Founder, Ocean Education & Campaigner, Whale and Dolphin Conservation
In 2015 Tharaka Sriram founded the ocean literacy initiative called “Ocean Education”, where she inspires people for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and fights for the establishment of a global network of strongly protected MPAs.
She also works as a campaigner for the world’s largest whale and dolphin conservation organization – WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation. There, she is committed to stop whaling and inform people about the “Green Whale” – the essential role of whales as the largest climate protectors and our allies against climate change.
As a linguist and political scientist, she has lived on six of the seven continents. The six languages that she speaks fluently made it easier for her to work at the UN, NGOs, ministries and institutions that focused on the issues of women’s rights, development cooperation, Youth and marine conservation.
Rebecca founded the Plastic Free July campaign in 2011 which evolved into a global movement that in 2019 empowered 250 million people across 177 countries to reduce and refuse single-use plastics.
With over 25 years’ experience in environmental and waste management, community engagement and sustainability, Rebecca has explored the problem of plastic waste through working in the waste industry, taking part in marine debris research expeditions and was one of the pioneers in the waste avoidance conversation.
From advising governments on plastic waste reform, to working with businesses and engaging with local communities, Rebecca believes we can all be part of the solution to the global waste problem and shares stories of change as an author, speaker and media spokesperson.
Vice Principal of an International School
Catherine is currently a Design and Art teacher at an International School in Japan as well as a Vice Principal and mother of two. During her time teaching, she has become increasingly aware of the issues that her students and children will face as they embrace an unknown future. Catherine hopes to find and create opportunities for herself and those around her to make this world both healthy and beautiful.
United States of America
Founder of The Last Plastic Straw
Jackie created the No Plastic Straws movement when she founded The Last Plastic Straw in 2011 as a volunteer project for Save Our Shores. The Last Plastic Straw has been a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition since 2016.
She is a part time kayak guide, full time activist, and lives in Santa Cruz, California, where she teaches people of all ages how to speak truth to plastic and be an agent for change in their communities. She has advised on more than 20 local ordinances limiting single-use food ware including plastic straws, and on the historic Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2020.
Jackie has a BS in Health and a AS in Horticulture, and has a passion for travel, ocean sports, design, gardening, the environment, and community service. Jackie is a frequent speaker at international conferences, in the press, and was featured in the award-winning documentary Straws.
Applied Equine Podiatrist
Stacey has her own company as an applied equine podiatrist and she teaches a course on equine foot function in France, Belgium and Switzerland.
She believes in life long learning. Over the last year she has taken the UNEP’s online course ‘Marine Litter’, and a course from the BirdLab at Cornell University ‘Nature Journaling and Field Sketching’. She is not afraid of the unknown, she’s changed careers 3 times, lived in 6 different cities in Canada and moved to France in 2000 where she learned to speak French at age 43. She has a social media presence (blog, instagram, FB) where she posts about Endocrine Disrupters, equality for women and how to live with less plastic. She enjoys sharing the various ways she avoids plastic in her home (DIY cosmetics, recycled cloth produce bags, tissue holders, etc.)
She currently volunteers for her local foodbank. Last fall, she helped a local fishing club with their garbage clean-up by feeding the results into a brand audit for ‘Breakfreefromplastic’. In Canada she voluteered for a grey whale research group (CERF), lead a community group for the City of Coquitlam at their Salmon Hatchery and volunteered for an environmental youth group (Lifeboat Flotilla).
Stacey’s not a spring chicken at 63, but she is excited and extremely proud to be part of the crew. She’s looking forward to her next metamorphosis.
Jemma is a Marine Scientist from Australia who is passionate about conserving and protecting ocean ecosystems, and restoring those that are damaged. Having spent plenty of time at sea conducting ecosystems research over the past 15 years, she has witnessed the marine plastics crisis worsen and a notable change in the sheer volume of plastics now in our reefs and mangroves. Jemma is also a strong advocate for seeing increasing participation of women across STEMM, but particularly in Science, and frequently presents and talks to school-aged girls about science professions and what is possible, with the hope of empowering them and motivating them to pursue a career traditionally reserved for the boys.
She spends her life on both sides of the Rhine river: on the one hand, she works at a University Hospital in France and on the other hand, she has been living in Germany for over 20 years.
Having already co-founded 2 non-profit associations dedicated to humans, now, she would like to learn more about ecology and the impact of plastic/toxic pollution through this beautiful all-women adventure-of-a-lifetime. So that, once back in Europe, she can be in a better position to have a real impact on possible solutions to reduce pollution and raise awareness within the community.
Nicky comes from the south of England and currently lives in rural West Sussex with her husband and adult daughter. She went to University in Cardiff where she gained a degree in Physics with Music and followed that with a Ph.D. in Semiconductor Physics. She then took this training into a commercial environment with an early career in sales of scientific instruments which took her to many parts of the world.
Nicky now has over 20 years’ experience as an owner and director of software companies and is currently in an exciting phase of fast growth with the latest one. As a small business owner Nicky has learned resilience in tough times, and to adapt quickly to new situations.
Outside of work Nicky is learning the art of pottery in her garage at home. She also plays violin in the Horsham Symphony Orchestra. Over the years she has often set herself big physical challenges and including taking part in two ocean yacht races (one across the Atlantic), cycling Lands End to John O’Groats and the length of Ireland.
With eXXpedition she is looking forward to flexing her scientific muscles again and to combine this with another sailing adventure. She is keen to take the opportunity to learn more about the issue of ocean plastics and to share this with her network back at home.
United States of America
Taylor is an avid scuba diver, paddler, sailor, and all-around ocean lover with a passion for conservation and science communication. She is currently based in Washington DC and leads the Plastics Initiative at the National Geographic Society, which includes conducting ‘Sea to Source’ expeditions to better understand plastic flow, composition, and load in river systems.
Taylor was born in the US, raised in the UK, and has been lucky to be able to work on ocean science and conservation around the world, including Australia, the Caribbean, South Asia, and the South Pacific. Taylor has a BA in Environmental Science with a focus on Marine Ecology from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
United States of America
Author & Editor
Brynn is a National Geographic Certified Educator and freelance author and editor for Capstone Publishers, publishing more than 120 nonfiction children’s books about Earth science, including Trash Vortex, Ocean Currents, Ocean Zones, Ocean Biomes, Sylvia Earle Ocean Explorer, Ice Sheets, Ice Caps, Glaciers, Rivers, Lakes, Groundwater, The Water Cycle, The Hydrosphere, Humans and the Hydrosphere, Sustainable Energy, and Planets for Smithsonian.
She is also a Senior Content Manager at Meredith Corporation, a national media and marketing company that publishes the top magazines in the industry. Brynn writes for Better Homes & Gardens, Martha Stewart, and Real Simple, curating content for nearly 4 million daily digital subscribers.
Brynn is an Environmental Sustainability Ambassador, partnering with local companies and nonprofits to educate the community about the ocean plastic crisis and the importance of reducing waste by eliminating single-use products. She is a member of the Iowa Environmental Council, works closely with the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, and will be partnering with the Nature Conservancy. The Des Moines Register named her one of Iowa’s People to Watch in 2020. She has been featured in newspapers and magazines and has lead podcasts and panel discussions for World Water Day and Earth Day.
Brynn has been with her husband for 16 years and they have three boys (12, 10, 7). They love to travel, hike, and explore the wilderness. They even spent a year living in Alaska, rock climbing in Denali and whale watching on Price William Sound. Brynn also enjoys yoga and running marathons.
Entrepreneur, Ethical Investor & Chartered Accountant
Jenny lives in the Redlands, Brisbane in Queensland Australia. She studied Commerce at the University of Queensland, undertook post-graduate studies at QUT & is a Chartered Accountant. This training and discipline has equipped her with an ethical analytical mind and keen problem-solving skills. Jenny utilises her corporate networks to create awareness in her community of eXXpeditions’ mission, and to inspire and influence others to #BeTheChange and #SaveOurBeesTreesSeas.
Together with her husband Neil, she invests in companies that can make a difference for our planet. In her current role as an Investor in Our Eco Clean, she has joined the #IQuitChemicals movement and is applying her skills to the company’s circular economy journey and global expansion. Working both upstream and downstream in Our Eco Cleans supply chain, she enjoys finding ways to make a difference for customers, suppliers, communities and our planet. She also sits on the Fast Moving Consumer Goods committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia.
A keen sailor, scuba-diver and kayaker, the ocean has driven Jens key decisions and has shaped her life journey. Her Great Grandmother sailed to Australia alone as a very young immigrant, her Great Aunt was a war-bride and one of her ancestors was an early Sydney-Hobart competitor….Jen has inherited their adventurous spirit! At home, she loves quality time with her supportive husband Neil (also an entrepreneur and musician) and her close family & friends. She also enjoys being a whippet-slave to a much-loved family pet, Sierra!
PhD Candidate & Community Waste Practitioner
After spending 14 years in the travel and tourism industry, in 2003, Nicole had a life-changing experience when she left Sydney for a year of travel. After seven months traversing Central and South America, Nicole arrived in the Caribbean island of Barbados. After volunteering for two months at the Barbadian environmental education non-governmental organisation, Future Centre Trust, Nicole was invited to continue her work for two more years. Two years turned into eight, with Nicole eventually leading the organisation, spending much time on solid-waste related projects including recycling.
Now Nicole’s main focus is finishing her PhD at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. Her thesis analyses the generation and management of plastic food and beverage packaging material in the context of small island developing states.
Based on her unique experience, Nicole joined WasteAid as an Associate in December 2018. WasteAid works in parts of the world where there are no or limited waste management services. Through her eXXpedition experience, Nicole plans to highlight the work of WasteAid to improve plastic management in developing countries, preventing the flow of plastics into the world’s ecosystems. Nicole thanks WasteAid for their support in promoting this journey.
Connecting her travel and sustainability passions, Nicole has also worked part-time with EarthCheck since 2014. EarthCheck is the world’s leading scientific benchmarking certification and advisory group for travel and tourism and is focused on sustainability of the industry. Nicole is grateful to EarthCheck for its financial sponsorship of her eXXpedition participation and welcomes others to join EarthCheck in this endeavour!
Nicole plans to use her wide-ranging interests, experience, and her eXXpedition research journey to change the way we value plastic, collecting and capturing it wherever possible, and to #useplasticbetter.
United States of America
Owner of a Small Inn
Ellen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies, with a focus in Marine Ecology from the University of North Carolina. In the years following she worked in Alaska as a Commercial Fisheries Biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and then as a Product Assurance Scientist for a chemical plant on the coast of Maine.
In 2017, Ellen earned her Master’s Degree in International Logistics Management from Maine Maritime Academy.
Ellen is the mother of two boys, ages 3 & 5, and has been married to Casey, a Marine Engineer, for seven years. Ellen and Casey own and operate a small seasonal inn on the coast of Maine, and are working to create a business model that is both financially and environmentally sustainable.
Ellen is passionate about art, writing, experiential learning, outdoor exploring, and all things ocean-related.
Alessandra is a global citizen since birth: an Italian, born in Germany, raised between Latin-America and Europe, currently living in Brussels. Her international upbringing instilled in her the passion for travelling and exploring different cultures and corners of the world.
After high school she travelled and worked for two years with Up with People, an international non-profit organisation, which inspires young people to take personal action to make positive change through travel, volunteering, and music.
She then studied languages and communication and obtained a masters in European studies. Alessandra has more than 15 years of international experience in communication, public relations, European affairs and project management. Currently she works as Communication Officer at the Directorate General for Climate Action of the European Commission.
She is a keen sailor and Board Member of the Sailing Club of the EU institutions. Listening to Jimmy Cornell’s stories about his sailing adventures, as well as his observations about the impact climate change is having on our oceans made her think about how she could combine her experience in communicating about the human impacts on our climate and the planet we live on with her passion for sailing. eXXpedition seemed like a great opportunity to show how every individual action can contribute to tackling global challenges.
Environmental and Safety Engineer
Tünde is an environmental process engineer and a safety engineer, interested in environmental sciences. She considers herself a global citizen, she is from Hungary but living in Austria, and is a mother of 2 kids. Tünde is passionate about protecting our beautiful planet and creating a sustainable world. She would like to use her enthusiasm and skills to explore the impact of plastic pollution, and to communicate and educate findings to different generations, to help everyone understand better how we can live a sustainable life.
Elementary School Teacher
Melissa Donich is an elementary school teacher and graduate student in Environmental Education in British Columbia. She has worked on various local initiatives across the province to prevent harmful, unnecessary plastics from entering the environment. Today, she is the founder of Drop the Plastic Society, an organization dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to the plastic pollution problem in Canada. While at sea, Melissa will be continuing her graduate studies and excited to bring inspiration, stories and research back to shore. She has a passion for the outdoors and loves being in the sun and in the water.
United States of America
Sustainable Technology Entrepreneur
With a background in biological research, project management, and entrepreneurship, Sara believes strongly in environmental conservation, sustainable fashion, and using technology for empowerment and storytelling.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sara was always drawn to the water and travels to the ocean as much as possible. One of her favourite activities includes marine conservation with her brother Michael and sister Maria as part of NOAA’s Apex Predator Cooperative Shark Tagging Program. Together, they have tagged several species of shark, including Nurse, Bull, Lemon, and Blacktip.
Sara is the currently the Managing Director for an air quality startup, Vice President of Style412, Founder of ACEing Autism Pittsburgh, and Founding Member of the International Free Expression Project. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Allegheny College and Executive Leadership Certificates from Carnegie Mellon University and Coro Center for Civic Leadership. She volunteers her time as an Animal Foster with the local Humane Society and a Mentor for emerging startups.
Business Owner / Management Consultant
Susanna is Management Consultant and Executive Coach with over 20 years of experience, working primarily in the manufacturing sector. Many of her clients are Polymer Processors and she is keen to use her experience on eXXpedition / Leg 16 to help inform upstream solutions to reduce the level of plastic content, packaging and improve the closed loop recycling practices.
Susanna has had a lifelong interest in marine life & biology and environmental sciences. Although she has limited offshore sailing experience, she is looking forward to exploring the Indian Ocean Gyre and using her first-hand experience to influence her professional and personal network to find solutions to make the world as plastic free as possible.
Susanna wishes to thank all her personal friends who supported her so generously on her crowd funding page and her Consulting Colleagues at Syngroup GmbH for sponsoring her on this journey!
I was born and raised in the remote island of Rapa Nui, my dad was a native man and he raised me with the Polynesian values of collaboration, empathy and protection for the future generation, our natural and our cultural heritage.
I love surfing and being in nature. As an islander the ocean is part of my every single day and I realise how it is being destroyed. This is something that I just can’t watch with crossed arms. I quit my job (as a Kinesiologist 4 years ago in the local hospital) and started working full time for the ocean in marine conservation in a local community NGO Te Mau O Te Vaikava O Rapa Nui (the richness of the ocean of Rapa Nui). Here I had the chance to learn more about the fragillity of the ocean, participate in national an international congresses, workshops, and programs.
Now, I’m the vice-president of Te Mau and work on a marine debris interception program in partnership with Parley and their network of collaborators.
Sustainability Business Innovation Lead
Natasha is the Global Sustainability Lead for Innovation Services and Solutions at SAP, helping customers solve some of their biggest environmental, economic and societal challenges through technology and innovation. This is in support of SAP’s vision to accelerate the move towards a restorative and regenerative economy, providing customers, NGOs, governments and partners with the tools, insights and solutions needed to eliminate waste, maximise resource productivity and transition to circular business models.
Natasha is co-leading SAP’s ambition to create a cleaner ocean by 2030, working closely with leading NGOs and producers to better enable cross-industry collaboration and transparency across the supply chain. Born in Australia and now based in London, this will be Natasha’s maiden voyage across the seas. Natasha wants to use the experience of being immersed in the plastics problem first hand to collect knowledge and insights on the accumulation of microplastics in the South Pacific Gyre. She will share this research with business as input into their efforts to tackle plastic pollution at source.
Natasha is also responsible for the execution of SAP’s sustainability strategy in their global innovation services team.
With over 12 years experience in technology, innovation and consulting for some of the world’s biggest brands, Natasha is a BA Philosophy graduate from University of Nottingham and a 2019 WACL Future Leader and alumni for the Marketing Academy.
Galapagos Science Center Researcher
Daniela Alarcon Ruales is one of the bursary recipients on eXXpedition Round the World, and a plastic researcher for the Galapagos Science Centre (GSC).
I am a conservation architect committed to finding more sustainable approaches to design and construction especially in the imaginative reuse of historic buildings and places. I was brought up in Norfolk (England). I studied in Liverpool and have lived in London for my adult life. I am a keen sailor. I learned to sail as a child and am looking forward to sailing in the Pacific.
I am seeking solutions that understand the experience of past generations and respond to the challenges and opportunities of today.
United States of America
Luxury Travel Advisor
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, the ocean was my background. I learnt to swim at a young age and have loved the water since. Australia had been environmentally aware for many years so I grew up learning how important it is to re-cycle and not pollute and this has continued into my adult years.
By the age of 10, I had an insatiable desire to travel and explore the world. Two years into an economics degree with a focus on developing countries, at the age of 19, I took off to backpack around Europe for six months by myself. Two years later, after much traveling, picking grapes in Germany and working in London, I returned to Australia to finish my degree. A year later I went to the US where I have lived in Southern California ever since.
With 3 young children, I took them traveling around the world. I wanted them to realize how beautiful our planet was and how important and necessary it was to protect. In addition, even though we all come from different parts of the world we are basically all the same and how much travel broadens our minds and perspective of the human race.
Even with my love for travel, I never expected to end up in the travel business. As a top performing Luxury Travel Advisor for Travel Edge, most of my clients are independent and active travelers. They appreciate my vast knowledge of the world and ability to plan extensive trips for them that take them out of the usual tourism element.
I was thrilled to be given the chance to go on this leg of the eXXpedition voyage around the world and to travel with such accomplished and professional women. This will be a life changing journey that I am sure will forever change the way I see our influence on this beautiful planet.
United States of America
Captain, Eco Tour Guide
A houseboat dwelling captain crazy about all things salty at the end of Hwy 1 on the quirky island of Key West. When I’m not passionately persuading my peers about switching from single use plastics to reusable alternatives you will find me in the dusty boatyard trying to build a catamaran. It’s entertaining to say the least!
Rachel is the filmmaker, who is based in Paris. She produces content like short documentaries, video clip or wedding films.She is a part of Belles Choses association, who promotes young artists.
She always have been drawn to the ocean and could watch it for hours. She became more and more aware of the plastic issues from several documentaries and readings.
Outside of work, she enjoys horse riding, climbing and wakeboarding. She is really excited to be part of the gigantic adventure!
United States of America
Environmental Non-Profit Executive
Earning a B.A. from UCLA in the Conservation of Ecosystems, and an inter-disciplinary M.A. in Environmental Leadership from Antioch University, Jenny believes firmly in doing all we can to avoid unnecessary exposures to toxins in our daily lives and in protecting our environment.
Currently serving as Executive Manager for MADE SAFE, and previously for Healthy Child Healthy World, she enjoys working at the leading-edge of environmental advocacy, education, policy building and health, most recently by producing sustainability conferences like #raisethegreenbar.
Before, during and after this unique eXXpedition adventure, Jenny plans to challenge herself to lead and educate more effectively, helping to focus the world’s attention on halting excessive plastic production and reducing toxic, marine-killing, non-biodegrading plastics in oceans and waterways.
She thanks her financial sponsor On the Day! and hopes you will support her other listed sponsors for all they do around ocean plastic research, advocacy and cleanup.
Jenny is dedicating this trip in memory of Jeremy Dossetter in order that his love of the ocean continues through her efforts. Please support his favorite charity San Francisco Surfrider, sf.surfrider.org/rise-above-plastic/
Helen is a an advocate for refugees and has spent her career working with and for refugees in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US, in remote refugee camps and in modern cities. She loves learning about the cultures and the people she is working with and has an endless curiosity about our wonderful world.
She is passionate about fighting for refugees’ rights, and in her spare time loves sailing, the ocean and the power of nature. She first learned about the shocking scope of plastic in the oceans on a sailing voyage to Antarctica, and wants to use the eXXpedition experience to learn more, to contribute to science and finding solutions as well as bringing awareness.
United States of America
Luxury Travel Advisor
Growing up a California girl, I have never lived far from the ocean. Joining the crew of the TravelEdge Exxpedition’s Antigua leg is a wonderful way for me to learn about and expand the voice for the effects of plastic waste on the ocean.
I am a mother of two, wife, and a full time luxury travel advisor. Graduating from the University of San Diego with a business degree, I started my career in sports marketing, working for the two major golf and tennis events in San Diego culminating at Cobra Golf when my first child was born. My husband’s career took us to London for five years where we lived and enjoyed the city life. Being back in San Diego and after raising two wonderful children, who are just starting their professional careers, I decided to enter the travel business full time. I am blessed to be recognized for my career achievements at Travel Edge, a growing list of wonderful clients, and the opportunities to visit and experience incredible places around the world.
With the beauty of the oceans being an integral part of many itineraries I plan for clients, I hope to take what I learn from my time with Exxpedition and share it with friends and colleagues whose services and properties feature the oceans of the world, and how we can meaningfully preserve its inherent wonders.
Head of Yacht Management Operations
Having grown up by the coast of North Holland, Stephanie’s passion for the ocean started at a young age. She has almost 10 years of experience in the yachting industry, of which she spent 2 years at sea as a crew member on a busy 50m charter yacht. She has crossed the Atlantic Ocean several times and sailed the seas in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
With a backpack full of experience, she now keeps both feet well and truly on dry land in the South of France and manages the internal operations for the Yacht Management department at Y.CO. Stephanie’s goal is to inspire everyone to make a positive impact on the health of our ocean as individuals and as a team. From this trip she hopes to have a better understanding of the issues that we are facing, to then spread awareness about what each of us can do to make a change.
Going to turtle island last year off the coast of Borneo and seeing the devastation of how plastic in the ocean and on beaches shocked me. We did a beach clean up and in 7 months of travelling was one of the most satisfying activities I undertook.
I want to explore this problem further and when I heard about eXXpedition I just knew it was something I wanted to be part of. I am passionate about gender parity and citizen science, this fitted in the sweet-spot of my interests.
At home I work for a large technology company which has pledged a 50:50 gender parity target by 2025. I am proud to work for a company with this mission. I believe in the power of women. Last year, I took part in a mixed transatlantic crossing. I was keen to see the differences in an all female crew. Sailing is still a male dominated sport and in the last 22 years, I have never sailed with only females.
I am currently looking to grow a Science for Life initiative in London, recognising that science curiosity is something to be encouraged and retained throughout your life not just at school. I am keen to take back the learnings of this citizen science from this adventure and apply my learnings to Science for Life.
United States of America
Travel Consultant & Tour Operator
Mother, wife, sailor, travel-addict, foodie, serious Francophile, lover of adventure.
Jana was born in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) in the last years of communism. She first left her country and then her former career of a photographer to dedicate her time to studying and solving environmental issues. She holds a BSc in Environmental Science and a PhD in Environment and Agrifood. She was mainly involved in measurements of nutrient and uranium pollution in river and soil systems. But her interests in sustainability brought her to independent ways of living and the desire to share her scientific knowledge with wide audience beyond the walls of academia.
Jana is currently on sabbatical, combining her scientific and photography background with her passion for exploring the world. In the past, Jana volunteered for Zoological Society of London, on an organic farm in France and at Metropolitan National Park in Panama.
United States of America
Managing Director, Fiduciary Services
Jeanne is from Seattle, Washington where she and her husband race their sailboat, Gray Wolf. She is the Captain of Sail Like A Girl, an all women’s team who competed in the Race To Alaska, a 750 mile unsupported human and wind powered adventure race from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska. In 2018 team Sail Like A Girl won the race becoming the first winning monohull and the first women’s team to win.
Jeanne has two children, Katrina, 15 and Maks, 12 and is an attorney who manages trusts and estate settlements, working with clients to define their legacy. She is passionate about the health of our oceans and is looking forward to sharing all that she learns on this important endeavor.
United States of America
Executive Director Plastic Oceans Intl
Julie is the Founder & Global Executive Director of Plastic Oceans International, working to end plastic pollution. She has worked in public health and nonprofit management internationally for the past 20 years in the US, Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and her Masters in Public Health. Julie’s career has focused on the effective communication of information to improve and safeguard human health as well as the environment against the negative effects of industrial development.
Julie was raised in San Diego where the ocean was part of her daily lifestyle as a swimmer and triathlete. When not working to protect the ocean, she is spending time with her husband and 2 sons traveling and exploring.
Paula was born in Santiago Chile and from the age 5 when she discovered a book of sea shells at her home book shelf she was extremely curious about the ocean.
The water was always a magnet for her and she was part of a synchro swimmers team, started sailing and water skiing with her friend in the lakes in the south Chile when she was a teenager and then she managed to get certified as a diver 20 years ago.
From that day on she never left the ocean and she continued exploring it through underwater photography and other diving specialties like dry suit, Nitrox, buoyancy expert until she reached her Rescue Diver certification.
When her kids were growing up she found in sailing a way to keep them connected to the place she loves and she got her license as a skipper to spend more time time close to the ocean.
She currently works as a Global Executive coach for executives for companies in several countries and in Chile helping them achieve sustainability in the workplace through enhancing peoples capabilities of performance and adaptability to change.
She is also currently training with the Chilean Navy towards obtaining enhancing her sailing skills. She enjoys everything that has to do with being in the ocean from diving and sailing to running barefoot on the beach or play with her kids and boards in the cold Pacific waves.
Olivia is a sustainable living advocate working in the often less sustainable corporate world. While studying business at university, she gained a greater understanding about how the for-profit world can both shape and protect the natural world as well as be its biggest threat. She felt compelled to work towards spreading the environmental message from within big companies, to raise awareness and change perceptions.
Olivia has always felt most at home when near the sea and has sailed in Australia.
Olivia is very excited to be taking part in eXXpedition Leg 9, collaborating with other inspirational (and incredibly knowledgable) women to raise awareness of how how visible and invisible plastic pollution is impacting upon the health of our oceans and ourselves. Equally Olivia is keen to increase her own technical knowledge of plastic pollution to practicially inform decision making on how to make it stop.
Senior Lecturer at University of Western Brittany (France) and Adjunct Researcher at James Cook University (Australia), Géraldine Le Roux teaches anthropology and art history to students from the age of 17 to 71. As an anthropologist, she is specialised on art, marine pollution and indigenous sovereignty. She has conducted many fieldwork in Australia and in the Pacific since 2005. Passionnated, she also works as a freelance curator, showcasing in France and Europe emerging artists from Pacific countries. She is currently editing a book on the artistic and semi-industrial recycling process of ghost nets.
Creative Consultant - Design/Communications
Juliana is the first Costa Rican to join eXXpedition, she is a professional in the field of design and creativity, an avid diver and conservationist. She has oriented her personal and professional life to use art, design and targeted communications as tools to positively influence human behaviour for the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans.
After spending 10 years focused on graphic design and visual communications in Costa Rica, Juliana combined those skills with her passion for marine conservation by graduating with an MA in Sustainable Natural Resource Management.
She had the opportunity to develop as a creative in the world of marine conservation as part of the team of The Reef-World Foundation in the Philippines, where she worked as the Communications Manager for four years and currently as Creative Consultant. Reef-World is a UK charity that works as the international coordinator of the UN Environment’s Green Fins initiative, which focuses on driving environmentally friendly scuba diving and snorkelling practices across the industry globally.
For the last four years, she’s worked to develop a behavioural design approach to marine conservation, uniting creativity with conservation. As part of this work she conducted a complete brand overhaul to enhance Reef-World’s and Green Fins’ communications; supported training and capacity building for Green Fins in the Philippines and Palau; developed, designed and implemented all campaigns for the organization; amongst many other tasks.
Rachel is an emergency doctor living in Devon. When not at work Rachel lives for being by, in or on the sea.
Born and raised near London, Rachel was brought up with a thirst for adventure and the outdoors, and has gone on to become a hiking, camping, sailing doctor living by the beach. She sees firsthand the impact of plastic in our oceans washing up on the beaches every day when out wild swimming or sailing and aims to raise awareness and contribute to researching the scale of the problem.
Environmental Science Engagement
Mo Langmuir is an aspiring socio-ecological researcher and environmentalist based in the UK. She is currently working with a conservation NGO in Malta.
In 2016, her undergraduate research was the first study on microplastic pollution in UK mussel farms, highlighting the link between marine plastics and health via the human food chain. Since then Mo has participated in marine litter research in South Africa, facilitated science workshops on plastic pollution and delivered lifestyle workshops and talks on the matter. She believes plastic pollution is a social issue as much as an environmental one.
Mo has always lived in big cities but was lucky to have grandparents in the Peak District and Scottish Highlands. These were Narnia. She now works on projects to engage young people with science and the natural world. She is an advocate for citizen science and its role in making science more accessible, inclusive and impactful. Mo has been running her own citizen science project to map Nottingham’s urban greening with giant helium balloons and young people which was exhibited in a public gallery last month. The silos of science and art need to be bridged which is why the interdisciplinary aspect of the voyage is so exciting!
United States of America
Breezy is an ocean scientist by education, and mariner, educator, and entrepreneur by trade. After serving four years in the United States Coast Guard, she attended the University of Rhode Island, studying geology and geological oceanography, marine biology, and underwater archaeology.
A licensed boat captain, Breezy serves as the captain of several vessels from research, fishing, diving and service support, to eco-tourism. She is the Technical Director of an amateur sailing team, and instructs snowboarding, scuba diving, and boating. Breezy is not only a member of the Explorers Club and a Fellow at the Royal Geographical Society, she is also a member of the Sedna Epic Expedition, an all female team of sea women, planning on completing a historic snorkel relay of the Northwest passage.
Breezy uses her unique combinations of knowledge and experience to relay knowledge of what she sees at sea, whether it be disappearing sea ice and stress to the wildlife, to plastic pollution found everywhere. To help relay her message and inspire the next generation, she is the founder of Scientists are Superheroes too, which is to help change the scientist stereotype, and focuses on getting children to go outside, explore, and play sports, engaging and empowering youth to climate actions, and promote healthy and environmentally sustainable lifestyles. She also is the founder of Eco-Elders, which promotes connecting generations, creating a knowledge exchange focusing on [home] maker skills, aimed at reducing and reusing habits to combat our ocean plastics problem.
Hazardous Waste Management
Raised on the shores of the Mediterrannean and sailing every summer IMOGEN has a wealth of experience in the environmental industry that extends to many worldwide locations. She has relentlessly pursued a career related to waste minimisation and site remediation of hazardous chemicals and other pollutants mainly in Africa and the Middle East. She has a keen interest and involvement in protecting and improving the environment as well as enforcing security for the people that live in proximity to contaminated or high-risk sites.
She is an MSc student in environmental toxicology and pollution control focusing on the behaviour of contaminants in water, air and soil and the evolving legislative controls on environmental contaminants.
A scientist, outdoor enthusiast, adventurer, Derya (meaning ‘sea’ or ‘ocean’) has worked as a geologist in remote and rugged conditions all over the world. Her research evolves around the reconstruction of Earth’s ancient oceanic lithosphere from the sparse geologic record preserved in mountain ranges. Derya’s biography is intimately linked to the sea.
She studied marine science and ultimately Earth Sciences. Driven by curiosity in the world that surrounds us and her personal motivation, Derya wants to use her expertise as Earth Scientist and educator to contribute to a cause that affects us all.
Independent Consultant - Marine, Coasts and Climate Change.
Emma has lived and worked around the marine environment all her life, as a scientist, coastal adaptation and resilience she brings expertise in oceanography and conducting engagement with policy makers internationally.
As a keen surfer and diver, Emma sees the damage on a daily basis. She hopes her volunteered time to collect samples and data desperately needed to support that change, reversing the dumpsite approach to waste management that curses our global oceans.
She runs her own business from Plymouth, Devon. Resilient Coasts provides technical expertise in coastal defence through adaptation and resilience approaches under climatic change, typically in the most vulnerable of the world’s communities. Emma hopes to network with the carefully selected team to enable change through innovation and technology.
Superyacht Charter Broker
Caroline lives in Mallorca and works as a superyacht charter broker. Having lived on a yacht for 7 years sailing all around the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Pacific and Indonesia, Caroline has seen first-hand the increasing effects of environmental pollution on our marine environment.
Combining a degree in Biological Sciences from Oxford University where she majored in environmental ethics and animal behavior, and her platform within the Superyacht industry, Caroline hopes to raise awareness of this growing problem in the marine industry and encourage prominent companies and figures in the industry to help effect regulatory changes to combat these problems.
Grown in the french countryside, raised by an organic winemaker and single mom, Claire is both passionate about environmental issues and women empowerment.
Illustrator, graphic designer, traveller, and master of sociology, she first heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch during her master degree of environmental sociology in Lisbon. As an artist, she is fascinated by the variety and the beauty of marine creatures, from the tiny plankton to the majestic whale.
She hopes to raise awareness about plastic pollution and why oceans are so important for our survival as a species through her art.
Philippa Grundy is 23 years old. Since graduating from Edinburgh University in May of 2018 with a degree in Social Anthropology and Social Policy, she has been working out in the Mediterranean as a flotilla skipper.
She has a passion for all things to do with the seas and sailing and therefore is incredibly invested in trying to tackle the ocean plastics crisis. Wanting to continue to work in the Maritime field she has an interest in making it as eco-friendly and plastic-free as possible.
Vinuri has always been drawn to the ocean and water since she was young. She has engaged in all water sports in school which includes swimming, rowing and water polo. Now, she is a 4th year Uni student studying her honours degree in Bachelor of Science- Marine Biology at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka and moved to Australia for her studies. As a dual citizen of both countries she wanted to tackle the oceanic plastic issue in both her countries to her best ability. Therefore she decided to investigate microplastics in small filter feeding fish in Sri Lanka and Australia for her honours year research project. Through the dramatic and scary results she has been finding, she wants to raise awareness and try and reduce the oceanic plastic problem in both her countries.
She decided to be apart of the eXXpedition crew to help solve the global oceanic plastic issue and contribute to this vital journey.
Chair Surfrider Foundation Australia (Voluntary); International Flight Attendant / Qantas Airways (Part Time); Director of Planet Childcare
“I believe that we all live downstream and whatever actions we take now to protect our oceans, will benefit future generations. We are all one ocean and every positive action that we do will ripple out in a positive way”.
Susie is an environmentalist, mother and the first female Chair of the Surfrider Foundation Australia. Her role at Surfrider is in a voluntary capacity as she has a strong passion for protecting and conserving Australia’s oceans, waves and beaches. Her day jobs include being an international Flight Attendant and also a Director of a Preschool that she built for her children 22 years ago. Susie sits on three ‘not for profit’ environmental boards and spends her spare time organising beach cleans, campaigning for the ocean, and organising events that involve educating the community about keeping our oceans clean and preserving marine ecosystems. Susie enjoys connecting with like minded people and presenting at conferences.
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Paige is currently the Program Manager for Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana, an ocean conservation organization that engages, educates and activates the sailing and boating community to restore ocean health. True to her title of “Jill of all Trades”, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Arts degree in International Development & Social Change, with a concentration in Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation.
While in undergrad, she completed a project with a Maori community in New Zealand, where she grew to embody the ethos that humans are the protectors and guardians of the natural environment. Acutely aware of the impacts that climate change and plastic pollution are having on coastal communities, both in her hometown and around the world, Paige approaches these challenges with an optimistic embrace, leveraging youth voices to drive change.
On the job, Margo is a highly motivated Associate Scientist with extensive quality and analytical experience in food, flavour and fragrance manufacturing, consultancy and environmental sectors. She has proven skills in managing teams, organising work flow and analytical testing with a record of achievement in implementation of strategic continuous improvement projects and delivery of outstanding cost and time savings. A dependable, hardworking, flexible team player.
She is looking forward to being a more informed ambassador with regard to marine pollution and is motivated to raise awareness and participate in seeking solutions. Her motivation stems from a lifetime love affair with the sea, boats and all things nautical. She recently completed her Coastal Navigation course and received her Day Skipper certificate in sailing. Margo is eagerly looking forward to sailing with the eXXpedition crew on Leg 9.
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Animal Care Expert
Nicole is an environmentalist at heart. Her passion for conservation efforts around the world is what drives her to act in raising awareness and to create global change. A love for the ocean at an early age brought her to San Diego working with marine mammals in a free release setting. Her most cherished experienced was in San Felipe, Mexico assisting with the efforts to save the critically endangered Vaquita Porpoise. It was with this experience that she grew a desire to dive deeper into conservation efforts and human-environment interactions.
As a volunteer for Global Conservation Force she coordinates environment and ecology projects that will bring awareness to the effects that plastics have on marine life. Her love for travel has helped her see firsthand the effects for pollution around the world and reinforces the need for global change. With a degree in Sustainability and Organizational Leadership Nicole is thrilled to share her knowledge and ideas with the world and to create a positive change.
Maureen is a PhD researcher at the Center for International Crisis and Conflict Studies (CECRI) and a teaching assistant in International Relations at the catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium. Her PhD thesis is focusing on transboundary hydro-politics, water security and cooperation. Lately, she has been working more specifically on environmental security and gender. She is also a member of Louvain4Water, a multidisciplinary research platform for developing fundamental and applied research activities, advanced training programs and services related to water. Through the eXXpedition project, she intends to bring the issue of ocean plastic pollution on the agenda of the platform. Moreover, Maureen is the co-founder of the non-profit association Les Sous-Entendues, which aims at promoting feminine visibility in the European Union. She hopes to spread the message and the work of the eXXpedition team to women and girls all to inspire them to address ocean plastic pollution.
Having lived along coastlines in several countries such as Australia, Mexico, Ecuador, or the U.S., Maureen has developed a strong love for the ocean and its marine life. Roaming around the globe, she has surfed some of its waves and has a PADI rescue diver certification.
Circular Economy Advisor
Kristine [M. Berg] works with upstream solutions to the issues of litter and ocean plastic. She is a Circular Economy Advisor at TOMRA, which is the leading provider of technology-led solutions that optimize resource recovery in the food, recycling and mining industries.
Kristine grew up by and out on the deep Norwegian fjords, but she has also lived on the tropical islands of Hawaii and Bali where she experienced first-hand the devastating impact of plastic pollution. Following her degree in Industrial Ecology, and having studied particularly human impacts on the environment, her passion for the ocean turned into a passion for sustainable infrastructure on land to make sure plastic does not end up in the ocean in the first place. Working in the recycling industry, Kristine shares her experience from eXXpedition North Pacific 2018 to inspire active change within and beyond the industry – advocating for upstream solutions, circular economy and change of mindset to tackle plastic pollution.
Science Communicator and Model
Laura Wells is an Environmentalist, presenter and one of Australia’s top curvy models. Holding degrees in both Biology and Law, qualifications in Environmental management systems and currently studying a Diploma of Paramedical Science; Laura’s passion for the environment, love for the ocean and interest in facilitating climate change action has led her to become a positive role model, advocate and ambassador for change.
Laura is currently presenting shows for National Geographic and working with environmental organisations and corporations to promote sustainable and ethical choices.
Laura believes in the importance of educating people not only on the issues, but focusing on solutions, to empower individuals to create change. Whether this be in their personal sphere around the relationship with their body and who they are, or the impact their actions have on the environment; fostering behavioural change can facilitate improvements in environmental and human health simultaneously.
Fade is an internationally renowned tattoo artist who has tattooed worldwide and runs her own tattoo studio in Brighton, England. She’s the only European tattoo artist trained in the ancient art of hand tap tattooing which she learnt whilst living with tribes in the jungles of Borneo and West Sumatra.
Her career has been the focus of multiple articles and features in the tattoo press including the magazines; Skin Deep, Tattoo Master, Total Tattoo and Skin Shots. She has experience in television and radio interviews and documenting tattooing. She’s been the subject of a short film by Emmy award winners Ember films as well as self directing and producing a book and documentary on tattoo anthropology in tribal cultures.
She is a passionate tattoo anthropologist and a freelance writer for the UK’s best selling tattoo magazines, SkinDeep and Total Tattoo. Her ambition now is to focus on directing a feature-length documentary about tattoo anthropology, tattooing and preservation of indigenous cultures, the rainforest and tattoo heritage in the Mentawai islands and the Pacific ocean crossing between Easter Island and Tahiti combating plastic pollution with eXXpedition.
She spends time every year working with the charity, Sea Shepherd fund raising for their direct action on ocean conservation and she volunteers with ‘Assisting Your Life to Achieve’ in Australia, fundraising and covering scars for their mental health projects.
Bonita was born and raised in London and worked in finance. She learnt to scuba dive and for many years dived in the English Channel and abroad, and because of her fascination with the underwater world, became a dive instructor so that she could share her passion and make people aware of the delicate ecosystem. Due to her love of the water she also learnt to sail.
As a Paramedic she has a focussed awareness of our health issues and through documentaries has become very aware how plastic pollution is affecting an environment she loves.
Bonita now wants to raise awareness and inspire future generations to protect our planet.
Bonita is elated to be part of a team of passionate women who want to make a difference through research and collaboration on the detrimental effects that plastic is having on our oceans, wildlife and our health.
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Professor of Science Education
Raised in Las Vegas and Bermuda and currently a science education professor at the University at Buffalo, Alexandra is excited to represent her communities on this voyage!
She’s a parent of two great children and a lover of oceans and freshwater. In her work, she teaches environmental and science education and research youth participation in citizen science.
Outside of work, Alexandra enjoys kitesurfing and cycling.
United States of America
Community Engagement Coordinator
Growing up in the Ocean State (Rhode Island, USA) Sasha has never lived far from the water. Thankfully! Raised by a nature-loving single mother, their vacations were all affordable camping, beach days, or visits to local parks and zoos. This inspired Sasha to become a Zookeeper.
After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in 2007 and interning at the Bronx Zoo, she began her career in animal care and public education. In 2012, she moved to the island of Galveston, Texas. Being a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, her new home inspired her once again to protect our world’s oceans. She has cared for Beluga whales, seals, sea lions, penguins, tigers, parrots, birds of prey, sloths, and more while connecting people to these species in real life. Through the zoo and aquarium field, she has been able to educate thousands of guests about the growing threats animals face in the wild while also participating in ongoing research and conservation initiatives.
As a Biologist, and now in Administration, at Moody Gardens biological park, she has been able to continue to inspire people with nature and participate in conservation projects and local preservation efforts. As a local yoga instructor, she has also found a way to link our empathy for the environment to mental and physical health.
United States of America
Her mother called her bossy growing up and Jessica ended up being quite the boss – yelling at the number 1 rowing team in America in both juniors and masters rowing. She was a prodigy child/Mensa invited child then decided to ditch University to travel.
She is Californian-born but has lived in London for about 16 years. She worked at an orphanage in Nepal, started a women’s empowerment series called the Woman’s Crush Wednesday Club and single-handedly started her own lifestyle PR agency in London which won a PR Agency of the Year Award called JPR Media Group.
She was impressed by eXXpedition founder Emily Penn and she is honoured to be accepted on this important mission to fight the plastic. She can’t wait to learn from all the other intelligent, inspirational women on this voyage.
Camila is Brazilian by birth, Italian by blood and world citizen by heart. Currently living in the Caribbean island of Curacao, in where she found her peace close to the ocean.
She is a Process Engineer, working in the Pharmaceutical sector. Besides her daily job, she’s a member of the company’s sustainability team and her role is to work on measures to improve their sustainable culture.
When she is not at work, you can find her practicing yoga by the beach or you can find her at the sea: sailing, diving, swimming, snorkeling, volunteering for the Coral Restoration Foundation, for the Curacao Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation or for the sea scouting helping with sailing lessons for the community kids.
SVP Global Ocean Freight - Trade Management
Born and raised at the Baltic coastline in Germany, the element of water created fascination from an early age : swimming, rowing, diving, surfing and sailing have been favorites ever since. Not a surprise that also her professional career had to be related to Ocean Freight.
It was during extensive travel around the globe as well as during her several years living in China and Southeast Asia that she has become deeply aware about the sheer amount of plastic in the Ocean and consequences in the environment from toxic pollution.
Anja is passionate about raising the awareness level about plastic and toxic pollution and to motivate for solutions. Her leadership role in the ocean logistic industry provides a solid platform to reach out to various stakeholders and stimulate the topic. Anja is married with two sons. Her family backs up her project and is keen seeing her on this female adventure.
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Communications and Marketing Consultant
Stefanie Spear works with people and organizations leading the charge for change. She has more than 30 years experience as an entrepreneur and leader in the grassroots environmental movement with a special focus on communications + marketing. She is the founder of EcoWatch, Expedite Renewable Energy and Stellar Consulting. Her main focus throughout her career has been uniting + amplifying the voices of the grassroots movement to mobilize millions of people to engage on the most important issues impacting people and planet, including the devastating environmental and health impacts of single-use plastics.
When Stefanie is not working, she’s likely paddleboarding her beloved Lake Erie or some other body of water.
Born in midlands Ireland, Claire didn’t grow up with much exposure to or experience of the sea. That all changed in 2014, when an idle pub conversation with her partner got out of hand… and they bought a boat. Two short years later she found herself immersed in a wholly new experience – as an amateur diesel mechanic in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! The couple successfully completed a 9 month North-Atlantic circumnavigation via the Caribbean, and ever since, Claire has been hooked on the sea.
As a contemporary artist, Claire investigates the structures that connect us to the world and each other, and makes work that reflects on themes of connection and collaboration. Having directly witnessed the prevalence of plastic debris in the most offshore regions of the Atlantic, the eXXpedition Round the World mission sparked an interest to do more. This voyage will inform a new body of research in which Claire will explore the symbolic role of the Ocean in our collective cultural psyche, as a means to investigate how ocean pollution may be causing psychological as well as environmental harm.
Alice is the Founder of The Lowdown – www.theldown.com – the world’s first review platform for contraception. She is based in London and has worked in the media and digital product development for the past eight years.
Alice built The Lowdown when she realised she couldn’t find user-based data on women’s experiences and side effects from contraception at scale, anywhere. So, she decided to do something about it and create the ‘Trip Advisor for contraception’. The site launched in Feb 2019 has already received thousands of anonymous reviews, and coverage from The Times, Stylist magazine, Marie Claire and Radio 1.
A fierce advocate for women’s health, Alice wants to use her eXXpedition experience to understand the impact of endocrine disruptors on our reproductive health – and leverage The Lowdown community to spread the word to others.
Whether it’s sailing, surfing or scuba diving, Alice absolutely loves the ocean and can’t wait to challenge herself and become better informed about the issue of plastic pollution through this experience.
Food Security Manager and Sustainability Teacher
Katlin was born and raised in Toowoomba, Australia. She studied at the University of Queensland and gained a dual degree in Economics and Geography.
She currently lives and works in the Bahamas at a not-for-profit called The Island School. This school offers high school students a semester abroad where they learn outside of the normal classroom. They join research projects, study marine ecology while scuba diving and explore nature through camping expeditions. Her role within this organization is to lead a research class and she is also the Food Security Manager. She oversees the operations of the aquaponics system, permaculture farm and runs the local farmers project. Their goal is to help reinvigorate agriculture within the Bahamas to help support the local economy, reduce our carbon footprint and allow fresh local produce to be more affordable.
She is also currently working towards obtaining her dive master certification and love anything in the ocean such as freediving, kayaking and boating. The ocean is her happy place and something she is very passionate about protecting.
Irina Maria Peterson is the “Ocean Amazon” – a passionate sailor and nature lover. She is co-founder and CEO of “Broth By Design” (www.brothbydesign), a successful nutritional supplements women founded business in United States, dedicated to making wellbeing and quality nutrition available to everyone.
Via her Ocean Amazon platform, Irina Maria Peterson raises awareness of the fragility of our marine life, the oceans role in regulating climate and therefore the impact on our lives. Another goal is to inspire women to love and navigate the oceans, having an important presence in the sailing world and pivotal role as global agents of change.
Irina will be the only representative of the Principality of Monaco on-board eXXpedition voyages and she is extremely proud and honoured by the support of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Irina is an ambassador of eXXpedition, Passion Sea and Oceano Scientific Research.
Her love for the oceans was ignited in childhood, when she discovered Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s documentaries. Despite a tiny black and white TV at home, she was mesmerized by the underwater “Silent World”. The legendary explorer became an inspiration and growing up, Irina went on to dive and sail in many diverse places and her love for the ocean grew immensely! And for this gift, Irina will be forever grateful and it is now time to pay it forward!
Irina hopes that her Ocean Amazon documentary will be able to inspire younger generations to love and protect our oceans and the environment in general.
Here is the way Irina describes herself and her motivation “I am an imperfect human, an imperfect activist. But I am learning and I am promising that I’m going to continue to try my best! I truly believe that what the world needs right now is not a handful of perfect people being the perfect solution! We need 7.5 billion people, imperfect like me and you, willing to try our best each day: when we can, how we can, where we can and in all the ways we can to take more responsibility for our actions that impact the environment.”
Irina wishes to thank from all her heart to each one of you who made her journey possible and to her partners:
– Prince Albert II Monaco Foundation
– Yacht Club of Monaco
– Monaco Impact
– Gustavia Yacht Club
– Broth By Design
You may follow Irina’s voyage and mission on:
Carry is the founder and Global Operations Director of Fashion Revolution, a a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. Inspired to act after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, Fashion Revolution is now the world’s largest fashion movement with teams in over 100 countries and millions of people participating each year.
Previously, Carry set up her multi-award winning fashion brand Pachacuti in 1992 after a Masters in Native American Studies. Pachacuti pioneered radical supply chain transparency and was the world’s first Fair Trade Certified company. Earlier this year, Lyst named her as one of the 8 Sustainable Icons Revolutionising the Fashion World, alongside names such as Emma Watson, Stella McCartney and Meghan Markle.
Carry learned to sail on the J-Class yacht Velsheda and has sailed square riggers on the Tall Ships Race and a transatlantic voyage. Carry will use her experience to feed into Fashion Revolution’s 2020 campaign which will focus on the unseen impacts of the industry, such as micofibre pollution.
Manufacturer and Bubbler in Chief at Dr Zigs
Day to day, Paola runs Dr Zigs Extraordinary Bubbles. She is a toy manufacturer making the most eco and ethical bubble toys in the world. Her background has been both varied and eclectic – and all of it has helped her become the person she is today.
Born in Italy, she left home at 17. She worked as an interpreter, a market-researcher, a theatre technician in the most famous theatres in London, a professional sailor, a marine biologist, an artist, a boat builder, an ethnographer. She is dyslexic and this led to her only finding the confidence to go to University after her first two children were born, and undertook her degree in Sustainable Tourism, and her Masters in Marine Conservation whilst a single parent.
Her life has been dedicated to activism, adventure with a passion for the environment and human rights. She has sailed across the Atlantic, she worked with an indigenous tribe in the rainforests of Central America – with her children in tow.
For the past 8 years she has run Dr Zigs, from a kitchen table start up – all thanks to her youngest son Ziggy who used to get crazy giggling fits when he saw bubbles – to where it is today, an award winning company recognised for its sustainable approach to business and as manufactures producing some of the highest quality and most eco-friendly, low plastic, palm-oil free, bubbles in the whole world.
As part of Dr Zigs she runs Bubbles Not Bombs – through this she works with refugees, collects and ships aid, and campaigns against the arms trade and for climate justice.
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Ky Delaney is a writer, lawyer, mother, adventurer, and environmentalist. She’s currently writing her first book, AFLOAT, about becoming a skipper to take her four-year-old son sailing in the Caribbean, and collecting water samples for a microplastics study along the way.
She lives in the mountains of North Carolina where she explores whitewater rivers with her son.
A cheerful fitness enthusiast, born and raised in Dublin Ireland, Hilary is a doctor by profession. She first studied for a B Sc in biochemistry at UCD in Ireland before moving to the UK in 2007 to study medicine at Manchester University. With this as her background, it may be understandable that promoting the role of women in STEM careers has a place very close to her heart.
She is also incredibly passionate about conservation and re-wilding, and she’s been so saddened by the tragedy of the climate crisis and our polluted ecosystems that is unfolding before our eyes. Living by the sea in Brighton in the UK brings the problem to her door every day, and she spends much of her time there supporting small, local and independent businesses who allow people to shop sustainably, as plastic and packaging free as possible.
She feels both honoured and excited to be able to share an incredibly powerful experience with a group of inspiring women from all over the globe, which will contribute to humanity’s deeper scientific understanding of the threat that plastic pollution poses to our world.
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Biologist, Project Manager and Mother
Julie considers herself a mother and activist. She strives daily to advocate for the vulnerable and under served populations and the effects of plastic pollution in all stages of its “life-cycle” affects the entire planet. She was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska USA. She received a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and Phylogenetics but gave up the lab life to work managing research laboratory spaces at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Growing up on the Great Plains, she adored the vast oceans of prairies but when she traveled to the actual ocean for the first time at age 19, she was forever drawn to its power. The ocean is the terminus to all land based activity and she wants to protect it by gaining the tools to positively influence others to do the same.
A world-traveller from birth, Stav fell in love with sea turtles while volunteering in Costa Rica in 2008. She went on to obtain a degree in marine biology and pursue a wide variety of work surrounding endangered species protection, plastic pollution management and environmental education.
In 2018, after working with rural fishing communities in the Philippines for a year, Stav moved to Israel and started Plastic Free Israel: a grassroots movement harnessing the power of social media to educate, motivate and inspire others to act against plastic pollution. Later that year, she moved to London to pursue a Master’s in Climate Change, and began her (ongoing) research in atmospheric microplastic pollution.
Stav has always been an avid writer, blogging about her travels and using poetry and spoken word as an outlet for communicating difficult environmental issues. She hopes to keep
Writer and Producer
Sally grew up in a mining town in the red desert of Western Australia and it took half her lifetime for her to discover her love and affinity for the ocean but she hasn’t looked back since. An occasional sailor, a qualified deckie, an AOW diver and an adventurer plotting to buy her next boat, she is based in Sydney but travels regularly for her day job.
Sally is an award-winning independent content creator and TV producer, making documentaries and children’s factual and comedy-drama. Her most recent projects have focused on delivering entertaining shows for 9-14 year olds that encourage discussion on sustainable living, climate change, caring for the oceans and taking action to save the planet. Her now adult son lives with his partner in Bologna, Italy.
Outdoor and Environmental Educator
As a teenager Louise sailed on a tall ship across the channel and loved the experience. This gave her an interest in sailing that she is keen to continue. She has worked with a lot of children and supported many families in her career so far and has always had an interest in outdoor play and learning, particularly how children’s behaviour and development can be impacted by being outside.
In the last few years she has become acutely aware of the rubbish and pollution in the local environment as well as the scale of the global problem. During local beach cleans she is always shocked at the amount of micro plastics and old plastic items that we find. She feels strongly that we have a responsibility to find solutions to this problem for the next generations and believes that one person can be the catalyst for change, with the right support.
She started her own outdoor play and education business in 2016 with the aim of nurturing a love of the outdoors and a connection with the environment. This is why she got involved with the Cleaner Coastlines and Plastic Free Communities campaigns to help spread the message and help people (including herself) to make small changes. She is passionate about the environment and helping children to understand how to live alongside and look after our world.
She studied Early Childhood Studies and then Child and Adolescent Studies to degree level and also has qualifications in forest school.
Rachael is an honours student with a bachelor in environmental management. Her dream is to make food systems sustainable and reduce our impact on this earth.
Rachael recently relocated to Far North Queensland to live near the reef and explore more of this beautiful country while spreading awareness on a sustainable, low to zero waste lifestyle!
Ella is an activist who has been campaigning since early 2018 to eliminate all plastic from menstrual products. Her campaign is going from strength to strength with supermarkets and manufacturers starting to listen and make significant changes.
Ella has learnt so much about plastic pollution during this time and is determined to find out more about where it comes from, the negative impacts it has and what we can do to eradicate it. She is dedicated to raising awareness of this issue and is passionate about making positive change happen for people and the planet.
Ella is thrilled to be joining the eXXpedition crew and looks forward to the challenges and experiences ahead.
Eliana is the kind of person who believes we can all make a difference with our actions and positive change.
She was born in Porto, and it was in Portugal that she lived most of her life, where she first paid attention to this problem. She completed her masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2013 and her concern for public health and the toxic effects of micro plastics in our body are increasingly manifesting itself.
Besides her interest in science, research, nature and all living things, she recently discovered a new passion: scuba diving. Her passion for diving strengthened her relationship with the ocean and she wants to understand more about it. Since she is living in Macau, China, she took a dip in the Pacific and Indian Ocean and from that moment on she saw the magnitude of the problem of plastic pollution, becoming aware of how it affects marine life, like sea turtles, fishes, whales, coral reefs and countless other marine species and habitats.
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Cory is a natural light photographer, wife of nearly 10 years and mom to 3 little ones (ages 7, 4 and 10 months). She was born in a small town in Southern Vermont, where she grew up in the house her great-great grandparents had built. She landed in Charleston in 2006 and it is the only place since leaving Vermont that has felt like home to her.
She loves spending time with her family, boat rides, the beach, hitting up local farmers markets and mostly just being together. She also has 2 rescue doodles, a kitten, a bunny and 4 chickens. There is no shortage of excitement around her house, that’s for sure!
Britt Buirs is a marine biologist and artist with a passion for protecting the wild spaces of our Earth. She resides in a small rural town surrounded by the sea, where she has managed a citizen science microplastic study.
Britt anticipates this expedition to be equally difficult and inspiring as she witness first hand the impact of plastic pollution in a different part of the world. She looks forward to working together with a group of like-minded women on solutions to the problem.
Founder of Meaningful Recruitment
As founder of Meaningful Recruitment Katie connects with amazing individuals and organisations that are striving to make a positive social impact in our world. She provides career coaching to help them achieve their aspirations and runs campaigns to help organisations find the talent to help them achieve their visions and solutions that will benefit our communities and our planet.
The plastic crisis comes up time and time again with her clients and through her podcasts and time on the radio, much interest is being raised from her followers on how they can contribute to the solutions. She’s so passionate about bringing about change to rid our oceans of plastic that she’s travelled to Norway and connected with people such as Boyan Slat’s team of Ocean Cleanup in San Francisco.
Sustainable Brand & Packaging Consultant
Pippa is the founder of philo & co, a Sustainable Brand & Packaging Consultancy based in Sydney. She holds a BSc in Product Design and has more than 9 years experience within the creative industry. Pip is driven by the power of design to help re-define ‘business as usual’ and create a more resource efficient economy.
“I believe the answer lies within a Circular Economy and closed loop design, we simply cannot continue consuming at our current trajectory. We have seen for too long the grave consequences it is having on the natural world our existence depends upon.”
Pip plays an active role within her community to help educate and inspire change, she is a mentor to openIDEO and an advisor to Plastic Free Bondi.
“I’m really looking forward to working with my fellow crew on board the eXXpedition vessel and better understanding how we can utilise our scientific findings to fuel innovation in up stream solutions.”
Weinakademiker, Environmental Engineer
Eva grew up in Hungary, lived in Italy, Spain and in the UK, currently based in Cairns, Australia. She is a Weinakademiker, WSET Diploma holder, environmental engineer, equestrienne and ocean-lover. Spent most of her early years on boats due to her dad’s passion for the water.
She is passionate about travelling and experiencing different cultures, about sustainability and biodiversity, and about teaching people how to build better habits into their days to live a more fulfilled and happy life in balance with their environment.
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Before starting FinalStraw, Emma earned her master’s degree in environmental management and sustainability at Harvard. She spent four years in the Pollution Prevention Department at Los Alamos National Laboratory, working to reduce the Lab’s waste.
Emma lives in Santa Barbara, California with her dog Burrita and her spirit animal is a cuttlefish.
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Judith was born and grew up in Southern California, USA. She spent the majority of her life living near the Pacific coastline of Santa Monica and Ventura beaches. She has always been interested in science and biology in particular. She received a degree in microbiology and has taught science for over 30 years.
She is currently teaching at an elementary school of Environmental Science in Ventura, California. Besides travelling, her interests include sailing, hiking, skiing, beekeeping, and environmental issues.
She finds it exciting to explore different parts of our planet. Each new experience with people, cultures, and the sheer beauty of our world makes her want to help fix this plastic dependency problem. Hopefully sharing her adventure of this expedition with her students will create a spark in them to care about our environment and be brave enough to go out there, take action, and share with others. Teaching them to rethink how they use plastic in their life and what impact it has on our ocean environment and ultimately themselves and their families is her goal. She is excited to be with a group of innovative women who are passionate about what is happening to our oceans. Life is short….do what you can.
Founder and Director of Ten Little Pieces
Ali is the founder of Ten Little Pieces, an empowerment movement for ordinary folks to make a big difference to the places they love by collecting ten little pieces of rubbish, anytime, anywhere, especially with children involved. This starts conversations regarding conscious consumerism, environmental stewardship and a rethinking of our concept of waste.
She spent her pre-motherhood life sailing the world onboard super yachts and has a deeply held respect and concern for the health of our shared oceans which she combines with a passion for the education of children in regenerative concepts and closed loop systems.
“It’s an honour to be selected as part of the eXXpedition crew to contribute to world leading science along side so many extraordinary women all committed to advocating solutions to the devastating environmental and health impacts of plastics and toxics in our oceans”.
Engineer by Degree, Human Resources Specialist by Vocation
Daniela graduated from the Polytechnic University in Bucharest, Romania, with a degree in hydro power plant engineering. She is now retired, after 25 years of working for a big corporation in Human Resources. Spends her time between Bucharest and London (where she’s lived and worked for ten years), when not travelling, sailing or volunteering around the world.
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A scientist, mother, diver, and ocean lover, Jennifer has dedicated her career to studying pollution in the ocean. She is a U.S. federal scientist and the co-Director of the Center for Marine Debris Research at Hawaii Pacific University with a Ph.D. from Duke University in Marine Environmental Toxicology.
She has published over 50 scientific manuscripts and three book chapters and mentored more than 75 undergraduate and graduate students through marine environmental research projects, focused mostly on measuring pollutants in marine organisms, especially sea turtles. Jenn’s mission has been to discover the truth about pollution exposure and effects in the ocean and educate others to perform excellent science and make positive changes for our environment.
Rachel, 25, is currently living and working in Leeds, UK, in the Banking industry. However her family & friends know her best for being an outdoor and adventure enthusiast! In her spare time, you’ll find her exploring the Yorkshire Dales, or planning her next travel adventure! She has solo travelled several times, and hiked through beautiful regions of our planet, including South America, New Zealand, Yellowstone, Mont Blanc and the Canadian Rockies (to name a few!).
From a very early age, she has been enthusiastic about wildlife, but in particular environment conservation and sustainable living. Then in 2018, she visited the Galapagos Islands, where she volunteered on conservation projects with giant tortoises and single use plastic research projects. This experience only heightened her interest in understanding the plastic problem further. She’s both excited and nervous to see first hand, how bad the plastic pollution has become in the Pacific.
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Senior Photo Editor
Shannon is a photo editor at National Geographic, an avid sailor and passionate lover of nature. Growing up on a farm, Shannon knew nothing of sailing but loved the outdoors and being with animals. She discovered her love of the ocean as a child during her annual family trips to the seashore.
After studying photography in college, Shannon lived aboard a houseboat on the Chesapeake Bay and became smitten with sailing. This new obsession brought travel opportunities, new adventures and friendships that completely changed her life. Spending so much time on the water also opened her eyes to the issues of water pollution. Shannon hopes to educate kids through the National Geographic’s “Kids vs Plastic” initiative, while also inspiring her local community to keep plastics out of the Chesapeake Bay.
Artist - Environmental Technician
Marjan Verschraegen was born in Ghent, Belgium on 28th of May 1975. Now she lives in Foley, Alabama, USA
Marjan studied publicity and three-dimensional art at St.-Lucas academy, Ghent. In 2004 she started studying photography. She was awarded for her entry in the Coke Light & Seduction competition and exhibited in the museum of photography in Antwerp-Belgium.
In 2006 she worked together with Carl Dekeyzer (MAGNUM) on a project of the Flemish Primitives, which was a great experience. After getting her Bachelor degree, she took some time to travel and break limits – Iceland, India, France, Gulf of Mexico…
After visiting The Gulf Of Mexico several times (and having a strong affection with this region), she decided to work on The Oil Spill disaster (2010) and finish her Master Degree (2011). 2012 would be a new beginning. She married singer/songwriter Elaine Petty and moved permanently to Alabama, USA.
Her affection for the environment and going back to “the basics of life”, continued to inspire her and resulted in her present project ‘OCEANTRASH’ – a mix of ‘pure photography’, ‘graphic design’ and ‘performing activism’. ‘OCEANTRASH’ is still finding its shape and will soon set a statement for saving our oceans and bringing global awareness about protecting our natural resources.
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Kathy (Kat) is a holistic practitioner from the USA who specialises in detoxification. While she was helping many people, she realised most of chronic autoimmune diseases result from environmental toxic overload. While each individual’s genetic make up may respond differently, women are at greater risk, due to endocrine disruptor (xenoestrogen) found in various environmental toxins, one of them being plastics (bisphenol A). The question arose, “How are we to be truly healthy when our fundamental resources such as air, water, and soil are polluted?”
In June 2018, Kat sold her clinic to pursue her larger dream to bring this awareness of environmental toxins and its relationship to our health. She now works remotely via her online clinic and is involved in various conservation and environment projects.
During Phoebe’s first year of A-levels in 2017, David Attenborough highlighted the issue of plastic pollution in Blue Planet 2, and the plastic she has been seeing along the Bristol Channel her whole life acquired a new significance. In school, Phoebe and her peers were nominated for the Green Heart Hero Awards after she began an Environmental Committee and lead it through its first year organising projects, such as a sustainable fashion show, and partnering with the InterClimate Network.
Phoebe is now heading on from having completed an Extended Project Qualification at school, in which she explored the issue of marine plastic pollution. Her interest in research will be continued at the University of St Andrews where, from September 2020, she will be studying Geography. She looks forward to exploring the human and physical elements of the planet in more detail, understanding more about how we interact with our earth and the effect this has on the world throughout time.
Ultimately however, having grown up by the water, sailing on the water and spending time in the water, Phoebe is thrilled to be boarding S.V. TravelEdge with eXXpedition. She longs to see restoration of this planet, which is currently damaged by issues, such as plastic pollution, and so she looks forward to the on-board research and discussion that she hopes will help her to better understand this complex environmental problem.
Nancy developed a love for nature at a young age sparked by family trips to the coast and into the Australian wilderness. This led to a passion for scuba diving, sailing, and hiking. She holds a PADI Advanced Open Water certification and RYA Day Skippers qualification. She also developed a fascination in flight early on and so began a career as a pilot. During this career she has been involved in safety management and completed a Masters in Science and Technology. After a few years working and studying in a male-dominated industry she was inspired to help other women break down barriers. She became involved with a mentor and sponsorship program to help educate rural girls in Uganda. Through her visits to Uganda, she learned that education was the key to promote lasting change to an entire community and not just for the individual.
While she loves being outdoors immersed in nature, she became increasingly concerned about how much waste littered the earth and was devastated by its effect on wildlife. In a bid to reduce her environmental footprint, she made changes to her daily habits and, as her work involves traveling, she began studying Ecotourism. Still wanting to do more but unsure how she stumbled across an article about eXXpedition. She then obsessively read all she could find out about it. A vital cause championed by women with a fact-finding, solution-driven and educational based approach with sailing thrown in the mix. She just had to apply and is so excited to be on board. Nancy is hoping she can contribute to the research, find solutions and bring that knowledge back to her community to help make the “unseen seen”.
Katherine is an ocean paddler, swimmer, scuba diver and marine scientist who has been passionate about marine conservation from an early age. Traveling is her other great love, and she has been exposed to many fragile and remote marine environments over the years but has never seen one untouched by the impacts of ocean plastics and waste.
Her career in environmental risk management and her water-based hobbies, together with a love of writing and public speaking, are what is driving her to participate in eXXpedition. She hopes to use her passion and skills to further explore the extent and impact of ocean plastics, and to communicate and educate others through her work and recreation to help everyone to reduce their footprints.
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Caitlin is a visual scientist with a lifelong love of learning, people, and the environment. She’s passionate about solving problems that improve lives. She lives in San Francisco, where you can find her teaching scuba diving, finding joy through laughter, and gushing about how neat nature is.
Before digital products, she designed experimental research and educational curricula. The time she spent covered in mud as a marine ecologist and instilling a love of failure in her students as a STEM educator helped her become an analytical and empathetic designer who loves problem-solving on the go.
At the end of the day, she lives to create, whether it’s a digital product, predator exclusion cage, or classroom weather vane.
Caitlin is beyond excited to merge her worlds of education, design, and the environment to do something truly special and life-changing with eXXpedition.
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Artist, Painter, Educator
Bri is a full time painter, and an educator who works to connect people with their own creative potential.
A Degree in History and Anthropology from the University of Connecticut, and extensive travel throughout Europe, SE Asia, Central America, and Australia has provoked an intense fascination with both the human narrative and the natural world, fueling her creative process and subject matter in the studio.
An outdoor enthusiast living in coastal South Carolina, Bri enjoys ultrarunning, camping, and surfing. She is beyond thrilled to contribute her passions, experiences, and creative approach to the team at eXXpedition.
Mumma, Naturopath and Marine Science Student
Meegan is a passionate mother, environmental activist, health practitioner and marine science student. Meegan was taught at a very young age to love and respect our oceans and has always had a strong connection to the ocean growing up in nature, surfing and camping at the beach while living holistically- in harmony with our body and our environment.
She is passionate about ocean conservation and regeneration. Meegan spends most of her time engaging and educating her community about marine debris, the harms of plastic pollution and ocean conservation through Coastal Warriors Mid North Coast.
Meegan is ever the optimist and feels inspired to be the change the world needs and to teach her children, and other youth that together we have the power to make change for Mother Earth.
Meegan is thrilled to become apart of the solution based team that eXXpediton has created and can’t wait to share her experience with the world.
Martina is a marine scientist working on climate change impacts on fish (larval) ecology and commercial fisheries. Currently she is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway. Previously she has worked at the European Commission in Brussels and graduated with a doctoral degree from Kiel University and the GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany.
She is very interested in how the ocean can sustainably help to feed the ever-growing human population while keeping its resilience to global change.
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CEO at Plaine Products
Lindsey McCoy has a master’s degree in nonprofit management and spent the 10 years working on environmental education in The Bahamas, islands full of single-use plastic.
She and her sister co-founded Plaine Products, which offers premium personal care products in aluminum bottles that can be returned, refilled and reused, an alternative to single-use containers.
Sustainable Finance Analyst
Lily is a sustainable finance analyst working in London. Her main research areas are the transition to a green economy and sustainable business practices. She studied Earth Science at Trinity College Dublin followed by Environmental Technology at Imperial College London. She has previously worked for the UN World Food Programme researching gender equality in subsistence farming communities.
In her spare time she enjoys books, horses and keeping fit!