Larry Ruff continues in an expanded role as President, rejoins Board of Directors and Monika Vasquez-Pelz joins the Fair Trade USA Advisory Council  

OAKLAND, Calif. (June 30, 2022) —Fair Trade USA announces two leadership changes to support the ongoing expansion of the organization.

headshot-larry-ruffEffective immediately, Larry Ruff will serve in the newly restructured President’s role at Fair Trade USA. He was also recently reappointed to the Board of Directors. Ruff joined Fair Trade USA in 2020 as President & Chief Operating Officer (COO) after serving five years on the Board. In this elevated position, Ruff will lead Fair Trade USA’s transformation efforts to fuel accelerated growth, scale, and significantly greater impact. He will continue to guide the leadership team and shepherd in a new division at Fair Trade USA – Strategic Planning and Enterprise Transformation, created to support the organization’s growth and enterprise-wide needs to meet that growth.

“Larry joined Fair Trade USA’s senior management team at a tenuous time – just as COVID-19 hit,” said Paul Rice, Founder & CEO of Fair Trade USA. “Larry’s leadership helped us navigate some exceedingly difficult periods and the return to organizational health and growth that we are experiencing today. He leads through a Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) lens and his activism is beyond inspiring.”

Prior to Fair Trade USA, Ruff held a variety of leadership positions with Levi Strauss & Company in the US and internationally, including Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer, Global Marketing Officer, and Managing Director. During his time with Levi Strauss & Company, Ruff and his team received over 40 awards for product and marketing innovation, brand-building, corporate social responsibility, diversity, and sustainability. He continues that JEDI focus at Fair Trade USA.

Ruff currently serves on Cornell University’s Leadership Council on Combating Racism and Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, where he is a member of their Representation and Retention Committee. Ruff is also a recipient of Cornell University’s “Out in Business” – Distinguished Alumni Award (2019) for commitment to LGBTQ+ Community in Business and Society.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue to draw on Larry’s deep industry knowledge, his inclusive leadership, and his commitment to furthering our shared mission,” said Rice. “Having Larry back on the Board will bring another voice of a seasoned Board practitioner who knows and understands our management team and our opportunities, commitment and drive.” 

monika_vasquez-pelzAdditionally, Monika Vasquez-Pelz will join the Fair Trade USA Advisory Council where she will collaborate with other council members to help guide the organization to reach its goals of delivering more impact to more communities around the world. A licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and retired Audit Partner with Armanino LLP, Vasquez-Pelz is a subject matter expert in accounting for retail and consumer products, nonprofits, and other industries. She currently provides consulting services through MVP Accounting and Consulting.

“We are excited about these leadership additions and changes,” stated Rice. “We welcome Monika to the Advisory Council and look forward to her insight and expertise on the council.”

For more information:


Contact Information: 

Fair Trade Public Relations


About Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA offers award-winning, rigorous, and globally recognized sustainable sourcing certification programs that improve livelihoods, protect the environment, and build resilient, transparent supply chains. Fair Trade USA is building an innovative model of responsible business, conscious consumerism, and shared value to eliminate poverty and enable sustainable development for farmers, workers, their families, and communities around the world. Fair Trade USA is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of fair trade products in North America.

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