Renee Bowers | Executive Director
As the Executive Director of the Fair Trade Federation, Renee manages the strategic, administrative, and programmatic aspects of Federation. Prior to joining the Fair Trade Federation, Renee built long term, sustainable fair trade relationships with artisan groups around the world. As a buyer at Ten Thousand Villages, she worked directly with producer groups in India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka to develop fairly traded product, build artisan capacity, and explore the impact of fair trade.
Renee has diverse experience within the non-profit and crafts sectors, both in the United States and abroad. She served as the Child Care Resource and Referral Director at the Pender County Partnership for Children, where she helped small business owners achieve their professional development goals. As a Senior Performing Arts Fellow with the American Institute of Indian Studies, Bowers worked closely with traditional puppeteers and puppet carvers in Karnataka, South India. She also has lived and worked in Latin America, where she conducted workshops on the use of low-cost, locally available arts materials.
Renee has a BA from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. She also holds a graduate certificate in Socially Responsible and Sustainable Apparel Business from the University of Delaware.
Madeline Kreider Carlson | Membership and Program Manager
Madeline Kreider Carlson has served as the Membership and Program Manager of the Fair Trade Federation since October 2011. Her duties include overseeing the membership application process, liaising with applicants and members, and coordinating events and member programs.
Before coming to the Fair Trade Federation, Madeline completed a year-long independent study of the art and socio-economic significance of crafts and women’s craft organizations, funded by a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She spent time with craftswomen and gaining an understanding of the challenges they face as well as the promise that lies in communities of artisans. While evaluating the efficacy of craft production as a means of grassroots development for women with little formal education and few employment opportunities, Madeline also studied weaving, embroidery, basketry, batik, and felt-craft.
Madeline has studied, volunteered, and worked with fair trade companies and organizations in the U.S., Guatemala, Nicaragua, Egypt, Uganda, Indonesia, and Mongolia. Raised in a Mennonite family, Madeline has been acquainted with the fair trade movement her entire life. Madeline has a B.A. in history and fine arts from Haverford College in Ardmore, PA. She has worked at the Gallery of Heroes and Martyrs Museum in Esteli, Nicaragua; the Library Company of Philadelphia; and the Haverford College Office of Admissions.
Suzanne Cotter| Marketing and Branding Manager
Suzanne joined the Fair Trade Federation in March of 2013. She supports the FTF with overall branding, communications, and publications assistance and works with members to spread the word about fair trade businesses.
Suzanne has a deep interest in rhetorical theory and the way language and images can leave a lasting impression on individual and community audiences. Previously, Suzanne worked in the PR and Marketing office at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA where she oversaw institutional logo and branding efforts, served as editor of the college magazine, managed the college’s social media pages, and wrote feature stories for institutional publications. She has also served on the editorial board of Saint Joseph University’s literary magazine, The Avenue, and recently spent part of her summer tutoring adults in need of basic reading writing, and literacy skills.
Suzanne has a B.A. in English and Sociology from Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA and an M.A. in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. She was given the Writing Studies award for distinguished department merit following her work on her master’s thesis, a collection of nonfiction lyric essays.
Laura Layton| Administrative Assistant
As the 2013 Fair Trade Federation Conference Assistant, Laura Layton is handling the administrative duties associated with the annual conference. She is a native of Delaware and a graduate of the University of Delaware where she studied Fashion Merchandising and Leadership. Laura became interested in working in Fair Trade after volunteering for the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center in Missoula, Montana. Working in the center’s fair trade store, she found new vendors, bought merchandise and utilized her merchandising skills acquired through experience in the retail industry.
Julia Ortega Duarte | Small Business Development & Outreach Intern
Julia is an international student from Paraguay who came to the United States to earn her bachelor’s degree on a scholarship. She is currently studying International Relations at Mount Holyoke College with a focus in Political Economy.
Her interest in trade and small businesses comes from previous experiences in her native country, where she used to work with a foundation that provides microloans to entrepreneurs (artisans and farmers among others) to start their businesses in the area. These small businesses have had a positive impact in the community and it helped her to realize the importance of supporting them to alleviate poverty and to promote economic growth.
She enjoys learning about other cultures and is an avid soccer and tennis fan who hopes in the future to get an MBA in international business.
Patrick Shaw | Small Business Development & Membership Intern
Patrick Shaw is a small business development and membership intern at the Fair Trade Federation. His duties include assisting with the membership screening process and assisting with small business development efforts.
Patrick is a senior at the University of Delaware. He is majoring in International Relations and Economics. Patrick developed an interest in trade justice and fair trade because of an influential teacher he had in high school. This interest deepened after a trip to India, which allowed him to see severe poverty first hand.
In his free time Patrick enjoys reading, movies, and performing improvisational comedy. During the school year, Patrick performs monthly shows with his improvisational comedy group Riot Act.