Meet Our Summit Speakers

Erik Smulson

VP for Public Affairs, Georgetown University

Erik Smulson (C’89) joined Georgetown University in September 2005 after more than 15 years working on Capitol Hill and on political campaigns.From 2007 to 2011, Erik served as Chief of Staff to Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. In that role, he was responsible for running the Office of the President and served as a liaison with important constituents both within and outside the academic community.,As Vice President for Public Affairs and Senior Advisor to the President, Erik leads Georgetown’s efforts and senior officers in institutional positioning and branding, intercollegiate athletics, federal and city relations, communications, civic engagement and public safety.,A 1989 graduate of Georgetown’s College of Arts and Sciences, Erik majored in American Government. He gained extensive experience in the areas of message development, crisis communications, speech writing and media placement in his years working on Capitol Hill. ,A native Washingtonian, Erik and his wife Jennifer (LL’89) have three children. 

Elena Itameri

President, Georgetown Sustainable Ocean Alliance Chapter

Elena Itämeri is a junior majoring in Justice and Peace Studies with a concentration in Human Rights and Sustainability. She joined SOA within weeks of arriving on the Hilltop because she wanted to create meaningful change in ocean conservation and policy. Her last name means “Baltic Sea” in Finnish, so it seems fitting that she would spend her undergraduate years fighting to make sure that the next generation can coexist on a planet with polar bears.

Daniela Fernandex

Founder & CEO, Sustainable Ocean Alliance

Daniela Fernandez is the Founder and CEO of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA). Under her leadership, two annual Summits have broadcast globally engaging 30 universities, U.S. embassies and over 3,000 participants. Through a partnership with the U.S. State Department, SOA co-hosted the “Our Ocean” Leadership Summit attracting high-level government officials and over 150 international students. Fernandez is a contributor to The Economist Intelligence Unit and National Geographic, has spoken at the United Nations, U.S. Capitol Hill Ocean Week, World Affairs Council Conference, Nexus UN Summit, The Economist World Ocean Summit, WE Day Illinois to a crowd of 15,000 people. She has been recognized for her work by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, listed as one of the top 5 Ocean Heroes of 2016.

Dr. Greg Stone

Executive Vice President, Conservation International

Dr. Greg Stone is one of the world's leading authorities on marine conservation policy and ocean health issues. A lifelong scientific explorer and prolific diver, with more than 8,000 dives to date in every sea on Earth, Greg has lived underwater for 30 days in a habitat and has dived to 18,000 feet in submersibles. He is currently Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Council on Ocean Governance and has received numerous awards including the US Navy and National Science Foundation Antarctic Service Medal. Dr. Stone has given a TED talk and appeared in Discovery Channel and National Geographic documentaries.

Dr. Enric Sala

Explorer-in-residence, National Geographic

Dr. Enric Sala is dedicated to restoring the health and productivity of our planet's oceans, and his more than 120 scientific publications are widely recognized and used for real-world conservation efforts such as the creation of marine reserves. Sala is currently working to help protect the world's last pristine marine ecosystems and to develop new business models for marine conservation. He is the founder and leader of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, a project that combines exploration, research, and media to inspire country leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean. To date, Pristine Seas has helped create 12 marine reserves—including some of the largest on the planet—that protect more than 3 million square kilometers of ocean.

William McDonough

Chief Executive, McDonough Innovation

Born in Japan, February 20, 1951, William McDonough was first introduced to closed-loop material cycles while growing up in Japan and Hong Kong. This experience had a tremendous influence on his life. McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular. He is recognized globally as a leader in sustainable development. His vision for a future of abundance for all is helping companies and communities think differently.

Stephanie Wear

Marine Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy

Ms. Stephanie Wear is a marine ecologist who has focused on researching and developing new strategies to reduce threats to coral reefs, paying special attention to how the fates of reefs and people are intertwined. Since joining the Conservancy in 2001, she has developed strategies to address global drivers that threaten coral reefs, developed training programs for reef managers and become a recognized media spokesperson on reef conservation. Stephanie has become a recognized spokesperson for conservation around the globe. She was named one of Women’s Health Magazine’s “Clean and Green Pioneers” in April 2013 and’s “Mom’s Who are Changing the World” in 2011. She has appeared on numerous media outlets including NBC Dateline, NBC Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, Fox News, Time Magazine, Success Magazine, and as a guest on The Martha Stewart Show. She has also appeared as an expert contributor on Disney’s movie “Oceans” and in the BBC series “The Power of Nature.” She speaks frequently at conferences and special events, including the Nexus Global Youth Summit and the Denver Museum for Nature and Science.

Dr. Kerry Danner

Theology Department, Georgetown University

Dr. Danner spent the formative years of her childhood living on Oahu, Hawaii. Regular swimming in the ocean nurtured in her an intimate understanding of the relationship of the physical and spiritual, and the power of place. Dr. Danner's research interests are focused on moral character, social justice, and how religious and spiritual commitments can form, deform, or sustain both. Recent articles include “Seeing the World Anew: Educating for a Just and Sustainable Future: New Perspectives for a Catholic Curriculum” and “Hope, Courage, and Resistance During Climate Change: Insights from African-American Economic Cooperative Practices. She is currently writing an article on courage as a civic virtue. She teaches for the Theology and Justice and Peace Departments here at Georgetown.

Julia Roberson

Vice President of Communications, Ocean Conservancy

Julia Roberson is vice president of communications for Ocean Conservancy, and directs its ocean acidification program. Previously, she managed the Pew Environment Group’s Global Tuna Conservation Campaign’s work on science-based, enforceable catch limits and other measures for tuna species threatened by overfishing. She also managed campaigns in Europe for SeaWeb, including “Caviar Emptor” and “L’Autre Caviar,” which promoted eco-friendly aquaculture and sought protection for wild, endangered Caspian Sea sturgeon. She managed Too Precious to Wear, a campaign with jewelry and design sectors to raise awareness and improve trade policy for corals. Her passion is communicating about people and stories behind big environmental issues in a way that leads to action and change at scale.

Andres Jimenez

Associate Director of Government Relations, The Ocean Conservancy Inc

Andres Jimenez held the position of Senior Manager of Government Relations before being named Associate Director. He previously worked in the U.S. House or Representatives as an Intern with Congressman Howard Berman and a Staff Assistant with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. From 2010-2014, Jimenez was a Legislative Representative for the city of New York. He will move on from his position with the Ocean Conservancy and will take the position of Senior Director of Government Affairs for the American Beverage Association.

Stephanie Doyle

Senior Outreach Liaison, Citizens Climate Lobby

Stephanie Doyle first started at CCE/CCL as an intern for Amy Bennett before moving to the Coronado Headquarters. She then worked as an assistant to CCE’s founder Marshall Saunders from 2013-2015 before moving to Washington D.C. where she now works as the Senior Outreach Liaison, formulating and strengthening relationships with other NGOs. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2012 with a BS in Biology and Marine Biology and previously worked at a variety of citizen science projects including Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team in Seattle (COASST). She is currently working towards a Master’s of Science degree in Energy Policy and Climate at Johns Hopkins University’s Advanced Academic Program.

Matthew McGuire

(fmr.) United States Executive Director, World Bank Group

The Honorable Matthew T. McGuire served as the United States Executive Director of the World Bank Group from 2015 to 2017, having been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As the United States’ full-time board member, he represented the largest shareholder on the executive boards of the World Bank Group’s four operating institutions: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The International Development Association, The International Finance Corporation, and the Multi-Lateral Guarantee Agency. Dr. McGuire also served in the Obama Administration as Director of the Office of the Business Liaison at the U.S. Department of Commerce. In this capacity, he managed the Secretary’s relationships with business leaders globally, and he worked closely with policy making entities across the federal government, including the National Economic Council, the National Security Council, and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Michael T. Eckhart

Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental Finance, Citigroup

 Michael T. Eckhart supports Citi's goal to be the leading financial services firm in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean water and related areas, serving clients with corporate banking, investment banking, equity and debt capital markets, global transaction services, trade finance and private banking. Mr. Eckhart serves on the governing bureau of the REN 21 global policy network in renewable energy, on the Renewable Industry Advisory Board of the IEA, and as an Observer to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Jude Ower

Founder & CEO, PlayMob

Jude Ower is the CEO and Founder of Playmob, a platform ‘making every click count’ by connecting socially conscious brands to millions of engaged global gamers. A serial entrepreneur, startup-mentor, and an Entrepreneur in residence with Angel Academe, Jude has a passion for games for good, profit with purpose business models, startups, problem-solving and innovation. Jude was recently awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the 2016 New Years Honours list for services to Entrepreneurship. She has been voted top 100 women in Tech in Europe, Top 100 women in Games in the UK and in the Creative England Top 50 2015. More recently she won the Talent Unleashed award, judged by Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak, as the ‘One to Watch in 2015’ and shortlisted for the Veuve Clicquot ‘New Generation’ award May 2015. She is also a BAFTA games judge and judges for the Burberry Breakthrough Brit awards and speaker at various events such as Mashable Social Good Summit, SXSW, MADE Festival, Pocket Gamer, Mobile Games Forum, Women in Games, Browser Games Forum, Games for Brands, London Games Conference, Social Games Summit and Tech@State (US White House).

Grete Faremo

Under-Secretary-General & Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services

Grete Faremo joined UNOPS as Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director in August 2014. Before this appointment, Ms. Faremo held various senior-level positions for the Government of Norway. Most recently, she was Minister of Justice and Public Security; a role she held for two years. She was Minister of Defense (2009-2011), Minister of Oil and Energy (1996), Minister of Justice (1992-1996), and Minister of Development Cooperation (1990-1992) for the Norwegian Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was elected member of Parliament from 1993 to 1997. Ms. Faremo also brings a wealth of experience from the private sector, working as the Executive Vice President for the Norwegian insurance group, Storebrand, from 1997 to 2003. From 2003 to 2008, she held the position of Director of Law and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Corporation’s Western European Office, where she developed legal and public affairs division responsible for corporate compliance in the region.

Daisy Kendrick

Founder, We Are The Oceans

Daisy Kendrick founded We Are The Oceans in 2016 as a Senior at Northeastern University. Daisy's mission is to safeguard the future of our planet by protecting our oceans. Prior to founding WATO, Daisy was an advisor for the United Nations, where she organized and wrote reports for various Ambassadors on High-Level meetings at the UN including the Post-15 Agenda discussion, Group 77+ China, Security Council, Iran Nuclear Peace talks, and Trusteeship meetings.

Hanan Bloomer

Chair of Communication, Georgetown Sustainable Ocean Alliance Chapter

Hanan Bloomer is a junior at Georgetown University in the School of Nursing and Health Studies majoring in Human Science. Growing up on an island, he was exposed to the sea often. In high school, at the American School in Japan, Hanan led numerous beach clean-up expeditions. Now, splitting time between DC and San Diego, he continues to clean beaches and uses ocean plastic in artistic ways to spread awareness of ocean issues. His desire to spread ocean appreciation through art resulted in the numerous art projects displayed at the Third Annual Sustainable Oceans Summit.


Jade Zaroff

Founder, Environment for Change & Emerson Green Gala

Jade Zaroff graduated from Emerson College a year early (2016) with a BA Theatre Studies: Acting degree and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Living an organic lifestyle and singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” before she could speak, Jade has been a passionate environmentalist, innovator and artist since birth. She is currently a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Candidacy Program and is still consistently involved with musical theatre, voice, film and new works. Entrepreneurship has also been a prominent part of her life, as her mother, and mentor, Marci Zaroff is an entrepreneur who has revolutionized the global fashion and textile industries. The creation and production of the Emerson Green Gala, now an annual event at Emerson College, is the convergence of all of Jade’s interests and Entertainment for Change is the next chapter of her vision.

Monica Medina

Deputy Director of the Environment Program, Walton Family Foundation

Prior to joining the Walton Family Foundation in 2016, Monica Medina served as Director of International Ocean Policy at National Geographic after serving as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense advising him on all issues concerning women in the military, military sexual assault, the lifting of the combat exclusion rule, veterans’ employment, wounded warriors, traumatic brain injury and suicides, military health care, same-sex partner benefits, as well as environment, energy issues. Previously, Ms. Medina served as the Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where she led efforts on Arctic conservation and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. She currently sits on the Georgetown Sustainable Ocean Alliance advisory board and is an honors graduate of the Columbia Law School and Georgetown University.

Maggie Thompson

Executive Director, Generation Progress

Maggie Thompson was the Campaign Manager for the higher Ed Not Deby campaign, a nationwide multiyear effort working to ensure that a quality higher education is affordable and accessible to all without the burden of financial hardship. Prior to joining Generation Progress, Maggie was a founding member of Brass Tactics, a grassroots advocacy firm that engaged on key progressive priorities including bringing nontraditional voices to the climate-change fight, implementing the Affordable Care Act in states, and organizing for gun-violence-prevention legislation. Maggie served in the Obama administration at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as well as in the office of the Director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. During her time in both offices, she not only worked on administration policy but also assisted in designing public engagement strategies to introduce administration priorities. Maggie has also worked as a trainer with Wellstone Action since 2005, when she assisted in the development of the first Campus Camp Wellstone program. She worked for then-Sen. Barack Obama starting in 2007 during the Nevada primaries and became a regional field director in the 2008 Obama for America campaign in Saint Paul. She has also worked on races ranging in size from county commissioner to statehouse to mayoral. Prior to her work in politics, Maggie worked as a field archaeologist in central Greece and Germany. She graduated with a degree in economics and classical archaeology from Macalester College.

Dr. Paul Bunje

Chief Scientist, XPRIZE

Paul Bunje is a global thought leader in bringing innovation to solve environmental grand challenges. Paul leads Planet & Environment prizes at the XPRIZE Foundation, where he brings his unique ability to bridge the gap between science and society to incentivizing solutions to diverse challenges facing our world. This work includes leading the $2M Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE and the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. Dr. Bunje has served as the founding Executive Director of the UCLA Center for Climate Change Solutions and as the Managing Director of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability. Paul is also the co-founder of Conservation X Labs, an organization that brings innovation to global conservation threats. Paul is trained in biology, with a B.S. from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Paul serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Oceans. In 2013, the American Association for the Advancement of Science selected Paul as one of 40 individuals that exemplify the thousands of AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows who are dedicated to applying science to serve society.