Board of Directors
Ester Neltrup, President
Ester co-founded Planet Aid in 1997 and has served on the board and in various capacities ever since. In 1999, Ester expanded Planet Aid’s operation to the greater Washington, DC area. When Planet Aid established its operational headquarters in Elkridge in 2010, Ester became its CEO. Formally trained as a teacher, Ester has been involved in international development for most of her career. She has traveled and worked in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, in mostly remote and underserved areas.
Mikael Norling, Chairman of the Board
Mikael Norling completed his Ph.D. in Sociology of Education at the University of Copenhagen, focusing his dissertation and research on issues affecting Zimbabwe. He has since taught at and managed schools focused on international understanding and development in Denmark and the United States. He has lived in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa, where he was engaged in development project management and program development. He joined Planet Aid’s board in 1998.
Clifford Reeves, Board Member
Cliff has served on Planet Aid’s board since 2005. He has over 30 years of experience in accounting and finance and in multinational corporations at a senior level. Trained as an accountant in England, Cliff worked in Europe and Africa before finally settling in the United States about 30 years ago. He has a keen interest development projects in Africa and has experience with projects in South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
Jytte Martinussen, Board Member
Jytte has been on Planet Aid’s board since 2004. She got her start in international development many years prior by providing vocational training to apartheid refugees in Zimbabwe (when it was known as Rhodesia). She has since served as the headmaster of the Frontline Institute in Denmark and as the executive director of the Institute for International Cooperation and Development in Massachusetts.
Fernando Binhafa, Board Member
Fernando lives in Guinea-Bissau and has more than 27 years of development-related experience in West and Southern Africa and other locations. Prior to joining Planet Aid in 2016, Mr. Binhafa served on the Board of Humana People to People in Spain and has worked in various leadership, technical, and training capacities for other organizations. Fernando first became acquainted with Planet Aid early in his career as part of Planet Aid’s manager-in-training program.
Eva Nielsen, Board Member
Eva has been serving on Planet Aid’s board since 2003. She is also CEO and President of the Gaia Movement USA, and has more than 20 years in the secondhand clothing business in locations across the globe. Eva is a certified teacher and has traveled in many countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Central America. She has a deep passion for people, communities, and the environment.
Fred Olsson, Chief Executive Officer
Fred joined Planet Aid as its General Manager in 1998 and COO in 2010. He also serves as clerk to the Board of Directors. Before joining Planet Aid, Fred worked as part of the textile collection and recycling team at Development Aid from People to People in Sweden. Growing up on a farm in the north of the country, Fred developed a love of nature early in life. He is also an avid cyclist, often logging in more than a hundred miles on the weekend.
Tom Meehan, Chief Financial Officer
Tom joined Planet Aid in December 2007. He is a Certified Public Accountant, and has 30 years of professional accounting experience for profit and non-profit organizations. In addition to expertise in U.S. accounting, auditing, and Federal and State regulatory requirements, Tom has provided organizational development assistance to hundreds of entrepreneurs. He also finds time to volunteer in assisting local non-profits and community organizations.
Marie Lichtenberg, Director of International Partnerships
Marie Lichtenberg has over 27 years of global development experience. Most of her career has involved working for the Humana People to People Federation. She joined the Planet Aid office in Elkridge in 2011. Marie is responsible for mobilizing cooperative action among local, national, and international organizations, government agencies and business partners.
Kai Nielsen, Midwestern Regional Manager
With a background in education and international development, Kai joined Planet Aid as an intern in 2004 and was hired as a unit manager in 2006. He became the Midwestern Regional Manager in 2012, and now oversees six operations centers. He is an avid long-distance runner and loves traveling and exploring new cultures and enjoying the arts.