Natalie Ortiz Villalobos, General Manager
Natalie Ortiz Villalobos is the manager of Pomelo. Prior to joining Pomelo, Natalie worked on human-centered design projects for several organizations in Myanmar, including Proximity Designs. She also spent two years in Europe working for different social innovation projects, such as La Ruche Qui Dit Oui and Ouishare. Before her experience in Asia and Europe, she honed in her skills in her home country of Costa Rica where she founded a women’s microbusiness in a rural community. With women’s empowerment a theme running throughout her work, Natalie is driven by a passionate belief that design as a powerful tool to unlock innovation and help solve pressing social problems. She’s especially interested in the exploration of creative solutions for resource-constrained communities. Natalie holds an MSc in International Business and Management for Design from Salford University in the United Kingdom and Euromed Management in France, where she specialized in design for social innovation. She also holds a degree in Graphic Design from the Universidad Veritas Costa Rica. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys doing yoga and scuba diving.
Yin Mon Soe, Project Manager & Producer Relations
Yin Mon is the most recent addition to the Pomelo team. Bringing with her seven years of experience from her time at social enterprise Proximity Design, Yin Mon is packed with design thinking, sales and distribution skills. Yin Mon has been playing a key role within Pomelo bridging communications between the producer's community and the organisation, she has wonderful people skills! Yin Mon is very much a local: she was born in Yangon and went to Yangon Technological University, where she earned a Bachelor degree in Electronics. She loves to travel and has been to almost every state in Myanmar, giving her a broad understanding of her country and its people. Her aim is to one day run her own social enterprise, focused on education for youth. In the meantime, when she’s not at Pomelo Yin Mon loves watching tennis, watching romantic movies and listening to sweet pop songs.
Ulla Kroeber, Lead Designer & Trainer
Ulla joined Pomelo right from the start in January 2012, contributing her skills and energy on a voluntary basis. She provided the vision of training disadvantaged people instead of only serving as a market place. She developed the visual concept of the shop; over time becoming Lead Designer and Trainer. Following her passion for finding unusual solutions, utilizing the local context at its fullest, Ulla works closely with the producers to ensure crafts meet the Pomelo standards.
Ulla brings to Pomelo an unique perspective, having resided in over 10 countries, while also being engaged in diverse professional pursuits, wherever she lived. Her interest in and deep commitment to the arts and cultural expression were notably demonstrated in Zambia where she built an ethnographic museum and was involved in the establishment of the attached craft shop, and in Sweden, where she worked for an art gallery. She has worked on early childhood programming for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Cambodia and Myanmar, and was an English language tutor for new immigrants in New Zealand. Ulla, a German national, holds a degree in Architecture, has a keen interest in design and enjoys music and gardening. Ulla is married for more than 34 years to a Dutch man and proud mother of two sons.
Angus Johnstone, English Teacher & film maker
Angus Johnstone is working with Pomelo as a volunteer supported by the Australian Government's aid program. A return visitor to Myanmar, this is Angus' third time volunteer teaching in the country. As part of his twelve month placement in Yangon, Angus is working to increase the English communication capacity of Pomelo's shop staff and the producer's community. Angus is also a film maker and is currently creating small films to highlight the producers' work. Angus It’s rewarding work, and he’s constantly inspired by the dedication, skill and creativity of everyone involved with Pomelo.
When he’s not teaching, Angus takes every opportunity he can to explore his home for the year - be it wandering the streets of downtown Yangon or on an overnight train to a new destination up north - there’s still plenty he’s yet to see.
Deborah Kitto, Shop Supervisor
Deborah Kitto is the shop supervisor at Pomelo, born and raised in Myanmar, and is one of six sisters. At the age of nineteen, Mrs. Kitto became a carer and close friend of a disabled expat woman in Yangon, where she provided physical and emotional support for 15 years. While working as a carer, she took part in night classes learning English and received some of the highest marks of her class, while also having the opportunity to travel around Southeast Asia and the Netherlands. Deborah has worked with Pomelo since it’s launch, playing an integral role in laying the foundation and supporting the smooth running of the organization. She provides support to the management team by liaising with and making purchasing orders from Pomelo producers, supporting the management of local staff and volunteers, and interacting with visitors. Deborah is an excellent leader, a heartwarming and passionate person, with a love for singing and learning new things.
Zin May Oo, Myint Zu, Maygirl, Win Zar Thu, June Rose, Marlar and Su Mon are a vital part of our organisation. They ensure products are stocked, displayed and sold properly and are always on hand to provide customers with friendly advice as well as information about our producers and products, all with a wonderful smile!