Mark Spalding


Mark J. Spalding has been the President of The Ocean Foundation since its founding in 2002. Under his leadership, it has grown exponentially from a $200,000 to $7 million/year budget, as he prioritized its focus on steering the human relationship with the sea to a brighter future through diverse, carefully chosen strategies and projects. Mark drove the design and establishment of the Alaska Oceans Program, the Shipping Safety Partnership, the Loreto Bay Foundation and the St. Kitts Foundation. Mark is the advisor to the Rockefeller Ocean Strategy (an unprecedented ocean-centric investment fund), and designed the first-ever blue carbon offset program, SeaGrass Grow. He is a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Mark is serving on the Sargasso Sea Commission. He is a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy, at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. From 1994 to 2003, Mark was the Director of the Environmental Law and Civil Society Program, and Editor of the Journal of Environment and Development, at UCSD’s Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS). In addition to lecturing at IR/PS, Mark has taught at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD's Muir College, UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, and University of San Diego's School of Law. He was a research fellow at UCSD's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a Sustainability Institute – Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a SeaWeb Senior Fellow. He holds a B.A. in history with Honors from Claremont McKenna College, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and a Master in Pacific International Affairs (MPIA) from IR/PS. He is a graduate of the British School of Motor Racing. Mark's deep connection with the ocean began as a young boy growing up in the Central Valley of California; each time he crested the coastal range and the Pacific came into view, it was like a breath of fresh air. (Mark concurrently serves as the CEO and President of SeaWeb)

Karen Muir

Vice President, Operations

Karen has been working with TOF since 2009 bringing years of experience in managing international not-for-profit organizations. Karen overseas all aspects of the foundations’ day to day operations from program and grants implementation to human resources and contract management to business development. She brings her skills in strategic development, leadership, team-building and organizational management to the foundation. Prior to TOF Karen served on the senior management team of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). Through her career Karen has experienced life in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Karen studied zoology at Connecticut College, including a one-year program in sustainable wildlife management in Kenya with the School for Field Studies. 

Adrienne Shaw

Development Officer

Adrienne is responsible for identifying and securing funding for TOF from all sources, primarily individual donors. Adrienne came to TOF from the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. She has also worked raising money in-house for EarthRights International, Defenders of Wildlife, Public Citizen and Public Citizen Action Fund. She holds an MA in History, graduate certificate in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies, and a BA in English with a minor in Women’s Studies from George Mason University. Adrienne sits on the Advisory Council for the Rainbow Youth Alliance that serves communities in DC, MD, and VA. She is also an Advanced Open Water SCUBA diver holding certifications from both PADI and SSI schools and has dived all over the world. Adrienne and her husband Matt Hersey live with their daughter in our nation’s capital. Adrienne’s favorite place to go, since she was a girl, has always been the beach.


Jarrod Curry

Marketing & Operations Manager

Jarrod oversees TOF’s marketing efforts and is responsible for managing TOF’s business operations. Jarrod brings years of international experience to TOF, having lived and worked in China and the Middle East. He has a bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in Art History from West Virginia University. His diverse background includes a political action committee, a think tank, and a heavy metal magazine, among others. But you probably know him best from playing tuba in the Hamilton Junior High School band.

Ben Scheelk

Program Manager, Fiscal Sponsorship

Ben leads the operation of The Ocean Foundation's Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Ben’s work involves providing operational and administrative oversight for the many funds that TOF manages. He is responsible for working with all projects in financial and contract management, identifying and bringing on new projects to TOF, and working closely with projects on all aspects of their program implementation. Ben joined TOF after working as the project manager and executive assistant for Alexandra Cousteau at Blue Legacy International, one of TOF’s now fledged FSF projects. Ben holds a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from The George Washington University where he is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Administration. He graduated from Northern Michigan University with a B.A. in Earth Science and International Studies with Honors. Ben was instilled with a passion for the environment from an early age growing up along and exploring the Great Lakes. 

Alexis Valauri-Orton

Program Manager

Alexis joined TOF in 2016 as a Program Associate, serving as project manager of SeaWeb and focusing on sustainable wild caught seafood, aquaculture and conservation messaging. Prior to joining TOF Alexis worked for the Fish Forever program at Rare, Ocean Conservancy and Global Ocean Health. She holds a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Davidson College and completed a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship studying how ocean acidification might affect marine dependent communities in Norway, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Peru. Her areas of expertise include ocean acidification, toxicology, human impacts of ocean acidification and marine destruction, communication, education and curricular design. Beyond the ocean, Alexis’ other love is music: she plays flute, piano, and sings and regularly attends and performs at concerts around town.

Julianna Dietz

Marketing Associate

Julianna is part of the marketing team at TOF and assists in designing and creating all social media, brand, and graphic content. Julianna has experience in the private sector working as a graphic designer for several magazine publications, West Virginia University, and most recently, a real estate firm. She holds a BA in Graphic Design and a minor in Art History from West Virginia University. Julianna’s love of the ocean started at a very early age when her parents took her to Hawaii for the first time at 11 weeks old. When she’s not designing, Julianna can be found eating at local restaurants, running in races, or exploring new neighborhoods in D.C.

Alyssa Hildt

Program Associate

Alyssa supports programmatic work in the areas of program development, program operations, and content research primarily in sustainable aquaculture and various outgoing grants. She holds a BS in Environmental Science from Brigham Young University and interned at Mote Marine Laboratory's Ecotoxicology lab in Sarasota, Florida. Alyssa brings her grant making experience from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, where she supported granting awards to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort. Growing up in Southern California, her love for all things ocean-related started young and grew into a passion for marine conservation. You’ll find her exercising her enthusiasm for trying new things--whether it’s a new hike, restaurant, or city to explore.

Eddie Love

Program Associate

Eddie obtained his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management from Auburn University, and primarily supports TOF's FSF program. He is a former Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Marine Conservation Diversity Fellow 16' where he discovered his love for the ocean. As a fellow, he gained fisheries experience and exposure through working for both Ocean Conservancy and Rare. Eddie also has a breadth of experience in the terrestrial sector, having previously worked for the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service via opportunities gained from his M.A.N.R.R.S chapter at Auburn. His passion and love for animals motivates him to not only protect the environment, but raise awareness of the many issues it faces. Outside of conservation Eddie finds joy in the simple things in life, such as playing and watching tennis or visiting Alabama to see family and eat great southern cooking! 

Alexandra Puritz

Program Associate

Alexandra supports TOF's programmatic work in three major areas: program development, program operations, and content research. She received her Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and International Relations from Connecticut College, and her Master's degree in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Her thesis research focused on the management effectiveness of marine protected areas in Cuba, which she conducted in collaboration with CubaMar (a fiscally sponsored project of TOF). Alexandra is particularly interested in the intersection between community development and marine conservation.   

Eleni Refu

Development Associate

Eleni supports TOF's mission by working to develop and support the organization’s growing individual donor base. Most recently, Eleni worked at LIFT Communities, a national anti-poverty organization, as a member of the first cohorts of Shriver AmeriCorps Fellows. At LIFT, she helped build the capacity of the organization’s regional DC office by providing development and communications support to its staff and Executive Director. 
As an anti-poverty advocate and an environmental enthusiast, Eleni was drawn to TOF because of the many ways that the ocean, and the organization’s work, impact food security and poverty around the world. This special interest stemmed from her experiences living off the Gulf of Tadjoura, in the capital city of Djibouti, where she first fell in love with the ocean as a little girl. She holds a Political Science degree from the University of Rochester, and is fluent in Amharic. In her spare time, Eleni loves to read, run, hike, and enjoys attending local community events.

Phoebe Turner

Operations Intern

Phoebe is a sophomore at The George Washington University studying International Affairs, Philosophy and Environmental Conservation. As a swimmer, Phoebe has always loved to be around the water. Her admiration for killer whales lead her to learning more about the current state of the world ocean. She started an organization at GW called the Sustainable Oceans Alliance that aims to educate her peers about current ocean topics. 

Tamika Washington

Accounting and Tax Preparation Consultant

Tamika received her B.S. in Accounting from Morgan State University and has spent the last 15 years providing accounting services and support for large and small companies in a variety of industries.  For the past 11 years, many of the companies she’s worked with have been ocean non profits.  She is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has lived in Maryland for nearly 25 years.  One of her fondest childhood memories was after her move to Maryland, where she was on a school science field trip aboard a skipjack doing research in the Chesapeake Bay.  That experience sparked her interest in the world’s oceans. Tamika's company DAS Unlimited has been working with the Ocean Foundation since 2009.

Cassandra Brown

Accountant & Operations Manager

Cassandra has over 18 years of accounting and office management experience working with and supporting all avenues of business.  She studied Political science at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA and accounting at Sandhills college in Pinehurst, NC. When she is not busy calculating numbers she can be found reading a  book, walking, or just relaxing along the waterfront of SW Washington near her home.

Shree Karmacharya


Shree is the accountant at The Ocean Foundation. She has a double MBA degree in General Management and Finance. She is multilingual and is fluent in English, Hindi/Urdu, Nepali, which is her national language, and Newari, her ethnic language. While obtaining her MBA, Shree managed her own pharmaceutical business. After graduation, she worked as a Human Resource manager in one of the largest manufacturing companies in Nepal. After she relocated to the US she worked at the Strayer University, Alexandria Campus, as an Assistant Business Office Manager focusing on accounts receivables and collections before she joined the International League of Conservation Photographers as the Director of Finance and Operations handling all the financial management of the organization.