- Marketing and Communications
- Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
- Science and Policy
Stephanie MedinaInterim President & Chief Executive Officer
Stephanie, a longtime Heal the Bay board member and past chairman, is responsible for the financial, operational, and strategic oversight of the organization. She has held several management positions in the nonprofit and media sectors, most recently as a Senior Vice President of Community Relations for the Special Olympics’ World Games 2015.
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Sarah Abramson SikichVice President
Sarah is responsible for advancing Heal the Bay’s strategic priorities through scientific research, advocacy, and legislative campaigns. She also builds strategic partnerships with diverse stakeholders to advance Heal the Bay’s initiatives. Sarah earned her Bachelor’s in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of New Hampshire, and her Master’s from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. When she’s not busy fighting for the ocean, Sarah can be found surfing it.
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Antonio CarreraNetwork Administrator
Antonio operates and maintains Heal the Bay’s computer hardware and network infrastructure and provides technical support to staff. Hailing from Lima, Peru, Antonio completed his B.S. in Information Systems at CSUN. You can often find Antonio surfing before work at Bay Street.
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Carey MeredithDirector of Finance and Operations
Carey manages Heal the Bay’s budgeting and finances. A tenured finance professional with an MBA from Pepperdine, she has over 15 years of experience in nonprofit finance and management. An ardent sailor, she currently races sailboats on a women’s sailing team.
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Gabriele has been the face, voice, and administrative angel of Heal the Bay for nearly 20 years. She can answer any question about the organization and the Bay with ease and keeps the office running smoothly. When not manning her post as velvet rope/bouncer/concierge, she can probably be found in her recording studio.
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Sylvie MakaraExecutive Assistant
Sylvie provides administrative support to Heal the Bay’s President, Vice President, and Board of Directors. After relocating to Southern California from Ottawa, Ontario, Sylvie quickly found her niche as an educational programs volunteer and Key to the Sea Naturalist at Heal the Bay. Sylvie brings almost 20 years of administrative experience and an unabashed love of the ocean to her work.
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Danielle PortnoyAdvancement Director
Danielle works to ensure Heal the Bay’s programs remain strong, sustainable, and funded for years to come. Prior to Heal the Bay, she managed fundraising at the American Cancer Society as a Regional Director for Relay for Life. She holds a bachelor’s degree in TV Production and Politics and Law from Emerson College, and can often be found with a foster pup (or two) in tow.
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Danie EleyCorporate Relations and Special Events Manager
Danie develops and nurtures corporate partnerships with Heal the Bay, helping companies become more effective environmental stewards. After earning her degree at Carleton College, she worked in government relations and PR at an L.A.-based electric car and energy storage company. She’s proud to be back to her nonprofit roots.
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Jennifer AndersonMajor Gifts Officer
Jennifer works to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward major gifts in order to achieve Heal the Bay’s revenue goals. Prior to Heal the Bay, Jennifer worked at major talent agencies and produced reality television. Jennifer is also a vice president & board member for the Museum of Broadcast Communications / National Radio Hall of Fame.
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Lee MyersData Manager
Lee manages Heal the Bay’s membership and donor data. In his 16 years with the organization, Lee has seen dramatic improvements in our Bay. He is driven by his belief
that Heal the Bay’s work rejuvenates our ecosystem and educates the next generation. He earned a master’s degree from UCLA and enjoys painting and politics.
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Logan DoughtieDonor Relations Manager
Logan manages our new Wavemakers membership program, along with our Suits On the Sand program and a new retail initiative. Logan graduated from Florida State University and worked for several years managing arts education programs for homeless youth shelters. He enjoys exploring California’s national parks.
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Sheila McSherryFoundation Grants Manager
Sheila has been securing foundation and corporate grant support for Heal the Bay’s programs since 2005. She developed a passion for environmental and social justice issues while studying journalism at UCSC. Sheila is also a musician and recording artist, and currently sings for an L.A.-based garage rock band.
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Marketing and Communications
Matthew KingCommunications Director
Matthew is responsible for communicating Heal the Bay’s mission and activities to the general public. He oversees our branding, public messaging, pro-bono advertising, and public and media relations. Before joining Heal the Bay, he served as a vice president of The Hollywood Reporter and as an editor at the Los Angeles Times. An avid surfer, Matthew sneaks out to El Porto and Bay Street as often as he can.
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Nick ColinCommunications Manager
Nick oversees Heal the Bay’s vibrant social medial accounts and compelling digital advocacy campaigns. Before Heal the Bay, he managed community engagement at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Nick earned a B.A. in Photography from Bard College and is nuts for nudibranchs.
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Nick PayneWeb and Digital Communications Assistant
Nick maintains Heal the Bay’s website, creates and manages content, engages with fans over social media, and performs other technical tasks around the office. Nick graduated with a B.S. in Biology from UCLA, and is excited to leverage his experience in web development/administration with his passion for environmental conservation.
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Meredith McCarthyDirector of Programs
Meredith oversees Heal the Bay’s suite of prestigious public programs, including Coastal Cleanup Day, the Angler Outreach Program, Speakers Bureau, Adopt-a-Beach, and Key to the Sea. Meredith also sits on the steering committees for the IRWMP and Green L.A. Coalition, and is also an active participant in the Urban Ecosystems workgroup.
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Nancy ShrodesEducation & Outreach manager
Nancy inspires thousands of Angelenos by managing Heal the Bay’s Speakers Bureau program. Her passion for ocean conservation earned her an Environmental Science degree with a focus in marine biology from Tufts University. Prior to joining Heal the Bay, Nancy ran a grassroots campaign office that was instrumental in banning plastic bags in L.A. Look for Nancy on the beach volleyball courts.
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Alys ArenasBeach Programs Manager
Alys manages the Adopt-a-Beach and Coastal Cleanup programs, educating diverse communities about the importance of our ocean and the impact of marine debris. Alys recently earned her master’s of science in Geographical Information Sciences from California State University, Long Beach. When she’s not working to protect our beaches, you can find her climbing mountains.
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Jenn SwartSuits On the Sand Cleanups & Programs Associate
Jenn coordinates Suits On the Sand and Nothin’ But Sand cleanups and professional development workshops for science teachers. She also manages Club Heal the Bay, incorporating area high school groups into Heal the Bay campaigns. Jenn graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Calgary, and is in love with scuba diving.
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Lily LedesmaCommunity Advocacy Coordinator & Volunteer Manager
Lily recruits and trains volunteers, manages interns, and oversees the Community Advocates and MPA Watch programs. Lily graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Environmental Earth Science. She is eager to help spread environmental awareness and provide resources to inland and underrepresented communities. She is the envy of the office for her elaborate home-cooked lunches.
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Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Akino first arrived as an aquarist intern in 2010 while getting her BS in Biology from Cal State Long Beach. After graduate school at Pace University in New York, she joined the staff in 2014. Her ace aquaristing skills were put to use assisting in emergency response management at the New York Aquarium after Hurricane Sandy.
Holly LimmVolunteer Manager
As Aquarium volunteer manager, Holly recruits and trains volunteers and manages the birthday party program. A South Bay native, Holly pursued her love for coral reef ecology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. When she’s not at our Aquarium, Holly teaches for the Roundhouse Aquarium and Waterfront Education.
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Jackie CannataEducation Specialist & Summer Camp Manager
Jackie uses her outdoor education skills to teach students who visit to the Aquarium on field trips and to manage the popular camp program. When not hanging out with friends and family, Jackie enjoys any hobby that keeps her active and outside, but her favorites are snorkeling, surfing, backpacking, playing soccer, and exploring new places.
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Jenna SegalPublic Programs Manager
As public programs manager, Jenna is the welcoming face of the Aquarium, leading daily operations for the Aquarium’s public hours and coordinating special weekend events. Jenna is originally from Massachusetts, and earned her B.S. in Biology from Northeastern University. Ask her about octopus intelligence for some interesting stories and facts.
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Jose BacallaoOperations Manager
Jose is responsible for Aquarium collections, care and maintenance of the exhibits, life support systems, and all living organisms at our Aquarium. A South Bay native, Jose has been a marine science educator and aquarist for more than 20 years. Whether collecting kelp and specimens for the Aquarium, diving, or surfing, Jose is a true waterman.
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Nick FashEducation Specialist & Key to the Sea Manager
Nick teaches elementary through college level students at our Aquarium, oversees our Key to the Sea program, runs teacher workshops, and develops curriculum. With a focus on fisheries biology and resource management at Cornell, he conducted salmonid research in Alaska and the Great Lakes before joining our staff. Diving, fly-fishing, cooking, and photography are Nick’s passions.
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Randi ParentOutreach Manager
Randi, a former newspaper reporter from Cape Cod, coordinates with educators, event planners, and others who wish to use the facilities at the Aquarium. Randi also acts as liaison with various city agencies and Santa Monica Pier neighbors. She puts her journalism skills to work writing about the Aquarium for Heal the Bay publications and by publicizing Aquarium events.
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Taylor SpesakPublic Programs Assistant
Taylor meets and greets visitors during public hours and helps teach students on the beach. He’s a Southern California native, lover of marine life, scuba diver since age 13, and an ocean advocate. He first volunteered at the Aquarium while completing a political science/communications degree at LMU. Visit on Wednesday afternoons to help Taylor with sand crab data collection.
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Science and Policy
Rita KampalathScience and Policy Director
Rita oversees Heal the Bay’s rigorous science and policy work, including programs that seek to holistically improve water quality and water supply throughout Southern California. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University, as well as an M.S. in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from UCLA. Before joining Heal the Bay, Rita focused on stormwater quality projects at Geosyntec Consultants.
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Dana Roeber MurraySenior Coastal Policy Manager
Dana develops, executes, and manages advocacy and legislative campaigns related to coastal habitat and marine life protection. A Southern California native, Dana has a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s in Environmental Science and Coastal Marine Resource Management from UCSB’s Bren School. She has been involved with Heal the Bay since 2003 and loves introducing her daughter, Coral, to the magic of the ocean.
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Frankie OrralaAngler Outreach Program Manager
Frankie manages the Angler Outreach Program, overseeing a multilingual team of five. He also develops partnerships with the Spanish-speaking community and acts as Heal the Bay’s Spanish media liaison. Before joining Heal the Bay, Frankie was a Fishing Observer for the Ecuadorian National Fishing Institute in the Galapagos Islands. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of Guayaquil.
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James AlamilloUrban Programs Manager
James focuses on water quality issues in urbanized watersheds, and manages Heal the Bay’s Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Environment Initiative and the WAYS Park projext. He received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Economics from UCSC and his master’s in Urban Planning from UCLA. At Heal the Bay since 1992, James is the designated keeper of organizational lore.
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Katherine PeaseWatershed Scientist
Katherine assesses the water quality and biological health of greater L.A.’s watersheds and assists stakeholder groups with policy recommendations. Katherine studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Barnard College and earned a Ph.D. from UCLA, where she wrote her dissertation on the impacts of invasive crayfish on native frog tadpoles in the Santa Monica Mountains. Katherine is passionate about freshwater ecosystems and loves to explore L.A.’s wilderness.
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Leslie GriffinBeach Water Quality Scientist
As the Data Analyst for the Beach Report Card, Leslie evaluates beach water quality data from Oregon to Mexico, helping the public stay safe at the beach. An East Coast native, Leslie began interning with Heal the Bay in 2011, going full-time in 2015 after completing her master’s at LMU. Leslie enjoys sports, hiking, biking, and caring for the office hamsters.
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Oscar TorresAngler Outreach Team
Driven by his zeal for the Southern California coast and his passion for informing and empowering communities, Oscar speaks with anglers and fishermen and instructs them about pollution and health risks from fishing L.A.’s piers. Oscar’s main interests are environmental and human health and sustainable fisheries.
Ryan SearcyBeach Water Quality Modeler
Ryan is responsible for developing and running Heal the Bay’s “Nowcast” program, an innovative platform that will forecast water quality at beaches across California daily. Hailing from Northern California, Ryan moved down to sunny San Diego to earn both a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at UCSD. After the work day is done, Ryan can be found surfing waves or sipping a homebrew.
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Steven JohnsonWater Resources Policy Analyst
Steven tracks and evaluates science and policy issues that impact water quality and water supply in Southern California. After studying problems arising from the sedimentation of the Rio Chone Estuary in coastal Ecuador, Steven received his master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from UCSB’s Bren School. Steven collects books and misses East Coast thunderstorms.
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Tova HandelmanCoastal Resources Coordinator
Tova works on key coastal issues such as marine protected areas and plastic pollution. She has a long history with Heal the Bay, starting as an intern at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium in 2010 before moving to the Science and Policy team. Tova recently received her master’s degree from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB.
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Vanessa AlcantarAngler Outreach Team
Vanessa is a proud member of the Angler Outreach Program. She received her bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Geography/Environmental and is currently working toward her master’s degree in Agriculture Science-Plant Science at Cal Poly-Pomona, focusing on wetland restoration.