder Gretchen Steidle T’01 helps women in marginalized communities unlock their considerable potential.Read More
Over twenty years ago, Carolyn McGuire T’83 helped form Community Consulting Teams of Boston. It’s still going strong today—and facilitating a lot of good work.Read More
Not many people in ball bearing sales finish their careers in venture capital. For Mike Carusi T’93, now one of the most successful health care investors in Silicon Valley, that unlikely journey started with two eye-opening years at Tuck.Read More
Bill Achtmeyer T’81 has worked with hundreds of senior executives at Fortune 500 companies and shares five pieces of advice for managing a large organization effectively.Read More
On Establishing Your Personal Brand
Helen Kurtz T’97, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of Foster Farms, Inc. talks establishing your personal brand.Read More
Jennifer Wilson T'99 doesn’t recall how she ended up turning a kindergartner into a caped-crusader, but as director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, this is part of her job.Read More
In his 20s, Duncan McDougall T’87 spent time guiding expeditions of the physical world. Since 1998, however, he has been leading expeditions of another kind, guiding children on a journey to literacy.Read More
Alan D. Pesky
After losing his son Lee in 1995, Alan Pesky T'60 and his family solidified their resolve to honor Lee’s memory by establishing an organization to help learning-disabled children.Read More
Tips for Transforming Your Career
After positions of increasing seniority at Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, and JPMorgan, Kate Grussing T’91 decided she wanted to transform her career by helping others transform theirs.Read More
On the Rewards of Nonprofit Board Service
Amy Houston T’97 was inspired to attend Tuck after seeing firsthand how a board with for-profit management experience can help a nonprofit, and she kept this lesson in mind when she joined the Robin Hood Foundation.Read More
On Influencing Company Culture
In his six seasons as executive vice president and chief human resources officer for the National Football League, Robert Gulliver T’97 has helped manage the NFL through some major cultural shifts.Read More
At Tuck, Vicki Craver T'97 discovered a latent interest in financial strategy. Now, after a successful career at Goldman Sachs and raising a family, she applies her financial accumen to vetting nonprofit projects.Read More
Curt Welling D'71, T'77 started his post-Tuck career in finance, but after 9/11, he shifted to the nonprofit sector where he made lasting impact as CEO of AmeriCares before joining the Tuck faculty.Read More
Mary Humphrey T’99 is helping make the Jane Goodall Institute a leader in on-the-ground conservation.Read More
Salil Tripathi T’85 became interested in human rights as a teenager in Bombay, when the government declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution for 21 months.Read More
Debi Brooks T’86 didn’t set out to become a leader in the fight against Parkinson’s disease, but she recognized a unique opportunity to make a difference.Read More
How Small Businesses Can Use Online Marketing Tools
After gaining experience at several software startups, Gail Goodman T’87 launched her own in 1999. As CEO of Constant Contact, Goodman has helped more than a half-million small-business customers navigate a rapidly evolving industry.Read More
Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor Jr. T'88 founded Intercorp to make Peru the best place in Latin America to live and raise a family. Today, business is thriving and the future of Peru's emerging middle class has never been brighter.Read More