Sean Ahlum spent his formative years in southern New Jersey with his Pop-Pop, waking before sunrise to bail boats and set minnow traps in the tidal marsh behind his house. It is here where he learned his major life-lessons and also began a life-long love affair with the coastal environment of his home. Learning to surf in the fast hollow beach breaks of New Jersey, he developed a passion for the sport that still exists today. His Pop-Pop's prophetic comment that Sean would never be anything more than an educated beach bum with his brains in his feet has set the course for his life.
Director of Development
What’s your first memory involving the beach? What’s your favorite? As the Director of Development for the Surfrider Foundation I have the best job in the world – I get to ask people these two questions every day and then help them to link their philanthropy to their desire to protect these memories.
Meridith Blascovich's move to Santa Barbara, California as a child immediately cemented her love for the ocean. An avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast, Meridith strives to leave every place better than she's found it. Meridith is a Senior Strategist for YouTube at Google, where she currently leads her department's strategy and operations in Latin America. As a former peace activist and regular volunteer for presidential campaigns, Meridith is passionate about taking action for her beliefs--especially after witnessing a disregard for the environment in South America she had not seen before. Advancing education for women and girls is also hugely important to Meridith, and learning a new word in a foreign language or reading a good book makes her day complete.
As the child of a US Navy officer, Meg Caldwell grew up mainly on the coastline and developed a strong personal connection with the ocean. She now directs the Center for Ocean Solutions - a collaboration between Stanford University, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute - whose core mission is to increase the impact of the natural, physical and social sciences on ocean policy and to develop practical solutions to major ocean challenges. Meg also directs the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy program at Stanford Law School where she teaches and researches land use, the use of science in ocean and coastal resource policy and management, and private and public incentives for natural resource conservation.
I have spent most of my life around the beaches of New England and Southern California. One day, as I was paddling around the pier in Manhattan Beach, I became disgusted by the amount of garbage in the water. Inspired by my wife, who has led two charitable organizations involving sick children, I resolved that it was the right time in my life to commit significant time to something I really cared about.
I've had two major environmental awakenings in my life: The first was when I first started surfing as a teenager and just fell in love with the ocean (I even slept with my first new surfboard!); and the second awakening occurred after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. That's when I realized how fragile our coastal ecosystems really were. I happened to be living in SoCal at the time and would often get sick after surfing at Malibu. So water quality became an important issue for me as well, and that's when I first heard about the Surfrider Foundation.
Rick is a Gulf coast native who has had a life long interest in the environmental quality of the region, especially the natural waters. In addition to the Surfrider Foundation, he is a Founding member and Board Member of the Pensacola, Florida/Gulf Coast River-keepers, an Honorary Board Member of the Mobile Bay-keeper, and an active supporter of the national Water-Keepers Alliance. He was appointed by the Governor of the State of Alabama to serve as a member of the Alabama Coastal Commission on Environmental Affairs. His interest in the environment makes a fluid transition from the courtroom to the ocean, taking to the tide with his surfboard in tow, catching as many panhandle waves as possible.
Washington Pacific Coast Coordinator
As Aldo Leopold once said, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Although he was discussing his land ethic, this principle could be applied to a water ethic.
As lead singer and songwriter for the legendary L.A. based punk band Pennywise, Jim has mixed his career as a musician with a healthy dose of charity work and activism. In 2000 Pennywise donated all proceeds from one of their largest shows to local charities, and again in 2007 they donated earnings from their record release party to the UCLA Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy center. A lifelong surfer, he’s also spearheaded the bands involvement in ocean related causes, benefit albums and celebrity surf events. Growing up in the south bay of L.A. and witnessing firsthand the deterioration and re-birth of the regions sea life, Jim is dedicated to maintaining and protecting our beaches, coastlines and oceans.
Liisa grew up going to the beaches of Eastern Long Island: East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. This is her favorite place in the world. It was a desire to protect these beaches as well as teach her children to be responsible for them that led Liisa to the Surfrider Foundation. Now, whether it is about caring for the environment or surfing; it is her children who are the teachers.
Tony presently is the Executive Director of CNM LLP, an accounting and advisory firm based in Southern California. In June 2007 he retired after 38 years with the international public accounting firms of Ernst & Young and Arthur Andersen. In addition to his duties as an audit partner at Ernst & Young, Tony was responsible for overseeing the "Entrepreneur of the Year" and Venture Capital Roundtable programs in the Greater Los Angeles area. At Arthur Andersen he was the partner in charge of the firm's Woodland Hills, CA office. Tony is a member of the executive committee of the AEA and sits on the Board of Directors for InTouch Technologies, a Santa Barbara-based robotics technology company. In September, he was appointed to a Strategic Advisory position for the leading private equity firm Riodan, Lewis & Haden. He is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Tony is a California native who grew up surfing on Orange County beaches. He now resides in the Santa Barbara area and continues to enjoy the Pacific Ocean as a surfer, certified diver and boater with his wife, five sons and daughter.