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.
Alex Earl, Executive Director, Americas
My childhood was spent in the pristine, natural settings of Stewart, British Columbia, Canada located at the end of one of the longest fjords on the Pacific Coast of North America. As a child, seeing wild salmon runs, bears, eagles and marine animals like otters, seals, orcas and porpoises in their natural settings instilled a deep desire to conserve and protect our environment. With a background in political science and world history from the University of British Columbia, I’ve been fortunate to live, work, volunteer and dive globally within North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Northeast and Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Micronesia. I began my dive training in the cool waters of Whytecliff Park, the first Marine Protected Area in Canada. And in 2001, I earned my PADI Advanced Diver certification in the warm tropical waters of Puerto Galera, Philippines. Scuba diving clarified for me that marine conservation was my path and soon my commitment to protecting our ocean planet was forged as a global executive at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Today, I’m proud to utilize my passion, skills and background to lead a talented team at Project AWARE to help save our ocean planet - one dive at a time.
Suzanne Pleydell, Director, Europe - Middle East - Africa
I have a background in Earth Sciences but took my first breath underwater back in 1986 in the glacial lakes of Alberta, Canada. I soon moved on to warmer climates and became a PADI Instructor in Australia and then taught diving in the Red Sea. I joined the Project AWARE team in Bristol, England in 1999. In addition to my regional role, I help steer global policy direction of Project AWARE towards our bold environmental goals.
Mike Holme, Associate Director, Asia Pacific
I joined the Asia Pacific office of PADI in 2000 as Manager of the Training and Quality Management Department, and became involved with Project AWARE Foundation's Asia Pacific team in 2006. Before joining PADI, I worked as a PADI Instructor and Course Director around the Pacific, including Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef. My primary responsibility is to coordinate Project AWARE programs and messages across the globe through PADI diver training and programs.
Communications and Outreach
Tiffany Leite, Associate Director, Communications & Outreach, Americas
When I was a kid growing up in Alaska, I wanted to be a boat captain and oceanographer. But I'm much happier at Project AWARE Foundation where I've been campaigning for ocean protection for the last 12 years. The urge to become a diver has been with me since I can remember. But even during my Divemaster course, I must admit, I wondered what all the fuss was about. Clearly, it was time to start diving for fun! Pairing my annual dive adventures with my formal background in fisheries and biology has paved the way for a really exciting career here at AWARE. I think everyone has a natural connection to the ocean. My favorite part of the job is finding new ways to unlock this personal connection and shine a light on divers around the world so dedicated to taking action.
Domino Albert, New Media Specialist, Europe - Middle East - Africa
I blew my first underwater bubbles in the Mediterranean 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 Public Relations and Communications Coordinator, 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 global Policy and Diver Engagement team to develop new and innovative ways to get complex marine conservation issues across to a wide and new audience.
Joanna McNamara, Development & Communications Specialist, Asia Pacific
With two kids under five I spend hours at the beach swimming, surfing and sandcastle making. And don’t forget the rubbish. We always come home with other people’s rubbish collected enthusiastically by my five year old boy. At home on Sydney’s northern beaches our family tries to avoid all the pointless plastic that litters our lives. I also love to fundraise! And inspire people around me to FUNdraise too! I've worked for nonprofits for 10 years and was so excited to join Project AWARE in 2007.
Joanne Marston, Associate Director, Asia Pacific
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.
Lauren Wiskerson, Program Specialist, Americas
As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the ocean and playing in the waves, either above or below the surface. I’m always planning my next trip to swim, body board, surf, dive – you name it. Diving has eternally been 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 initial open water dive in Catalina, I was hooked. The hush of the ocean heightens your senses, allowing you to be enveloped in the beauty of nature, it’s a transforming experience. I joined the foundation (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 eager to use my experience and skills to take action against marine debris and am passionate about spreading the conservation message to help safeguard our precious ocean so it’s a pleasure to help the AWARE leaders that are passionate about taking action to protect our amazing ocean plant.
Orsi Fulop, Development and Outreach Coordinator, Europe - Middle East - Africa
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.
Jennifer Constant, Associate Director, Fundraising, Europe - Middle East - Africa
I've been lucky enough to see a lot of the world, traveling to over 30 different countries, hopping in and out of boats to snorkel, dive or catch some rays (sunrays of course!). I've been lucky to experience some of the most beautiful oceans in the world, which has fuelled my passion for marine conservation. As Project AWARE Associate Director of Fundraising, I connect directly with divers and advocates to provide them with the tools, passion and inspiration they need to make impactful changes not only in their local communities but also globally. Fundraising is not simply about raising money, it is also a critical tool in empowering our movement to spread awareness and by doing so protecting the oceans we all love to explore
Science and Policy
Ania Budziak, Associate Director, Science & Policy, Americas
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 and Outreach Coordinator, Asia Pacific
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!
Erin Kincade, Office Administrator, Americas
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.
Debbie Molesworth, Administrator, Asia Pacific
I've been diving for as long as I can remember. My love for the ocean and diving has been passed on to my daughters, now ages 16 and 20, and we regularly go on diving holidays together. At Project AWARE, I'm responsible for managing the administrative and financial functions for the Asia Pacific region. I love receiving emails and letters from our divers who are on the frontlines, winning battles for our ocean every day. Keep them coming!
Niki Koltai, Administration and Translation Assistant, Europe - Middle East - Africa
I started working for PADI whilst completing my Masters in International Relations. I've always been fascinated by the work that Project AWARE does to protect the ocean with the support of the diving community. With this background I was eager to gain experience in the not-for-profit sector and join the AWARE Team when the opportunity arised. Whilst working for PADI I also had the chance to take my Open Water Course and I'm currently taking further diver training education courses which is really fun. I am passionate about protecting our environment in every possible way and this is one of the reasons why I've been a vegetarian for as long as I can remember. Working for Project AWARE not only gives me the opportunity to learn more about the ocean but also to engage with other ocean enthusiasts. This is the most inspiring and rewarding job I’ve ever done! In the EMEA office, I coordinate translation projects as well as the day to day needs of the charity to support our global team and ensure everything runs smoothly for the team, our volunteers and supporters.