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Ocean Visions Staff

For general inquiries, please email info@oceanvisions.org

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Brad Ack

Chief Executive Officer
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Liliana Bastian, Ph.D.

Program Officer
Marilu Flores

Marilu Cristina Flores

Communications Associate
Jessica Keith vertical for web

Jessica Keith

Senior Communications Director
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David Koweek, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist
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Sarah Mastroni

Program Officer
Courtney

Courtney McGeachy

Director of the Ocean Visions – UN Decade Collaborative Center for Ocean-Climate Solutions
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Nikhil Neelakantan

Senior Program Officer
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Kerry J. Nickols, Ph.D.

Senior Program Officer
Lisa Oosterom

Lisa Oosterom

Director of Finance and Administration
Leonardo

Leonardo Valenzuela Pérez, Ph.D.

Director of International Partnerships

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Brad Ack

Brad Ack has 35 years of experience working at the intersection of science, policy and environmental innovation, focused on the preservation of nature and a living world.  During his career he has designed and implemented innovative conservation and sustainability initiatives spanning tropical forests and high deserts to estuaries and the global ocean.  Brad has worked for both government and NGOs at senior levels.

Brad serves as Chief Executive Officer for Ocean Visions, an NGO at the center of a collaborative network of research institutions and innovators, investors, and practitioners of ocean regeneration.  Ocean Visions is advancing a new agenda for the ocean, focused on directly addressing the greatest cause of harm – greenhouse gas pollution that is driving existential threats to the ocean.  Ocean Visions works across sectors and disciplines to unlock new intellectual and financial resources to source, develop and scale cutting-edge innovation to regenerate critical components of the ocean-climate system.

Previously Brad served as SVP Oceans at WWF-US; Executive Director of the Puget Sound Recovery Program for the State of Washington; and Regional Director-Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council.  He earlier led conservation programs at Grand Canyon Trust and started his career working on community-based conservation in Latin America.  Brad received his Master’s degree from Georgetown University and Bachelor’s degree at Macalester College. 

Liliana Bastian

Liliana Bastian, PhD is a Program Officer at Ocean Visions, where she supports strategic initiatives for the Ocean Visions – UN Decade Collaborative Center for Ocean-Climate Solutions and the Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS), a UN Decade-endorsed action. She is a marine social scientist with a background in human geography and sustainable development. 

Before joining Ocean Visions, Liliana conducted participatory marine justice research and implemented multi-sector capacity building projects in sustainable development and climate resilience in the US, the UK, and Southeast Asia. Liliana holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Exeter, a Master of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, and a B.S. in Environmental Geoscience from Texas A&M University. 

Marilu Cristina Flores

Marilu Cristina Flores is an award-winning filmmaker, coral researcher, and recipient of the 2021 Go Blue Ambassador of the Year Award.

Recognized as a Hispanic Ocean Conservation Hero in 2021, she holds a certificate degree from the University of Queensland in Tropical Coastal Ecosystem Resource Management and served the Surfrider Foundation as Regional Coordinator and then Manager from 2018 – 2022.

During her time with Surfrider, Marilu helped community activists pass over 50 ordinances to protect our marine and coastal ecosystems and in 2021, she was appointed to serve the Southeast Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) as an NGO/nonprofit partner for five years. 

Marilu is a passionate science communication and conservation storyteller, proud to have joined the Ocean Visions team as a Communications Associate in June 2024.

Jessica Keith

Jessica Keith is a cause-driven communications leader with more than 20 years of experience in the environmental nonprofit sector.

As Senior Communications Director for Ocean Visions, she leads the planning and implementation of communication strategies and tactics that raise the profile of Ocean Visions with target audiences and expand support for its mission to develop innovative solutions at the ocean-climate nexus.

Prior to Ocean Visions, Jessica spent more than 15 years with The Nature Conservancy, where she worked as part of the regional leadership team to develop and execute integrated marketing and media programs to advance conservation, policy, and fundraising priorities.

Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, editorial strategy, content development, earned media, donor/member engagement, digital marketing, and project management.

Jessica has a B.S. in Environmental Communication, Education, and Interpretation and a Minor in International Studies from The Ohio State University.

David Koweek, PhD

David Koweek, PhD is Chief Scientist at Ocean Visions, where he is responsible for ensuring scientific accuracy and integrity. David is trained as a marine and Earth system scientist. He has led and participated in field expeditions all across the world, including on the Great Barrier Reef, the Ross Sea, the California coast, the Sargasso Sea, and natural carbon dioxide vents off Italy. An expert in evaluating the potential of various ocean solutions, David is a frequent participant in research conferences and expert-level panels, including recent panels for the Energy Futures Initiative, the Foundation for Climate Restoration, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. His scholarly works have been published in top-tier journals, including Nature. Prior to his role with Ocean Visions, David was a postdoctoral research scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and a B.S. from Brown University.

Sarah Mastroni

Sarah Mastroni is the Program Officer at Ocean Visions where she is responsible for leading and supporting the development of key projects, products, and activities. Sarah has a background in intertidal research, investigating impacts of climate change in California and Alaskan intertidal systems. Before joining Ocean Visions, Sarah worked with Blue Ocean Barns as a Policy Analyst to help navigate their integration of methane-reducing red seaweed into cattle feed across the United States.  She received her B.S. from UCLA where she studied Marine Biology and Italian, and her M.S. from UCSC’s Coastal Science and Policy Program. Sarah currently lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Courtney McGeachy

Courtney McGeachy currently serves as the Director of the Ocean Visions – UN Decade Collaborative Center for Ocean Climate Solutions. Courtney previously directed the GOLD+ Program (planetGOLD) at Conservation International. Prior to joining Conservation International, Courtney served as the Principal of the Pew Marine Fellows Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts, as well as the Manager of the Marine Conservation portfolio at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. During her time at the National Fish Wildlife Foundation, Courtney managed several marine conservation programs including the Fishing for Energy Program, Coral Reef Conservation Program, and the Emergency Prescott Grants Program just to name a few. Courtney holds a B.Sc. degree in Marine and Environmental Science from Hampton University, and a M.Sc. in Marine and Estuarine sciences from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Courtney also previously served as a co-chair for Integrity, Diversity and Equity at the Citizen Science Association.

Nikhil Neelakantan

Nikhil Neelakantan is the Senior Program Officer for the Ocean Visions Launchpad program, where he works with startups working on ocean-based carbon dioxide removal. He comes to Ocean Visions after founding a startup in India that provided small and medium sized businesses with access to formal sources of credit. Prior to that he worked as a business manager at Capital One working in Commercial Banking as well as in the Credit card lines of business. Nikhil started his career working as a process engineer in the semiconductor industry and also worked at a nanotechnology company looking to commercialize a new material called Ultrananocrystalline diamond.

Nikhil has a MBA from the University of Oxford, a MS in Materials Science and Engineering from Purdue University and a B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology-Madras. Outside of work, Nikhil volunteers with non-profits addressing climate change such as The Open Air Collective and with the city of Richmond, where he volunteers to develop and implement their climate action plan.

Kerry Nickols, Ph.D.

Kerry J. Nickols, Ph.D. is a Senior Program Officer at Ocean Visions leading the Marine Ecosystem Repair Program. Kerry was trained as an interdisciplinary ocean scientist and has additional experience working at the intersection of science and policy. Prior to joining Ocean Visions, Kerry was an Associate Professor at California State University Northridge where she led an active research program integrating ecology and oceanography to study coastal marine ecosystems and climate change. Major research foci included the design and evaluation of Marine Protected Areas and the potential for macroalgae to mitigate ocean acidification and hypoxia. Kerry holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from University of California, Davis, and a B.A. in Earth and Planetary Science as well as Integrative Biology from University of California, Berkeley.

 

Lisa Oosterom

Lisa Oosterom is the Director of Finance and Administration at Ocean Visions. She brings over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, having worked in areas of human services, education, medical research, and victim services. Her areas of expertise include budgeting, audit preparation, and grants management. Lisa has a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Arts Management from the State University of New York and has studied Non-Profit Management at NYU.

Leonardo Valenzuela Pérez, PhD


Leonardo Valenzuela Pérez is the Director of International Partnerships and leads the Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS) at Ocean Visions. GEOS is a United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development endorsed program that articulates a multi-sectoral global network dedicated to the development and deployment of equitable and scalable ocean-based solutions to address climate change and major Sustainable Development challenges.

Previously, he led international climate justice initiatives in alliance with grassroots organizations in the energy and mining sectors. Leonardo has been working for nearly two decades at the intersection of Indigenous rights, climate activism, and environmental justice research with a global focus.

Leonardo holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Sydney, as well as a Master of Human Settlements and the Environment and a Bachelor of Sociology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.