• Daniela Fernandez Headshot

    Daniela Fernandez

    Founder & CEO

    Daniela (she/her) 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.

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  • Craig-1

    Craig Dudenhoeffer

    Chief Impact & Investments Officer

    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.

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  • Brandon Levy

    Brandon Levy

    Chief Program Officer

    Brandon’s intention is to be a guiding light that inspires humanity to heal the planet by healing themselves. Through his endeavours as a program designer, public speaker, meditation teacher, and mentor, he has helped hundreds of young leaders and social entrepreneurs navigate the intertwined imperatives of self-actualization and ecological regeneration.

    In his tenure at Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Brandon has carried his mission forth by supporting the next generation of ocean innovators with the training, resources and networks they need to build nature-positive solutions and reach their full potential as human beings. In this capacity, Brandon has built the Ocean Leadership Program, created a grant program that has funded grassroots projects in 60+ countries, spearheaded global leadership summits in collaboration with foreign governments, and provided integral coaching for young leaders worldwide. 

    As a sought after public speaker, Brandon has lectured and led workshops on living systems theory, conscious leadership, climate technology, ecopsychology, & mindfulness at impact-oriented institutions and conferences around the globe (UN, NASA, Toniic, COP27, et al). On his world tour, he continues to inspire people to apply their creative talent, technological prowess, and stored reserves of capital in service of full-scale systems change. 

    Outside of SOA, Brandon is a mentor for StartingBloc and sits on several boards for ecologically-focused projects (ÆRTH, AQUA MATER). During his tenure at New Energy Nexus, Brandon helped manage a funding and professional development program for innovators working to develop early-stage clean energy concepts. Additionally, he has co-founded an impact advisory firm, and has consulted for CalCharge, Alameda County, and 3Degrees respectively.

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  • Melissa Murray Head Shot

    Melissa Murray

    Director of Strategy & Operations

    Melissa brings 20 years of finance and accounting knowledge and 5 years of non-profit experience to SOA. Melissa's career includes working in banking, consulting and corporate accounting. She has helped small business owners manage and grow their financial well-being by providing advice, professionalism and responsiveness to their financial needs.

    Having spent her entire life living on the Atlantic Ocean coastline, Melissa has a great love and appreciation of the ocean. Already an advocate and supporter of philanthropic work, she shares a passion to make positive changes locally, nationally and globally. An active member in children's health in her home state of Rhode Island, Melissa founded the Dorian J. Murray Foundation, is a leadership council member of Hasbro Children's Hospital, and spokesperson for the RI Blood Center.

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  • Matt Mulrennan SOA

    Matt Mulrennan

    Director of Investments

    Matt Mulrennan (he/him) is a climate and ocean investor who has supported over 150 companies. He has 15 years of interdisciplinary experience in the ocean and climate fields within science, policy, innovation prizes, and investing. 

    As a serial entrepreneur, Matt is a Co-Founder of Latin American climate tech VC fund, Savia Ventures, and was the CEO of EnVest—a climate and ocean investing membership organization. For six years Matt was the Director of the Ocean Initiative at the XPRIZE Foundation which provided $10M in prizes to 50 ocean health companies and further supported their pilot testing and commercialization. He has also worked as a marine scientist at ocean conservation group Oceana, a lab researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, marketing for a residential energy efficiency software tool, and as a leader on congressional and environmental campaigns.


    He has lived in various developing countries, traveled to all seven continents, led four scientific expeditions to Antarctica, was the grand prize winner of the first Con X Tech Prize for conservation technology prototyping, and is a Fellow at the Explorers Club. His work has been featured in various media outlets including the Washington Post, New York Times, National Geographic, TechCrunch, and BBC.


    Matt is passionate about reducing diversity gaps in environmental funding, supporting ocean health startups, and creating tangible results for reducing pollution. He holds a Master’s in Marine Biodiversity & Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from Miami University. 

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  • K.Vallee Photo-1

    Kay Vallée

    Associate Director, Office of the CEO

    Kay joined SOA in 2022, and serves as the Associate Director for the Office of the CEO. In this role, Kay works closely with the CEO to coordinate special projects and streamline strategic initiatives and key efforts. 

    Kay comes to SOA with over 15 years of experience providing both strategic and tactical leadership support, having served C-suite executives and leadership teams in corporate and non-profit settings. She has built a "Swiss Army" problem solving skill set by working across industries, from retail software to Hollywood entertainment to public education. 

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  • Taylor Garrett

    Taylor Garrett

    Associate Director of Grants & Impact

    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.

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  • Ben_picture

    Benjamin Lesage

    Startup & Business Development Manager (Europe)

    Benjamin Lesage is passionate about the ocean and is an expert in technology and innovation. He has been an active startup 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.

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  • Camila Vega headshot

    Camila Vega

    Solutions Portfolio 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. 

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  • Jon Letts

    Jon Letts

    Program Operations Manager

    Jon is a community leader and system architect with expertise in operational processes, technology, and sustainability. He's an extreme generalist with experience designing programs, building supporting technological infrastructure, and facilitating said programs while maintaining and designing additional features and tools as needed.

    His career path includes impactful roles at a Big Four Accounting firm, spearheading a significant US expansion for an international retailer, and developing an IoT solution to minimize waste in office buildings. This journey inspired Jon to launch his own consulting firm focused on operational efficiency and event management, with a mission to enhance the wellbeing of life on Earth.


    Jon is a skilled leadership coach and an adept digital community organizer. He excels in creating and nurturing digital communities, leveraging his deep understanding of technology and operational systems to foster engagement and drive collective action towards sustainable and holistic wellbeing. Jon's approach is guided by the interconnectedness of personal wellness, environmental stewardship, and technological innovation, making him a visionary in integrating these elements to make a tangible impact.

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  • Leon Wang - High Res

    Leon Wang

    Program Manager

    Leon Wang, 王立中 (Wáng Lì Zhōng), is a genderqueer Taiwanese 2nd gen American (they/them, ki/kin) who is able-bodied with an invisible neurodiversability. In essence, they are an (Auto)Catalyzing Connector, Exploration Facilitator, and Networks Weaver.

    At heart, ki is an extreme generalist who is creating conduits toward (b)righter futures. Leon leverages deep expertise in Life-Centered Design, Nature-Inspired Creativity, Emerging Technologies, and Justice|Equity|Diversity|Inclusion (JEDI) to amplify change agents to create and evolve more optimal and well-adapted solutions for our planet.

    In the last 6 years, Leon has engaged deeply in diverse doings with trailblazing organizations like Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Buckminster Fuller Institute, One Point Five, Singularity University, Biomimicry 3.8, StartingBloc, Playground of Empathy, and RETHINK are all thought leaders in the impact space. Leon is a Certified Biomimicry Professional with an M.S. in Biomimicry from ASU and a B.S. in Bioengineering from UCSD.

    Leon operationalizes and delivers SOA's Oceans Solutions Accelerator, advancing solutions of global entrepreneurs and organizers to heal our oceans and create a more sustainable future for our planet. In our collaborative dream team, they design, build and advise the operating systems (tools and culture), virtual four-week program, network development, mentorship program and ongoing, global network engagement and programming.

    Leon is bravely shifting our dreaming, knowing, being and doing in this world to be more People Positive, Complexity Conscious and Life Liberating. As an Anti-Bias Anti-Racist Intersectional Environmentalist, they also strive to bring awareness to critical (un)learning of systems of oppression. In radical brave spaces, ki invites attention, intention, and repetition toward active shaping of more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive (JEDI) futures for All Life.

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  • Jessica

    Jessica Newfield

    Mentor Community Manager

    Jessica (she/her) firmly believes that all humans have the right to get their needs met on their own terms.  As a result, her “Why” that drives her every day is cultivating the conditions for agency.

    A values-driven, systems thinker, Jessica thrives on supporting communities and entrepreneurs in gaining the necessary skills and networks for climate resilience. With a diverse background in social innovation, community management, impact assessment, and partnership development, Jessica has worked with small to large-scale nonprofits, social businesses, management consulting firms, and SaaS and hardware startups to support collective impact projects. 

     A “third-culture kid” who has worked in 20+ countries and traveled to 42, Jessica is dedicated to using collaboration, participatory design, and open data technologies to increase the organizational capacity of mission-led organizations around the globe. Some of her recent projects include building a design and research firm called FutureProof Studio that works with innovation ecosystems to democratize access to funding and facilitate community-led evaluation of social businesses. Their prior clients include WWF, MIT D-Lab and UNDP Mexico.

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  • Tara Simpson Headshot

    Tara Simpson

    Senior Graphic Designer

    Tara is an expert visual problem solver who brings design, identity and project management experience to the team. She relishes creating a cohesive brand experience across every facet of an organization, bringing essential stories to life. Tara holds a BFA in Art with a focus in Graphic Design from Illinois Wesleyan.


    As Brand Consultant & Art Director at Wondr Health, she oversaw the creation of a new identity. Her team produced corresponding branded collateral including a digital app, custom videos and photo shoots, printed collateral, advertising, membership campaigns, and infographics. Tara got her start in the healthcare technology space at Maestro Health in Chicago. Responsible for brand creation & application, she helped Maestro rise as an established brand within the market. 


    Tara lives in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago. When she's not at work, you can typically find her exploring the city with her dog Jordan, spending time at the beach, eating Italian food, or dreaming up a new travel excursion (typically somewhere oceanside).

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  • sabrina skelly

    Sabrina Skelly

    Digital Marketing Manager

    Sabrina Skelly (she/her) is a nonprofit professional dedicated to amplifying the stories of environmental advocates and organizations working to restore, conserve, and save our planet – and all the lives that depend on it. Specializing in environmental storytelling, Sabrina brings a strong background in digital content strategy, nonprofit campaigns, and organizational development to the SOA team.

     Born and raised in coastal California, Sabrina has experienced firsthand the impacts of climate change on her community. From wildfire and drought to debris flow and coastal flooding, she has witnessed the rapid changes to our planet that are stressing the resiliency of our global ecosystems. Motivated by hope and action, she firmly believes that humanity is both the problem and the solution to the climate crisis.


    As a UC Santa Barbara graduate of Environmental Science specializing in Marine Conservation, Sabrina is highly driven by the nexus between science, discovery, and social change. Her research and writing have taken her across the globe working with frontline coastal communities to analyze the impacts of marine protection for climate and biodiversity resilience. 


    When she is not advocating for the ocean, Sabrina is making pottery, practicing yoga, and exploring beautiful open spaces with her dogs Pepper and Banjo.

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Key Contributors

  • Caroline

    Caroline Rosenberg

    Senior Strategy Consultant

    Caroline is a seasoned professional in strategy, planning and management.  She has worked with both large and small non-profits and is known as a people-first leader. 

    She loves strategic business planning, inspiring and empowering teams, removing barriers so that programmatic experts can do their best work, and injecting levity while solving complex problems. Prior to working with SOA, Caroline worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for over 15 years leading and supporting global grantmaking teams to achieve success and meet ambitious strategic goals.  Caroline is an eager learner in the ocean health and climate space and excited to use her skillset to translate strategy into execution and ultimately impact. 

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  • Mike Conathan

    Michael Conathan

    Senior Policy Consultant

    Michael Conathan is an ocean policy specialist, writer, and editor with over 15 years of experience driving action on international, federal, and regional marine and maritime initiatives with a focus on growing the sustainable Blue Economy. 

    He currently serves as a Senior Policy Fellow for Ocean and Climate with the Aspen Institute’s Energy & Environment Program and runs an independent consulting business supporting clients in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors with their government relations, convening, and policy development needs. Prior to joining Aspen in 2018, he launched the ocean policy program at the Center for American Progress after spending five years supporting Senator Olympia Snowe (R, ME) as the lead staffer on the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard. Mike prioritizes relationships, listening, and mediation in his work which centers on the belief that compromise and collaboration are fundamental to durable policy solutions. Mike holds an M.A. in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island and a B.A. in English Literature from Georgetown University and now lives in South Portland, Maine with his lobster-catching wife, D&D obsessed teenage son, and frisbee-chasing chocolate lab.

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  • Shannon Cosentino-Rousch

    Shannon Cosentino-Rousch

    Global Policy Advisor

    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.

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    Rosalyn Kamp

    Grants Program Consultant

    Rosalyn has a Bachelors in Economics and Masters in Ocean Governance with knowledge and experience in marine protected areas, scientific baseline data gathering and sea turtle conservation. 

    Leveraging her previous account management experience, she is dedicated to ensuring that youth-led initiatives have a voice and receive sufficient funding to incite positive change in the marine environment. Fascinated by the complexities of the ocean ecosystem, Rosalyn's work is fueled by a passion for sustaining the beauty and vitality of our blue planet.

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Regional Representatives

Regional Leaders of the SOA Global Community

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    Eugénia Barroca

    Regional Representative for Portuguese-Speaking Countries

    Eugénia has a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Algarve, Portugal, which was completed with a final project based on marine debris’ abundance in three Portuguese beaches. 

    Over the past 10 years, Eugénia had an active role in several environmental volunteering projects, from national to international organizations. With a core focus on science communication, she 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. Eugénia was the Portuguese Delegate at the 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.

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    Daniel Cáceres Bartra

    Regional Representative for Hispanoamérica

    In 2015 Daniel founded the biggest ocean collective group in the country "Cuidando el mar", in 2016 he became US Alumni and in 2017 Daniel founded SOA Perú which was the first SOA international hub and is currently the largest Network of young ocean leaders in Perú, having chapters in every coastal department of the country.

    Daniel has been an ocean adviser for presidential candidate Veronika Mendoza, and currently is trusted personnel for the Peruvian Congress where with Congressman Ed Malaga and the climate change commision are proposing the first deep seabed mining moratorium bill in Latin America. 

    Daniel has been a youth delegate for Our Ocean 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and has been part of the official peruvian delegation for COP 22, 23, 25 and 26. In 2015 he was the youngest divemaster in the country, in 2016 he won the Hreljac medal for being the young person with the most impact in the sustainable development of the country and in 2017 he won the agent of change award by Scientific University of the South. 

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    Mark Haver

    Regional Representative for North America

    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.

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    Mary Jane Lamoste

    Regional Representative for Asia

    Mary Jane (MJ) grew up in the mountains of Southern Leyte Philippines. Her keen interest in the ocean lead her to graduate with a bachelor of Biology major in Marine Biology degree from the Visayas State University (2015) and earned leadership training at East-West Center Hawaii through the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in 2018.

    As a marine biologist, she worked at LAMAVE, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of marine megafauna and the marine environment in the Philippines. Initially, her focus is on the elasmobranch mainly the life history and reproductive biology Mobula ray fishery in the Bohol sea. She then went on leading a team of multicultural researchers studying the sea turtle population at Apo Island Philippines and building the National Turtle Catalog.
    While putting effort into the conservation of marine life MJ notice the lack of economic opportunities faced by women in the coastal communities. Hence, she founded Tagpi-Tagpi-Tagpi (a Filipino word for patching things together) a circular economy initiative that will grow women-led business in coastal communities in the coral triangle through personal initiative training. Since its pilot in February 2020, she has trained (3 )coastal communities and upcycled more than 4000 pieces of jeans and clothes. MJ received grants that provide more opportunities for women in times of pandemic notably Experential Professional Development Fellowship and Grants by East-West Center and Ocean Solutions Microgrants by Sustainable Ocean Alliance.

    MJ is passionate about organic gardening, women empowerment, mentoring youth leaders, and mindfulness. Her family already accepted that she have develop gills with her craziness about life under the sea.

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    Forbi Perise

    Regional Representative for Africa

    Based in Cameroon, Forbi coordinates the action and activities of Hubs in 9 African countries. He was recently featured in Global Citizen and received the 2021 Diana Award for his leadership in conservation.

    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. 

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    Khadija Stewart, MSc

    Regional Representative for the Caribbean

    Khadija is an enthusiastic climate specialist with a passion for inspiring behaviour change through knowledge sharing and innovative storytelling. She holds a BSc in Environmental and Natural Resource Management, a MSc in Sustainable Development with Management Studies and a 2nd MSc in Climate Change and Development from the University of London.

    Throughout Khadija's environmental journey, she has represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 8th World Water Forum with the World Youth Parliament for Water in 2018, at the Peace Boat Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Program in 2019 and at the Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit in Oslo with Sustainable Ocean Alliance.

    Khadija is the founder of Ecovybz Environmental Creatives—a company focused on educating the public through environmental content creation and powerful storytelling initiatives focused on Climate Change, Ocean Conservation and Water Resources. She has lent her voice and stories to several initiatives worldwide with Peace Boat, Global Water Partnership and UNESCO Caribbean all focused on SDG6, 13 and 14. Her biggest project to date is the Caribbean Ocean Perspective Initiative.  Equipping youth with the knowledge to be effective agents of change is at the core of Khadija's work. She is also the host of the EcoVybz Podcast and the Caribbean Regional Representative for Sustainable Ocean Alliance.

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  • Ryan Lindholm

    Ryan Lindholm

    Co-Founder & CEO, In Good Taste

    Based in Bainbridge Island, WA. I’m responsible for leading the company into a new dimension of marketing, innovation and design through brand, product development, creative and strategy.

    As a futurist and modern-day entrepreneur, I’ve forged a unique path in my current and previous roles, evolving teams of creative mavericks in every way possible with a goal of deepening the value, accuracy, and service that technology is bringing to our daily lives within the attention economy. Prior to co-founding InGoodTaste, I was driving a creative agenda at Dentsu, Nike, AKQA, and Razorfish through ideas, advanced concepts, world building, data and technology.

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