Blue finance Team
Blue finance brings a comprehensive mix of expertise for effective management and sustainable financing of Marine Protected Areas. The current team consists of 12 professionals with permanent staff members, external country managers, external project control officers and external experts distributed region wide.
The team has a long history and expertise in marine ecology and conservation, MPA management, conservation finance and investment, fisheries management, business planning & development, public-private partnerships, and community development.
Executive Director & Co-Founder
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 & Co-Founder
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.
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.
Béne Agulto has a diverse background in communication science, research, and marine conservation. Prior to joining Blue Finance, Béne headed the Research Office at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He joins us with 18 years of teaching and research, and corporate communication experience in universities in the Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore. He had worked in coral reef restoration in Mabul Island, Malaysia and manta ray identification and documentation in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. He is a recipient of Rufford Foundation Grant and the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund for his research on the impact of tourism on seagrass meadows in the Philippines.
Country Manager for Philippines
Alain collaborates with the design and implementation of the Blue finance investments schemes in Philippines. Alain has more than 3 decades of experience on policy research, project and business planning, development, management and monitoring. His expertise includes sustainable financing and resource mobilization in areas such as agro/ecotourism, women and development, sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity-friendly enterprises. He has served into the Sub-Committee on Finance, Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016. His work includes competitiveness projects in the Philippines, Greater Mekong Subregion and India with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, etc.
Country Manager for Indonesia
Naneng collaborates with the design and implementation of the Blue finance investments schemes in Indonesia. Nan has been a field manager for several NGOs since 2009 in coral reefs and marine biology. Naneng and her team have been gathering community input—from fishermen, business operators, and government officials—on plans for a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) off the coast of Bali. In 2013, after years of advocacy, Naneng contributed to persuade the Raja Ampat government to sign a shark and manta ray sanctuary into law. The law protects sharks and rays in 46,000 square kilometers of ocean off the coast of Raja Ampat.
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.
Maxime is an environmental economist in Blue finance and participates with the risk analysis, impact assessments and business models of our projects. He began working with Blue Finance analysing the tourism aspects of marine protected sites throughout South East Asia. Maxime has developed practical skills as environmental economist through economic valuations of coral reef ecosystem services all over the world, ecological impacts of the Crab fishery in Indonesia and implications of climate change on the marine food web.
Coral reef scientific expert
Serge is a coral reef scientist collaborating with Blue finance in the development of marine conservation planning. He has been involved in the study of population genetics of marine fish since the beginning of his career that started with his PhD in 1989. Over the past 20 years, he has published more than 200 papers in international journals mainly dealing with the population genetics of coral reef fishes as well as papers dealing with ecology, ecology of marine protected areas and recruitment of marine fishes. ISI Essential Science Indicators (ESI) analyzed research into coral reef ecosystems in the past decade (1995-2005) and ranked his work at #19 in the world out of 5,060 authors (see http://esi-topics.com/coralreef). His early work suggested that coral reef fish populations are much more limited in space than was generally believed prior to the early 90’s. Most of the recent work using both genetic markers and other techniques has confirmed Dr. Planes’ view that marine populations conform to a stepping stone model, with limited gene flow occurring between adjacent populations and most renewal being from self-recruitment. This view has major implications for conservation planning..
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.
Marine legal advisory
Manpreet has a wide range of experience in transactions with a Public-Private Partnership focus, including landlord and tenant matters, investment sales and acquisitions (single assets and portfolios) and real estate finance transactions and restructurings (including bilateral and syndicated loans, private and publicly listed bond issues and securitisations). Manpreet Kaur joined Ropes & Gray in April 2015 as an associate in the firm’s private equity real estate group in London..
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.
Jayme A. Kurtyka
Jayme 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. Jayme 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.