About Us

I wish you would use all means at your disposal—films, expeditions, the web, new submarines—to create a campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.

Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots. Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team implements communications campaigns that elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media and innovative tools like Esri ArcGIS. Mission Blue also embarks on regular oceanic expeditions that shed light on these vital ecosystems and build support for their protection. Currently, the Mission Blue alliance includes more than 200 respected ocean conservation groups and like-minded organizations, from large multinational companies to individual scientific teams doing important research. Additionally, Mission Blue supports the work of conservation NGOs that share the mission of building public support for ocean protection. With the concerted effort and passion of people and organizations around the world, Hope Spots can become a reality and form a global network of marine protected areas large enough to restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.


Board of Directors

Sylvia Earle PhD : President and Co-Chair
Sylvia Earle PhD
President and Co-Chair
Sylvia Earle is President and Chairman of Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance. She is a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, and is called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine. She is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for several corporate and non-profit organizations....
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Shari Sant Plummer :
Shari Sant Plummer
Environmental philanthropist and ocean activist Shari Sant Plummer is President and Founder of Code Blue Charitable Foundation, Secretary/Trustee of the Summit Charitable Foundation, founding board member of the Sylvia Earle Alliance, and Vice President of Seacology. Shari is also a member of the Ocean Unite and Blue Ocean Film Festival Advisory Boards, and the World Wildlife Fund’s National Council. As a member of the Smithsonian Ocean Initiative Advisory Council, Shari helped create the Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History....
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Shannon O’Leary Joy :
Shannon O’Leary Joy
Shannon O’Leary Joy is an avid ocean advocate, serving on the Board of WildAid, as well as on the Executive Committee of Mission Blue / Sylvia Earle Alliance and as Executive Director of the EarthSense Foundation....
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Linda Glover :
Linda Glover
Linda Glover has been a leader in ocean science, policy, and public outreach for decades. Her research work includes shipboard science in the North Atlantic, Caribbean and Indian Ocean, with publications in marine geology and ancient climates. She is known for translating complex scientific concepts and jargon into language accessible to the general public and has published several reference books on ocean conservation and space science....
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Robert Nixon :
Robert Nixon
Robert Nixon is an American film director, writer and lifelong conservationist. Raised in a Philadelphia suburb, he aspired to be a field biologist before taking up a career in film. His films, often focus on the battles of tribal peoples and field biologists, include Amazon Diary, America The Beautiful, The End of the Game, Fossey's War, Gorillas in the Mist, Endangered Species and Mission Blue....
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Sharon Kwok :
Sharon Kwok
Sharon Kwok was born in Hong Kong of a Chinese mother and an American father of Germanic decent. Much of her childhood was spent at Ocean Park as her father was one of the founding members. Sharon has been featured in over a dozen films. Sharon is pursuing new and challenging means of expressing her art as well as writing books to raise environmental awareness in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Over the past several years, Sharon has been playing an active role in environmental conservation, focusing especially on issues that are related to Hong Kong and China’s unsustainable exploitation of wildlife....
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Will Travis :
Will Travis
Will Travis is creative industry leader and a respected global brand builder. Over his 27 years of business, he has launched six businesses, navigated teams of 2,000 plus creatives, won hundreds of global creative awards and sold two of the world's leading and largest creative agencies (Attik and SidLee) to global multinational holding companies (Dentsu and Hakuhodo), where he took CEO roles since 1998....
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John Vermilye :
John Vermilye
John Vermilye is an Entrepreneur, Environmentalist and Philanthropist. He is Chairman of the Swiss based Gallifrey Foundation which supports marine conservation and social enterprise education. He has been active in marine conservation issues for over 40 years and was a co-founder of the Mare Nostrum Foundation with Dr. Luc Cuyvers. John’s career has been built around the airline industry and is the owner and Chairman of Travel Sentry which sets standards for the luggage and airline industry providing solutions to benefit passengers, airlines, airports and security agencies....
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Phyl Clempson : Chief Financial Officer
Phyl Clempson
Chief Financial Officer
Phyl Clempson brings thirty years of experience as a progressive business executive and entrepreneur in the private sector. Her role as Chief Financial Officer for Mission Blue includes operational and financial oversight combined with working closely with the Executive Director on multiple aspects of the organization. As a business owner, Phyl leads several multi-disciplinary teams focused on innovation, growth and above all, sustainability....
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Gabrielle Raymond McGee :
Gabrielle Raymond McGee
Gabrielle Raymond McGee is a creative marketing Executive in New York City and Philadelphia where she leads the Tory Burch Foundation as Chief Operating Officer. Under her leadership the Tory digital initiatives have become the go to resources for women entrepreneurs. Gabrielle is responsible for creating the Seed Box, a sold-out curated box featuring women-owned products, marketing the Capital program, which has deployed $50 million+ in loans for women. ...
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Dona Bertarelli :
Dona Bertarelli
Dona Bertarelli is a philanthropist, ocean advocate, and the fastest woman to sail around the world. She is the Special Adviser for the Blue Economy to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and a Patron of Nature of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and co-chair of the Bertarelli Foundation. Dona joined forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2017, continuing their long-term collaboration and forming a new partnership, the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, to advance ocean protection by working with philanthropic partners, indigenous groups, community leaders, government officials, and scientists. She founded Sails of Change with her children and husband, Yann Guichard, to shine a light on the importance of ensuring a sustainable balance between nature and people.…...
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Emeritus Directors

Jenifer Austin • Gigi Brisson • Meg Caldwell • Patty Elkus • Erik Gordon •  Daryl Hannah • John Hanke
Michael Holland • Ann Hurley • Dan Laffoley • Carl Gustaf Lundin • Ann K. Luskey • Greg MacGillivray • Jim Toomey

Our Staff

Sylvia A. Earle : President and Co-Chair
Sylvia A. Earle
President and Co-Chair
National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist,...
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Carl Gustaf Lundin : CEO and Managing Director
Carl Gustaf Lundin
CEO and Managing Director
Carl Gustaf Lundin serves as Director for the IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme. His primary responsibility is to develop the program in four areas: global coastal issues, high seas, climate change/nature-based solutions and working with marine and coastal-based industries. Before joining IUCN, he worked with the World Bank for more than 13 years....
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Laura Cassiani : Chief Advancement Officer
Laura Cassiani
Chief Advancement Officer
As Executive Director, Laura works with Mission Blue’s Board of Directors and staff to implement the strategic goals and objectives of the organization. Laura provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization's philosophy, mission, strategy, and its annual goals and objectives. She joined the foundation in September 2009 as Chief Operating Officer and most recently served as Acting Executive Director....
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Deb Castellana : Director of Strategic Partnerships
Deb Castellana
Director of Strategic Partnerships
As Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Sylvia Earle Alliance / Mission Blue, Deb is responsible for strategic planning and forming new alliance relationships to generate cooperative programs and projects to increase ocean conservation. She works with SEA's Executive Director, Board of Directors, partners and staff to ensure that results and outcomes are in accordance with the organization's mission and goals....
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Brett Loveman : Director of Communications
Brett Loveman
Director of Communications
Brett directs Mission Blue's communications program as well as shoots video for the expeditions program. As the son of an original national organizer for Earth Day, Brett grew up in a family dedicated to preserving the integrity of our environment. Brett graduated from Tufts with a degree in International Relations and has focused his career on producing communications strategy, content marketing and video production for organizations that better our planet. Having signed on over 200 Mission Blue partners since 2012, Brett continues to grow the network. Brett plays professional jazz piano and enjoys hiking and sailing in the Bay area....
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Susan Racanelli : Director of Development
Susan Racanelli
Director of Development
Susan Racanelli Susan joined the Mission Blue team in early 2019 and brings her development expertise and enthusiasm for global conservation to the organization. She holds a BA in French Language and Literature from San Jose State University and attended the Leavy School of Business at Santa Clara University. ...
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Max Bello : Advisor, Global Ocean Policy
Max Bello
Advisor, Global Ocean Policy
Maximiliano Bello is an international ocean policy expert who has worked in the environmental arena for over 2 decades to advance marine conservation priorities. He has worked for non-governmental organizations in Chile and the United States including The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oceana, World Wildlife Fund, Island Conservation and the Blue Whale Center, among others....
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Avrah Baum : Communications Strategist
Avrah Baum
Communications Strategist
As Communications Strategist, Avrah works to produce press releases announcing Hope Spot launches, creates Mission Blue's monthly newsletters and has aggregated content for Google Earth. Avrah earned a degree in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she spent much of her time exploring and reporting on the tide pools and rolling dunes of Montaña de Oro State Park, Morro Bay and Cambria. Avrah spends her free time hiking, reading and documenting the wonders of California through photography and watercolor....
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Dan Laffoley PhD : Chair, Hope Spot Council
Dan Laffoley PhD
Chair, Hope Spot Council
Dan is a well respected world leader on Marine Protected Areas and ocean conservation. Scientist, communicator and conservationist, at IUCN he works in close partnership with the Global Marine and Polar Programme in the global honorary role of Marine Vice Chair for IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, and as senior adviser for marine science and conservation. ...
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Robin Metoxen : Office Manager & Accounting
Robin Metoxen
Office Manager & Accounting
Robin's background has been in Accounting & Finance for the past 20 years as well as human resources. She decided to leave the corporate world of finance and help in any way possible for our oceans around the world, this is her passion as she has seen what effects have taken place in the ocean since she started diving twenty-three years ago....
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Charlotte Vick : Advisor
Charlotte Vick
Charlotte’s fascination with sea life began when she was in elementary school. She loved to sneak down to a quarry and lake near her home to collect what she learned were fossils. These giant white chalky versions were really big. This was her personal introduction to the history of the ocean and modern crustaceans — the brachiopods, clams, snails, and related organisms we know today....
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Carolina Dratva : Development Consultant
Carolina Dratva
Development Consultant
Caro Dratva’s greatest passion is the ocean. After falling in love with the sea as an avid scuba diver, she decided to leave the development, marketing, and graphic design roles in a major San Francisco architectural firm to completely dedicate her life to advocating for the ocean. She volunteers for several organizations such as The Marine Mammal Center, and she is also a member of Reef Check California, and GUE (Global Underwater Explorers)....
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Courtney Mattison : Special Projects Consultant
Courtney Mattison
Special Projects Consultant
With a Master of Arts in environmental studies from Brown University, Courtney has a deep understanding of marine conservation science and policy—particularly regarding coral reef ecosystems—and believes in finding creative ways to bring ocean issues above the surface to inspire conservation. Courtney joined the Mission Blue family in 2012 and today consults on special projects for the organization....
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Kip Evans : Emeritus Director of Expeditions and Photography
Kip Evans
Emeritus Director of Expeditions and Photography
Award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and explorer Kip Evans has led or participated in more than sixty expeditions throughout the world, including recent assignments in Antarctica, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, and the Galapagos Islands. In 2008 Kip joined Mission Blue as the Director of Photography and Expeditions, documenting “hope spots,” critical areas around the world’s ocean that need protection....
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Jonathan Knowles : Science and Exploration Fellow & Advisor to the Chairman
Jonathan Knowles
Science and Exploration Fellow & Advisor to the Chairman
In his role as Science and Exploration Fellow and Advisor to the Chairman, Jonathan engages broadly in Mission Blue activities from strategy to field expeditions. His expertise keeps him at the frontier of beyond the horizon technologies while providing insight on the evolving role of applied innovation to science and exploration....
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