Board Members

Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias, PMP

Founder and Executive Director
2016 – Present

As founder and executive director, Ayanna leverages her social entrepreneurship to successfully lead this international 501(c)3 non-profit to impact society positively. Her focus on sustainable women’s empowerment initiatives in Africa is informed by her childhood experiences living in Tanzania and Nigeria.

Ayanna used the proceeds from her work as an Information Technology consultant to establish the Zimbabwe Farm Project in 2015. Her rich and diverse background and eighteen years of experience as a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) provide the foundation for the charity’s continued success. 

Her international experience and ability to manage remote teams reflect a global perspective and the capability to navigate diverse working environments. Her experience has equipped her with the skills to navigate complex enterprise solutions using Agile methodologies in the role of executive director, enabling Ayanna to guide the organization towards a growth trajectory.

As a daughter of Africa, it was vital for her to honor her father’s legacy after his passing in Zimbabwe in 2015 and her mother, a former board member who passed on March 16, 2023. Her parents, Pan-Africanists, believed in and worked for Africa’s empowerment and self-determination. She carries on this dream and is committed to “leaving the world a better place than the one into which she was born.”

James Simmons

Director and Treasurer
2020 – Present

James brings a wealth of executive-level experience to the board. He has a proven commitment to Africa and the mission and has traveled to the Continent several times, notably Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. He has generously donated his time, expertise, and financial resources to support the organization.

His extensive business experience is a significant asset to the organization, particularly in managing complex projects and multi-million-dollar budgets. His track record of overseeing large-scale capital improvement Information Technology projects with budgets valued at fifteen million annually highlights his strong financial acumen and effective budgetary oversight.

In addition to his financial expertise, James has demonstrated his engineering skills by designing a 4000-kWh solar power system that powers the farm, along with two boreholes providing clean water to the community, the farm, and poultry operations. This showcases not only his technical proficiency but also his commitment to sustainable and community-oriented solutions.

He brings a unique combination of financial acumen, engineering skills, and a successful project management track record, making him a valuable addition to the organization. His ability to navigate complex economic landscapes and contribute to sustainable community initiatives makes him a valuable strategic leader.

Christopher Lindeman

Board Member
2024 – Present

Chris, an AgriTech AI Innovation Strategist, excels in leveraging technology to craft inventive solutions for challenging problems. His expertise ranges from streamlining business operations to developing cost-effective alternatives to prominent software. By bridging cutting-edge technology with small businesses, he has empowered numerous clients in the private sector. As a proficient data scientist and government data consultant, he designs adaptable systems that enhance decision-making across enterprises. His deep-rooted passion for nature and commitment to sustainability drives his solutions, integrating ecological considerations for a positive impact. Noteworthy projects include remote monitoring systems and publications like “Missing Data Methods – Missing Data: The Missing Link,” reflecting his dedication to making complex concepts accessible. His international experience extends to initiatives like “Say Wot?” (2019-2020), emphasizing his drive to create connections and foster solutions globally.

Sonya McGee

Director and Secretary
2022 – Present

Sonya is a Native Mississippian and Tougaloo College graduate, Sonya McGee is an Area Sales Manager with Depuy-Synthes in the Washington, DC area. She holds over fifteen years of experience in the healthcare industry with a focus on sales, marketing and business development. Dedicated to philanthropy, she has raised thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; alongside participating in their endurance training events held in Ireland, Alaska and Arizona. Her humanitarian efforts extend to Kenya where she participated in mission work with Elizabeth Baptist Church, building schools in Nairobi. Passionate about world travel and human connections, Sonya is the recent Co-founder of the Mississippi Passport Initiative (MPI), an organization promoting awareness of and access to international exchange opportunities and global awareness through education seminars and travel scholarships. MPI’s mission is to increase the number of Mississipians with passports and enrich international experiences.

Nagaraj Baptla

Director and Board Member
2021 – Present

Nagaraj is a Global IT Business Director at Axistechnolabs responsible for driving the company’s business worldwide. With over fifteen years of experience offering a proven track record in developing and executing strategic business and management programs. His skills in automating online learning platforms for training and documentation are invaluable to the growth of the organization’s mission to empower women through the acquisition of new and tangible skills. Nagaraj is self-motivated, astute, and analytical, he has a great interest in promoting self-sufficiency and utilizing technology to improve the lives of people from traditionally excluded communities and countries. As a board member and advisor, his humanism and dedication to the mission is invaluable, and like Swami Vivekananda, he believes that “The great secret of true success and happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most success.”

Marco Nahmias

Advisor Board Member
2022 – Present

Marco is a board member of the Zimbabwe Farm Project. He is a resident of Costa Rica and the founder of Eco-living, an organization focused on minimizing waste, limiting the use of earth’s natural resources, and the wise use of the environment. He brings his expertise and unwavering commitment to providing renewable resources and sustainable living solutions to the organization. He also brings his unique skills of working in a country resplendent with natural resources which need to be preserved while empowering the local community. Marco believes that “there is an endless supply of natural resources that can be restocked or made available without hampering the natural ecosystem, such as solar, wind energy.”

Africa Vertical is a 501(c) 3 non-profit charitable organization . We empower women using social entrepreneurship and employment initiatives. We implement innovative, sustainable permaculture solutions and organic farming for food security.

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700 12th St., N.W.
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Project Location
# 135 Mazowe
Harare, Zimbabwe

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