The Project AWARE Team brings together dedicated people from around the world who share a passion for ocean protection. Our mission is to provide you with the tools, resources, and inspiration you need to make environmental change. Let us know what else we can do to help.
Tiffany Leite, Director, Global Operations
As an Alaska kid, I grew up hiking the glacier trails and paddling around the pristine islands of Kachemak Bay and Prince William Sound. But it wasn’t until after the tragic Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989, that I would officially call myself an ocean advocate. My studies in biology, the environment and sustainable business have led to an exciting career here at Project AWARE as well as dive training and adventures around the world. I’ve been fortunate to work at the intersection of nonprofit and corporate brands since 1999 and even after all this time, I still believe there’s so much opportunity for change. In fact, it’s my favorite part of the job – leveraging brands and engaging diverse stakeholders for good. I’m continually motivated to find the sweet spot between meaningful public and industry engagement to influence true environmental impact.
Michelle Davidov, Manager
Growing up next to the beach in southern California, I consider myself a true ocean person. In my hometown of San Diego, CA it was considered a sacred responsibility for all locals to help keep our beaches clean. Once I got the travel bug, I began to explore the different wonders of the world. I lived and studied in the Middle East and Europe along the beautiful Mediterranean, and travelled around South America and Southeast Asia. My most memorable underwater experience was in the Red Sea where I witnessed an explosion of colours and sea creatures I had never seen before! Throughout my travels, my eyes were opened to the beauty of life underwater and also to the important environmental challenges that threatened it. I became inspired to use my BA in International Relations and apply it to environmental studies. I came to Australia and achieved a Masters of Environmental Management so I could be equipped to work towards the solutions of these challenges we face. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Project AWARE, giving a voice to our marine environment and our ocean heroes that protect it!
Erin Kincade, Office Administrator
I grew up in Huntington Beach, California and have always loved the ocean. Whenever my family can break away for vacation, we opt for a cruise. I started with PADI Travel Network in 2006 as the Accounting Coordinator and now I'm pleased to join the AWARE team as Office Administrator. My primary function is accounting. However, I also get to help and speak with many amazing divers and leaders working for ocean conservation. Working among such dedicated people has opened up a whole new world and I've learned so much about ocean issues.
Stefania Di Dio, Administrative Assistant
I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean but when my friends introduced me to snorkelling years ago, I fell in love with the underwater world and its amazing inhabitants. My adventure with the dive industry and dive community started with PADI in 2013 when I joined the EMEA Customer Services department to provide administrative support and customer service to the Italian, Spanish and English speaking markets. I'm now excited to start a new adventure with Project AWARE and bring my passion for the ocean, professional knowledge and language skills to support the team and growing movement of divers protecting the ocean one dive at a time.
Ania Budziak, Associate Director, Programs
You could say I am a seeker. I have traveled, worked and studied my way around the world (almost). And I've always been looking for my place in the environmental movement. My master's degree work at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs was leading me to protect biodiversity in the Amazon. But then I found my niche during a coral reef ecology field school in the Florida Keys. I was scuba certified on a small patch reef, shipwreck site jam packed with ocean life. In that moment I knew that protecting the ocean planet was my thing. A few years later I was a PADI Instructor and a member of the Project AWARE team. Today, I drive ocean conservation science and policy for AWARE's two core global programs - marine debris and sharks in peril. I work closely with AWARE staff, external experts, partners and community leaders to use the best available science and sound policies to fuel our movement.
Hannah Pragnell-Raasch, Program Specialist
I’ve always loved the weird and wonderful marine world and the animals in it. I was born in Sydney but moved to the UK when I was 10 and later completed my BSc in Marine Biology at Plymouth University and went on to do a Masters in Biodiversity Conservation. I have a strong passion for marine conservation and love getting people excited about the marine environment and ways in which they can help to conserve it. Now, being part of the Project AWARE team means I get to do this as part of my job which I love! It’s fantastic to be surrounded by people who care so much about our marine world and want to work together to protect it - go you ocean warriors!
Joanne Marston, Campaign Manager
I grew up in a small village in the middle of Wales, UK. I loved the hills and the countryside but I always felt most relaxed when staring at the ocean waves. With a BA in International Relations and teaching experience, I moved to Sydney, Australia in 2003. I'd worked in politics for a number of years - from the corridors of power in Parliament to UK Government Departments. But I yearned for more. With a dive site now on my doorstep, I soon got the scuba bug and have since climbed the ranks to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver. I joined the AWARE team in 2004. I'm passionate and driven by movement marketing, latest engagement trends and finding the right set of actions to help drive people forward to make a difference. I'm privileged to work with some of the most dedicated ocean advocates from all over the world.
Louise Kraechter, Campaign Coordinator
With a MEng in Mechanical Engineering & Design I was looking to start a career in the automotive industry until a chance meeting with a dive centre, whilst on holiday in Cyprus, led me down a completely different path. After a life changing decision to return to Cyprus, I completed my Divemaster internship, met my partner on our Instructor course and together we managed diving centres and diving resorts around the world, namely in Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia and Belize, for a total of 10 years. During that time I was also fortunate enough to be able to work my way up to PADI Master Instructor rating. After deciding to return to the UK I am lucky to be able to continue my career within the diving industry with Project AWARE. As Project AWARE Campaign Coordinator in the UK office I use my knowledge and experience of running dive centres to coordinate and ensure efficient day-to-day office operations and positive customer and donor relationship. After years of experience above and below water as a PADI professional, I'm excited to work with a global team of ocean advocates to support the goals and mission of Project AWARE, as well as its growing movement of divers & dive leaders.
Domino Albert, Communications Manager
I blew my first underwater bubbles in the Mediterranean Sea but didn't really enjoy the experience. It wasn't until a few years later during a holiday in Egypt that I fell in love with diving and the underwater world. I then traveled extensively diving in Europe and the Red Sea. I climbed the PADI continuing education ladder and worked as a PADI IDC Staff Instructor for a few years before joining the Project AWARE Team in 2000. As Project AWARE Communications Manager, I spread the word about the threats our oceans are facing and how divers can make lasting environmental changes - one dive at a time. I work closely with the Programs and Campaigns Teams to develop new and innovative ways to get complex marine conservation issues across to a wide and new audience. I'm a passionate advocate for protecting our ocean planet and I'm fascinated by the power of social media and its effect on society.
Alexa Ward, Community Relations Specialist
With four years of experience executing marketing campaigns, managing brand partnerships, and developing editorial and communications strategies, Alexa Ward drives community engagement and oversees all digital and print communications at Project AWARE. As Community Relations Specialist, she focuses on raising the profile of the organization and its conservation work through global community, media relations and digital outreach efforts. Passionate about an active, outdoor lifestyle and environmentally mindful living, Alexa crafts and shares stories to drive awareness of marine issues and enable action for the protection of our ocean planet.
Lauren Wiskerson, CFRE, Fundraising Specialist
I don’t think anything can compare to the calm and centered feeling I get from the ocean. My love and excitement for playing in the waves is one of my earliest memories. The thought of being close to the shore keeps me going. I’m always planning my next trip to swim, body board, surf (yoga skills pay off!) or dive – I’ll take whatever I can get. Scuba diving still amazes me; it opens up the other 70% of this planet that is otherwise hidden. I’m grateful that I can get a glimpse of the creatures beneath the waves. From the first Garibaldi I encountered on my original open water dive in Catalina, California I was hooked. Erasing my fear of sharks, I couldn't wait to get a close look at all the ocean has to offer. The hush of life under the waves heightens your senses, surrounded by the beauty of nature; it’s a transforming experience for me. I joined Project AWARE (in August 2004) with four years of professional dive industry experience under my weight belt, working for PADI and Diving Science & Technology in a variety of capacities. I was excited to use my experience and skills to take action against marine debris and am eager to spread the conservation message to help safeguard our treasured sea. It’s a real pleasure to connect with AWARE supporters that are passionate about ocean protection.
Orsi Fulop, Fundraising and Outreach Specialist
After growing up in gorgeous, land locked Hungary, I had the opportunity to live by the Mediterranean sea in Spain. During this time I was introduced to diving and completed my open water course. Since moving to the UK, diving became a rare treat but joining the Project AWARE team and working to protect our ocean planet makes more than up for it. My role is to encourage and support all your actions to help our cause.
Featured Member VIEW PROFILE
This month, all eyes are on shark and ray conservation! Divers around the globe are uniting to protect sharks and rays, and the folks at Scuba Scene are no exception. These Finathon® fundraisers raise awareness and funds to support species protection. Keep up the great work, Scuba Scene!