Board of Trustees
Adam Sweidan is a founding member and Chief Investment Officer of Aurum Fund Management Ltd. He has been investing in the alternative investment industry for more than 20 years and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Northwestern University. In 1995 Adam formed a partnership with Jessica Sweidan to create a philanthropic foundation, Synchronicity Foundation. In 2007, they began exploring how to have a greater impact within the conservation realm, and decided to start a new charity, Synchronicity Earth, which launched in January 2010.
More recently Adam (along with Jessica Sweidan) has been appointed an IUCN Patron of Nature. Patrons of Nature play a key role in advising IUCN’s top management on a wide range of strategic issues related to IUCN’s work, as well as helping to raise the visibility of IUCN, strengthen their funding base and reach out to decision makers.
In March 2015 Adam and Jessica were appointed as Honorary Conservation Fellows at the Zoological Society of London.
Catherine uses her experience in markets and risk management, combined with her fascination of the natural world, to analyse gaps in environmental risk and impact reporting. She engages in initiatives across markets to address the structural obstacles that stand in the way of more responsible environmental stewardship. She is also involved in Operational development at Synchronicity Earth.
Catherine worked at J.P. Morgan in both foreign exchange derivatives and equity derivatives. As Managing Director and Head of Equity Derivative Trading globally she was also a member of the J.P.Morgan Risk Committee and the European Equity Research Committee. She then took a career break and became involved in environmental conservation. She returned to the financial markets to undertake project work for Ferox Capital and then joined the team at Synchronicity Earth at the beginning of 2014. Catherine has a degree in Chemistry from Oxford University.
Tom Fernandez is Director of Business Development for Retrophin, Inc. (RTRX), a New York-based biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and marketing innovative therapies for rare, catastrophic childhood diseases in which thepharmaceutical industry has, to date, had limited interest or effectiveness. Before that, he was a Partner at a family of hedge funds, Galleon Group, where he led Investor Relations and the global marketing effort. Prior to Galleon, Tom was Assistant Dean for MBA Career Services and Director of The Chazen Institute of International Business at Columbia Business School. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Equity for Children, a nonprofit organisation that strives to advance an agenda of social justice, human rights and social equality for children worldwide. Tom holds a BA in History from Yale University and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Jessica Sweidan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy with a concentration in Art from Northwestern University. In 1995 Jessica formed a partnership with Adam Sweidan to create a philanthropic foundation. Together they created The Synchronicity Foundation with her role being to oversee the donations to a range of global projects with varying themes including, education, environmental, social and economic upliftment, creative endeavours, health care, relief efforts and children’s well-being. The Synchronicity Foundation has worked with over 70 projects in nearly 40 countries. In 2007, they began exploring how to have a greater impact within the conservation realm, and decided to start a new charity, Synchronicity Earth, which launched in January 2010. Prior to focusing on the non-profit sector, Jessica worked as Program Director for Art Horizons International, a New York based company that organises educational art tours and programs for special-interest groups.
More recently Jessica (along with Adam Sweidan) has been appointed an IUCN Patron of Nature. Patrons of Nature play a key role in advising IUCN’s top management on a wide range of strategic issues related to IUCN’s work, as well as helping to raise the visibility of IUCN, strengthen their funding base and reach out to decision makers.
In March 2015 Jessica and Adam were appointed as Honorary Conservation Fellows at the Zoological Society of London.
Synchronicity Earth Advisory Committee
Jonathan is Director of Conservation Programs at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) where he is responsible for conservation projects focusing on threatened species and their habitats in more than than 60 countries. He holds an undergraduate degree from Queen’s University in Canada, a Master of Science in Conservation Biology from Yale University, and a PhD in Biology from Silwood Park, Imperial College; his postdoctoral research was undertaken at the Zoological Society of London, Institute of Zoology. Jonathan is currently a Visiting Professor of Zoology at the University of Oxford.
Jonathan conducted his PhD field research in the Gulf of Guinea focusing on restricted-range island endemic birds. Subsequent to this he researched western lowland gorillas in the rainforest of Gabon. He has also conducted fieldwork in countries including Tanzania, Namibia, Papua and Mongolia. Dr. Baillie has played a significant role in some of the most influential documents on the status of the world’s species including the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Biodiversity chapter of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, The WWF Living Planet Report and Biodiversity chapter of the UNEP Global Environmental Outlook. He has also helped lead the development of a series of species level global biodiversity indicators for the Convention on Biological Diversity including the IUCN Sampled Red List Index and the WWF Living Planet Index. He has recently been appointed co-chair of the IUCN National Red List Working Groups and is involved in supporting a number of countries such as Nepal and Mongolia to produce National Red Lists. In January of 2006 he founded the EDGE of Existence programme (www.edgeofexistence.org) with a team from ZSL that focuses on Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species. Lastly, he is a scientific advisor for the Globe International Commission on Land Use Change and Ecosystems that reports to the Globe International G8+5 Legislators forum.
Alex is a Professor of Conservation Ecology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. He has a Bachelor of Science and PhD in marine biology from the University of Liverpool and 20 years experience in research.
Alex is internationally recognized for his expertise in deep-sea ecology. He has also worked extensively with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations on impacts of human activities and climate change on marine ecosystems, particularly the high seas, deep-water ecosystems and coral reefs. Dr Rogers has published 59 peer-reviewed papers, 12 book chapters, and 35 reports for various bodies including: Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations International Seabed Authority (ISA), UN Division of Oceans and Law of the Sea (UN-DOALOS), UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the G8 Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE International). At present, Alex is undertaking research and fieldwork exploring seamount, coral and chemosynthetic ecosystems around the world. He is also Scientific Director of the International Programme on State of the Ocean (IPSO), an NGO that is specifically analyzing current impacts on marine ecosystems globally.
Photo: Jaime Garcia Moreno
Bill is Miriam Rothschild Professor of Conservation Biology in the department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge.
His main research interest is in building population models based on the behaviour of individuals and then using these to answer a wide range of applied questions, such as the impact of GM crops, climate change, human disturbance or agricultural change. Bill is interested in a wide range of applied conservation issues, especially those involving birds.
Proposing a “revolution in conservation practice”, Bill is keen to develop a sound evidence base for conservation, involving collaborations and solid collation of data with a view to informing policy and practice. Bill’s current interest is in researching the interface between science and policy and in exploring means of collaborating with policy makers. This has included identifying the questions of greatest interest to UK and global policy makers and identifying the future issues facing the UK environment.
William manages the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Species Programme’s Freshwater Biodiversity Unit (FBU). He has over 25 years experience working on and leading collaborative research projects on the ecology and conservation of aquatic ecosystems in developing countries. His current work with the IUCN focuses on implementing large-scale biodiversity assessments of freshwater systems: this includes an audit of threatened species for the IUCN Red List and the identification of Freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).
He has recently led a large project to assess freshwater biodiversity throughout continental Africa, and now manages a number of other related projects in Europe and Asia, with a focus on livelihood values of freshwater species. His experience includes research and conservation projects in Malawi, Tanzania and Ireland, and he has worked in commercial aquaculture in Scotland. He holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Hull (2004) as well as an MSc in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Utah and a BSc in Zoology from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.
Photo: David Keats (Flickr)
Jerome has undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and 20 years of research experience working with Pygmy hunter-gatherers and former hunter-gatherers in the Congo Basin.
Work in Rwanda with Twa Pygmies in 1993 just before the genocide led to later work on its impact on this marginalised group. Since 1994 he has worked with Mbendjele Pygmies in Congo-Brazzaville researching cultural transmission; play and religion; egalitarian politics and gender relations; language and music; and indigenous rights. His co-edited book The Social Origins of Language, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2014.
Studying the impact of global forces on many Pygmy groups across the Congo Basin has led to research into discrimination, economic and legal marginalisation, human rights abuses and to applied research supporting conservation efforts by forest people and the implementation of international legal standards such as free, prior and informed consent in their dealings with outsiders. As a director of the Extreme Citizen Science Research Group he oversees the development of appropriate technologies for semi and non-literate people to improve land and resource management and to seek environmental justice
Mustafa is Director of Research and Development at Clarmond, a UK based wealth advisory. He was the co-founder of Octane, an alternatives solutions provider to institutional clients and its Director of funds; he sold his holdings to Sanlam Insurance company at the end of 2009. He has more than 17 years in investment experience and was strategist at the Lexington Worldwide Emerging Markets fund along with an emerging markets hedge fund. He also worked at Cambridge Associates (Boston), a consultancy to endowments and universities. Mustafa has a BA (History and Economics) from Brown University, an MA (War Studies) from King's College and was a DPhil (candidate) at Balliol College, Oxford University.
Britt Lintner is Managing Director, heading liquid alternative sales for EMEA, at Deutsche Bank Asset Management. She has over 15 years of senior executive experience at Lehman Brothers in New York and London, Man/GLG investment management and Tungsten Corporation plc.
Inspired to create a fashionable and functional wardrobe for professional women, in 2003 Britt embarked on an MA in Fine and Decorative Arts and, combining this with a course in fashion, she launched the eponymous and highly successful Britt Lintner label. Britt’s entrepreneurial success has featured in leading global business and style media and her designs have been worn by many high profile women including Sarah Brown who has worn Britt’s designs on visits to the White House and the G20 summit in London.
In July 2006, ‘Management Today’ voted Britt one of ‘35 Women Under 35.’ In 2009, the Walpole Association named Britt Lintner as one of their ‘Brands of Tomorrow’ and in 2010, she won the ‘Forward Under 40’ award from her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin.
Britt is also a trustee of Debate Mate and lives in London with her husband and two young sons.
Synchronicity Earth Team
Photo: C. ZSL/EDGE
Laura joined Synchronicity Earth in its formative stages and has helped to build our evidence base, guiding our approach to conservation funding and partnership.
Previously, Laura's PhD and post-doctoral fellowships provided insights into why problems such as racism and ecological degradation can be so complex and intractable. Recognising that it would be hard to achieve human rights and environmental justice without well-conceived and coordinated action, Laura started working at a leading UK Think Tank; her aim was to improve outcomes for different groups – in particular those on society's margins.
Since February 14th 2011, Laura has honed Synchronicity Earth's vision and developed systems for its implementation with relish. From building alliances with activists, conservationists, donors, businesses, artists and beyond, Laura is growing an organisational culture and team that can empower real and lasting change. Laura's role is the embodiment of her life's ambition.
Director of Conservation
Photo: Jaime Garcia Moreno
Simon joins us as Conservation Director, having recently retired as Chair of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The SSC is a science-based network with more than 7,500 experts (mostly volunteers) from all over the world who give their time through Specialist Groups, Red List Authorities and Task Forces. SSC’s major role is to provide information to IUCN on biodiversity conservation, the inherent value of species, their role in ecosystem health and functioning, the provision of ecosystem services, and their support to human livelihoods.
Simon has undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Cambridge, with fieldwork in Tanzania and Cameroon. He has over 25 years of experience with the IUCN and the SSC. Simon started work on the African Bird Red Data Book in 1983. He joined the IUCN Secretariat in 1986, and was Head of the Species Programme (1990-2000), Acting Director General (2000-2001), Head of the Biodiversity Assessment Unit (2001-2005), and Senior Species Scientist (2005-2008). He was elected as Chair of the SSC at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October 2008.
Simon recalls “My interest in conservation started as a child, earlier than I can remember. A fascination for wild animals and plants has always been in my blood. A career in conservation was the only option for me. I have been privileged to have been closely associated with IUCN and the Species Survival Commission (SSC) for 25 years, most of that time as a member of the IUCN Secretariat. The SSC is in many senses my home.”
Simon has been instrumental in the species conservation movement, working on a number of global initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals Biodiversity Target and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Simon has also produced numerous high impact reports and books. He joins Synchronicity Earth as the species advisor, chosen for his years of species conservation experience, his passion and his excellent network of global contacts.
Junior Research Analyst
Anna joined Synchronicity Earth in September 2016 as a Junior Research Analyst. She had an international upbringing, spending most of her life in Thailand before moving back to the UK for university. She managed to stay in one place long enough to gain an MSci in Environmental Biology from University College London, but soon headed off to get experience in various forms of field research overseas. This involved freediving with whale sharks in the Philippines, tracking groups of howler monkeys in Mexico, and monitoring small mammal populations in the jungles of Malaysian Borneo. Her experience in the field has given her a broad understanding of both the science and the practicalities behind conservation work, which she enjoys applying to her role at Synchronicity Earth.
Conservation Research Analyst, Species and Freshwater Portfolios Lead
Gemma joined Synchronicity Earth in January 2012. She was previously working for TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network; working on issues relating to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), collection of species specific data regarding human subsistence needs and livelihoods, risk based approaches to assessing species risk of overfishing and on the collection and collation of the Food and Medicine Biodiversity Indicators as part of tracking progress towards the Convention on Biological Diversity 2010 biodiversity target.
She has also worked for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee where she was involved in policy related matters and species research for the CITES team. She has been fortunate enough to gain field experience in Uganda, researching the impacts of ecotourism on wild chimpanzees and has also worked voluntarily in Cameroon and Argentina. She holds a Masters of Science in Wild Animal Biology obtained from the Royal Veterinary College and the Zoological Society of London and a Joint Hons undergraduate degree from The University of Bristol in Zoology and Psychology.
Conservation Network Co-ordinator & Executive Director of the Amphibian Survival Alliance
Helen joined Synchronicity Earth in 2016 to promote the development of conservation networks through her role as Executive Director of the Amphibian Survival Alliance. Helen has worked on the coordination of global conservation actions for amphibians for over 10 years. She coordinated the EDGE Amphibians initiative at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) from 2006-2011, developing conservation programmes for evolutionarily distinct and threatened species, and raising awareness of the plight of amphibians. She recently completed a PhD at the Institute of Zoology (ZSL) and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (University of Kent) on “Improving the impact of amphibian conservation”, investigating the ways in which evidence-based decision-making can increase the effectiveness of conservation interventions. During this time, she was also a Programme Officer for the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, contributing to the development of ASG's strategy and the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP), which acts as a vital roadmap for the work of ASA. Helen is committed to promoting collaboration across the amphibian conservation community and beyond, and celebrating the amazing work of ASA's partners around the world.
Jim’s background is in education and training, a field in which he has held a number of roles including designing and writing resources for the web, developing teacher training resources and workshops, teaching effective research and writing skills and providing online learning support for students and staff in UK Higher Education institutions.
Jim’s role at Synchronicity Earth is to enhance our communications strategy and to design and write new content and resources to inform and inspire supporters, partners, friends and anyone with an interest in conservation and the environment. By telling the stories of Synchronicity Earth and its partners, we aim to bring their work on critical conservation projects around the world to life. Jim works closely with our research analysts and other staff, as well as with external partners, to develop narratives and campaigns around key conservation issues and priorities.
Jim graduated from Southampton University with a degree in Modern Languages (French & Spanish) and has an MSc in Digital Solutions and Online Learning. He has volunteered on marine conservation projects in Ecuador, Thailand and Madagascar, recently spending 3 months on a coral reef conservation project in southwest Madagascar. Over his 15 years as a scuba diver, he has developed a particular interest in the health and conservation of the oceans and is lucky enough to have dived some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world.
Conservation Research Analyst, Forests and Oceans Portfolios Lead
Photo: Fulla T.
Katy joined Synchronicity Earth in July 2011 as a Conservation Research Analyst. She recently completed her PhD which used a case study of Mountain Gorilla conservation to look at how transnational networks bring about different forms of inclusion and exclusion of organisations, people and their ideas. Before starting at Synchronicity Earth, Katy held various communications and research posts, including for the Developing Areas Research Network, based at Newcastle University and has volunteered and been a trustee for Project African Wilderness. She has field experience in Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. Katy holds a Bachelor of Science in Environment, Ecology and Economics from the University of York and a Master of Science in Environment and Development from the University of Manchester.
Junior Research Analyst
Photo: Andreas Trepte
Merlin joined Synchronicity Earth in September 2016 after graduating with a BSc in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Merlin’s specific academic interests lie in the relationship between conservation and development, with a particular focus on approaches which embrace capacity development and local empowerment. Outside of his academic studies Merlin has a particular interest in ornithology and has travelled across the western Palearctic region from a young age to pursue this hobby. On his native island of Guernsey, he has also been involved in the monitoring of seabird populations, and has published reports and co-authored an academic paper on the subject of seabird conservation. Before joining Synchronicity Earth Merlin also completed an internship with the States of Guernsey Environmental Services Unit working on management plans for the Island’s RAMSAR sites as well as the production of a biodiversity strategy for the Island, and he has also attended a work experience programme at the United Nations Geneva Office.
Head of Risk and Due Diligence
Photo: Phillip Capper
Michele is an experienced corporate auditor and has over ten years of experience auditing a range of information and processes, including financial; health, safety, social and environment; business processes and company ethics. Prior to joining us, Michele helped to set up and run the University of Oxford's Biodiversity Institute. As Synchronicity Earth’s Head of Risk and Due DIligence, Michele is responsible for ensuring that we manage both our internal risks and the risk that we will fund inappropriate conservation initiative. Our aim is ensure that the money we donate to conservation is used in the most effective way and that we get the maximum conservation bang for our buck. In order to enable us to achieve our aim, Michele is devising a due diligence toolkit that will help us to assess the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect organisational and conservation success. This will ultimately be used to assess all projects prior to awarding funding to them. Michele is also using the development of this toolkit as the subject of her DPhil, which she is currently reading for at the University of Oxford.
Victoria joined Synchronicity Earth in October 2012 following an internship with the organisation from August 2012. Prior to this she travelled to New Zealand to complete her Masters in Marine Conservation at Victoria, University of Wellington. She is particularly interested in the way that science is communicated and how it can be made more accessible. Victoria has also worked for several media companies including Universal Networks, where as a production assistant she worked primarily for the UK and European channels. She is a keen supporter and volunteer for the Riding for the Disabled and has undertaken marine conservation volunteer projects in Fiji. She holds Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation from the University of St Andrews and has field experience in Indonesia, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.
Photo: Steve Dawson 2002
Yuan is the founder of Pluto Studio Design in California and has worked as a creative professional for almost 20 years. He specialises in print design and front-end web development. He believes that the effective use of visual design can significantly help conservation groups communicate with their audiences and impart the importance of their missions. As an avid surfer, he feels a deep connection with the ocean and all of its species.