Meet the Board

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Daniela V. Fernandez


Daniela is an award-winning social entrepreneur, writer, and speaker on ocean technology, youth engagement, and blockchain.

She is the Founder and CEO of Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA), a global organization that advances the impact of youth-led social enterprises, start-ups and community projects that are developing solutions to protect and sustain our ocean.

Daniela has been recognized for her work by former U.S. Secretary John Kerry and EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella. She is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, has been listed as Azula’s Top 5 Ocean Heroes of 2016, named one of Glamour Magazine’s 2016 Young Women of the Year and received the Peter Benchley Ocean Award. Daniela is a contributor to National Geographic blog and Sustainable Brands; has been interviewed by Voice of America, New York City TV, Ocean Radio; and has been a speaker at The Economist World Ocean Summit, United Nations, Net Impact Conference, World Ocean Festival, Collision Conference, and WE Day.


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Bob O'Connor


Robert (Bob) O'Connor s a corporate partner with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Bob's global practice focuses on the representation high-growth enterprises, with an emphasis on those innovating in the energy, infrastructure, mobility, consumer products, and sustainability sectors, as well as the representation of venture capital and private equity firms, corporate venture groups, family offices, and impact investors that finance them.

Bob is credited with having founded the firm's energy and infrastructure practice in 2003 and co-leads the firm's industry initiative today, which includes a cross-disciplinary team that is widely viewed as being among the preeminent energy and infrastructure practices in the country. Nationally recognized as a thought leader in the sector, Bob is a frequent speaker at prominent industry events nationally, and he is a go-to strategic partner to universities, laboratories, and accelerators committed to technology commercialization directed at energy and infrastructure innovation.

Prior to founding the firm's energy and infrastructure practice, Bob founded and served as managing partner of the firm's Salt Lake City office, during which time Bob represented many of the leading venture capital and private equity investors and technology enterprises in the region, including Altiris (sold to Symantec), NPS Pharmaceuticals, Omniture (sold to Adobe Systems), and Bob also serves on the board of directors of the WSGR Foundation, a philanthropic vehicle for the firm's partners to support charitable and other community organizations.

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Laura Francis


Laura Francis has more than 30 years of experience in ocean and environmental science, education and outreach, working for the National Park Service, National Marine Sanctuary System and as a teacher and environmental educator. She leads a variety of projects and programs including professional development for teachers and creating education and outreach materials for the public designed to increase ocean awareness and stewardship. 

Laura has been involved with impact investing and philanthropy since 2016 and manages the Sea Forward fund, which supports projects and programs that inspire ocean conservation and climate solutions. Laura earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in Zoology and her Masters at UC Santa Barbara in Deep Sea Biology. She is also on the board of the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara and is involved with the Santa Barbara Women’s Fund. She lives in Santa Barbara, California with her son.