We currently have 28 trained I AM WATER Coaches who are equipped to run our Ocean Guardians Workshops. These ocean enthusiasts come from all different walks of life with one great thing in common - a love for our oceans and a heart for sharing it.
We could never do what we do without this fantastic team.
Be sure to follow us on our Social Media Channels to see their daily exploits!
Megan- Rose Francis
Marlin van Sensie
Amalia De Abreu
CORE TEAM - CAPE TOWN
FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Hanli is an inspired, passionate free diver and ocean advocate. She grew up on a horse farm outside Johannesburg where she at an early age learnt about the beauty, fragility and importance of wilderness. After studies and a career in documentary filmmaking in Sweden, Hanli decided to focus on her freediving and now holds eleven South African Freediving Records, and has over ten years competitive freediving experience. She is now following her true passion: ocean conservation.
Claire is driven by her love and commitment to conservation and the upliftment of those less fortunate. As a non-profit professional, she has spent nearly two decades working in the non-profit sector. Beginning with volunteering and working as a crisis worker, she pursued studies in social work and completed a BA in Health Sciences and Social Services. After four years of frontline work, Claire transitioned to a career in Resource Development where over the last 14 years, she has raised significant funding to support the operations of organisations mainly in the welfare and conservation sector. In her role as Development Director, she is committed to strengthening organisational development and managing stakeholder relationships for I AM WATER.
Katherine is passionate about the ocean, people and education. This passion led her to study Marine Biology where her commitment to protecting the ocean was sparked. Her main focuses are centred around using Environmental Education to connect people to the natural world. Katherine’s role as Education Manager allows her to unite her passions by ensuring I AM WATER’s Educational Programmes are aligned with the South African National Curriculum and Assessment Policy (CAPS), all the while making sure that I AM WATER’s coaches are equipped with the skills and knowledge to deliver this content.
Katherine is also an avid freediver who loves exploring the chilly kelp forests that surround Cape Town.
OPERATIONS & LOGISTICS MANAGER
Shireen grew up in the greater Cape Town area without ever setting foot in the ocean. As an administrative genius she spent time working as a banker before getting involved in assisting with non-profit management.It was only when she started with I AM WATER that she considered entering the ocean. Today she is an integral part of the I AM WATER team both in and out of the ocean.
Peter Marshall is a world-class swimmer, ocean lifeguard, freediver, and underwater videographer with a heart to serve others. After graduating from Stanford University Economics Department, Peter chose to pursue his dream of swimming professionally. He rose to the top of the swimming world and had the privilege to travel to more than 25 countries.
AMALIA DE ABREU
Amalia has a passion for ocean conservation, science communication, environmental education and social justice. Amalia pursued this passion through her studies, receiving a BSc in Marine Biology and Ecology and Evolution as well as a BSc Honours in Marine Biology at UCT.
She started her journey with I AM WATER in 2018 as a Coach, then as a Lead Coordinator and now as the Community Manager. In this role, she manages training and career development for our internal Coaching Community as well as relationships and training within our international community.
THE I AM WATER GLOBAL BOARD
Scattered around the globe, we are honoured to call these changemakers our I AM WATER Global Family
GLOBAL PHILANTHROPY EXPERT
Silvia Bastante de Unverhau is a global philanthropy expert and executive with over 20 years of experience working across the business, non-profit, international development, and government sectors. She is a regular writer and speaker on philanthropy and has been quoted by leading publications including the Financial Times and Forbes. Silvia is a Senior Advisor to Co-Impact, a global collaborative of some of the world’s leading philanthropists focused on systems change and gender equality to improve the lives of millions of people. She provides philanthropy advisory and consulting services to philanthropists, wealth management and philanthropic organizations through Braymont. She is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Finance University of Zurich, and acts as Advisory Board member for VALUEworks. Prior roles include Global Head of Philanthropy Advisory at UBS, Associate Partner at Monitor Group and various management roles at the Organization of American States, the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, and the Office of the President of Peru. Silvia holds degrees from the London School of Economics and Harvard Kennedy School. Originally from Lima, Peru, she has visited and worked in over 70 countries and across many oceans.
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR & FOUNDER OF THE MOTIVE
Jenifer specializes in business strategy, marketing and communications with a focus on creating, developing and helping grow companies and social enterprises around a range of social issues. Jenifer co-founded Motive, a social innovation company that works with organizations to model social impact into their business. Clients include: Morgan Stanley, Getty Images, Gap Inc., Old Navy, Friends of the Global Fight, and NYSE.
NEUROSCIENTIST & WILDERNESS THOUGHT LEADER
Nick is a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist who researches and designs for innovation in the assessment of cognition and emotion, healthy cognitive aging and high-value care delivery. At Stanford University, he serves as a research scientist at the Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC). In addition to publishing his research in top-tier journals, his work has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and U.S. News and World Report. With an interest in the effect wilderness has on humans, Nick is assisting the I AM WATER team in measuring the deep impact ocean experiences has on youth from challenging backgrounds and limited nature exposure.
BIG WAVE SURFER
With over 20 years of riding some of the worlds biggest waves and receiving acclaim for his skill and courage (XXL Global Big Wave Awards including Biggest Wave, Ride of the Year and Performer of the Year, Adventurer of the Year to name a few) Greg is now focusing his time and energy on raising awareness for the plight of the ocean he loves. Partnering with brands committed to ocean conservation and sharing his personal story, Greg is lending his voice to the outcry about the state of our planet.
LAUREN DE VOS
“How do you make people fall in love with fish?” A deep reverence for wilderness drives her to find conservation solutions. Lauren has a background in understanding issues of human/wildlife conflict, as well as savanna ecology through the Organisation for Tropical Studies.
Jesmane is an experienced business executive and a former Head of Business Engagement for Africa at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. She has served on the boards of various South African and international organizations. She is a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) and holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. Jesmane was honoured as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and is a Harvard Mason fellow.