Managing Directors

Dr. Ilona Schadl

Dr. Ilona Schadl is one of the Managing Directors for GFA Consulting Group. She is responsible for supervising several technical departments along with the HR and recruiting areas. She is a trained economist with a Masters in Development Studies and a PhD in International Relations. Her career includes more than 20 years of experience in the field of international cooperation in Asia and Africa focusing on economic development, both as an expert in the field and as a project manager.

Anja Desai

Anja Desai is one of the Managing Directors for GFA Consulting Group. She owns double degrees in political science and public administration with over 25 years of professional experience. She has been working and living in South Asia and Southern Africa; considering a regional footprint to be an essential ingredient required for international cooperation. Her experience is grounded in the steerage of complex international projects, leading project teams and devising strategic projects. Anja represents GFA in relevant industry working groups and welcomes collaboration.

Dr. Heiko Weißleder

Dr. Heiko Weißleder is the Managing Director for Finance, Administration, Quality Management and Compliance of GFA Consulting Group since 2009. His career with GFA began as a consultant for agricultural economics in 1996. In 2000 he became Managing Director of GFA Medica, the Health Consulting company for the GFA Group, which subsequently became a department of GFA Consulting Group in 2005. His versatile consulting experience developed across various African countries, in the Maghreb, the Near East, the Caucasus and Indonesia.

Division Director

Department Directors

Operational Departments

Inke Hase

Inke Hase is the Director of the Education, Skills & Employment Department. She is an economist by profession with long-standing professional experience both in Germany as well as abroad. In the field of Technical and Vocational Education, she has a considerable track record in delivering training and the facilitation of multi-stakeholder networks. In recent years, Inke and her team have been exploiting innovative approaches for the digital delivery of TVET. Innovation has been her main driving force throughout her professional career. Inke is fluent in English and has a good working knowledge in French and Russian.

Regine Reuter

Regine Reuter is the Director of the Recruitment Department. She holds a Master in Horticulture from University of Hannover and in tropical Agriculture from SupAgro (CNEARC) in Montpellier. Regine started her career as Junior Consultant in development cooperation in the sector Agriculture and Rural development with assignments in Africa and Asia.
After several years as personnel consultant in a leading recruitment company and in an institution for further education she joined the Recruitment Department at GFA in 2011.

Christian Rake

Christian Rake is the Director of the Agriculture & Rural Development Department. He holds an M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics and his core expertise covers water and soil resources management, participatory irrigation development, delegated water management, capacity development and funds management. He has been a permanent staff member of GFA for 30 years and has served in different functions, i.e. several long-term assignments as expatriate team leader and countless short-term expert missions in Africa, MENA, Asia and the Balkans. He combines hands-on technical and managerial experience for implementing projects with sound knowledge of donor administrational procedures. He is fluent in German, French and English.

Cristian Ferreri

Cristian Ferreri is GFA's Public Finance Department Director since October 2019. Prior to this, he worked for more than 10 years as a consultant and portfolio manager in the international cooperation sector and more specifically Public Finance Management, Regional Development, M&E and Private Sector Development, in projects financed by disparate donors. Cristian holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in political science with a specialization in international relations from the University of Rosario (Argentina) and a Master's degree in Advanced International Studies from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna (Austria). Cristian is fluent in Spanish, Italian, English, French, German and Portuguese. He has good command of Russian and basic knowledge of Czech.
“There is no SDGs Financing without Public Finance!”

Afrim Kalanderi

Afrim Kalanderi is the Director of the Water, Sanitation & Waste Management Department. He has 20 years of professional experience in the management of water, sanitation and waste management projects within the context of development cooperation. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, from the Freie Universität Berlin, with a focus on development finance. His international experience began with the management of financial operations for four water companies within a World Bank project in Albania. He has held responsibility in various institutional strengthening projects to lead multidisciplinary teams in implementing performance improvement measures in areas of water supply and sanitation in different parts of the world.

Eva Schildbach

Eva Schildbach is the Director of the Health Department since January 2023. After completing her Master in Public Health / Health Promotion at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2001, she embarked on a professional career in the health sector of international development cooperation. She has worked both as a public health specialist and in managerial roles for projects in Asia and Africa for various clients. Originating from the field of promoting the health of young people, she is now overseeing a health portfolio that covers all aspects of health systems strengthening in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Constanze Schaaff

Constanze Schaaff is the Director of the Natural Resources Management & Environment Department since 2023. She has been part of GFA and our NRME team since 2009 starting as Consultant in GFA’s Europe department and later as Portfolio Manager in the Europe, Middle East and North Africa region. Since May 2018 she has been the Team Leader for our KfW financed project in Albania Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Prespa, phase II supporting participatory protected area management and socio-economic development in the project area. Constanze holds a M.Sc. in geo-ecology and a postgraduate degree in international cooperation from the Centre for Advanced Training in Rural Development. In her career, she has gained vast experience in conservation, environmental governance and climate change adaptation as expert and team leader on projects for GFA`s core clients EU, GIZ and KfW.

Dr. Mareike Meyn

Dr. Mareike Meyn is the Director of the Private Sector Development Department and has been with GFA for over a decade. Being a trade economist by training, Mareike had previously worked for GFA as an expert, consultant and Portfolio Manager in the fields of Private Sector Development, Trade and Quality Infrastructure, both at the GFA headquarters and GFA projects. She spent four years working for GIZ as Head of Program in Kosovo and Nigeria and also worked as an EU key expert for a trade project in Bangladesh. Mareike holds a PhD on Development Economics from the University of Bremen, with English fluency and a working knowledge of French.

Ulrich Theuerkauf

Ulrich Theuerkauf is the Director of the Energy Department since 2019. He is a graduated political scientist with over 30 years of working experience within the international context. He initially worked in the area of adult education, management training and SME development. Ulrich joined GFA in 2006. He was responsible for private sector development projects. He gradually became engaged within the energy sector with focus on energy efficiency, municipal infrastructure programs and energy policies. Ulrich’s vision is for GFA’s energy sector team to recognizably contribute to the global energy transition.

Diana Cordes

Diana Cordes is the Director of the Financial Systems Development Department. She joined GFA in 2007, before she worked as banking and management consultant in two banks in Mozambique and Angola. Diana has been working within international development cooperation for over 15 years managing, implementing and steering technical assistance projects in the financial sector in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Her focus areas are Micro and SME Finance as well as Green and Sustainable Finance. Diana holds a Master Degree from the University of Cologne and she is a Certified Professional for Renewable Energy Finance (CPREF), and a Certified Expert for Sustainable Finance.

Dr. Lena Giesbert

Dr. Lena Giesbert is a Portfolio Manager in the Private Sector Development Department focusing on the Sub-Saharan Africa region. After pursuing a career in academia, she joined GFA in 2017 and has worked in various positions and assignments as technical expert at GFA headquarters and in projects. Her main working fields include the promotion of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), entrepreneurship, innovation, trade and investment promotion, regional integration and value chain development. Lena holds a PhD in Development Economics from Humboldt University in Berlin and a master's degree in African Studies from the University of Leipzig.

Jan Prothmann

Jan Prothmann is the Director of the Governance Department.He has worked in various positions and technical areas both at GFA headquarters and in long-term assignments abroad for GIZ and KfW-financed projects. Having started out as a consultant in agriculture and rural development, today his main thematic focus and expertise is now in the field of governance, notably anti-corruption, decentralization, civil society participation and urban development. Jan is an alumnus of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), holds an MSc in International Development and a BA in Business & Economics. He is also currently completing his MA in Philosophy, with a focus on political and moral philosophy.

Specialized Units

Joachim Schnurr

Joachim Schnurr is the Director of the Climate Competence Center. During his professional career, he has dealt extensively with emission reduction activities in a number of sectors focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and forestry projects. Since 2001 he has developed renewable energy and carbon financing solutions and established contacts to the private sector and political institutions. He has assisted German export initiatives for renewable energy and energy efficiency technology regarding financing opportunities, and supported implementation of renewable energy financing facilities in South Africa, Russia and Turkey. His consultancy activities also include providing policy advice on climate and energy-related issues to governments and private entities.

Christian Caspar

Christian Caspar is the Manager of the Framework Contracts (FWC) Unit, that was first established in 2018 as a result of increased framework contracts being launched. Christian holds a Master´s in Development Sociology from the University of Bielefeld. He joined GFA as a consultant in 2007 and is working on Framework Contracts since then, first in the Health department, later also in the Education, Skills and Employment department. Christian has more than 20 years of experience in development cooperation and has worked in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Uwe Gebauer

Uwe Gebauer is a Portfolio Manager in the Natural Resources Management & Environment Department.

Dr. Linda Kleemann

Dr. Linda Kleemann coordinates the Digital Innovation Cluster at GFA Consulting Group. She also leads the Digital Innovation Unit that specialises in data-driven services, and digital strategy and policy. Linda has worked in numerous data projects, involving data collection and acquisition, processing, analysis and visualization, as well as the setting up of monitoring and information systems. As an economist with a PhD in Agricultural Economics, her background is in empirical research, in particular impact evaluations in Africa. Prior to joining GFA in 2015, she worked at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Hanna Brüning

Hanna Brüning is GFA’s Corporate Sustainability Manager. She uses her knowledge and expertise to support GFA integrate sustainable practices into its operations. A sustainability scientist and psychologist by training, Hanna has professional experience in international development cooperation and will lead the development of the Sustainability Strategy and the mainstreaming of the Sustainable Development Goals at GFA. Prior to joining GFA, she worked in different areas, including, private sector development, rural development, global value chains, natural resource management, gender, education, local and indigenous knowledge systems, project evaluations, and communication. This she did in partnership with actors from Asia and Latin America.

Administrative Departments

Isabella Zubrzycka

Isabella Zubrzycka ist the Director of the Financial Project Management Department (FIP). She has been working for GFA since 1998. After completing her commercial training and studying business administration, she started in the FIP department and became head of the department in 2020.

Dr. Edda Meinheit

Dr. Edda Meinheit is the Director of the Human Resources Department. She has been with GFA for over 20 years, having previously worked as a specialist consultant on agricultural projects. In the 2000, she contributed to the company’s growth by establishing a professional HR and Recruiting department. In the following years, this became a central pillar of the company, with a focus on the value and the needs of the employees. Trained as an economist with a Ph.D. on agricultural economy from the University of Göttingen, she has a strong generalist background on human resources. She has developed her skills with further education in organizational development, staffing/recruitment, HR information systems, job descriptions and evaluation, compensation and benefits. Edda is fluent in English and French alongside her native German.

Irish Ann Doray

Irish Ann Doray is a Team Manager in the Financial Project Management Department as of 2020. She began working for GFA in 2017 and owns an eclectic background, being born into the Philippines and raised in Togo. She previously completed an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk before working within business for a decade. She then gravitated toward GFA through a combination of her language skills, that includes French, and her multicultural background. Her philosophy of life is - live life now!

Fiona Klingels

Fiona Klingels is Team Manager corporate learning in the Human Resources Department. Together with her team, she is responsible for all types of internal development. Her academic background is in business administration with a focus on HR management and business psychology. After 15 years of experience in different aspects of HR in the aviation industry, she has been trained in change management, coaching, conflict management, business training and agile topics. For nine years she worked as a consultant, manager, coach and trainer in all these areas.

Britta Borkers

Britta Borkers has been working for GFA since May 2014 where she heads the financial accounting. She is responsible for the accounting of the GFA Consulting Group, selected group companies, and the consolidation of the entire GFA Group that includes the consolidated financial statements. Britta holds a degree in balance sheet accounting with accounting experience gained from various companies within Berlin and Hamburg. For the financial accounting department, broad spectrums of international projects provide various stimulating challenges and an exciting range of tasks.

Dagmar Röhr

Dagmar Röhr is a Team Manager in the Recruitment Department. She started her career at GFA in 2005 as an assistant to the Latin America regional department but then discovered her passion for recruitment. Over the past years, she has developed her skills and experience in recruiting – and is proficient in finding suitable experts for GFA’s worldwide projects, and qualified consultants for GFA’s headquarters in Hamburg. She holds a master’s degree in linguistics and development economics. Apart from her native language German, she is fluent in English and Spanish, and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.


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