Riley Mari, President and Founder
Riley is currently a student at the University of British Columbia where he is completing the Urban Land Economics Program at the Sauder School of Business. He has competed nationally in elite junior level ice hockey and has a strong commitment to improving the community in which he lives. Riley has been active in many charitable organizations in around Vancouver including the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Commercial Drive Addiction Clinic and the First Aid Ski Patrol on Grouse Mountain.
Brandon Mari, Vice President & Co-Founder
Brandon Mari is a graduate at the University of British Columbia where he studied Human Geography. Currently he is studying Urban Land Economics at The Sauder School of Business, and has an interest for Urban Development and working on alleviating the poverty and HIV/AIDS situation in Swaziland, by means of developing commercial enterprises that fight poverty. He donates his time to activities such as coaching minor hockey, being an active member in several UBC clubs, working on Youth Education Farms, and living an active lifestyle. Brandon has made three trips to Swaziland on behalf of YEF, and has made it a personal mandate to oversee YEF’s operations on the ground in Swaziland, as well YEF’s administrative and fundraising operations in Vancouver, B.C.
Jeff Jacobson, Director
A graduate of the University of Victoria, Jeff Jacobson is an agent for the National Speakers Bureau, Canada’s oldest and most engaged agency of its kind. Before he joined NSB, Jeff promoted and organized speaking engagements featuring the likes of Al Gore and General Colin Powell. He is proud to be a board member of Youth Education Farms.
Michael Mackay, Director
Michael is a development manager at one of the largest real estate development companies in Canada, Onni Group and represented his country in rugby on a provincial and national level. From serving meals at soup kitchens to securing financing for micro-finance loans in Columbia, some of Michael’s most rewarding life experiences have been realized through volunteer opportunities; namely with youth with a Mission in Guatemala, as a Clinton Foundation intern serving in New York City and Africa, and as a teacher at Harambee Christian Center in Pasadena, California. Realizing the importance of organization, planning and leadership in the success of volunteer initiatives, he also serves on the boards of two local charities.
Ben Neumer, Director of Fund Development
Ben attended Carleton University where he played Varsity Golf and volunteered with a variety of student-led organizations. Following graduation, Ben completed an Associate Degree with Distinction in Marketing Management with a concentration in fundraising at BCIT. During his tenure at BCIT, Ben completed feasible Fund-Development strategic plans for local non-profits. Most notably, Ben is on the executive team of, “Echo Generation”, a fund-development consulting firm designed to promote philanthropy and encourage financial contributions by Generation Y. Currently, Ben works as a Team Lead with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC soccer club.
David Mandell, Treasurer
David Mandell attended the University of Victoria where he a received a Bachelors of Economics. Following graduation, Dave joined Scotia Bank Canada as a personal banking officer and has worked diligently to promote YEF’s cause at various international events including the Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition at which he helped YEF place as a top 5 finalist.
Carson Sedun, Director of Communications
Carson Sedun graduated from McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management in Montreal, Canada in 2009 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and he is currently an MBA candidate of the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Canada. After volunteering in Uganda in 2008, Carson returned to Africa in 2009 through McGill’s AIESEC International Internship Program to volunteer in the Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2010, he interned in New York City with the Clinton Global Initiative, the primary fundraising arm of the William J. Clinton Foundation. Carson has spent over six months of his life in Africa and continues to raise awareness about Africa through community involvement in Vancouver. A proud resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing hockey, golfing, snowboarding, and traveling, backpacking across 6 continents in over 16 months of traveling experience.
Sifiso Mnisi, Managing Director
Sifiso is a native Swazi elementary school teacher, teaching grade 6 and 7’s science, agriculture and social studies at the Lugongodlwane Primary School, the elementary school in our first target community. Following earning his teaching diploma in 2005 from the William Pitcher Teacher Training College, Sifiso has received education in the scientific and geographical factors affecting farming and has worked for several HIV /AIDS awareness organizations.
Jabulani Tsabedze, Advisor
In 2008 Jabulani was elected as President of the Swaziland Farming Union overseeing the rights and protection of Swaziland’s farmers as a whole. He also has represented his native region of Swaziland at the National Agriculture Summit, a gathering of individuals attended by the head of state responsible for creating sustainable methods to wean Swaziland from its dependence on imported food from South Africa.
Michael Maasik, Director of Event Operations (DEO)
After graduating from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor in Economics, Michael focused on live event production. Michael has helped produce a wide variety of live events, from sold-out rock concerts for Live Nation Entertainment to the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies for the Vancouver Olympic Committee. Michael understands the value of community and contributes his time coaching minor hockey, supporting the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and assisting YEF in the planning, production and promotion of their charitable events. Currently, Michael is a Project Manager for one of the world’s largest event technology companies, PSAV.