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We take the “Alliance” in our name seriously, knowing that we will only be successful with the partnership and hard work of other organizations, businesses, government agencies, and passionate individuals. The talented staff who help lead this coalition come from a variety of backgrounds and countries, yet share a common love for the ocean and dedication to saving the world’s coral reefs.

Senior Leadership

Dr. Madhavi Colton, Executive Director

Based in USA (California)
Dr. Madhavi Colton is an accomplished conservation scientist who is focused on helping the world’s ecosystems cope with the effects of climate change. She believes that coral reefs—one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems—can be saved for generations to come. Through her scientific research, she has developed a new approach to conservation that will help reefs around the world adapt to the effects of climate change. Madhavi is turning this science into action by building strong alliances across environmental, scientific and political sectors. As the Executive Director, Madhavi is leading CORAL to a new era with a greater scale, scope, and effectiveness of CORAL’s conservation programs, unprecedented levels of funding, and a revitalized organizational reputation and brand. Madhavi has a Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Helen Fox, Conservation Science Director

Based in USA (Washington, DC)
Dr. Helen E. Fox is a coral reef ecologist by training, she has more than 20 years’ experience working at the boundary of science and conservation, with geographic expertise in Indonesia and the Coral Triangle. Her work includes investigating links between marine protected area (MPA) management and governance, ecological impacts, and human well-being. Prior to joining CORAL, she led the Field Engagement team at the National Geographic Society (NGS) for the Allen Coral Atlas, an initiative of Vulcan, Inc. that brings together partners from Planet, University of Queensland, Arizona State University’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, and NGS to take high resolution satellite imagery and advanced analytics to map and monitor the world’s coral reefs in unprecedented detail. She was previously the Director of Marine Science at WWF-US, Senior Director of Research and Monitoring at Rare, Principal of Fox Conservation, LLC, and Senior Director for Changing Planet Grants at NGS. Helen received her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley in 2002, investigating coral reef recovery and rehabilitation from blast fishing. She has received numerous grants and awards, authored more than 40 scientific publications, logged more than 1,000 dives, and once lived underwater for 10 days in the Aquarius habitat.

Zach Horton, Development and Marketing Director

Based in USA (Texas)
Zach is a proficient fundraiser who is dedicated to helping donors fulfill their philanthropic vision and make a lasting impact on our world. At CORAL, he is fortunate to lead an outstanding team of development and marketing professionals who are passionate about saving the world’s coral reefs. Prior to CORAL, Zach worked as Sr. Associate Director of Development for The Nature Conservancy, securing funding for coral, ocean, climate, science, and freshwater conservation in the Caribbean and Texas. Previous to this, Zach worked for the National Wildlife Federation and Colorado River Alliance. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in English and Film. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Diana Sokolove, Conservation Program Director

Based in USA (California)
As CORAL’s Conservation Program Director, Diana ensures the success of an international portfolio of community-driven conservation programs. She leads a dynamic team of skilled experts to implement strategies that yield tangible outcomes for coral reefs and local communities. Before joining CORAL, Diana led San Francisco’s Sea Level Rise Adaptation Program. In this role, she co-chaired the Mayor’s Sea Level Rise Coordinating Committee and collaborated with multiple cities and counties around the SF Bay as well as public and private entities to help the Bay Area prepare for the effects of climate change. Diana has a Master’s degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a focus in water resources planning and sustainable development.

Gautam Wadhwani headshotGautam Wadhwani, Finance and Operations Director

Based in USA (California)
Gautam comes to CORAL from the Earth Innovation Institute, where he was the Director of Finance and Administration, working with teams around the world to protect rainforests. Before joining the nonprofit sector, Gautam spent 20 years in international investment banking at Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank and Salomon Brothers. He regularly volunteers his time supporting nonprofits and currently serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of PSE Healthy Energy. Gautam graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s dual-degree Management & Technology Program with degrees in Computer Science Engineering and Finance from the Wharton School of Business. When not devising new models in Excel that provide strategic insights, Gautam can be found perfecting his bread recipes or refining his acting skills at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theater. As a diver, he fell in love with the wondrous diversity of coral biomes during his first dive in the Maldives 25 years ago.

Mesoamerican Region Program Staff

Jenny Myton, Regional Program Director

Based in Honduras (Roatán)
Jenny is a Honduran environmental engineer who was born in Tegucigalpa and moved to the Bay Islands to follow her love for coral reefs. She has more than fifteen years of experience monitoring coral reef health and working on community-based resource conservation initiatives. She spent two years working with the Bay Islands Environmental Management Program and has consulted for several major NGOs. Jenny and her husband Ian work together to protect coral reefs. They currently reside on the island of Roatán.

Tanya Amaya, Program Manager

Based in Honduras (Bay Islands)
Tanya is an environmental engineer whose background and passion are focused on creating solutions for sustainable development. Her studies in geo-environmental technologies and strategic planning opened the door for her to work with diverse institutions such as the National Water and Sanitation Institute, the Ministry of Tourism, and to collaborate as a diplomat at the Association of Caribbean States, based in Trinidad and Tobago. As Program Manager for the Bay Islands, Tanya applies her experience to support CORAL’s effort to promote coral reef conservation through water and sanitation and institutional strengthening as well as promoting sustainable tourism.

Paolo Guardiola, Program Coordinator

Based in Honduras (Trujillo)
Paolo Guardiola, was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He graduated from the National Autonomous University of Honduras as a biologist, and completed his professional university practice with the Cuero y Salado Foundation. While there, he took care of the different monitoring carried out in the wildlife refuge and worked with different groups of fishermen in the area. In addition to working as a volunteer on different occasions in the botanical garden of Lancetilla, he also joined reef monitoring programs carried out by the Healthy Reef Initiative on the north coast of Honduras. He currently works as a Program Coordinator for the Coral Reef Alliance in Trujillo Bay where he works in governance processes and fisheries monitoring for the improvement of fisheries and the health of the coral reefs in the area.

Sheyla Maldonado, Coordinator of Finance and Administration for the MAR

Based in Honduras (Roatán)
Sheyla brings her diverse background in the private sector,  finance, administration, and human resources. Her training areas include psychology, social sciences, and liberal arts, as well as an MBA; studies completed in America and Europe. Her expertise allows her to support the Mesoamerican Region (MAR) team, where she leads the creation and management of administrative processes that strengthen the functioning of CORAL’s operations in the MAR while contributing to the fulfillment of institutional goals. Through working at CORAL, she found her passion for coral reef conservation.

Pamela OrtegaPamela Ortega, Program Manager

Based in Honduras (Utila)
Pamela was born and raised in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, where she began hearing the call of the wild as a child during treks up the small mountain near her neighborhood. After studying environmental science (with an engineering specialty) at Catholic University of Honduras, Pamela went to work for Action Against Hunger in southern Honduras. She soon discovered her paradise, Utila, “a beautiful little island that few people on the mainland knew about,” and moved there to manage a resort. Pamela eventually went to work for the Bay Islands Conservation Association, specializing in protected area management and sea turtle conservation. A certified diver since 1998, Pamela recently earned her divemaster certification. She joined CORAL in July 2012.

Javier Pizana AlonsoJavier Pizaña-Alonso, Program Manager

Based in México (Cozumel)
Javier has been deeply involved in sustainable tourism and the planning and socialization of marine protected areas since 1994. He trained tour operators about doing business on the reef for the Parque Nacional Costa Occidental de Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancún y Punta Nizuc, and led the consultation, planning, zonation and management program at Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Puerto Morelos. His role as a facilitator on stakeholder identification, conflict resolution and foster local alliance to support the new MPA was recognized by CONANP and the local community. Javier has worked with CORAL since 2007 as a trainer for sustainable tourism and an active promoter of the ICRAN voluntary standards for marine recreation in the Mesoamerican Reef System.

Dr. Antonella RiveraDr. Antonella Rivera, Principal Investigator, Honduras

Based in Honduras (Tegucigalpa)
Antonella is a Honduran biologist born in the city of Tegucigalpa. While diving in the Bay Islands she became aware of the profound impact coral reefs has on the sustainability of coastal communities. This motivated her to earn her Ph.D. in marine socio-ecological systems from the University of Oviedo. She has a multidisciplinary research background that ranges from analyzing the management implications of larval dispersal to the use of perception research to assess the adaptive capacity of coastal communities. Through her studies and work experience with fishing communities in Europe and Latin America, she has become a firm believer in the need for bottom-up, holistic and adaptive conservation strategies. Currently, Antonella works with fishers and local organizations in the North Coast of Honduras.

Headshot_JulioSanMartinChicas_Web_031618Julio San Martín Chicas, Principal Program Coordinator

Based in Honduras (Tela)
Julio is a biologist who graduated from the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). He has worked in fisheries research on the North Coast of Honduras as a field technician and citizen science supervisor. He began his career in environmental governance as an intern at the Coral Reef Alliance and as a volunteer at the environmental NGO Fundación PROLANSATE. He later became an active member of PROLANSATE and joined their Board of Directors. Julio is also part of the leadership team of the Mesoamerican Reef System (SAM) program. Julio stands out in the field of environmental governance due to his ability to disseminate technical information to local communities, a strength that he attributes to his extensive trajectory as an environmental educator. He currently serves as Principal Program Coordinator for the North Coast of Honduras, based mainly in the Bahía de Tela.

Hawaiʻi Program Staff

Manuel MejiaManuel Mejia, Regional Program Director

Based in USA (Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi)
Manuel leads our Hawai‘i program with a biocultural approach to positively impact ecosystems and human well-being. He holds two Master’s degrees, an MSc in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from McGill University and an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. Manuel has dedicated over two decades to community-based biodiversity conservation and resilience with organizations around the world, including World Wildlife Fund (Tubbataha Reefs, UNESCO World Heritage Site), Fisheries Defense Fund (New York City), The Nature Conservancy and the Maui Nui Makai Network (Hawai‘i), and the Locally-Managed Marine Area Network across seven countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Manuel was born in the Philippines, grew up in Maryland, lived in Fiji, and now he and his ‘ohana call Hawai‘i home.

Chelsea Eareckson, Research Officer

Based in USA (Maui, Hawaiʻi)
Ever since her childhood on the beaches of the Jersey shore, Chelsea Eareckson has loved the ocean. Today, as climate change threatens the fragile balance of many of the ocean’s ecosystems, Eareckson, a double major in leadership studies and biology, is on a mission to help restore the ocean and promote conservation. In the past, Chelsea has participated in research on sea sponges and their role in the changing ocean atmosphere, contributing to a bigger picture of the effects of climate change on marine life. As Research Officer, Chelsea ensures the development and successful execution of a monitoring plan to measure the success of restoration activities in West Maui.

Erica PerezErica Perez, Senior Program Manager

Based in USA (Hawaiʻi Island, Hawaiʻi)
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Erica has been immersed in nature all her life. She moved to Hawai‘i in 2001, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and minor in Conservation Biology from the University of Hawai‘i Hilo. As a certified scientific diver, Erica has worked with the Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources and the Research Cooperation of the University of Hawai‘i conducting underwater surveys of West Hawai‘i’s coral reef ecosystems. She then worked with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife doing field work on juvenile salmon populations in Southern Oregon tributaries. For the past several years Erica has been involved in marine education and outreach in Hawai‘i. Working with the Malama Kai Foundation, she supported community-based management projects. As the Expeditionary Learning Coordinator for The Kohala Center, Erica facilitated environmental leadership programs with partner universities and place-based education projects with Hawai‘i Department of Education K-12 schools. Erica joined CORAL in January 2014.

Larissa Treese, Program Coordinator

Based in USA (Maui, Hawaiʻi)
Larissa has nearly 20 years of animal husbandry and conservation experience. Larissa previously worked with Whale Trust as their Communications and Outreach Coordinator, expanding their outreach programs, managing the Whale Tales education program, and supporting the team of volunteers. She also worked at Maui Ocean Center for more than 12 years in aquarist and education roles, with the last 7 years as Head Aquarist. During her tenure, Larissa helped lead Maui Ocean Center’s coral mitigation pilot project in partnership with the State of Hawaiʻi, facilitated the annual green sea turtle release, created outreach and tour programs, and designed exhibits through the aquarium. Larissa was born on Kauai and has called Maui home for over 14 years after moving from Southern California. She appreciates the culture, diversity, and aloha spirit the island of Maui offers to those who live and visit here.

Headshot_JenVanderVeur_Web_020918Jennifer Vander Veur, Senior Program Manager

Based in USA (Maui, Hawaiʻi)
Jennifer has enjoyed a passion for nature and the ocean her entire life. Jennifer followed her dream and attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, receiving two Bachelor’s degrees in Marine Science and Conservation Biology. Upon graduation, she gained a position with the state of Hawaiʻi to establish the Aquatic Invasive Species Program on the island of Hawaiʻi.  Jennifer later completed a Master’s of Science in Marine Biology from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. For the past 10 years she worked for the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) managing the marine resources around the island of Kahoʻolawe. Her work included fisheries management, protected species management, integrating traditional cultural resource management with modern scientific methods and community engagement. She believes that encouraging others to participate in ocean conservation is what will change the tide in restoring our world, and believes in practicing a holistic approach to conservation to ensure the future of communities and marine ecosystems.

Conservation Science Staff

Andrea Rivera SosaAndrea Rivera-Sosa, Project and Outreach Manager

Based in Mexico (Quintana Roo)
Andrea Rivera-Sosa, Ph.D.(c),  is a marine biologist who has followed her life dreams of studying coral reefs in the Virgin Islands, Moorea, Hawaiian Islands, and the Mesoamerican region (MAR). She is a diver, reef monitor, and trainer on coral bleaching, stressors, and ecology. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Marine Science at CINVESTAV, Mexico. She received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and a Master’s degree in Water and Coastal Management at the University of Plymouth in the UK. As CORAL’s Project and Outreach Manager, she works with multiple groups worldwide to monitor coral bleaching and collaborates with conservation scientists globally to improve the Allen Coral Atlas bleaching detection features and coordinate on-the-ground responses.

Development and Marketing Staff

Megan Crain, Associate Development Manager

Based in USA (California)
Scuba diving has always been an important pastime for Megan’s family. A certified diver since age 14, Megan has enjoyed diving in various sites around the Caribbean alongside her grandparents. Megan earned her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Saint Mary’s College of California. Before coming to CORAL, Megan worked for the U.S. House of Representatives where she revitalized and further developed a thriving congressional grants program that helped connect local nonprofits with both federal and private grants. Megan lives in Berkeley with her husband and enjoys traveling around the world, reading science fiction novels, and playing with any random dog that happens to cross her path.

Headshot of Mandy JoslynMandy Joslyn, Senior Grants Manager

Based in USA (Michigan)
Mandy is a skilled grants professional with over 12 years of experience in government and nonprofit administration. At CORAL, Mandy works to support the mission through relationship building and implementation of funding strategies that position the organization to sustain and grow programs. She earned her M.S. in Coastal Management from the University of Sydney in Australia and is thrilled to be in a role that aligns her work experiences with her passion for ocean conservation. Mandy lives in Michigan and takes advantage of the endless opportunities to connect with water in the Great Lakes region. She loves to travel, kayak, and is a certified master scuba diver.

Monica RuckMonica Ruck, Development Coordinator

Based in USA (California)
Monica joins CORAL with over 10 years experience in the nonprofit sector and a passion for using technology for good. Throughout her career, she has worked with development and marketing teams on a wide variety of projects in support of fundraising initiatives and strategic development. Monica is excited to bring her growth mindset and proactive problem solving skills to CORAL’s culture of cooperation and community partnership. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from Queens College and is three times Salesforce Certified. Monica lives in Oakland and enjoys knitting and crocheting, volunteering, and playing with her many pets.

Marissa Stein headshotMarissa Stein, Associate Marketing Director

Based in USA (California)
Marissa has been an avid ocean-lover and marine advocate ever since she was young. She has had an extensive career in nonprofit and higher education marketing, including a stint as CORAL’s communications manager before rejoining the organization a few years later as the associate marketing director. She has an M.Sc. in Marine and Coastal Resource Management from The University of the West Indies and has lived in Barbados, Ecuador, Hawai‘i and California. She is excited to have landed her dream job (again), combining her passion for storytelling with her passion for coral reef conservation.

Administration

Kristi Jones, Accountant

Based in USA (California)
As an Alameda, CA native, Kristi has always found a sense of serenity and appreciation for the ocean and all its glory below the surface. In her youth and young adulthood, vacations were spent snorkeling and scuba diving in places like Hawaiʻi, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand where her love of the water and corals blossomed. After graduating from California State University with a BS in Business Administration and Finance, she began working in accounting and finance for various non-profits. At CORAL, Kristi’s personal passions and professional values finally aligned.  In her free time, she coaches youth soccer, plays in a co-ed team, volunteers at various places, enjoys water sports and spends much of her time with the people she loves most- outside, among nature, enjoying one adventure at a time.

Teresa WoodTeresa Wood, Human Resources and Operations Coordinator

Based in USA (California)

Teresa came to CORAL with over 10 years of experience as a stage and company manager for various professional theatre and dance companies. Originally from Washington, D.C., Teresa has a B.A. in English and Drama from the University of Virginia, and a Certificate in HR Management from California State University East Bay. Teresa is also an avid SCUBA diver and underwater photographer, and she enjoys traveling the world with camera (and dive gear) in hand. In her role at CORAL, she is excited to align her professional talents with her passion for conservation and love of the underwater world.