Joel Strickland, Founder
Joel Strickland brings not only his executive track record and his direct operational experience to Electricity 4 Everyone, but also a passion for people and facilitating positive change in countries marginalized by a lack of reliable, affordable electricity.
This passion was fuelled by his extensive experience on the ground, managing both expatriates and several hundred residents in Liberia during his tenure as President of Buchanan Renewables Fuel Inc. Buchanan is a company he founded and for which he was instrumental in securing financing. He also led the negotiations to sell the company to Pamoja Capital.
While living in the town of Buchanan, Liberia, Joel developed first-hand knowledge of the challenges presented in daily life to community members who did not have reliable or affordable access to electricity. This experience led to the vision for E4E. Joel studied the work of Buchanan Renewables Power as they tried to develop a 35 mW power plant in Liberia and learned the many issues and challenges inherent in the development process.
Since February 2011, Joel has been the Chief Strategy Officer at Zaio Corp. ZAIO is trying to tackle a big problem – the US housing market. He is on the Board of Directors at Welaptega Marine, a private Canadian technology company, and Feronia Inc., an oil palm company operating in the DRC. Joel is also a partner in ITASCAP, a financial services company in Sierra Leone. Joel has had extensive financial experience both as a consultant at Lawrence Asset Management and as a Fixed Income Trader at Lehman Brothers, Burns Fry and First Boston.
Joel is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business Honors Business Administration program at The University of Western Ontario.
Brenda Blake, Director
Brenda brings over 20 years of rich strategic, marketing and general management experience to E4E. From consumer segmentation to new product development, brand building to creative development, and from business strategy to business expansion execution, her knowledge base is diverse and international.
Brenda has been with American Express for 23 years and most recently held the position of SVP, International Marketing where she was responsible for new product development, consumer card product management and 360 degree communication across 22 countries. She led the redesign of product line strategy followed by the transformation of products across International. During her years in International, five were spent leading the global lending business and driving significant growth of consumer card lending products. She led the Membership Rewards loyalty program as well as the strategy across all international businesses. As a General Manager in the Corporate Payments business, she was responsible for designing electronic payment solutions and bringing these solutions to the US market. Prior to International Marketing, she was the SVP of Global marketing and Strategy for the Corporate Card business. In that role, she was responsible for expanding and leveraging global distribution channels, business development, enhancing the value proposition for Commercial Card globally, and developing new Card products and services.
Brenda’s passion for leadership has had a reach far beyond the teams she has directly led. Brenda has been recognized as Woman of the Year by The National Association of Professional Women for 2011/2012. At American Express, Brenda founded and has been the executive sponsor of a Women’s network for the past four years. As part of this, she leads monthly leadership and career development sessions for Vice President level women. Brenda coaches a number of executive women and is an informal mentor to many more.
Brenda is now transitioning into the new role of SVP, International Consumer and Small Business Services where she will build out the executive development and business advisory services. Her initial focus will be on the development and advancement of women. Brenda is also interested in female consumer business opportunities and plans to provide strategy and marketing in this area.