Meet the Team

The Founders

Umeeda was born in Uganda to a family of entrepreneurs, her father managed an insurance company and her mother ran a Montessori school, BOTH raced cars!

 

During the 1970s, a dictator terrorized the country and our family fled Uganda for Canada as refugees. Umeeda arrived with 1 suitcase at the age of 15. They all started a new chapter in their lives.  

 

Umeeda’s mother, known in the family as Mamajee, cooked to help keep the stories of home alive over the dinner table. Our family finally convinced Mamajee to write a cookbook called ‘Mamajee’s Kitchen’, (which you can buy on our website).

 

Nareena, Umeeda’s daughter grew up in Vancouver, Canada. Her mom and mamajee taught her how to cook and instilled in her a strong sense of social responsibility. While she was learning how to make chicken curry they would tell stories of Uganda and ask Nareena what she was going to do to make the world a better place. A young social entrepreneur was made!

 

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Naledo was founded in 2015…

Umeeda first went to Belize to volunteer with the Belizean government through CUSO International to share her business skills with youth.

 

While in Belize, Umeeda traveled the country and met other people of Indian ancestry. She learned the story of how their ancestors had come to the country as indentured servants over 200 years ago. As they were sharing stories, of course cooking came up, one farmer showed her the turmeric that grew wild on his land. Their ancestors had brought the golden root with them! It was the most vivid orange and the best quality Umeeda had ever seen! After months of experimenting she came up with the recipe for the world’s first wildcrafted, whole root turmeric paste – Truly Turmeric.

 

We decided to build a social enterprise that would support growers to earn extra income, employ youth, improve health around the world, and produce products sustainably.

 

Our company’s name comes from the district in Belize where our turmeric is sourced, Toledo and Nareena’s name… Na + ledo = Naledo. Embarrassing for Nareena, proud mom bragging rights for Umeeda.

The Team

At Naledo our operations are run by our incredible team. We provide training and mentorship on everything business, from accounting to marketing. It is our hope that as each team member grows with us, they branch out and start their own social enterprise or influence other businesses, increasing our impact.

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Umeeda Switlo

Co-Founder/CEO

Umeeda has enjoyed a varied career that includes working as a marine biologist, entrepreneur, concert promoter and artist manager, non-profit and international development sectors.  Umeeda created Truly Turmeric and manages operations in Belize. 

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Belkis

Production Manager

Belkis is from Mafedi in Belize. She loves to cook and one day hopes to open a restaurant. Her passion for food makes Belkis the perfect production manager! She is always experimenting with new ways to use our turmeric.

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Ally

Shipping Manager

I grew up in a beautiful village in Toledo. I like experimenting with new things and love to travel!

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Eric

Grower Relations

I am from Eldrige, Belize. I have done so many jobs from construction to underwater dredging and farming. I have a son who is 6 years old . I am of East Indian origin with a bit of Spanish blood. At Naledo I am learning labelling and enjoying my work. An interesting day was when a snake was at the office door. I surprised the team by catching it. You should have heard all the screams.

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Finn

Security

Finn helps keep the team safe and entertained. He likes chasing chickens and cats. He was adopted as a puppy when his family no longer wanted him.

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Nareena Switlo

Co-Founder/COO

She is an experienced project manager and business development specialist with a background in Anthropology.  She has worked with innovative organizations in Zanzibar, Kenya, Ghana, India, and Canada. At Naledo Nareena manages sales, distribution, and marketing.

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Romelia

Assistant Production Manager

My mother use to make coconut oil to sell in the caye where we lived. From her labour she bought her own property and built us a home. My father was also a hard worker he taught us that respect is very important and to always work decently. I now work at Naledo Belize where I know I will excel.

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Martin

Production

Martin works hard to support his mother and family. He is quiet and always helping out the team in any way he can.

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Victor

Production

Victor is originally from Barranco and works hard! He is funny and keeps the team smiling. His favorite food is hudut with pig tail and he hopes to inspire others to do better in life. 

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Bella

Nature Relations

Bella was found living under an ice cream shop. She is sassy and loves hanging out with the team at lunch and going into the field for grower inspections. 

Volunteer Team

Thank you to our volunteers for helping us increase our impact and empower our team to make Truly Turmeric and all the communities we work with even better!

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Tim Collins

Planning/Contruction 2016

Tim Collins met Umeeda through Cuso International where he has served in Vanuatu. Tim is an amazing person able to work with computers to construction. Tim came to Belize for 2 weeks and helped us set up our first small factory.

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David Crichton

Systems Design Volunteer 2017

David used his expertise in anthropology and IT to design our first farmer database to track our impact! He was in Belize for three months.

Thank you David. 

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Angela Niesing

Food Science and Safety 2016

Angela joined the Naledo team as a volunteer for three months. With 2 Masters degrees in Food Science from Germany and Canada she was well equipped to ensure that we met and exceeded all food safety regulations.

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Alison Chadwick

M&E Volunteer 2019

Alison volunteered with Naledo to create a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to measure our impact in Toledo, Belize. She worked alongside our partnering growers, production staff, CEO, and COO to produce our impact report for 2019! Alison also collaborated with our COO to complete the B Impact Assessment, the first step to becoming a certified BCorp!