Who We Are

Our Senior Staff

Meet the senior leaders of Ocean Conservancy -- dedicated individuals working to ensure we achieve our mission of a healthy ocean.

The staff of Ocean Conservancy is comprised of immensely talented and dedicated individuals—each helping to ensure we achieve our mission to inform, inspire, and empower people to speak and act for the oceans. Read more about our individual staff members.

Executive Office

Janis Searles Jones
E-mail: jjones@oceanconservancy.org

Andreas Merkl

E-mail: amerkl@oceanconservancy.org

Emily Woglom
Executive Vice President
E-mail: ewoglom@oceanconservancy.org

Larry Amon
Chief Financial Officer
E-mail: lamon@oceanconservancy.org

Kenneth Donaldson
Vice President, Finance
Email: kdonaldson@oceanconservancy.org

Chris Dorsett

Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs
E-mail: cdorsett@oceanconservancy.org

Scott Highleyman
Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs
E-mail: shighleyman@oceanconservancy.org

Sarah Humphries
Vice President, Resource Development
Email: shumphries@oceanconservancy.org

Marie Michelson
Vice President, Digital Strategies
Email: mmichelson@oceanconservancy.org

Julia Roberson
Vice President, Communications
Email: jroberson@oceanconservancy.org

Staff Biographies

Janis Searles Jones, CEO
Janis Searles Jones currently serves as President of Ocean Conservancy and helps lead the organization's teams of scientists, attorneys, and advocates as they focus on systemic marine conservation issues and critical marine ecosystems.

A respected expert in the marine conservation field, Janis is a frequent speaker and lecturer on ocean and coastal law and the interface of science, law, and policy in advancing conservation. She has authored multiple chapters on the sustainable use of ocean resources, focusing on ecosystem-based management for the oceans, Pacific fisheries, and other ocean and coastal law and policy topics.

Prior to joining Ocean Conservancy, she was senior regional counsel and policy advisor for Oceana, covering the Pacific region from Alaska to California. She also worked as a staff attorney for the Alaska office of Earthjustice, where her docket was dominated by marine issues.

Janis holds a JD and a certificate in environmental and natural resources law from the nation’s top-ranked program at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, where she is also a Distinguished Environmental Law Alumnus and an adjunct faculty member.

Follow Janis on Twitter: @InVeritas_Jones

Andreas Merkl, President
Andreas Merkl is the CEO of Ocean Conservancy, which is dedicated to the development of new solutions for a changing ocean. From the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico to international waters, Andreas leads the organization’s efforts to tackle the ocean’s biggest challenges with science-based solutions.

Prior to taking the helm at Ocean Conservancy, Andreas served as a principal at California Environmental Associates, a San Francisco-based think tank and consultancy that works on the management of the natural resource commons, ranging from fisheries to freshwater, forests, air and biodiversity.

Andreas’ particular interest has been the deeply connected challenges of ocean ecosystem decline and climate change. He has worked with the major U.S. foundations, multi-laterals and corporations on developing market-based incentive systems for responsible resource stewardship, ranging from catch-share systems for commercial fisheries to green growth development mechanisms for developing countries. Earlier in his career, Andreas was a founding member of McKinsey & Company's Environmental Practice and served as Vice President and co-founder of the CH2M HILL Strategy Group, a leading provider of environmental management consulting services worldwide. Andreas has broad experience in environmental management consulting, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and business strategy.

Andreas holds an MBA with distinction from Harvard University, a master’s degree in Regional Planning and Natural Resource Analysis from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Follow Andreas on Twitter: @AndreasMerkl

Emily Woglom, Executive Vice President

Emily Woglom oversees Ocean Conservancy's engagement with Congress and the Administration. She gained deep expertise in ocean policy and governance through her work at the Office of Management and Budget, where she oversaw budget and policy issues related to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. More recently she continued her work for the oceans as Senior Policy Advisor to The Nature Conservancy’s marine program. She is a graduate of Yale and has a Masters Degree from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke.

Larry Amon, Chief Financial Officer

Larry Amon joined Ocean Conservancy in 2008 and is responsible for the organization's accounting, financial management and information technology activities. Previously, Larry was a strategic financial management consultant, helping organizations design their budgeting and financial reporting processes to optimize their effectiveness and to achieve their organizational goals. Prior to establishing his consulting business, Larry was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of National Wildlife Federation after serving as its Chief Financial Officer. Between these two appointments, he served as Acting President and Chief Executive Officer during a CEO search process. He has worked in the finance area of conservation organizations for over 30 years. He joined the NWF staff in 1996 after serving as the Chief Financial Officer of World Wildlife Fund from 1990 to 1995 and as its Controller from 1985 to 1990. Prior to WWF, he worked for The Conservation Foundation. Larry earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Antioch College in 1972 and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1986.

Chris Dorsett, Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs
Chris Dorsett oversees efforts to improve the management of marine fish in the Gulf, with the goal of achieving sustainable fish populations that support healthy marine ecosystems and viable fishing communities. Chris helped Ocean Conservancy achieve significant successes in reducing overfishing and bycatch and increasing habitat protections in the Pacific region when he worked in the San Francisco office. He will now be reaching out to fishermen, managers, and citizens throughout the Gulf of Mexico to make them aware of threats posed by overfishing and forge positive, long-term solutions for ending this practice. Chris has a background in marine fisheries science and environmental law. He is currently a member of the Department of Commerce's Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee which provides advice on living marine resource issues to the Secretary of Commerce. He is based in Ocean Conservancy's Gulf of Mexico regional office in Austin, Texas.

George Leonard, Chief Scientist
George Leonard focuses on Ocean Conservancy's legislative activities surrounding the development of open ocean aquaculture in state and federal waters to ensure that U.S. aquaculture develops under strong environmental standards. For the previous five years, he was the Senior Science Manager for Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program where he was responsible for overseeing the research and analysis of capture fisheries and aquaculture practices related to the development of sustainability recommendations for the public and businesses. These recommendations were presented in the form of regional, wallet-sized pocket guides for consumers as well as sourcing guidance for major seafood buyers. George holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Brown University and a MS in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Before joining Seafood Watch in early 2002, he was the Program Manager for COMPASS (the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea) where he helped communicate emerging marine conservation science to policymakers, NGOs and resource managers.


Do An Ocean of Good

Stand with us in the fight to keep the ocean healthy for marine wildlife and for the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on it.


Why the Ocean Matters

The ocean provides the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Learn more about why the ocean matters to you.  

Vision for a Healthy Ocean

Ocean Conservancy works to keep the ocean healthy, to keep us healthy.

Our Solutions

We champion sound science that will lead to innovative, sustainable solutions.

Ocean Conservancy makes careful use of your support, and holds high ratings from charity watchdogs.
BBB Accredited Charity Charity Navigator - your guide to intelligent giving