Board of Directors
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Board of Directors makes strategic short and long-term decisions for the organization. They serve without compensation or other tangible incentives.
Dr. Reiss’s research focuses on dolphin communication, cognition, comparative animal cognition, cetacean welfare, and the evolution of intelligence. She has directed dolphin research programs at Marine World Africa USA, Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences of the Widlife Conservation Society, and the National Aquarium. She pioneered the use of an interactive underwater keyboard system with dolphins, thus affording them the choice and control to investigate their spontaneous vocal learning abilities. Dr. Reiss and her colleagues have demonstrated that bottlenose dolphins and Asian elephants possess the advanced cognitive ability for mirror self-recognition, previously considered unique to humans and great apes. Her current research focuses on decoding dolphin communication and developing interfaces for facilitating interspecies communication.
As an expert in her field, Dr. Reiss conducts cognitive and field research in Roatan, Belize, and Bimini using a variety of approaches, including unmanned aerial systems, to obtain new perspectives on dolphin communication and behavior. Dr. Reiss is a Co-founder and Chair of the Interspecies Internet, a think tank to accelerate our understanding of interspecies communication.
Applying her research to advocating for global protection for cetaceans, Dr. Reiss has served on the AZA Animal Welfare Committee and was a science advisor for the California Marine Mammal Rescue Center. Her professional efforts have also included the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals, including the rescue operation of Humphrey, the Humpback whale that wandered into the Bay area in 1985. Dr. Reiss’s work has been published in numerous international and national journals and was featured in science magazines, television programs, and newspaper articles. In her book, The Dolphin in the Mirror, released in 2011, she shares her personal and professional experiences with what she calls “magnificent minds in the water.”
Pritam is the Founder of the Singh Group of companies, having overseen the design, development, building, and management of properties, with a current value of over $5 billion. The Singh Group of companies, based in the Florida Keys, has gained a national reputation and won numerous awards for innovative design, the adaptive reuse of obsolete properties, historic renovation, and environmental remediation. Some of the Singh Group of companies’ most notable projects include the Truman Annex and Marker Hotel in Key West, Florida and the Tranquility Bay and Isla Bella Resorts in Marathon, Florida.
A lifelong engaged student of religion and philosophy, environmental and social activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist in numerous movements and organizations for over five decades, Pritam has worked, supported, and affected change to conserve our oceans, protect animals, and educate and care for children.
Pritam is Chairman of the Board and past President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). Since 2015, under his leadership, the organization has grown and significantly broadened its conservation reach by partnering with countries worldwide to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This organizational growth has allowed Sea Shepherd to gain international recognition as a guardian of the ocean, uniquely serving as the largest non-governmental marine conservation fleet in the world. He spends much of his time building collaborative partnerships with Sea Shepherd’s staff, consultants, advisors, and other stakeholders.
He is a longtime student of and collaborator with the renowned Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. He has edited six books with Thich Nhat Hanh, notably No Death No Fear and Taming the Tiger Within. For 25 years, he has represented the Plum Village Practice Community worldwide. In February of 2004, at the Lin Chi Zen Great Ordination Ceremony organized in Deer Park Monastery, he was ordained as a Dharma teacher and minister in the 42nd generation of the Lâm Tê Dhyana School and the 8th generation of the Liêu Quán Dharma Line.
Pritam received his Sikh name in September 1976 during an Amrit Ceremony, held at the Akal Takht, Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
Roundabout Theatre in New York, the Executive Producers Council of CAP/UCLA, and is a member of the Producers Guild of America and BAFTA USA. His most recent films include the award-winning Welcome to Chechnya, The Animal People, And She Could Be Next, and Call Her Ganda. His upcoming films include The Business of Birth Control, Hidden Letters, and Beirut Dreams in Color. He is a longtime supporter of Sea Shepherd, hosting many events at his home that have raised over $1 million. He believes that without Sea Shepherd, our oceans would face a devastating fate.
Mike is passionate about conservation, on land and sea. He actively preserves wilderness areas and defends wildlife, spending much of his time kayaking, wilderness camping, and scuba diving. It was only after learning about Sea Shepherd and meeting Paul Watson that Mike knew that Sea Shepherd was the right organization for him. For over 20 years, Mike has committed to keeping the Sea Shepherd fleet in the water and has provided assistance with multiple campaigns.
He has led over 100 expeditions to all oceans and studied every species of large whale in the wild. The institute he founded ran a five-year, around-the-world research expedition (the Voyage of the Odyssey) to measure contamination levels in ocean life. The voyage collected 955 skin/blubber samples from sperm whales from all oceans, obtained by biopsy dart (a procedure that does no significant harm to the whale). The samples were analyzed for their concentrations of metals—both toxic and non-toxic. The resulting data represent the first worldwide bioassay of the levels of these contaminants in ocean life.
An unexpected result was that sperm whales carry contaminant loads of toxic chromium that in many cases are at higher concentrations than chromium levels in workers who have died from lung cancer caused by 20+ years of exposure to chromium by breathing the air in a chromium factory. Funds are currently being sought to analyze these samples for a suite of synthetic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and for brominated fire retardants.
Dr. Payne is also Senior Scientific Advisor to the CETI Project, a group of 30 specialists who are attempting to translate sperm whale communications, with the goal of carrying out a conversation with a sperm whale (no matter how simplistic it may turn out to be).
Sea Shepherd Leadership
Some of the campaigns that David has participated in include Operation Gulf Rescue, following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and protecting turtles on beaches across Central America.
David grew up in Colorado, and, after earning his BS in Business Management, spent 18 years in law enforcement in both Colorado and California. In 2007, David formed a private investigation company, with the primary focus of assisting people that had been accused of committing criminal offenses or whose constitutional rights had been violated by the police or government.
David remains active in the fight for criminal justice equality and constitutional rights issues, and in his free time is an active volunteer with the ACLU.
Molly holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and minor in Economics from Davidson College where she also played for and captained the Wildcat’s NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse team. In her community work, Molly is a high school lacrosse coach and previously served on the boards of One Valley Community Foundation and Cape Eleuthera Foundation.
As an analyst, he has provided commentary to domestic and international media outlets, including FOX News, BBC, Sky News, Times of India, and The New York Times. Roger has lectured and consulted on communications and public engagement in more than 25 countries. Projects range from providing advocacy strategy for the National Family Farm Coalition, advising European cities on their bids to host major sporting events, a two-year communications project for Ernst and Young across three continents, building a grassroots fundraising program for the National WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C., and seven years of communications strategy for MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
She has decades of experience as a research field ecologist and conservation program leader. As a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow with NOAA, Dr. Edwards designed and implemented a research program focused on mitigating the impacts of commercial fisheries on North Pacific seabirds, expanding on her Ph.D. work on albatrosses. Among many other positions, she served as Country Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Chief of Party for USAID, responsible for program development, staff, and in-country communications with partners, funders, the government, and media.
Having dedicated her life to conservation, Dr. Edwards has lived and worked on four continents, forging partnerships among scientists, communities, conservation organizations, governments, the private sector, funders, and intergovernmental organizations. She lived for four years in extremely remote parts of Africa among indigenous rainforest and savannah communities, and later was awarded the Mongolian government’s highest environmental leadership award, in part for her focus on empowering Mongolian women to be environmental leaders.
Ann has a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington, an MSc in tropical wildlife conservation from the University of Florida, and a BA in biology from Brown University. She lives on Vashon Island in Washington, U.S.A.
"Anyone privileged to live in nature comes to feel that respect for all life is at the foundation of what it means to act ethically. It is deeply meaningful to me to find that respect woven throughout Sea Shepherd. Professionally, I am a typical scientist: curious, skeptical and independent-minded, and I will follow data wherever they lead. I am thrilled to contribute to the passionate mix at Sea Shepherd."
He holds a degree in Computer Engineering but spent several years working in the fields of recreational and technical scuba diving, hyperbaric medicine, and marine conservation. These experiences fueled his love for the ocean and his desire to help protect marine biodiversity. JP spent many years working as a volunteer fireman specializing in underwater and mountain rescue, showcasing his courage, compassion, and desire to help others. In recent years, his efforts have extended to helping the planet’s most vulnerable citizens: the animals.
He has served as a crew member on multiple Sea Shepherd campaigns over the years in roles varying from deckhand, to media, to campaign leader.
In his current position, JP serves as a liaison with governmental bodies, working closely with international authorities to establish and maintain partnership agreements relating to the protection of the ocean and its most vulnerable species.
As a lifelong surfer and waterman, Octavio has been given a unique perspective of the ocean, which has also allowed him to see the oceans dramatically change due to human activity. Trying to mitigate this negative change is why he continues to fight for our oceans. In his spare time, Octavio enjoys being in the water, participating in open-water ocean swims and surfing, and living on the coast of mainland Mexico.
Tamara has served on the front lines of ten Sea Shepherd campaigns. In Mexico, she stood shoulder-to-shoulder with courageous and passionate activists, working tirelessly to protect the world’s most endangered marine mammal: the vaquita porpoise. She has supported the scientific efforts of conservation researchers in the Revillagigedo Archipelago and the Guadalupe Biosphere Reserve.
In Canada, she participated in Sea Shepherd’s Operation Virus Hunter campaign, amplifying the voices of First Nations in their fight to protect wild salmon and coastal ecosystems from the devastating ecological impacts of salmon farming.
In the Caribbean, she documented and supported Sea Shepherd’s response to climate crises, bringing aid and supplies to hurricane survivors.
In Costa Rica, she monitored the critical nesting beaches for endangered sea turtles, ensuring the safety of the mother turtles, hatchlings, and eggs.
Through these experiences, Tamara has witnessed the scope of the plight of the world’s ocean and all of its inhabitants firsthand. But she has also seen the profound impact that a dedicated and compassionate group of individuals can have and finds daily inspiration in the heroism of her Sea Shepherd crewmates.
Tamara’s activism was most recently featured in the popular Netflix documentary Seaspiracy.
Although she has a love for the administrative and database aspects of her job, her favorite part of her position is speaking and working with the supporters, donors, and volunteers of the organization. Having been on staff at Sea Shepherd for a number of years, Michaela has seen firsthand the monumental work that can be done by compassionate supporters. Like preeminent marine biologist and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Michaela believes, "Our past, our present, and whatever remains of our future, absolutely depend on what we do.”
After spending years in entertainment, Chris realized that he wanted to dedicate his work to a cause that bettered the world around him. As such, he joined Sea Shepherd in 2017 as a Digital Media Coordinator for the oceans.
Arthur first started working with Sea Shepherd in 2002, which coincidentally was shortly after he saw an organization’s ship in action in the Galapagos.
A graduate of the UCLA School of Law, Arthur also holds an M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He has worked as a transactional and civil rights lawyer with national and boutique law firms regularly assisting business start-ups. Prior to forming The Law Firm for Non-Profits, he was general counsel for a national direct marketing company. Informed by this background, a growing passion of Arthur’s is fostering entrepreneurial and business management best practices among individual nonprofits and the sector as a whole.
A keynote speaker on topics of interest to directors and executives of nonprofits, Arthur has taught at UCLA, USC, the Claremont Graduate School, CalArts, and China University of Political Science and Law. He is the author of numerous articles on nonprofit law and is a coauthor of Advising California Nonprofits.