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Our Mission
To create practical and lasting solutions for the conservation of our oceans.
Our Story

It was established in Quito, Ecuador, with a mandate to create practical and lasting solutions for the protection of our oceans, focusing on Marine PollutionOverfishing, and Climate Change.

Our offices and international chapters work together to develop meaningful projects and campaigns, which are fact-based, that we hope to replicate in regions all around the world. Many of these initiatives are implemented with the assistance of strategic partners, in order to share knowledge and scale success. It is clear that we can accomplish much more together than if we act alone, and that there is no time to waste.

We must challenge ourselves to develop initiatives that will push the boundaries of technology and keep ocean policy moving in the right direction. Although human activity has left our oceans in distress, we can still turn the tide to ensure a healthy future, which is why we must remain committed to transforming challenges into opportunities.

OUR TEAM
Jeffrey LeBlanc
Founder & President
foto-perfil
Andrés Benítez
Vice President
(Head of Technology)
Camila Moreno
Vice President
(Legal/Financial)
Camilo Muriel
Strategic Partnerships
Martin Saona
Martin Saona
Sport and Conservation
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Michelle Plua
Government Relations
Maria-Rendon
María Rendon
Research
Gabriela Noguera
Events
Frankie Chipparoni
Field Technician and Strategic Partnerships
Gabriela-Lopez
Gabriela Lopez
Project Coordinator
Maria-Rendon
Maria Rendon
International Chapters
Gabriela Noguera
Events
Frankie Chipparoni
Field Technician and Strategic Partnerships 
Gabriela-Lopez
Gabriela Lopez
Project Coordinator
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Thais Torre
Community Outreach
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Bernarda Muriel
Campaign Manager
veronica
Verónica E. Llanes
International Chapters
Advisory Board
Alex Hearn
Roberto Ochoa

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veronica
Verónica E. Llanes
International Chapters

Veronica is responsible for our international chapters. She supervises and provides guidance and support to global teams. Veronica is a public policy and development specialist. She holds a Master in Public Policy, with a specialization in Management and Leadership, from the National University of Singapore and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Development from Clark University. Previous experience entails international work experience in the nonprofit, private, and public sectors in Ecuador, Asia, and the United States. As a global citizen, she is passionate about devising solutions and driving positive transformations forward to global challenges. Besides being a policy geek, she is a nature lover and loves to travel, hike and scuba dive.

 

team1
Thais Torre
Community Outreach

Thais oversees community outreach, which implies transmitting Mare Nostrum's vision with the community so that it can get involved in the foundation's activities according to the possibilities and aptitudes of each individual.

She is a lawyer, graduated from the Universidad Católica Santiago de Guayaquil. She began working since she was a student in different law firms in her city, gaining extensive experience in the area of corporate law, contracts and investments; always keeping in mind the importance of giving back to society through pro bono cases in civil, criminal and labor matters.

She also has experience in the public sector, where she had the opportunity to be part of the Undersecretary of Investments of the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries; in addition to being in charge of the Head of Sponsorship and Commercial Law of a public company. Additionally, she is a specialized mediator, certificate obtained at the Universidad Espíritu Santo.

She is a firm believer that knowledge and education are keys to any meaningful change, and that people must aim for sustainability as a way of life. She loves to travel, inside and outside of Ecuador, languages, music, animals and of course nature, if you are looking for Thais in her free time and you cannot find her in the sea, she will probably be in the mountains.

Roberto Ochoa
Advisor

Roberto is a passionate advocate for the protection of marine ecosystems, with a particular focus on the Galapagos Islands. In 2015, he had the opportunity to work as a correspondent for the Ecuadorian Government on a National Geographic expedition to the Galapagos National Park. The mission of the expedition was to safeguard the pristine marine ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands, and Roberto played a crucial role in documenting and raising awareness about its unique biodiversity. Beyond his work on expeditions and documentaries, Roberto has collaborated with the Marine Megafauna Foundation in Ecuador, focusing on the protection of manta rays. Leveraging his media contacts, he has helped promote the work of Dr. Andrea Marshall and her team of researchers to increase awareness and appreciation for manta rays in Ecuador.

Andrés Benítez
Vice President

Andres is the founder of Innovation and Teconoligia Quito and several companies that operate in Ecuador.

Andrés together with IntecUio have joined the fight for the conservation of the oceans by supporting Marenostrum. Currently IntecUio is a strategic ally of the foundation that offers all the technological facilities to be able to be in the digital world.

Andrés believes that more companies should support foundations such as Marenostrum, so that the ocean and the world can maintain their beauty so that new generations can enjoy it.
having a sustainable lifestyle is what the planet needs to have a future

Camila Moreno
Vice President

Camila provides leadership in formulating and implementing legal and financial plans and policies required to support Mare Nostrum’s mission and the execution of its initiatives. Her expertise in budgeting, financial planning and analysis is applied in the projects and in the general operation so that Mare Nostrum’s conservation priorities are achieved. Camila holds degrees in law and taxation from PUCE Ecuador and graduated with distinction in Law and Finance from Oxford University, so she came to Mare Nostrum to oversee the legal and finance aspects. Her legal expertise includes regulatory compliance, corporate, litigation and tax. She lectures Subjects of law and Taxation at PUCE Ecuador. After failing in almost every sport, she became a runner and a yogi, learning that, as well as in her work, all she needs is flexibility, strength and resistance.

Camilo Muriel
Strategic Partnerships

Camilo assists Mare Nostrum leading its strategic partnerships. He is a firm believer of Ecuador’s potential as a sustainable investment hub and that businesses are key players to help solve social and environmental challenges.

Camilo is a business lawyer and regularly advises Ecuadorian and foreign investors, a variety of corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations. He has served as clerk at the highest court of Ecuador and has lectured on conflict prevention, rhetoric, and corporate law.

Camilo holds degrees from Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, University College London and Columbia Law School.

Martin Saona
Martin Saona
Sport and Conservation

Martin...

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Michelle Plua
Government Relations

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Maria-Rendon
Maria Rendon
Research

Maria is responsible of our international chapters. She provides outlines and assistance to those interested in becoming part of our team from other parts of the world. She follows what other international chapters are doing and provides necessary support when it is required. Maria holds a degree in Ecology and Management of Natural Resources from USFQ Ecuador and recently graduated from The University of Sydney, receiving a Masters in Environmental Sciences. She has worked in private companies and NGO´s, and with her expertise, she plans to support Mare Nostrum in the development of projects in Ecuador, as well as overseas, in order to fight overfishing, reduce the impact of climate change, and to win the battle against plastic pollution. Maria likes to travel as most of us do, scuba diving in unknown waters and learning about different cultures.

Gabriela Noguera
Events

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Frankie Chipparoni
Strategic Partnerships & Field Technician

After studying animal behavior, psychology, and anthropology, Frankie has been committed to conserving our ocean space. From extensive experience in marine research, studying shark mortality on commercial fishing vessels off the coast of West Africa, and most recently directing and producing a documentary investigating the loss of great white sharks from South Africa’s iconic coastline. Frankie’s passion for the ocean continues from working with small coastal communities to global networking on improving the health of our oceans.

Gabriela Lopez
Project Coordinator

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2019-09-17_BernardaMuriel
Bernarda Muriel
Campaign Manager

Bernarda participates in the design and implementation of Mare Nostrum projects, seeking strategic partnerships with both public and private entities for the development of initiatives within the framework of the Foundation’s action.

Bernarda has a law degree from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and is currently part of the litigation and arbitration team of a boutique law firm in Quito; additionally, she provides advice to companies in the telecommunications and real estate sectors. She has conducted additional studies at the University of Paris II - Pantheon-Assas and The Hague Academy of International Law.

Alex Hearn
Advisor

Alex Hearn is a marine fisheries ecologist who has worked as Professor and Researcher at USFQ and the Galapagos Science Center since 2015. He obtained his BSc in Oceanography and Marine Biology from the University of Southampton, UK; and his MSc and PhD from Heriot-Watt University in the Orkney Islands. He has worked in the Galapagos Islands since 2002 on fisheries research and management, and spearheaded the development of the Shark Research Program for the Galapagos Marine Reserve since 2006. His current projects include using acoustic and satellite telemetry to establish the migratory pathways of whale shark and hammerhead sharks, evaluating the movement ecology of the pelagic assemblage around oceanic islets, and monitoring shark nursery grounds in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. He also continues to publish research on fisheries and fishery management in the Galapagos Islands, in particular related to lobster and sea cucumber resources. He holds an adjunct position at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and serves on the Board for the regional MigraMar network.

Jeffrey LeBlanc
Founder & President

Jeff is the Founder and President of Mare Nostrum, a global foundation dedicated to ocean conservation.

Recently recognised as an Ocean Youth Leader by The Economist and Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Jeff sets the vision and strategy that guides Mare Nostrum’s campaigns, research, external affairs and marketing priorities.

He has held leadership positions in both the public and private sector, advising governments, non-profits and businesses. Most recently, Jeff has played a large role in Ecuador’s investment strategy, leading the area of strategic sector investments at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, while also introducing key projects to help reduce emissions.

He holds a Masters in International Law from University College London, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Manchester and a B.A. in Psychology from St. Francis Xavier University.