FERN is a nonprofit social enterprise that serves as a linkage between establishments that generate large quantities of organic waste and treatment locations that transform organic material into value-added materials. FERN is committed to serving local communities, by employing underserved populations, protecting and restoring the natural environment, and creating opportunities for economic development using local resources.
About the Team: It’s not a coincidence that our favorite pastimes are dancing and drinking Mexican beers.
Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli: Co-Founder
Meredith goes by some common nicknames, including ‘mdf’ and ‘garbage queen.’ She survived a bout with dengue fever while in Mexico at the age of 13, and somehow manages to avoid oncoming traffic in New York, after becoming accustomed to pedestrianism in Beirut.
During the summer of 2011 in Beirut, she researched, designed, and implemented a sorting and transport program in collaboration with Tawlet and Cedar Environmental, transforming the restaurant into a zero waste establishment. The success of this pilot program inspired Meredith to return and develop FERN. Meredith holds an MS in Urban Policy and Sustainability Management from the Milano the New School for Management, Urban and Environemntal Policy, and International Affairs in New York City.
Naji Boustany: Co-Founder
Born and raised in Beirut, Naji purports to be of Mexican origin, and one can occasionally hear him referring to himself as Pedrito. A trilingual cook extraordinaire, Naji is learning Spanish in preparation for return to his [second] homeland.
Naji received MSCs in Operations Management and Supply Chain Management from the University of Liverpool, and has almost one decade of experience in the food and beverage industry. He excels in financial analysis, project planning, operations management, and is an efficient and creative startup consultant. Naji is a certified coaching mentor, and received performance and training communications certifications from NHI and Alshaya International.
Christine Abi Assi: Project Coordinator
Raised in Paris, Christine returned to Beirut with a hopelessly broken Arabic (yet to be fixed) and a love for French electro music. She studied Business Administration at the American University of Beirut then went to Madrid to pursue a Master in Finance at Instituto de Empresa. After spending 3 years as a credit analyst in corporate banking, Christine got tired of spending her days in an office and decided to ditch the field altogether to join a more “interactive” one.
She now works in strategy and business development for a regional advertising media representatives and publishing group where she currently focuses on developing their burgeoning digital media department.Christine recently joined Fern in hope to put her banking and communications skills to good use and help work toward a more efficient waste management system in Lebanon.
Alex Ficarelli-Danberg: Boston Unit
Rarely seen uncoiffed, Alex studies psychology in Boston and is a known movie trivia junkie. He will also surprise you in a game of Trivial Pursuit, and was a cattle wrangler in Tabasco, Mexico at 15. He has since moved on to bigger game.
Alex is an experienced financial auditor and program manager. An excellent leader and communicator, Alex lives in Boston and is FERN’s Northeast market researcher. He is fostering connections and gathering steam for FERN Boston.
Amanda Smart: Illustrator Extraordinaire
Amanda Smart is a Brooklyn, NY based jack-of-all-trades with a penchant for pen and ink, pencil, and mixed media illustration. When not drawing, she can often be found cautiously running red lights on her bicycle, reading books about science, cooking, or traveling.
She is always happy to take on new illustration projects, so give her a shout at email@example.com if you have a project in mind!
Mazen Ghorayeb: Attorney
Up to his elbows in legal work, Mazen provides his time and compassion to FERN as a board member and acting attorney.