Mark Spalding


Mark J. Spalding has been the President of The Ocean Foundation since its founding 13 years ago. 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. 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.

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. 

Caroline Coogan

Monitoring and Evaluations Associate

Caroline works with TOF on outgoing grants management, new business development and general operations. She coordinates much of the daily DC office operations and provides research and operational support for the development, grants and consulting work that TOF is engaged in. Caroline brings experience in foundation operations and grants coordination from working at the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation and The Henry Foundation. She comes to TOF with field experience working with the The School for Field Studies, Turks and Caicos Islands  program. Caroline graduated from William and Mary with a BS in Biology and Environmental Science & Policy. Any free time sees her returning to the Turks and Caicos Islands to research and dive with sharks and sea turtles.

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.

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.

Jaime Sigarán

Program Associate, Fiscal Sponsorship

Jaime supports the operation and administration of TOF’s Fiscal Sponsorship Fund (FSF) and  Friends of Fund (FOF) programs. He assists with preparing legal and financial documents for FSF/FOF projects. Jaime joined TOF with specialized knowledge of ocean issues including illegal fishing and marine protected areas. During his time at Marine Conservation Institute, he lobbied members of Congress to stop pirate fishing and increase funding for marine national monuments. Jaime graduated from Vermont Law School with a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy and earned his B.A. in Government and Public Policy from University of Baltimore. Jaime is a native Spanish-speaker and originally from Silver Spring, Maryland.

Alexis Valauri-Orton

Program Associate

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.

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. 

Diane Davidson

Senior Legal and Program Consultant

Diane is a veteran attorney with extensive experience in mass media communications, administrative, contract, real estate and international law. A lifelong conservationist and scuba diver since 1983, Diane has a strong passion for the oceans and their protection. particularly because she has seen the terrible effects of climate change on the underwater first hand. She provides legal strategy and support,  manages the resort partnerships at The Ocean Foundation and provides assistance as needed in other areas. She has been very active in her local county watershed and flood water management through the years, and has been certified by the Potomac Greenways Coalition's Master Watershed Stewardship Program. Previous employers include two private law firms, the Federal Communications Commission, Discovery Communications and The Walt Disney Company. Diane received her JD degree from Vanderbilt University and her undergraduate degree from Duke University.

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.

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.