GreenWave is supporting a new generation of ocean farmers feeding the planet and building a blue-green economy in the era of climate change.


@OurPlanet @WWF


GreenWave Team


Bren Smith

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Bren Smith, GreenWave executive director and owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm, pioneered the development of restorative 3D Ocean Farming. A lifelong commercial fisherman, he was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “25 People Shaping the Future” and featured in TIME magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2017”. He is the winner of the Buckminster Fuller Prize and been profiled by CNN, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and elsewhere. He is an Ashoka and Echoing Green Climate Fellow and author of Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer.

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Emily Stengel

Deputy Director and Co-Founder

Emily leads and supports GreenWave programming and operations, overseeing internal operations, implementation of programming, and fundraising strategy and execution. She brings to GreenWave a background in sustainable food systems, working for several years at a B-Corp catering company in NYC dedicated to supporting the regional farm and food economy.

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Kendall Barbery

Programs Director

As programs director, Kendall leads GreenWave's national reef replication effort and oversees our inaugural farmer training program and kelp nursery, based in New England. Kendall attributes her passion for restorative ocean farming to her childhood on the shores of Mobjack Bay, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and nearly ten years of combined experience working on charter, commercial fishing, and research boats in Alaska and Antarctica. Prior to joining GreenWave, Kendall managed green infrastructure design and implementation projects with partners in Connecticut and New York, helping to mitigate nutrient and bacterial pollution in Long Island Sound. Kendall earned a Master of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies where she studied social ecology and water resources management.


Amy Blankstein

Development Manager

Amy leads GreenWave’s fundraising strategy, implementation, and philanthropic outreach efforts. First as a magazine journalist and later as a nonprofit development and communications specialist, she continues to be inspired by the stories of the local farmers and producers, community activists, artists, and small business owners she has had the opportunity to cover and promote. Before joining GreenWave, Amy directed fundraising and communications strategy for Just Food, a New York City-based nonprofit supporting community-led efforts to advocate for and increase access to healthy, sustainable food.


Liana Coviello

Office Manager

Liana Coviello joins the team as the Executive Assistant, having ten years of administrative experience. She comes to us from the Marine Biological Laboratory located in Woods Hole, MA, where she was the Executive Assistant to the President and Director for the last two and a half years. While Liana has a diverse background supporting a number of industries, her true passion is marine conservation. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in Marine Biology and is thrilled to be a new member of the team!


Sam Garwin

Market Innovation Strategist

Sam leads GreenWave's Market Innovation Program, which aims to mobilize investments, incubate new products, and open market opportunities to scale demand for ocean farmers' crops. Sam was previously the COO and CEO of Fleishers Craft Butchery, a pioneer of sustainably-sourced whole animal retail butchery; and an early employee of Maya Mountain Cacao, a social enterprise dedicated to high-quality direct-trade organic cocoa bean sourcing that is now part of the Uncommon Cacao Group. Her experience spans product management, human-centered design, supply chains, strategic partnerships, and organizational development. Before working in food and agriculture, Sam was a product manager at Endeca, a start-up B2B e-commerce and business analytics software company acquired by Oracle in 2011.


Ron Gautreau

Senior Farmer Trainer

Ron has worn several hats on the farm including first mate, chief engineer, scientist and photographer. He now joins the GreenWave team as Senior Farmer Trainer. Having owned and worked on boats most of his life along with being a trained biologist gives him a unique perspective and appreciation of the evolving workings of the farm.

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Karen Gray

California Reef Manager

As California Reef Manager for GreenWave, Karen builds relationships with strategic partners and supports the operations of ocean farmers working to establish a network of sustainable, small-scale ocean farms along the California coast. She brings a diverse set of skills and experience, including an extensive knowledge of seaweeds and marine restoration ecology. Karen is fully versed in coastal regulations, and leasing and permitting processes, having worked for the California Coastal Commission. She is a marine scientist, expedition leader and research diver with a Masters degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In her free time, you'll find Karen open water swimming or being creative with seaweed.


Ashley Hamilton

Science Lead

Ashley joins the GreenWave team as the hatchery scientist. She holds a B.Sc. in marine sciences from the University of Connecticut and a M.Sc. in ecology and ecosystem sciences from the University of Rhode Island. Ashley brings a background of scientific research, which focuses o the impacts of human-induced stressors upon commercially important bivalve species. Ashley is also in the early stages of starting her own 3D ocean farm in coastal CT.


Jill Pegnataro

Farm Manager and Hatchery Technician

Jill attended The Sound School in New Haven, CT and focused on ecology of Long Island Sound and ocean engineering. She graduated from Salve Regina University in Newport, RI with a B.S. degree in Biology. After graduation she worked with endangered sea turtles in Texas and Costa Rica. Her skills gained from marine research and conservation is now being used to manage and oversee the daily operations of the farm.

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Krizl Soriano

Communications Coordinator

Krizl supports GreenWave’s internal and external communications, and is excited to expand her experiences in food systems work to include the blue-green economy. She moved to Connecticut in 2014 after graduating from Florida State University with degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies. For two years, she served in FoodCorps connecting kids to healthy food in schools. Krizl continued to dig deeper into food justice through the management of a mobile farmers market, farming, and collaborations on programs out of UConn Extension’s Sustainable Food Systems office. When she’s not in the office, Krizl enjoys cooking, being a dog and cat mom, throwing pottery, and growing flowers and vegetables.


Michelle Stephens

Hatchery Manager and Programs Assistant

Michelle is a graduate of the University of New Haven with a B.S. in Marine Biology. While attending the university, she focused her studies on aquaculture by researching both oyster rearing and giant clam spawning. After graduating, she worked as fish technician and researcher for an inland finfish nursery/grow-out facility. Her past experiences with aquaculture and passion for sustainability are now being used to manage the kelp hatchery.


Board of Directors


Sean Barrett

Sean Barrett is a veteran of both the restaurant and fishing industries of New York, and a co-founder of the Dock to Dish movement. His innovative and acclaimed membership-based supply programs connect small-scale and artisanal fishermen directly to local communities through wild seafood sourcing cooperatives that build resilience to climate change.

Since launching the original Dock to Dish program in 2012 with help from the Concerned Citizens of Montauk Association, support from chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and the careful guidance from his close friend, farmer Scott Chaskey at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett — an original birthplace of community supported agriculture in the United States — Barrett’s organization has proliferated into an expansive international network of community and restaurant supported fisheries that are now being broadly recognized as an important blueprint for a future of sustainable seafood.

He is a founding member of both the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) and the Amagansett Food Institute (AFI); is a longtime pod member for the Future of Fish organization; and has been named Person of the Year by the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners (URTO) Association of New York State.

Barrett has also been ranked among the 25 Most Daring Individuals of 2016 by Vanity Fair magazine; named to Grist’s list of the Foremost 50 People Fighting for a More Sustainable Future; listed as one of Sonima's top 50 Innovators Shaping the Future of Wellness; identified as one of the Top 7 Leaders of the Future of Food by Bon Appetit magazine; designated as New York State's ambassador to the "United States of Healthy" by editors of Cooking Light magazine; nominated by both the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Carl Safina to be recognized by the White House as a United States Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood; and recently appointed to serve as a member of the New York State Marine Resources Advisory Council under Gov. Andrew Cuomo."


Lisa Holmes

Lisa Holmes is Vice President of the Hunter Grubb Foundation, and acts as GreenWave’s Food Systems Strategic Advisor. She brings her years of experience in bringing together organizations from multiple sectors (agriculture, community-based/grassroots NGOs, economic investment and philanthropy) and leveraging their respective capacities to create infrastructure and programmatic initiatives that promote local food access and justice. She has worked with grassroots and community efforts to transform the local food system in Connecticut for over a decade, including chairing the board of CitySeed. Lisa is currently serving on the boards of both Rachel’s Network and the Pleiades Network, which envisions widespread and equal representation of women in all levels of leadership influencing positive progress toward sustainability. She was an Associate Producer of Food Chains, the James Beard Foundation award-winning documentary. Lisa also serves on the boards of the Yellow Farmhouse Education Center at Stone Acres Farm, the Perennial Farming Initiative, and the national board of NatureBridge, which provides children with science-based environmental education in five national park locations.

Nathalie Laidler-Kylander

Nathalie Laidler-Kylander is responsible for identifying and supporting DRK Entrepreneurs. She is one of the world’s leading experts on nonprofit brand management. Her passion for understanding and promoting the important role that brand plays for nonprofit organizations has resulted in a decade of research, teaching, and consulting. Nathalie has been a practitioner as well as an academic over the course of her career. Her courses, including many Executive Education programs, and multiple publications have targeted nonprofit leaders, with the goal of building marketing and branding capacity in the sector. Nathalie has supported many of her students as they created and launched social enterprises both at Tufts University, where she taught entrepreneurial marketing, and at Harvard where she currently teaches strategic management for nonprofits.

She has worked extensively in both the private and social sectors over the course of her 30-year career. As a biochemist, an MBA and a PhD, Nathalie also built on her experience in strategy consulting to hold a number of prominent positions in sales, marketing and management at Medtronic Inc. She led Doctors Without Borders programs in Armenia, worked for the UNDP in Senegal, and has consulted to dozens of both large and small nonprofit organizations.

Nathalie received a BS in Biochemistry from Imperial College at London University, an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a PhD from Fletcher School at Tufts University.


Karen Hiniker Simons

Karen is a consultant with over 20+ years of experience working on research, critical analysis and business development for mission driven for-profits, non-profits and foundations.  Since founding Hudson Varick Resources in 2010, she has focused on sustainable and equitable local economic development thorough food systems.  Previously, Karen spent 10 years as Executive Director of the WellMet Group, a foundation that supports community based social innovation by funding emerging New York City non-profits. Prior to WellMet, Karen spent 15 years in the financial services industry.

Karen holds a Master in Business Administration and a Master in Public Policy from New York University, is a Certified Financial Analyst, a Master Gardener and serves on the Boards of Bedford 2020, GreenWave and Westchester Growers Alliance and the advisory board of Westchester Land Trust.


Bren Smith, ex officio

Bren Smith is the owner of Thimble Island Ocean Farm and executive director of GreenWave. A lifelong commercial fisherman since the age of 14, Bren pioneered the development of restorative 3D ocean farming, which is designed to restore ocean ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and create blue-green jobs for fishermen — while ensuring healthy, local food for communities. His work has been profiled by CNN, Google Food, The New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and others. He has won the Buckminster Fuller Prize for ecological design, the European Sustainia Award, and is a finalist for the SeaWeb Seafood Champions Award. His writing has appeared in the New York Times and National Geographic. In 2013, Smith was chosen as one of six “Ocean Heroes” by Oceana and Future of Fish’s “Ocean Entrepreneur” of the year. He is an Ashoka and Echoing Green Fellow.