Far Away Project Team


Desiree Tavera

Board Member / Executive Director

An avid surfer and vegetarian, Desiree was raised between the US and Peru. Her passion for oceanic conservation led her to meet her husband and name their son Mako. Des spent many years working in post-disaster development, advocating for tech and startups, and over a decade producing events. In 2015 she started Far Away Projects.


Cody Baker

Board Member / CTO

Cody is a software developer with over a decade of experience building highly trafficked, highly complex platforms for distinguished, solution-oriented companies like Code for America, Students Rising Above, Peanut Labs (acquired by Research Now), Odyssey Energy Solutions and most recently Yardclub, acquired by Caterpillar where Cody works as a Product Manager on the Cat Digital Labs team.


Ryan Mannix

Board Member / CFO

Ryan is a family man and ocean warrior, using his skill sets in finance and audio engineering to bring support to initiatives that promote natural ecosystems and help vulnerable marine life.


Adam Schlenger

Board Member

Adam Schlenger (PhD) is an oceanographer and marine ecologist who studies ecosystem resiliency to climate change. His work aims to bridge the gap between science, economics, and policy to create global environmental solutions. By linking the structure and function of ecosystems to economic drivers, Adam's work identifies the major feedbacks between human and natural systems to quantify ecosystem services and improve the conservation and management of natural resources.


Sonia Succar Ferré

Board Member

Sonia Succar Ferré is a passionate environmental leader with over 15 years managing diverse organizations and projects tackling the most pressing climate challenges. As a LEED AP, she began her career as a field engineer for Turner Construction on the region’s largest multi-modal project, the $2 billion Miami Intermodal Center, implementing the company’s first comprehensive on-site recycling program. As the Environmental Project Manager to the City of Miami, Sonia implemented Miami’s first Climate Action Plan, and oversaw the development of the Miami Green Lab Resource Center, a LEED Silver Certified Building structure.


Dr. Wanda Jackson-Castro

Grants Director

Wanda Jackson-Castro has a B.A. in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA, a M.A. in Art History from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL and a PhD in International Relations from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. She has a multidimensional career spanning over thirty years in domestic and international health projects, the intersection of art and diversity and inclusion and grant and event management in not for profit, academic and corporate sectors.


Katrina Zavalney


Katrina Zavalney has been a community organizer for over 20 years and is an organization development consultant, she is dedicated to creating sustainable livelihood for all. Katrina has been at the forefront of the sustainability movement, including greening Disney – writing environmental policies that went company wide. She also greened Burning Man, leading a huge grassroots movement that led the event to give the theme the “Green Man” in 2007. Katrina has a nonprofit she started to do this work out of called Aranya Solutions. The purpose is to enrich quality of life, to work together to develop systematic improvements with a focus on localization, serving as a bridge to resources and infrastructure. www.AranyaSolutions.com


Will White

Social Media Manager

Will first hit his stride on the oldest lake in North America, Clear Lake. Growing up on a lake was the perfect place to get his feet wet in the world of activism. It provided a perfect space to work on community projects, enviromental cleanups, and emergency volunteer response teams. Currently Will resides in San Francisco and also works as an assitant in a real estate office where he helps manage their social media presence.


Kelly Erhart


Kelly’s passion for innovation and environmental stewardship has led her to devoting herself to focus on areas where she sees the largest imminent threats to our planet. She is committed to reframing complex issues into solutions that foster market emergence and facilitate growth for impactful technologies. She has cultivated a multidisciplinary background, with experience in international event production, disaster relief project management, and commercialization of sustainable technologies and carbon capture methods.


Melissa Reneski

Digital Marketing

Melissa has worked as a business manager for a large, worldwide known coffee company for the last 14 years. In this position, she had the opportunity to interact with a diverse and ever-evolving business. As a leader, she has had the privilege to mentor our team, train others to be managers, and enable their growth.


Annie Coleman


Annie Coleman is a holistic project manager with large-scale event production and commercial real estate experience. Her focus is on placemaking, community building, and network design. She is skilled in systems planning, strategic problem solving, organization, education, and interpersonal relations. As a student of permaculture, her ultimate goal in all projects is to facilitate the cultivation of healthy frameworks, while refining feedback loops that allow networks to build resiliency.

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