Alex Cornelissen

Chief Executive Officer

Captain Cornelissen has participated in more than 25 Sea Shepherd campaigns, including five trips down to the Antarctic to stop the Japanese whale poachers. He first joined Sea Shepherd in 2002 as Chief Cook on the Farley Mowat, at that time the organization’s flagship vessel. What was supposed to be a sabbatical turned into a life changing experience. On his first day on board the Farley Mowat, he dove into the waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve to save a turtle from a long lline. Even though such an initiation seems hard to beat, he has since had many inspirational moments. Saving 15 dolphins from the nets in Taiji in 2003. Saving seals in Canada in 2005 and 2008, campaigns that are by far the bloodiest and most brutal to witness. Freeing wildlife from long lines over the years and seeing Japan loose the court case at the international Court of Justice in the Hague.

Over 14 years he served as a member of the Sea Shepherd crew on a number of ships in Sea Shepherd’s fleet, working his way up to the bridge to become the First Officer under Captain Paul Watson and appointed Captain in 2006. 

He served nonstop on board the ships until the end of 2007 when he started working as the Director of Operations in the Galapagos Islands. Here he remained for seven years, running an effective campaign to stop poaching in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. In January 2014, Captain Cornelissen became the CEO of Sea Shepherd Global and is now responsible for all the movements of the vessels in Sea Shepherd’s Global fleet. Even though his focus shifted from the ships to the general management of the Global movement, he still participates in campaigns when time allows it. 

Captain Cornelissen is the president of the board of directors for Sea Shepherd Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Switzerland and serves as a board member in most of the other established Sea Shepherd countries.

His mission is to make sure that Sea Shepherd continues to grow and allow Neptune’s Navy to expand. Captain Cornelissen gives presentations around the world to highlight the important work of the Sea Shepherd movement and to inspire others to join the fight.

He is proud to be able to fight side by side with the most inspiring and passionate people he knows.

David Hance

Chief Operating Officer

David joined the executive management team of Sea Shepherd in 2016, after being a member of the organization since 2009.  David has served as an on shore volunteer, crew-member on the ships and also spent two years as the organization’s campaign coordinator. Currently, David oversees the organization’s daily operations, and after spending 11 years in private business management and operational roles, he brings a vast network of experiences to the team.

In 2007, David launched a private investigation firm in Southern California, with the focus on Civil Rights and Criminal Defense cases.  David’s firm became one of the most sought after firms by attorneys in the greater Los Angeles area, due to their hard work and diligence in protecting and defending human rights. David continues to be an advisor and vanguard to local civil rights investigators, fighting for universal equal rights.

David is also equally zealous about the state of our oceans and the atrocities that occur in the seas around the world.

Farrah Smith

Director, Major Gifts

Farrah Smith joined Sea Shepherd in 2011. She is responsible for strategic relationships with major donors, high-profile personalities, and advisory board members. A fierce advocate of the oceans and marine wildlife, she is also the executive producer of The Grind of the Faroe Islands, a documentary film featuring Sea Shepherd’s campaign to protect pilot whales in the Danish Isles. Farrah also oversees Sea Shepherd Productions, a subsidiary of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society that develops docu-series content for film, TV, and new media.

After viewing the popular reality television series Whale Wars, Farrah was inspired by Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew as they risked their lives on the high seas to defend whales in the Southern Ocean. In the aftermath, Farrah decided to utilize her extensive experience in strategic partnerships, marketing and talent relations to help raise funds and awareness for Sea Shepherd. Prior to joining Sea Shepherd, Farrah was the Director of Relationship Marketing for W Hotels Worldwide as well as the VIP Sales Director of City Center Residential—Las Vegas’s premiere, luxury high-rise community.

Farrah is a member of former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. She was trained by Al Gore and world-renowned climate scientists on how to inspire action and lead the fight for a sustainable future.

Michaela Tompkins

Development and Database Manager

Michaela has worked with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society since early 2011. She is responsible for working with all departments within the organization and guiding the long-term development of SSCS, as well as maintaining and managing the organization’s database. Michaela has had a deep passion for marine conservation and humanitarian efforts since a young age and has volunteered on various local projects and with several local non-profits throughout her life. She firmly believes that, “Our past, our present, and whatever remains of our future, absolutely depend on what we do now—” her favorite quote from the esteemed Sylvia Earle. Michaela is also the coordinator of the Sea Shepherd Baltimore-DC Chapter.