Staff Directory


Stephanie Medina, Interim President & Chief Executive Officer

Stephanie Medina

Interim 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 Sikich

Vice 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 Carrera

Network 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 Meredith

Director 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 Morgan


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 Makara

Executive 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 Portnoy

Advancement 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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Alvin Lam

Development Assistant

Alvin graduated from UCLA, but more importantly, unlike Frank Drebin, he doesn’t love swimming in raw sewage. It’s this aversion that led him to Heal the Bay where he helps the Advancement team attract lovers of clean water (yes, that was a reference to the 90’s classic, Naked Gun 2 ½).

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Danie Eley

Corporate 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 Anderson

Major 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 Myers

Lee Myers

Data 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 Doughtie

Donor 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 McSherry

Foundation 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 King

Communications 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 Payne

Web 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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Talia Roselli

Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications

Talia creates and develops Heal the Bay’s marketing and communications to foster deeper connections between Angelenos and the ocean. Prior to this role, she served at Ticketmaster as the senior manager of content marketing. She earned her B.S. in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University and enjoys hiking, art, and live music.

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Meredith McCarthy

Director 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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Alys Arenas

Beach 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 Swart

Suits 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 Ledesma

Community 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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Nancy Shrodes

Education & 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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Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Joleen Deatherage

Aquarium Director

Joleen joined us after four years with the Los Angeles Maritime Institute, where she was the head of development and marketing, and played a major leadership role in the development of environmental and science programming aboard the Institute’s tall ships. A fourth generation Angeleno, Joleen brings with her a wealth of experience in marketing and communications, fundraising, event production, nonprofit management, experiential education, and in building partnerships in the community. Joleen was raised in Redondo Beach and can’t live too far from the ocean. One of her favorite quotes is from the Cuban poet Pablo Neruda: “Necesito del mar porque me enseña.” (I need the sea because it teaches me.)

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Akino Higa


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.

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Holly Limm

Volunteer 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 Cannata

Education 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 Segal

Public 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 Bacallao

Operations 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 Fash

Education 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 Parent

Outreach 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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Science and Policy

Rita Kampalath

Science 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 Murray

Senior Coastal Policy Manager

Dana develops and manages ocean science and policy campaigns including marine life protection, coastal climate change, sustainable fisheries, and plastic pollution. She co-chairs the LA MPA Collaborative and directs the MPA Watch citizen science program. Dana’s master’s degree is in Environmental Science and Coastal Marine Resource Management from UC Santa Barbara, and her bachelor’s is from UCLA. Dana enjoys SCUBA diving, sailing, and raising her young daughters at the beach.

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Frankie Orrala

Angler 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 Alamillo

Urban 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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Karen Vu

Beach Water Quality Assistant

Karen is responsible for collecting and analyzing microbial beach water quality data for the Beach Report Card program. After a long stint as an intern at Heal the Bay and the SMPA, she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Environmental Management at USF.  When she’s not sifting through data, you can find Karen baking or chowing down at panda express.

Katherine Pease

Watershed 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 Griffin

Beach Water Quality Scientist

As the Water Quality Scientist and Program Manager for the Beach Report Card and Predictive Modeling projects, Leslie evaluates beach water quality data from Washington 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 while finishing her M.S. in Environmental Science at LMU. Her research while in school was on the absorption and desorption of PAHs in and out of plastics in various water velocities. Leslie enjoys gardening, hiking, and multitude of sports.

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Oscar Torres

Angler 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 Searcy

Beach 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 Johnson

Steven Johnson

Water 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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Vanessa Alcantar

Angler 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.