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. When I’m not working with the team to devise our next big strategy, I can be found in the Pacific Ocean, chasing after my twin beach boys or in pursuit of the perfect salsa.
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.
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 moved to Sydney, Australia in 2003 from the UK after working in the Houses of Parliament and for UK Government Departments. With a dive site 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. My job is to get divers around the globe interested, passionate and active in ocean protection and I love it! I'm privileged to work with some of the most dedicated ocean advocates and am constantly inspired by the difference our dive community makes.
Louise Kraechter, Campaign Coordinator
For the last 10 years, I have been lucky enough to live abroad where I have been managing diving centres and diving resorts, namely in Cyprus, Egypt, Indonesia and Belize. I have also been fortunate enough to be able to work my way up to PADI Master Instructor rating. As Project AWARE Office Administrator 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
Growing up in southern California, some of my happiest memories took place on the coast – I’d spend summers bobbing in the waves at the beach for hours on end, bicycling home after sunset with sandy toes and salty hair. I reveled at the sea creatures in the coastal tide pools in Corona del Mar, and enjoyed afternoons snorkeling with Giribaldi at Catalina Island. While I’ve always been an ocean-lover, it wasn’t until witnessing devastating marine pollution and distraught sea life during travels through developing countries in South America, Asia and Africa that I truly understood the need to advocate for the protection of the marine environments I love. I am a firm believer that even the smallest actions can influence change. As Community Relations Specialist, I have the opportunity to engage with divers to empower individuals to make a positive impact through shark protection and marine debris prevention and removal. I feel incredibly privileged to work with our passionate staff and dive community to craft and share stories to drive awareness of marine issues and enable action for the protection of our ocean planet.
Lauren Wiskerson, 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 is still fascinating to 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, 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, enveloping you in the beauty of nature; it’s been 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 assist the AWARE supporters that are passionate about taking action.
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
Scuba dive course director and owner of The Dive Center, Jason Sockett, is a long-time supporter of Project AWARE. He understands first-hand that marine debris is a global issue affecting numerous dive sites around the world and consistently does his part to make a difference. When ghost nets and other hazardous waste make it unsafe for guests to enter local dive sites, Jason assembles his crew to help through Dive Against Debris. Thank you to Jason and his team for helping make the ocean cleaner and safer for divers around the world!
DIVE AGAINST DEBRIS HERO