Paul opened TransFair's first "national headquarters” — a one-room office in a converted warehouse in downtown Oakland — in late 1998. Paul came to Fair Trade by way of the mountainous Segovias region of Nicaragua, where he worked for 11 years as a rural development specialist. While in Nicaragua, Paul founded and led a highly successful organic coffee export cooperative called PRODECOOP, introducing him to the transformational power of Fair Trade. Subsequently, Paul served as strategy consultant and development advisor to 22 cooperative enterprises throughout Latin America and Asia, helping them become more competitive, democratic and self-reliant. His first-hand experience over the last 20 years in the development of cooperative coffee export ventures around the world is unparalleled in the U.S. coffee industry. Paul has become a leading advocate of market linkage and enterprise development as core strategies for farmer empowerment and sustainable development.
Paul holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. In 2000 he received the prestigious international Ashoka Fellowship for his pioneering work as a social entrepreneur in the Fair Trade movement. In 2001 Paul was recognized by the AVINA Foundation for his "leadership for change.” Paul was also honored by the Klaus Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship as one of the world's top 40 Social Entrepreneurs in 2002. More recently, Paul has spoken on Fair Trade at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, since 2004.