Willingham brings 30 years of international advocacy and nonprofit experience to the position, most recently as the head of Advocacy and Policy at the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) HarvestPlus program.
In that role, Willingham worked with governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America to combat micronutrient deficiencies and improve nutrition among smallholder farming communities.
Willingham joins Fairtrade America at a time when the organization’s work is especially important with challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her expertise in agriculture, resource mobilization, partnerships and policy will strengthen the independent, third party certification approach to improve the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the globe both, as well as to encourage more American companies and consumers to prioritize Fairtrade certified goods.
“We are grateful to have Peg join the Fairtrade family and tap into her wealth of knowledge in affecting change across all the stakeholders involved in the Fairtrade system,” said Tim Beaty, chair of Fairtrade America’s Board of Directors. “Just as important as her expertise is Peg’s passion, perseverance and enthusiasm, which are core to the culture and values of our organization.”
Willingham also earned a great deal of respect in international affairs as a diplomat in Latin America and the Middle East, and by leading teams at mission-driven non-profits.
“I feel lucky and excited to be joining this talented team and important global movement. Throughout my career, I have witnessed first-hand the challenges experienced by producers, including those cultivating coffee and bananas in Latin America, tea in Africa and rice in Asia. Collaborating with these communities, as well as with companies who partner with them, is a dream job for me,” said Willingham.