The Sustainable Ocean Alliance Team

Daniela Fernandez
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.

Craig Dudenhoeffer
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.
Brandon Levy
Program Director

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.

Taylor Garrett
Program Manager
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 possibilityand 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.
Brittany DeGirolamo
Social Media Manager
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. 
Jon Letts
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.

Haley Steinhauser
Public Relations Director
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. 
Ron Tardiff
Program Associate
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. 
Ben Lesage
Global Coordinator

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.

Jennifer Lee
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.

Eugénia Barroca
Portugal and Portugese Language

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. 

Shannon Cosentino-Rousch
Head of 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.  
Sophie Greene
Research Fellow
Sophie currently attends the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where she's studying Environmental Science with a focus on marine sustainability. She is currently working on her final year thesis which explores how the mixing of coastal carbon inputs and marine sources will contribute to the long-term store of carbon in seabed sediments. In her spare time, she works on projects related to fashion and event sustainability. She enjoys volleyball, fast cars, and swimming with sharks. 
Emily Tewes
Community Manager
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.
Komal Kumar
Fiji and Pacific Islands
Komal is an aspiring 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.
Daniel Cáceres Bartra
Latin America and Spanish Language
Daniel currently attends the Scientific University of the South, where he studies Marine Biology. 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.
Alexia Schmidt
Communications Fellow
Alexia is a passionate communicator and business strategist for companies and causes that aim to change the world. Alexia believes successfully communicating the need for action on climate issues is the biggest challenge of our generation. Her previous experience lies in public relations, business management, and sales for tech startups. Alexia recently graduated magna cum laude from the University of Florida with a B.S. in public relations and is currently completing a Masters in Management at UF. She is on the board of the UF Hub of SOA and assists with communications for the club. 
Mark Haver
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.

Nishan Degnarain
Policy Advisor
Nishan is an economist and the founder of Breakthrough Ocean Ventures, an advisory firm that leverages new technologies to solve ocean problems. He formerly served as Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council and assisted in establishing the WEF Special Initiative on the Ocean. He is the author of Soul of the Sea in the Age of the Algorithm and played an instrumental role in developing SOA's 2019 State of Our Ocean Report.
Josh Shaeffer
Josh advises SOA on digital strategy, sustainability, and partnerships. He is also a member of the SOA Mentor program.
Jones Dilworth

JDI is a boutique consultancy that brings emerging technology and science-driven companies to market.