Council of Advisors

Lisa Speer

Lisa Speer directs the International Oceans Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental organization dedicated to protecting natural resources and public health with offices in the United States and China.

Ms. Speer’s work currently focuses on conservation and management of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, an area known as the “high seas.” Comprising two thirds of the world’s oceans and covering almost half the planet’s surface, this global commons faces an increasing array of poorly controlled human activities. Ms. Speer conducts advocacy in a variety of international fora to promote integrated, precautionary management of human activities on the high seas. She has participated in many high seas fisheries negotiations, and has testified on numerous occasions before Congress and the United Nations on a variety of high seas management topics.

Ms. Speer’s other major focus is advocating for integrated, ecosystem based management in the Arctic Ocean, which faces major new industrial development at a time when global warming and loss of sea ice is profoundly affecting marine life.

Ms. Speer has served on a number of U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committees on the Arctic and marine issues, and served a six year term as a member of the Academies’ Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. Ms. Speer received her Master’s degree from Yale University and her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College.

Dan Laffoley

Dan is a well respected world leader on Marine Protected Areas and a leading global expert on ocean conservation. Scientist, communicator and conservationist, at IUCN he is Principal Advisor, Marine Science and Conservation for the Global Marine and Polar Programme, and has the global honorary role as Marine Vice Chair for the World Commission on Protected Areas. For over 25 years Dan has been responsible for the creation of many global, European and UK partnerships and alliances that underpin modern-day marine conservation. He provides strategy, knowledge, innovation and leadership on consolidating action for the ocean and devising new ways for delivering marine conservation which lever greater action and attention for our seas. This includes working with leading scientists to create initiatives that bring new knowledge into policy on issues such as marine protected areas, coastal carbon sinks, climate change and ocean acidification. He has a broad knowledge of marine science matters across multiple disciplines and a track record of working with industry, especially with the energy sector. He has a place on the Boards and Councils of many UK leading marine science organisations. He undertakes extensive international conservation, education and outreach work and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue.

Michael Holland

Michael is an Executive Vice President in Edelman’s Corporate and Public Affairs practice and an expert in corporate communications and corporate social responsibility He works with non-profits, intergovernmental organizations, companies and academic institutions to develop customized communications strategies that build trust among key stakeholders and drive business or organization value. The programs and campaigns that he has led have won nearly 100 awards since 2004. At Edelman, Michael has worked with a broad range of clients including Bombardier, GE, Millennium Promise, The Parker Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation and the UN Global Compact. He has also worked with more than 150 senior leaders to prepare them for interviews, speeches and public appearances, including Nobel Laureates, CEOs, Prime Ministers, US and foreign government officials, foundation and non-profit leaders.

Prior to returning to Edelman in 2009, Michael was Director, Honeywell Hometown Solutions, where he led Honeywell’s corporate social responsibility and humanitarian relief efforts across the Dow 30 company’s four business units and 115,000 employees in more than 100 countries. While at Honeywell, Michael also served as Manager, External Relations and Executive Communications and was responsible for media relations, financial communications, crisis and issues management and executive positioning.

For his work, he was named the 2006 Communications Executive of the Year by the American Business Awards and the 2005 Community Relations Executive of the Year by PRNews.

Michael began his career with the American Chamber of Commerce (UK) where he managed the Chamber’s efforts to support the Irish Peace Process following the IRA’s ceasefire through coordinated trade promotion efforts with the US and UK governments.

Michael is a dual citizen of the United States and the Republic of Ireland. He holds an MA from King’s College of the University of London and a BA from Boston College. Michael is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Chair of the Leadership Council at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a Board Member of Mission Blue, the Sylvia Earle Alliance.

Tom Gruber

Tom Gruber is a technologist, designer, and entrepreneur who uses technology to augment human intelligence. He was cofounder and head of design for Siri, the intelligent personal assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. Now part of Apple’s latest devices, Siri represents a new mode of interaction with devices and the information services they can reach. Previously, Tom led the design and technology for pioneering companies in Collective Knowledge Systems on the Web and Collaborative Knowledge Management for the enterprise, which harvest the collective contributions of people working together on line. He invented HyperMail, the open-source software that turns email conversations into collective memories; HyperMail and its progeny have helped to create a living conversational history of the Web. His research in Artificial Intelligence, particularly ontology engineering, helped lay the foundation for the Semantic Web. He is passionate about underwater nature photography and contact improvisation.

Geoff Green

Educator, environmentalist and social entrepreneur, Geoff Green is an internationally respected and trusted leader. For the past 23 years Geoff has dedicated his career to raising awareness and understanding of the Polar regions and global ocean. He is known as a connector and bridge builder with a visionary and creative spirit.

Geoff is the Founder and President of the Students on Ice Foundation, an internationally renowned program that has taken more than 2,700 youth, educators, elders, experts, scientists, leaders and artists from around the world on educational journeys to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Geoff was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012. In 2015, he was selected as one of the top 100 Greatest Canadian Explorers. In 2010, Geoff was voted as one of the Top 25 Transformational Canadians. The Globe & Mail called Geoff “the man who revolutionized polar and environmental education”. He was bestowed the Inuktitut name “Pitsiulak” by the Commissioner of Nunavut in 2009 for his work with Inuit youth. In 2007, Geoff was awarded the Citation of Merit for outstanding feats of exploration and service by the prestigious Explorers Club in New York City.

Geoff’s experience working and traveling across the Circumpolar Arctic, the Antarctic, and the global ocean is extensive and diverse. He has worked and collaborated on national and international projects in education, science, media and conservation. He has led over 125 expeditions to the Polar Regions.
Geoff is currently planning his most ambitious expedition to date. Canada C3 ( will be a 150-day maritime journey around Canada’s coastline (Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage) to help celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

Geoff and his partner Dr. Lisa Glithero live with their two children in Chelsea, Quebec.

Kristina M. Gjerde

Kristina M. Gjerde is Senior High Seas Advisor to IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. A graduate of New York University School of Law, Kristina is a recognized expert in the legal aspects of international marine conservation and management. She has published widely on fisheries, shipping, law of the sea and marine biodiversity conservation issues and serves as an advisor to governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. Recent publications include: “Ocean in Peril: reforming the management of global ocean living resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction” (Marine Pollution Bulletin) “Using the Public Trust Doctrine to Achieve Ocean Stewardship” (Cambridge University Press) and “Challenges to Protecting the Marine Environment beyond National Jurisdiction” (International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law).

Kristina has specialized in admiralty law at the New York City law firm of Lord, Day & Lord, served as a research fellow at the Marine Policy Center of WHOI and at the Law School of the University of Hull (UK), and represented WWF at the International Maritime Organization in London. In 2003, she was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation to support her work on high seas governance reform. Since then Kristina has sparked a global movement for high seas conservation and has co-founded five thriving initiatives: the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative; the Sargasso Sea Alliance, the High Seas Alliance and the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative. The Sargasso Sea Alliance will be awarded the SeaKeepers Prize in September 2013.