Nicolas’ expertise combines marine science, economics, finance and policy; all aimed at protecting marine ecosystems. On the marine side, his more than 50 economic studies, scientific publications and technical reports on ecosystem services of coral reefs, have been used globally, to inform and convince policy makers. On the business side, Nicolas’ former positions include investment director and project developer for multinational companies as well as founder and CEO of a B2B company. These dual skill sets now inform marine conservation, inspiring alternatives and new approaches.
Director Wider Caribbean
Angelique is a marine biologist with over 20 years of coral reef related experience blending both science and management. Prior to joining the Blue Finance team to coordinate all scientific and management approaches in the Caribbean, Angelique headed the Marine Research Section of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (Ministry of Environment) in Barbados, for over a decade. Her work involved developing and implementing coral reef related research projects; as well as management of reef systems within an integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) framework and communication of the results. She has recently developed specific knowledge and expertise on Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) for marine conservation in the Caribbean and South Pacific Region.
Matt is a conservation Public-Private Partnership specialist in Blue finance. Matt is a managing partner of Conservation Capital, a pioneering and impact-driven company who has led the development and financing of more than 75 conservation enterprise initiatives in 25 countries. Matt has lead a wide range of advisory assignments for Conservation Capital in Africa and Europe and currently leads their partnership with Rewilding Europe and Rewilding Europe Capital. Initial experiences came from Credit Suisse Private Bank in London where he worked within the private client group. He was born and raised in South Africa before moving to the UK where he received a MA in Geography at Edinburgh University.
Mercedes is an exhibition specialist collaborating on the strategic planning and experience design of the exhibit centers. Her past project management experience includes participating in the design and creation the Upload LA space, a VR center for coworking, events, and classes with a budget of $1.7mm. She is the Founder of BenToppin, an edtech and VR/AR consulting group. She is currently pursuing an MBA and Masters in Education focused on VR/AR at Stanford University. She formerly worked at Goldman Sachs and graduated from Harvard University with Honors in Economics.
Senior Conservation Practitioner
Newton is a senior conservation practitioner expert in blue finance and collaborates with the design and implementation of the management plans of our projects. He is also the operation director of the Clear caribbean project focusing on community livelihood enhancement strategies. He has been the manager of the world renowned Soufriere Marine Management Association (SMMA) in St. Lucia where he focused on implementing innovative sustainable financing mechanisms for the marine managed area and developed closer partnerships between the private sector and the local community. Newton is a Caribbean citizen and holds a MSc degree from the University of the West Indies in Marine resource and Environmental management.
Ramón de León
Senior Conservation Practitioner
Ramón is a senior conservation practitioner expert in blue finance and collaborates with the design and implementation of the management plans of our projects. During 10 years, he served as manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park, a world renowned dive destination recognized for its biodiversity conservation programs and pioneering “diver tag” user fee system. Ramón regularly supports professional development of other park managers in the Wider Caribbean. He has a keen understanding of how to effectively engage community stakeholders, resolve conflicts and promote alternative livelihoods that foster sustainable use of coastal and marine resources. Born in Uruguay, Ramón moved to the Caribbean in 1997. He holds a Master of Science from Universidad de Concepcion in Chile and has completed additional training in Environmental Engineering from Universidad de Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Coral Reef Science & Restoration
Ruth is a coral reef scientist collaborating with Blue finance in the development of marine conservation and restauration projects. She is the Director of the University of Hawaii’s, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and President of the International Society for Reef Studies. Ruth is globally recognized for her creative work on corals and for advancing strategies to sustain reefs into the future. She and her group focus on defining biological traits that underpin differences in the sensitivity of corals to thermal stress, ocean acidification and pollutants. Leveraging advances in this basic research area, Ruth and her colleague Madeleine van Oppen won the 2012 Paul G Allen Ocean Challenge with their idea to assist the evolution of corals and develop capacity to stabilize reefs in the face of climate change. Ruth is a passionate advocate for coral reefs.
Conservation Finance Associate
Tanya is a conservation finance expert in Blue finance and her work focuses on the design of the finance mechanisms. She is working also at GRID-Arendal as a Project Manager for Marine Ecosystem Services projects. She is specialised on initiating, developing and managing projects relating primarily to conservation finance, including blue carbon, as well broader marine ecosystem service projects and their relevance in development planning. Prior to moving to Norway, Tanya was based in Canada where she gained over 10 years of experience in marine conservation in both academic and NGO environments, with a focus on deep water coral, marine spatial planning and blue carbon projects.
Nicolas is the director of underwater videography for Blue finance. Nicolas has worked for more than 20 years in many film and TV productions. Passionate about the sea as well as computer graphics and video editing, this tech addict became a professional in underwater filming. Nicolas has realized more than 70 productions covering a wide variety of subjects, from institutional and educational films to scientific documentaries and ecological reportages. He is the co-founder of Oceanica Prod. managing all phases of underwater audiovisual production including project conception, writing, shooting, editing, post-production, media creation and distribution. He also created GEOM, an organization developing multimedia educational tools for children to promote awareness of the fragility of the marine world. Nicolas was trained as a diver from COMEX; a company specialized in deep-water engineering operations.
Our Expert Advisory Board
Tundi is an internationally renowned expert in marine conservation, with extensive field and policy experience in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, North America, and the Pacific. Tundi specializes in coastal planning and assessment, marine protected areas, fisheries management and ocean zoning, and has published widely in these fields. She founded Sound Seas in 2001 as an independent group working at the nexus of policy and science to promote marine conservation. She has served as Senior Scientist for the World Wildlife Fund and began Conservation International’s Global Marine Program, which she oversaw as Senior Director. She also led the coastal portion of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment – a 3-year global analysis released in 2005 that represents the consensus of over a thousand scientists on the state of the world’s ecosystems. She completed her undergraduate work at Wellesley and Dartmouth Colleges and then received her Ph.D. in biological sciences and Masters in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island and was postdoctoral fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Eleanor is the Successional Director of the award winning Chumbe Island Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Zanzibar, Tanzania, where she was the first Project Manager through the design, development and implementation phase in the mid-nineties. This first financially self-sustaining MPA in the world continues to flourish today, with all operations fully funded by cutting-edge zero-impact ecotourism, where 100% of funds generated from visitors are re-invested into MPA management, research, and education for school children.Eleanor is also the founder of Sustainable Solutions International Consulting (SSIC), and has more than 20 years of consulting experience supporting sustainability initiatives in Africa, Asia, Pacific islands, Mediterranean, and West Indian Ocean regions. Eleanor areas of specialism include: marine and coastal management (MPAs, ICZM, EAFM), training and capacity building, sustainable tourism, multi-lateral environmental agreements (MEAs), and community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Eleanor has also held posts as the Senior Advisor to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Executive Director of Environment and Development Consulting.
Jaime A. Kurtyka
Jaime is a Wall Street veteran of more than 32 years, having served as a portfolio manager for high-net-worth clients at William Blair and Co., Drexel Burnham Lambert, Oppenheimer and Co., and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where he was fund manager for ISG Investment Partners. Jaime founded Resource Holdings LLC in September of 2009 as a Specialty Corporate Finance and Private Equity Principle Investments firm. Most recently, he was a Managing Director of Investment Banking for Advanced Equities, Inc., LLC; a Chicago-Based Private Equity Investment Bank specializing in Silicon Valley-backed late stage private equity financing rounds. Jaime played a key role in financing numerous tier-one venture-backed Clean-tech companies including: Altra Biofuels, Amyris (nasdaq: AMRS), Bloom Energy, Cilion, Range Fuels, Sol Focus and Suniva. The AEI banking team was responsible for over $1.5 Billion of Venture Capital funding over Jaime’s tenure, beginning in 2005. Jaime graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Social Science in 1980 and earned his Juris Doctorate degree at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1986.
Christian has worked on the development and implementation of marine conservation policy for more than a decade. Before joining GRID-Arendal in 2011, Christian has been with WWF Germany for seven years. He has been advocating for Marine Protected Areas in European waters and in the High Seas. He also has worked on the certification of sustainable seafood.Christian’s academic background is in Marine Ecology. He has graduated from the Centre of Marine Tropical Ecology and the University of Bremen, Germany. For his master thesis, he described biological and socio-economic characteristics of the fishery in Kirinda, Sri Lanka, where he spent a field semester measuring some 6000+ herring.
Kristin is the CEO of the NGO Dynamic Planet to scale successful conservation initiatives through business. Prior to founding Dynamic Planet, Kristin was Senior Vice President of Global Programs and Partnerships at the National Geographic Society, where over 14 years she helped lead its global expansion by launching and growing its international cable channels, global corporate partnerships division, and global research, conservation, and exploration programs. Before joining National Geographic, Kristin lived in Seoul, Korea and explored Asia as a Luce Foundation Fellow, designing informal educational systems and traveling extensively producing documentary films. In 2009, Kristin was selected to join the Young Global Leader community of the World Economic Forum where she currently serves on the Advisory Council and works with several initiatives including oceans, the shared economy, and the future of global development. Kristin has a public policy degree and documentary film certificate from Duke University.
Gustavo defines himself as an entrepreneur, business transformer & mentor. He is the co-Founder & Member of the Board of ActivaMente WW Group. ActivaMente Group is conformed of three specialized firms: ActivaMente Consulting – Digital Business Transformation and Acceleration Consultancy, TanGente – Integrated Advertising Agency and ActivaMente Digital – Digital Marketing Agency. AM WW is a proud neuron of the WPI network, with presence in over 50 countries around the Globe. WPI is the largest network of independent professional services companies in the marketing industry with an annual turnover of over $3.2 billion USD. ActivaMente WW Group has been recognized as a top digital business partner by leading marketing and business magazines and by large corporations in the region as well. Academically he holds a degree in Electronic Systems Engineering and specialized in multimedia and business administration. He mainly enjoys self-learning and cross-knowledge. As a professor he works with students on innovation, business modeling, market disruption and post-digital era business ecosystems.