Our Team

Crista Valentino, United States
Co-Founder, Director

 

Crista co-founded CoalitionWILD in 2013 after an invitation from the WILD Foundation to address the lack of support and visibility available to younger generations in the environmental sector. She continues to lobby for a stronger integration of youth voices and empowerment in organizational and business decision making, and has achieved this through recently co-publishing an intergenerational leadership toolkit for conservation and leading multiple projects that accelerate and further initiatives around the world being led by young people for nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myrto Karydi
Global Outreach and Campaign Strategy Intern

 

Myrto recently graduated from UCL Laws with an LLB in Law. From the moment I stepped into my university’s very first careers event, I knew I could never become a corporate sellout and, as someone who’s always been sensitive about environmental issues and animal welfare, environmental law seemed to be where I was headed.
We live in a time, where not only the environment, but every aspect of society is facing a crisis, and it is now more than ever that people should pursue their dreams and work on something they’re sensitive about. My dream is to work against wildlife poaching, smuggling and contribute to the struggle against animal abuse. At the same time, I am really interested in issues of deforestation and the violation of indigenous rights with regard to protected land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angelos Angelidis, Greece
Social Media Intern

 

Angelos is a Geography student and activist, interested in anything environmental, particularly sustainable countercultures. He is currently researching the Tiny House Movement. Angelos is an amateur film camera photographer and desires to work in the arts later in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniela Benavides, Peru
Steering Committee

 


“From Ambassador to Board Member, I want to leverage the power of connectivity for social impact”

 

Daniela is a Peruvian conservation biologist, digital campaigner and filmmaker based in Sydney, Australia. Her film productions span the arts, conservation and social impact industries. She has a Media degree from International Film School Sydney and Communications accreditations from Columbia University and Duke University, along with a Conservation Biology degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Daniela led environmental communication campaigns as CEO of environmental education non-profit ConCiencia and as Project Manager of the Peruvian Environmental Trust Fund. She is a member of the IUCN Comission of Education & Communication and a producer, workshop facilitator and editor for Digital Storytellers. www.danielabenavides.com

 

 

 

 

 

Shailyn Drukis, Canada
Steering Committee

“I am glad to be part of CoalitionWILD because of the support it provides the next generation of conservation leaders to make positive impacts in their local and global community.”

 

Shailyn Drukis is a young professional and researcher living in Canada’s northern Yukon Territory. Having been raised exploring the outdoors, Shailyn sprouted an early passion for parks and protected areas, biodiversity conservation, and habitat connectivity, and has focused her efforts in the arctic and subarctic mountainous regions. Shailyn attended her first United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Japan in 2010 and has became a strong advocate for youth engagement and intergenerational dialogues in conservation decision-making processes. In addition to helping develop a recognized youth stakeholder designation within the CBD, she also co-founded the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, which now has youth members in over 90 countries. Shailyn is currently on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Committee for IUCN, as well as the Youth Advisory Group for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

 

 

 

 

James Hattam, Australia
Steering Committee

“CoalitionWild epitomises the collaborative, inspiring and progressive outcome focused approach which drives me!”

 

James is a Conservation Ecologist with over ten years’ experience working across the conservation sector, with government and not-for-profit organisations in Australia. He is currently the Philanthropy and Engagement Manager at the Tasmanian Land Conservancy; his passion is centered on people and connecting people to the natural world through shared experiences, storytelling and community involvement. James is a Board member of the quarterly journal Island Magazine, one of Australia’s leading literary magazines, a print-only quarterly of ideas, writing and culture. James is also a passionate contributor to the IUCN and an active member of the World Commission on Protected Areas’ Young Professionals Network co-contributing to a number of initiatives focusing on intergenerational leadership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice C. Hughes, China
Steering Committee

“I joined CoalitionWild because it represents a young organisation run on the energy of people with the passion to see real world change.”

 

Alice is an Associate Professor and leads a research group in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her work focuses on understanding threats and developing conservation priorities for the Southeast Asian region. Alice coordinates a number of conservation projects across parts of the Asia region, with a special project on mapping diversity, threat and endemism in karst ecosystems. Alice is also leader of the Young Professionals Network for the Commission for Ecosystem management for the IUCN and has a position with the China Biodiversity Conservation Green Development foundation.

 

Alice is passionate about conservation and capacity building and has led training courses for young professionals across the tropics. She also believes in the importance of connecting with other elements of society, and has written conservation articles for various blogs and other online publishers in addition to taking active roles in inter-disciplinary conference coordination and collaborating with a number of NGOs.

 

 

 

 


jdeklerk-profile-photoJacqui de Klerk, Colombia
Steering Committee

“I am part of CoalitionWILD because I believe that creating awareness about our planet’s greatest challenges is a vital way to finding viable, long-term solutions.”

 

Born and bred in South Africa, Jacqui traveled the world and finally found her place in Colombia, where she now lives as a freelance journalist for Lonely Planet and other media houses. Jacqui is passionate about books, languages, cultures, and environmental issues. She is also a Writer and Communications Editor for WILDVoices, an organisation which gives aspiring storytellers a platform to tell creative and engaging environmental stories. Besides writing, Jacqui spends her time riding her bike, reading profusely and volunteering for several environmental initiatives.

 

 

 

 

 

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William Lawson, United Kingdom
Steering Committee

“Without organisations like CoalitionWILD, I’m sure a huge number of life-changing projects, and the people that generate them, would never find their voice and true potential.”

 

From 2006-2013, Will left the UK to work in Southern Africa as a Game Ranger and Instructor; here he honed his passion for wildlife and the land and sea. During this time he also incorporated Biomimicry into his life helping to set up BiomimicrySA; a now thriving social enterprise. In 2013 he moved back to his natal patch in the UK to work for the BBC and has been making wildlife documentaries and helping the development of Biomimicry UK, since. Will always makes time for an adventure, he wouldn’t be where he is without them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sabelo Lindani, South Africa
Steering Committee

“Life is a collection of stories, what other best way to share them other than through CoalitionWILD.”

 

Sabelo is from South Africa and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nature Conservation. He has a wide ranging experience within the conservation sector from Protected Area Management for some of the best conservation authorities in the country. He is currently working as an Ecological Advisor for one of the City of Cape Town’s departments. He is the co-founder of Youth for the Environment, an organisation that seeks to empower young people whilst addressing environmental issues. He is the founder of Contour Training Academy, an accredited conservation and tourism training provider, and a member of The World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) where he plays two roles as a Focal Point for South Africa and a Focal Point for Young Professionals within the East and Southern Africa Region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eurythius Lincoln Meyer, South Africa
Founding Steering Committee

“It will take the action of a group of global citizens willing to change the world, to realise global change. CoalitionWild provides me with an opportunity to be part of this revolutionary act by a group of fantastic individuals!”

 

Eurythius Lincoln Meyer hails from the small town of Pearston in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Lincoln is a passionate Wilderness Guide and Conservationist. Lincoln has worked for the Wilderness Foundation Africa on varies youth development programmes for more than 10 years combining his passion for conservation and keen interest in developing youth from disadvantaged backgrounds using the healing powers of nature. Lincoln made the list of top 200 South Africans under the age of 35 in 2015. Lincoln joined Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) as a senior training officer in August 2017. Lincoln is now involved in skilling youth from all over South Africa in varies conservation qualifications. He spends his free time enjoying good food and has a coffee/wine craving palate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LuchaJordi van Oort, Netherlands
Founding Steering Committee

 

“I personally believe that willingness to share information would be the biggest breakthrough in conservation for our generation and I believe CoalitionWILD could be a great way to accomplish that.”

 

After studying Nature Conservation in both Africa and The Netherlands, Jordi strongly connected to the vast plains of the African continent and its people. He currently works for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Kigali at the Forest and Landscape Restoration HUB. Through this HUB, IUCN in trying to sustainably restore degraded landscapes throughout eastern and southern Africa. Jordi is an avid conservation photographer and loves to take people with him on his journeys visually. He is a team player, loves the bush, and is very proud to be able to do his part in conserving that what lies close to his heart.

 

 

 

 

 

LuchaNeeshad V. Shafi, Qatar
Steering Committee

 

“CoalitionWILD amplifies the voices of ordinary people engaged in confronting the environmental challenges facing humanity.”

 

Neeshad holds a master’s degree in Energy & Environmental Engineering and resides in Doha, The State of Qatar. He is a youth environmental activist, educator, speaker and an outspoken climate change advocate, who campaigns extensively to raise the awareness about climate change and Sustainable Development goals (SDGs). His continuous enthusiasm for environment and climate change advocacy led him to be the focal point for various regional and international NGOs in the Middle East. He is currently serving as Co-Founder and National Coordinator for Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar (AYCMQ), Middle East Officer for CliMates, Founding member and Focal point for CANAW (Climate Action Network Arab World), Founding Team Youth Climate Lab, Liaison Officer in GCC for Citizens Climate Lobby and MIT Climate Co-Lab Fellow. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecile Tang, France/China
Steering Committee

“I joined CoalitionWILD because I’m passionate about youth empowerment for wildlife! I believe that we are stronger together as a network.”

 

Cécile is a French/ Chinese/ Canadian environmentalist dedicated to advancing wildlife conservation and the Sustainable Development Goals using an interdisciplinary approach.
She holds a BSc in Biology and a joint-MSc in Environmental Sciences, Management and Policy (Erasmus Mundus MESPOM). Her experience focuses on marine conservation, tropical ecology and Indigenous communities. She’s passionate about working alongside different stakeholders to find sustainable solutions to our environmental challenges. Cécile is a founding member of Youth for Wildlife Conservation, a youth organization and facilitates a global network of early-career conservationists.

 

 

 

 

 

 


jdeklerk-profile-photoTom Wiercioch, Canada
Founding Steering Committee

“CoalitionWILD is filled with incredible stories, let’s tell them!”

 

Tomasz currently lives in Ottawa, Canada and is passionate about the stories of people who are helping make our planet a better place. Telling these stories in unique ways is what drives him. During the day, he is the communications coordinator for #NatureForAll, a global movement to inspire a love for nature. By night, he is the Founder and Creative Director of WILDvoices, an organization that bridges emerging storytellers with aspiring young professionals to tell engaging stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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