The Sustainable Ocean Alliance Team
SOA FOUNDER & CEO
Daniela is an award-winning social entrepreneur, thought leader, and internationally sought-after speaker on the entrepreneurial mindset, ocean innovation, technology, youth empowerment, and sustainability.
At the age of 19, Daniela founded Sustainable Ocean Alliance as a college-room idea at Georgetown University. Five years later, SOA has created the world's largest network of young Ocean Leaders in over 150 countries and launched the world's first Ocean Solutions Accelerator to support developing technological solutions to address the greatest threats facing our planet.
Daniela has been recognized for her work by former U.S. Secretary John Kerry, U.S. President Bill Clinton, and E.U. Commissioner Karmenu Vella. She is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and a member of Friends of Ocean Action—a select group of leaders working to fast-track solutions to ocean challenges.
She was awarded the 2020 Rising Star Visionary Award by the Silicon Valley Forum and named a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. Other awards and recognitions include Glamour Magazine's College Women of the Year, Zula's Top 5 Ocean Heroes of 2016, the Peter Benchley Ocean Award, and the Bustle Upstart Award. Daniela is a contributor to National Geographic and Sustainable Brands, and has been interviewed by Voice of America, New York City TV, and Ocean Radio.
She has served as a keynote speaker at The Economist World Ocean Summit, the Global Climate Summit, The Global Convening of Mayors, The United Nations, U.S. Capitol Hill Ocean Week, Collision Conference, Sustainable Brands Conference, WE Day, and Davos 2019 - The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER & OCEAN SOLUTIONS ACCELERATOR CO-FOUNDER
Craig Dudenhoeffer is the Co-Founder of SOA’s Ocean Solutions Accelerator, where he helps entrepreneurs leverage technology to solve the ocean’s biggest problems. Prior to joining SOA, Craig worked at ReadWrite where he helped launch the world’s first Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator program.
At ReadWrite, Craig worked closely with 115 early-stage technology startups from a variety of industries including healthcare, agriculture, fitness, safety, cleantech, energy, and smart cities. Before entering the technology sector, Craig worked at the National Marine Fisheries Service and studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Chief Program Officer
Brandon is a community builder, systems thinker, and mission-driven professional with experience working with leading sustainable enterprises.
He is passionate about equipping youth leaders with frameworks for strategic thinking and conscious leadership, which he believes are the necessary skill sets to achieve maximum social impact and personal fulfillment. Outside of SOA, Brandon is a board member for the Young Professionals in Energy and is a mentor for StartingBloc, a fellowship program that convenes, supports, and shapes the leaders our future needs.
During his tenure at the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), Brandon helped manage CalSEED, a funding and professional development program for innovators and entrepreneurs working to develop early-stage clean energy concepts. Brandon recently completed an MBA at the Presidio Graduate School where he focused on market-based solutions to climate change. In addition to the MBA, Brandon holds a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University where he graduated with special honors . Brandon enjoys spending his free time listening to and creating music, philosophizing with friends, traveling to beautiful locales, playing basketball, and engaging in contemplative practices.
Chief Operating Officer
Chris Walker has committed his career to empowering people and organizations to do their best work. Chris is a passionate dynamic leader with extensive experience developing strategies, systems, infrastructure, and supporting tactics in public, private, philanthropy, and non-profit sectors.
Chris most recently led program strategy and planning at Nia Tero, a US-based nonprofit working in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and movements worldwide to secure and uphold many of the planet's healthiest ecosystems essential to the security of global food production, fresh water, and ultimately, the Earth's climate.
Chris’ global leadership in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector began at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Chris was originally recruited to the Gates Foundation to lead continuous improvement of their grants and contracts management systems and processes responsible for $5 Billion in investments annually. After the launch and implementation of the foundation’s harmonized investment workflow processes, Chris led finance and operations for their largest program, Agricultural Development, comprising $400 Million annual budget, 11 complex portfolios, 80 staff members, and offices in the United States, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and India.
Chris is a graduate of California State University Maritime Academy, and after spending nearly a year of his life at sea, is excited to join Sustainable Ocean Alliance to advance the impact of startups, social entrepreneurs, and youth-centered initiatives that are developing solutions to the greatest threats facing our ocean.
Taylor brings an expertise in nonprofit development and an abiding dedication to environmental sustainability to his work at SOA.
He believes that saving the planet in the next 12 years will require bringing forth a world where young people feel the possibility—and moral responsibility—to create a life aligned with both their values and a thriving ocean. Taylor graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado with a concentration in environmental and indigenous policy. He has held positions at National Geographic, Americorps, and land and ethnic conservation NGOs in New York City and San Francisco.
PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANAGER
While working on his Masters degree at Northeastern University, Jon was a coach for 'Idea: Northeastern's Venture Accelerator', one of the premier university entrepreneurial ecosystems in the US.
He joined one of the Big Four Accounting firms as an auditor to develop a stronger understanding of operational processes and system design. Jon was then responsible for the US expansion of a multimillion dollar product line at a major international retailer. After the launch he transitioned to leading an IOT solution decreasing waste in thousands of office buildings. Through that process Jon discovered an opportunity and passion and launched an operational and events consulting firm. Jon has and continues to support organizations that focus on improving the wellbeing of life on earth.
Jon cares about connecting personal wellbeing, environmental wellbeing, and technology. In every aspect of his life these three pillars are reminders of what he finds most important. For Jon it started with technology. He built his first computer at 10 and that led to the development of many physical and digital tools to simplify his life. He was initially very focused on productivity and time management, though over the years Jon has developed that question into something more holistic.
Accelerator Program Lead
She manages SOA's Oceans Solutions Accelerator, accelerating solutions of global entrepreneurs and organizers to heal the oceans and create a more sustainable future for our planet. In a collaborative team, she leads on designing the virtual four-week program, network development, mentorship program and ongoing, global community engagement.
She creates community by designing and facilitating virtual+in-person experiences, online learning and digital connection for leaders across a range of ages, backgrounds and sectors with a focus on leadership development and reflective practice. She harnesses her passions for relationship development and community engagement to foster global networks of change-makers. She believes in the power of stories and ideas to transform both individuals and communities to greater impact and is eager to step into roles and projects that ignite this power so that we can create a more just world together.
Ocean Leadership Program Associate
Sofía is passionate about effective science communication that helps people understand the climate crisis as well as their role as solution-seekers. Sofía brings a background in anthropology, international development, education, and climate science to SOA. She spent 2 years in northeast Brazil on a Fulbright Grant where she taught English for Specific Purposes at the Universidade Federal de Campina Grande and Universidade Federal de Pernambuco and mentored other U.S. Fulbright Scholars as a representative of the Fulbright Brazil Commission.
She holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on Latin American Studies, and an M.A. in Climate and Society from Columbia University’s Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences/The Earth Institute where she studied climate dynamics, climate change & variability, and related societal impacts.
Most recently, she worked with the Kenya Red Cross on a geospatial analysis to understand key climatic/weather drivers of locusts and developed a Spanish climate curriculum for the Pro Eco Azuero Foundation in Panama. She has also been a teaching assistant for the “Water Resources and Climate” course offered by Columbia University’s MS in Sustainability Management. In her free time, Sofia likes to try new recipes, do yoga, salsa dance, watch environmental documentaries, and continue her love of languages. She speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese and is currently learning Italian. She firmly believes that planetary and human health are inextricably intertwined and that the ocean must be advocated for due to its crucial role in regulating climate.
CHIEF OF STAFF
Jennifer’s passion for sustainable practices and environmental impact have led her to pivot her career from the world of fashion media to non-profit. While in New York, Jennifer worked with affluent publications leading campaign initiatives and covering news about corporate social responsibility practices for luxury brands.
She brings her global experience in Marketing, Media Relations, and Organizational Processes to SOA.
Jennifer’s relocation to San Francisco has allowed her to enjoy the proximity of the Pacific Ocean and the SF Bay, where she participates in beach clean ups with Surfrider Foundation.
Doreen (“Dory”) is a social entrepreneur, community builder, and thought leader in climate and sustainability. Her passion in environmental conservation and technology led her to SOA’s Ocean Solutions Accelerator, where she works closely with founders, funders, and operators to accelerate climate tech solutions and tackle our most challenging ocean problems. Doreen brings over 10 years of experience in technology consulting, venture capital, startups, public policy, and nonprofit board leadership to SOA.
In San Francisco, Doreen first launched her career in venture as one of the founding members of Alumni Ventures Group’s Social Impact Fund and Towerview Ventures. She then led technology scouting engagements for various clients. In 2020, Doreen joined Republic as a Venture Partner to democratize access to early stage investments and support for founders, irrespective of their background, race, gender or location. She is committed to fostering more diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities in the tech industry.
Doreen has a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and a professional master's degree in Environmental Engineering from Duke University.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors - hiking, biking, camping, backpacking, snowboarding, and scuba diving.
Mentor Community Manager
Camila is an experienced founder, operations executive, and community organizer. She helped co-found two technology and education companies focused on social impact which raised over $1.8M in funding from NSF, Princeton and private investors. Camila brings international business experience and has a background in entrepreneurship, fundraising, systems thinking, and human-centered design.
She spent the past two years working with Centro Community Partners helping over 300 local underrepresented entrepreneurs gain access to $500K in funding and resources. She is passionate about helping others and creating a future for everyone that involves caring for the planet, our ocean, and each other.
Brittany has 10 years of experience leading creative social media and marketing projects while working with highly visible, cutting edge brands, bringing them to new heights of excellence, profitability and success.
She has consulted and worked for companies like, IMG Worldwide, Ogilvy & Mather, production glue, Merchants Hospitality and HAVAS Worldwide as well as with Fortune 500 brands like IBM, Visa, United Airlines, Evian, HBO, Nike, Accor Hotels and more. She is inspired by supporting entrepreneurs working to make a positive impact on their community.
Over the past 7 years, Ron has conducted research, developed strategy, managed projects, and supported outreach for 11 organizations on issues ranging from fisheries governance to marine education.
Ron is committed to translating science to policy and working collaboratively to improve governance and management of fisheries and aquaculture. Ron holds a BSc in Marine Science, a BA in Maritime studies, and an MSc in Aquaculture. Ron has lived, worked, and studied in 9 countries.
Haley's love for storytelling landed her in the field of Marketing and Public Relations where she has worked in startups for nearly a decade managing teams, leading strategic (internal and external) communications, developing brand strategy and elevating executive team members into thought leaders.
Prior to joining SOA as director of public relations, Haley led communications for multiple political campaigns and directed corporate communication for various startups in a wide variety of industries including telecommunications and consumer packaged goods. After graduating from Regis University with a BA in English she moved from Colorado back home to Long Beach, California where she currently resides with her husband and dog.
Marketing and Strategy
Originally from Philadelphia, spending most of her career split between New York and Washington DC, and now residing in Australia, Andi Cross has a background in venture, design, growth, digital, strategy, marketing, brand and communications.
She's held roles at both large-scale and startup organizations—helping enterprise businesses differentiate and evolve, in addition to building companies from the ground up. In her role at SOA, she has a hand in shaping the overall business, brand, amplification and growth strategies alongside the team.
Today, Andi continues to collaborate with established venture capitalists and startup studios in both America and Australia, developing and executing holistic digital, marketing and brand strategies for early-stage startups. As a passionate ocean lover and advocate, she uses her strategic expertise from her time in corporate and startup to bring ocean conservation to the forefront.
Science and Policy
Emily is a Marine Ecologist and Ocean Conservationist with six years of federal government experience focusing on fisheries biology, climate change, science education, and international program management. During her time at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), she helped build new research partnerships and foster existing ones with colleagues in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, and the Caribbean.
As a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, she worked with NOAA leadership to respond to the agency's tasks under President Obama's Climate Action Plan. She highly values interdisciplinary collaboration and working across cultures, and geeks out over innovative solutions to environmental challenges.
She holds a M.S. in Marine Estuarine Environmental Science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science from the University of Missouri. She is also an avid scuba diver, bird watcher, swimmer, and yoga practitioner. She is currently based in Barcelona, Spain.
Benjamin Lesage is passionate about the ocean and is an expert in technology and innovation. He has been an active startups’ mentor at SOA since 2018.
Prior to joining SOA full-time, Ben worked for the innovation studio of BNP Paribas in San Francisco. In this tenure, he would provide advisory services to the Bank and large European corporations on their open innovation and startups engagement strategies.
He is the author of the first study dedicated to Ocean Technology startups, and was invited to share his work in various media and events such as Hello Tomorrow and La Mer XXL. Benjamin lived for more than 10 years in Canada and in the US and is knowledgeable about both North American and European business ecosystems. Benjamin enjoys spending his free time sailing and surfing.
Global Policy and Campaigns
Shannon has a wealth of international ocean policy expertise; from DC to Italy, Africa, and Singapore, Shannon specializes in working at the intersection of high level policy, programs, and field level implementation.
She has worked with governments, communities, non-profits, academia, and the private sector. She is passionate about catalyzing innovation and collaboration to drive sustainability and impact, building a bridge between people and the environment.
My name is Monty Thomas and I am a cinematographer and editor with seven years of experience in film production. I've shot work on 3 different continents for clients like Visa, Mastercard, and Kappa sportswear. I live in San Francisco, California and love road biking and tennis.
Marketing and Communications
Sophie Silkes is a strategic communications and marketing expert with a decade of experience across the philanthropic and for-profit sectors. Her speciality is building the strategic and tactical infrastructure to support ambitious, purpose-driven marketing teams.
Most recently, Sophie launched marketing and communications for e180, a certified B-Corporation dedicated to transforming participant learning in the events industry. Prior to that, she led a heritage space restoration project, Crew Collective, for the founders of Crew.co and Unsplash.com. Sophie has a background in food systems and urban sustainability, and served as an inaugural Fellow for Canada's largest social innovation funder, the McConnell Foundation.
Regional Leaders of the SOA Global Community
Daniel Cáceres Bartra
Regional Representative for Hispanoamérica
Daniel is the Founder and President of SOA Perú, which he established in 2016 and now has more than 250 members and 7 Regional Hubs.
Through SOA Perú, he has led a social media campaign to end shark consumption; held the first ocean-focused public hearing and the first Young Climate Change Meeting in the Congress of the Republic of Peru; achieved a ban on the use of plastic straws in a Peruvian university; led campaign for the creation of an MPA designated on the northern coast of Perú.; and developed different workshops about marine conservation for schools and universities.
He has worked with Nature and Culture International as a researcher looking into the locations and zoning of natural and artificial reefs of Punta Sal, Tumbes, Peru.
Daniel currently attends the Scientific University of the South, where he studies Marine Biology.
Regional Representative for Oceania
Komal is a recognized Youth Climate Activist focusing in the area of Climate Change since 2016. She has actively participated in many successful events, few of these include COP23, COY13, Global Landscapes Forum 2019, UN Youth Climate Action Summit as a Green Ticket Recipient, COP25 and COY15.
She has recently joined the Sustainable Oceans Alliance as the Pacific Island Representative. The main objective of her role is to increase the presence of SOA in the Pacific and provide an engaging platform for youths from the Pacific to engage more effectively in the Oceans space both regionally and internationally. As a Green Ticket recipient to the Youth Climate Action Summit in New York on 21 September 2019, she was part of the opening plenary, sharing the stage with United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Antonio Guterres and leading youth activist, Greta Thunberg, where she represented Fiji and the Pacific and YOUNGO.
Regional Representative for Portuguese-Speaking Countries
Eugenia has a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Algarve, Portugal, which was completed with a final project based on marine debris’ abundances in three Portuguese beaches.
Over the past 10 years, Eugenia had an active role in several environmental volunteering projects, from national to international organizations. With a core focus on science communication, she had organized community events such as beach cleanups, informative talks, screenings, debates and art exhibitions in order to involve different elements of our society in the ocean revolution that our planet is asking for. Eugenia was the Portuguese Delegate at Youth Advisory Council from World Oceans Day (2016-2018). Now she also works as an All-Atlantic Youth Ambassador with the support of Ciência Viva.
Regional Representative for Africa
Forbi Perise is an environmental science student at the University of Buea, Cameroon. He is a passionate youth leader and currently the President of the Environmental Science Student Association at his School. His work is centered around connecting, motivating and influencing other youths to care about the ocean and the planet just as he does.
His passion for the environment started out with a love of the natural world and evolved in an elaborate network of beliefs about the importance of environmental protection and of reversing some of the harm that we humans had done to the Earth. Perise has led several community projects, and is plastic pollution Activist He is popularly known as the “plastic man" due to his efforts to raise awareness on the issue of plastic pollution. He acknowledges that youth can bring remarkable change to their community if they are given opportunity and can work together. It is his aim to share his passion with others in his community and in the continent of Africa.
Regional Representative for Southeast Asia
Rafid is an M.S. student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the Coastal Science and Policy Graduate Program. He is also currently leading Thresher Shark Project Indonesia, an Indonesian-led conservation initiative to protect endangered thresher shark populations through ecological studies, socio-economic research and community outreach.
His current research will use acoustic research to inform conservation of pelagic thresher shark in Alor Island, Indonesia.
CHAIR, YOUTH POLICY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Mark has interned at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office of Protected Resources as a Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Communications Specialist, and was selected as a NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholar.
Last year, Mark interned with NOAA at the the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument where he composed a science review on translocation as a conservation tool for species threatened by climate change. He is an active Ocean Leader with Sustainable Ocean Alliance, which has taken him to Malta, Alaska, and Norway. He holds executive leadership positions with College Democrats of America and Florida College Democrats.
Cristina Mittermeier is the marine biologist and activist who pioneered the concept and field of conservation photography. Mittermeier founded the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) in 2005 to provide a platform for photographers working on environmental issues.
In 2014, Mittermeier co-founded SeaLegacy, a non-proﬁt organization dedicated to the protection of the ocean. SeaLegacy harnesses the power of communications technology to educate and inform the world about the incredible beauty of the ocean, and all of the challenges that it faces in the wake of the climate crisis.
In 2020, on the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, Mittermeier announced the most ambitious project of her career: Only One, a new collective of organizations that uses digital technology and visual storytelling to catalyze lasting cultural change, with the ultimate goal of conserving the world's oceans from now into perpetuity.
Mittermeier is a Sony Artisan of Imagery and was named one of National Geographic's Adventurers of the Year in 2018. She is also the recipient of many awards, including the Mission Award from the North American Nature Photography Association, the Smithsonian Conservation Photographer of the Year Award, and the Imaging Award for Photographers Who Give Back. (Photo: Anna Heupel)
Ryan Lindholm (RL) is the founder and managing director at FARM LEAGUE driving strategic initiatives and business design. Always solution oriented and willing to jump in there is no problem too large or small for brands and agencies. As a trusted business partner he brings to the equation a wide range of experiences that challenge marketing and creative initiatives to best maximize impact.
RL has helped brands like Nike, Google, Coors, Clif Bar, Nature’s Path, Intel, Brita and Dr. Scholl’s pushing organizations to new heights in an effort to maximize their potential. He cut his teeth in the ad world as a strategist working with agencies including TBWA Chiat Day, JWT, BBD, HAVAS, Razorfish, AKQA and Mcgarrybowen to his client experience at Nike, Clif Bar and Nature’s Path.
Prior to Farm League, RL was the President of McgarryBowen to pioneering creative and innovation at Nike through leading the Explore Team, Digital and Sustainable design practices. These efforts ranged from the launch of Nike training club and the implementation of the NYC store to advising Nike’s sustainable practice. Today’s RL expands on his passion for sustainability through all facets of his life personally and professionally.
A New York native who fell in love with California and mountain life, RL now lives with his partner in Marin, CA.
JDI is a boutique marketing consultancy that brings emerging technology and science-driven companies to market.