OHvBC 2020 EXPERTS

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Sophia Abelita

Sophia Abelita is an Actor, Environmentalist, Teen Influencer, and an Ocean Hero! In 2018, Sophia and her friend Liam Burns, raised $5,000 to pay travel costs for kids around the globe to attend the very first Ocean Hero Bootcamp! One of her favorite OCEAN HERO memories was traveling to San Francisco with Dune Ives from Lonely Whale and Leesa Carter from the Captain Planet Foundation. Together they presented to Battery Powered investors for $300,000!!!! Now 13, Sophia is on a mission to empower more kids to become passionate about saving the planet!

Hodan Barreh

Hodan is a passionate individual who cares deeply about the intersectionality of climate change and how it affects BIPOC communities. She uses the opportunities that she is granted to bring this topic into conservations so that change can happen. Hodan’s work concerning climate change and the environment started as young as she was thirteen years old, being a part of youth’s council environmental committees in which she was able to serve as a leader. From there, she was able to partake in protests to prevent the building of ExxonMobil’s pipelines that would lead to toxic drinking water with BIPOC communities getting the brunt of it. She was able to intern for the City of Austin for two years in a row, where she worked on environmental legislation in hopes of creating a more sustainable future. As Hodan’s passion for the climate has shined through from working on the UN Task Force for Climate Change to being a fellow for the Sunrise Movement.

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Christine Boucher Delta Air Lines

Christine Boucher is Vice President – Chief Compliance Officer at Delta Air Lines, Inc. In this role, Christine manages a team of professionals responsible for administering Delta’s ethics and compliance, environmental compliance, privacy and enterprise records and information management programs. Christine joined Delta in 2000 as an attorney in the Law Department, and she has handled a wide variety of legal matters, including supporting corporate real estate, supply chain, the customer loyalty program, environmental and corporate compliance. Prior to her current role, Christine was Managing Director of Global Environment, Sustainability & Compliance, leading the team responsible for administering Delta’s environmental compliance and environmental sustainability, Department of Transportation compliance, dangerous goods compliance, and passengers with disabilities programs.

Sheri Sobrato Brisson Digging Deep Project

Sheri’s life’s mission is to empower young people facing serious illness and life challenge. Through her personal experience as a survivor of brain cancer and facilitating support groups, Sheri has come to understand what was missing in the psychosocial support of young people—simple, accessible tools to understand themselves, their feelings, and work through and grow from the challenges they face. Sheri is the Founder of the Digging Deep Project, which created Shadow’s Edge, an award-winning free mobile game for young people which builds emotional health and resilience, and philanthropically distributed Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges, which she co-authored. Sheri’s additional innovations in healthcare include co-founding the BrainRace and Children’s Health challenges to commercialize promising treatments for brain tumors and rare diseases; initiating the Cavendish Impact Foundation, an impact portfolio investing in early healthcare innovation.

 

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Christine Figgener

Christine Figgener is a marine conservation biologist and ocean advocate who is passionate about conserving marine turtles, fighting plastic pollution, and empowering women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). These passions are united by her vision to create positive change in the world by eliminating unnecessary plastic. For over 15 years, Christine has worked across the globe, applying her research to the conservation of marine turtles, whales, dolphins, and porpoises. She was thrust into the international spotlight in 2015 when she vividly captured the threat that plastic poses to animals on video when her research team in Costa Rica removed a plastic straw from a marine turtle’s nose. This video quickly went viral and was one of the leading catalysts for the global anti-straw movement. As a result, global businesses, including Starbucks, Disney, and Alaska Airlines, soon removed plastic straws from their product offerings.

Adrian Grenier Co-Founder, Lonely Whale

Adrian Grenier is an inspiring influential activist, impact investor, actor and producer. He leverages his talent and fame to spread consciousness on important issues. Grenier has been at the forefront of environmental conservation through some of his advocacy work and activism over the years, notably supporting Ocean Preservation, co-founding Lonely Whale, and mobilizing his fan based around the “no plastic movement”. DuContra, his nickname, derived from Latin, means "against". Adrian does not take established rules for granted and constantly questions the validity of conventions. Over the years, Adrian has backed up companies and entrepreneurs that he believes can change the game for the better. Through his impact venture fund, DuContra Ventures, he not only invests, but empowers founders who share the same values and are changing the world for the better.

 

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Wanjiku (Wawa) Gatheru ’20 (CAHNR)  in the Student Union on April 9, 2019. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru

Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru is an environmental activist, writer and recent graduate from the University of Connecticut. She is a first generation American of Kenyan descent and the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman, and Udall Scholarships. As the vice president of UConn’s undergraduate student body, she led the successful implementation of an environmental literacy general education requirement and co-led the state’s first assessment of food insecurity at a public institution of higher education. As a Rhodes Scholar, Wawa will attend the University of Oxford this fall where she will continue her studies at the intersections of race, environment and policy.

Goldie Hawn MindUP

Goldie Hawn is an Academy Award winning actress, producer, director, best-selling author and true children’s advocate.  She is the Founder of The Goldie Hawn Foundation, a public charity with a mission to equip children with the social and emotional skills they need to lead smarter, healthier, happier and ultimately more productive lives. Working with leading neuroscientists, educators, psychologists and researchers, the Foundation developed MindUP™ to help children self-regulate and understand their own emotions, moods and behaviors; reduce stress and anxiety; sharpen concentration; increase empathy; and improve academic performance.

 

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Ben Judkins & Taylor Lane Cigarette Surfboard

Since 2014, Ben Judkins who is a filmmaker and Taylor Lane, an industrial engineer, have worked together to create short films.  They filmed and produced The Cigarette Surfboard as an entry to an international competition held by the surf company Vissla, in collaboration with the Surfrider Foundation. The goal of the contest was to create an article of surf-craft out of upcycled materials. They saw the contest as an opportunity to address a major issue that, as surfers, they experienced on a daily basis: beach and ocean pollution. So they asked, “What kind of trash could we salvage to make a poignant statement about littering and coastal health, while capturing the hearts and minds of surfers, environmentalists, and everyday citizens?” The answer: cigarette butts - the most littered item in the world (4.5 trillion a year!).

Jeff Kirschner Founder & CEO, Litterati

Jeff Kirschner is the founder and creator of Litterati, an app that incentivizes users to help clean up their local environments by turning the process of picking up litter into a game. Users snap photos of the garbage they collect and record the type of waste and location, which is then used to create geotagged heatmaps of problem areas and most commonly found items. Recently awarded a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the app has helped users collect more than 1 million pieces of litter to date around the world. Jeff has shared the Litterati story at Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Facebook, eBay and Uber, leading universities including Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, and the University of Michigan, and environmental organizations such as the Smithsonian, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Keep America Beautiful. Jeff is currently a resident at TED, where he continues building Litterati into an “idea worth spreading".

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Rosemary Lokhorst Living PlanIT

Rosemary Lokhorst is a writer, technology entrepreneur and award-winning game producer. During her ascending career, she has worked in several Fortune 500 companies before investing in and joining a start-up with the mission of improving quality of life through technology in urban developments, the now award-winning software company Living PlanIT. She now uses her 'techspertise' to produce content she is passionate about, focusing on impact messaging in entertainment and gaming. She is the producer and narrator of Shadow's Edge, the multiple award-winning mobile game that helps young people find their inner ninja through gameplay. Shadow’s Edge was designed specifically to build resilience in young people, giving them in-game self-help tools to gain life skills like confidence, a more positive self-identity and courage to communicate. She mentors young entrepreneurs and has been a speaker at SXSW, health and gaming conferences around the world.

Autumn McNeill EnvironmentalBAE

Autumn McNeill is the founder of EnvironmentalBAE. Ms. McNeill is a Howard University Alumna with two Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Studies and Sociology from the class of 2020. During her time at Howard University, Ms. McNeill became a member of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Delta Phi Chapter, sat on the Environmental Studies Council, was a student representative on the Howard University Accreditation Board and the Undergraduate Assistant to the Dean of COAS. Ms. McNeill has conducted research on lead and drinking water contamination in an urban setting, gentrification in residential neighborhoods of color and more. She is a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarship recipient and has been awarded for her research at multiple conferences. Ms. McNeill has interned with the Environmental Protection Agency, Ecology Society of America and other environmental organizations. In 2020-22, Ms. McNeill will be attending the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

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Savannah Miller VP of Sustainability, BetterEarth

Savannah currently serves as the Vice President of Sustainability for the sustainable foodservice packaging company, Better Earth. Prior to Better Earth, she helped non-profit organizations realize the power of film as a tool for environmental action with Exposure Labs, the Academy Award-winning film production company behind documentaries like Chasing Coral and Chasing Ice. Savannah holds a bachelors in Environmental Science and Creative Writing from Emory University and an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University's Earth Institute and School of International and Public Affairs.

 

Dr. Wallace "J" Nichols bluemind

Dr. Wallace "J" Nichols - called a “Keeper of the Sea" by GQ Magazine, “a visionary" by Outside Magazine, a "water warrior" by AQUATICS International, a "friend of the sea" by Experience Life Magazine, and "the godfather of water" by Irish Life Health - is an innovative, silo-busting, entrepreneurial scientist, movement maker, renown marine biologist, voracious Earth and idea explorer, wild water advocate, bestselling author, sought after lecturer, and fun-loving Dad. He also likes turtles (a lot). Dr. Nichols collaborates tirelessly to create the new story of water and share it with the world. This story includes the vast cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual benefits that we can all derive from healthy waters and oceans throughout our lives. In 2017 Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama presented the Champion of Change Award at the World Oceans Festival on Governor’s Island, New York to Dr. Nichols.

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Henry Pincus Founder & Director, Point Break Foundation

Henry Pincus is a philanthropist and investor based in New York City. He is the founder of the Point Break Foundation, a private foundation that is dedicated to ocean conservancy, plastic pollution reduction, and general environmental health.

 

Emma RileySr Dir of Creative Strategy, Lonely Whale

Emma Riley is the Senior Director of Creative Strategy at Lonely Whale, focused on building cross-industry and cross-culture partnerships and spearheading collaborative conservation campaigns. Her pivotal role in the development and implementation of Lonely Whale’s Strawless Ocean, a campaign that takes action against plastic pollution starting with the plastic straw, and Question How You Hydrate (targeting plastic bottles) triggered media amplification that catapulted a worldwide movement.

 

 

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Andy Romjue President, Aardvark Straws

Andy Romjue is the president of Aardvark Straws —one of Hoffmaster Group’s eco-friendly brands. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Andy shares a fresh perspective and passion for bringing convenient, sustainable and durable disposable solutions to restaurant and foodservice operations. Andy also works closely with NGOs Lonely Whale, Plastic Pollution Coalition, and more, to help educate the public about our plastic pollution crisis.

Sean Russell

Assoc Dir of Youth Engagement and Partnerships, EarthEcho International

For over a decade, Sean Russell has worked with a diverse set of non-profit organizations, corporations, and government agencies, to elevate the role of youth leadership in the fields of marine science, education, and conservation. As EarthEcho International’s Associate Director of Youth Engagement and Partnerships, Sean leads efforts to meaningfully engage youth leaders across EarthEcho’s suite of programs while fostering partnerships to grow the reach and impact of EarthEcho’s work to inspire young people to act now for a sustainable future. Additionally, Sean is the founder and director of the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit. Through this program, he works to empower young people with the knowledge, tools, and funds to launch solutions-oriented ocean conservation projects in communities across the country.

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Rachel Sarnoff

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is a communications consultant with a specific focus on plastic pollution, circular economy, and zero waste. A former journalist, Rachel founded MommyGreenest.com, appeared on the “Today Show" and "CNN Headline News” among others, and was Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World and The 5 Gyres Institute. A thought leader who connects storytelling and cause to amplify impact, Rachel’s latest TEDx talk is “Trash Is Ruining Recycling.”

Erin Schrode Turning Green & Conscious Kitchen

Erin Schrode is an activist, social entrepreneur, and writer. A leading voice on sustainability, social impact, and millennials, and vocal advocate for environmental action, public health, and equal justice, Erin ran an unprecedented campaign for US Congress in California in 2016. Since co-founding Turning Green in 2005, she has developed eco-education and action platforms to inspire, educate, and mobilize millions of students and the global public with this non-profit and beyond. After Hurricane Maria, Erin led #ChefsForPuertoRico to serve 3.7+ million meals, while investing in local, sustainable agriculture and food systems island-wide and is now driving her non-profit’s Conscious Kitchen feeding program to serve hot, organic, nutritious meals to students, elders and vulnerable populations near her home in Marin County. This bold innovator is on a lifelong journey to inspire and mobilize people to discover and activate passion for social impact and policy change.

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Hugo Tagholm Chief Executive, Surfers Against Sewage

Hugo Tagholm leads the UK-based national marine conservation and campaigning charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). The charity takes action from the beach front to the front benches of Parliament, where it unites a voice for the ocean through its Ocean Conservation All Party Parliamentary Group. It mobilises over 100,000 community beach and river clean volunteers annually and has been instrumental in helping introduce and enforce new government legislation to protect our seas.  He is an environmentalist, award-winning campaigner, surfer, charity professional and a TEDx speaker. This year he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science for his services to marine conservation by Exeter University.

Danni Washington Co-Founder, Big Blue & You

A native of Miami, FL with Jamaican heritage, Danni — who graduated in 2008 from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science with a Bachelor´s of Science degree in Marine Science/Biology — has already put her love of the sea into action in exciting ways.  At age 21, she with her mother co-founded the 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization called The Big Blue & You, which is dedicated to inspiring and educating youth about marine conservation through the arts and media.  She is also the host of the STEM educational TV Series called Xploration Nature Knows Best, which is syndicated on Fox and airs on Hulu and Amazon Prime, featuring the most current advances in bio-inspired technology and design.

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Sondra Weiss Founder, Lost Art of Love Letters

Sondra Weiss is a longtime Museum Art Educator & the founder of Lost Art of Love Letters. She engages people around the world to write creative letters on the topics of mental wellness, social justice, environmental protection & good old fashioned Love for self as well as others. She has been hired to collaborate with the UN Environment, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Ritz-Carlton & international youth as well as museum summits. She has designed many art engagement experiences in galleries locally and abroad, creating with communities, in schools, museums, summits, rehabs, shelters in both private and public spaces. She is honored to have Jean-Michel Cousteau & Jack Johnson as ambassadors for her Love Letter to the Sea project. Through her Lost Art of Love Letter project, she investigates how to ignite more caring in our world.

Kathryn Youngblood Research Engineer, UGA

As a Research Engineer at the University of Georgia New Materials Institute and the Citizen Science Director of Marine Debris Tracker, Kathryn has worked with the Jambeck Research Group for over five years studying upstream solutions to ocean plastic pollution. Debris Tracker is a global citizen science tool used to monitor and record litter in an open-access database. Every day, educational, non-profit, and scientific organizations and dedicated citizen scientists from all around the world record data on inland and marine debris with the app, resulting in over 2.5 million items tracked to date. In 2019, Kathryn traveled along the Ganges river as a member of National Geographic's Sea to Source expedition, using Debris Tracker to study the litter leakage of plastic waste in 10 communities along the river.

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OUR MISSION

Ocean Heroes empowers existing and emerging youth leaders to create their own campaigns to take action against ocean plastic pollution. The campaigns created by Ocean Heroes support the achievement of UN SDG 14.1 by 2025 and strengthen the global Clean Seas campaign goal to turn the tide on plastic.

get in touch

GENERAL / hello@oceanheroes.blue

MEDIA / ohbc@dittoepr.com

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