Board Members

Kathleen Cantner

Kat is the science illustrator for the American Geosciences Institute and holds a Masters Degree in Oceanography from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. She spent five years conducting oceanographic research with the Ocean Exploration Trust before pursuing a degree in Science Illustration.

Kat creates diagrams and illustrations for magazines, textbooks and educational materials with a focus on the Earth Sciences. She is actively engaged in education outreach in her community and is dedicated to exploring and conserving the world ocean.

Cynde McInnis

Cynde has been involved in the world of whale education since 1994. As owner of The Whalemobile-a life-sized model of a humpback whale-Cynde travels to schools and libraries educating students about whales and the oceans and what students can do to help protect both. She has worked with Cape Ann Whale Watch in Gloucester, MA as a naturalist and Education Director spending thousands of hours observing these amazing animals in their natural habitat. In the fall semester, she can be found at Salem State University in Salem, MA teaching courses about whales, tourism and interpretation. Cynde brings with her an ability to make whales relevant and accessible for everyone through methods

Cynde arrived in Gloucester via Dartmouth College in 1994 having received and BA in Psychology. She earned one of the few Master's degrees ever awarded in whale watch education having designed her own program through Lesley University. Taking a variety of educational theories and applying it to a whale watch setting, she developed a program that strives to make a difference in the lives of the passengers, and therefore, the lives of the whales.

Alex Cooper

Treasurer

Alex is a Director working at FOX 9 News in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul television market who has been awarded a Regional Emmy® and eight additional nominations for automation-based live productions over the past 12 years. His additional skills come from serving as the President, Board of Directors for Ridgewoods Condominium #1 Association. In that role Alex has been able to implement a recycling program for 20 units which previously had only trash service, partner with Hennepin County to pass along continuing education materials to homeowners on the importance of recycling, and work to upgrade the property to reduce the carbon footprint mainly through energy improvements. He wrote his thesis on the association's ability to grow satisfaction by providing better communication to owners through strategic outreach and empowerment tools. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting the National Parks and other public lands here in the US along with Canada to hike, camp, photograph animals, or try out something new in connecting with nature.

He holds a Master's Degree in Strategic Communication Management (Concordia University - Saint Paul), Bachelor's Degree in Communications / Associates in Environmental, Safety & Security Technologies (Thomas Edison State University), and Associates in Accounting/Mass Communication / Certificates in Management, Human Resource Management, along with Marketing Management (Normandale Community College). The volunteering seed was planted early in Alex's life as he began helping with video production work for the local food shelf in high school and was presented with the Caring Youth Award by the City of Minnetonka along with a nomination for the Youth Service Award by what was then Time Warner Cable.

Patrick Tillisch

Patrick is an attorney in Bozeman, Montana at The Rabb Law Firm. He brings prior Board of Directors experience and a passion for conservation to the team. Patrick is originally from Fargo, North Dakota, and holds a Juris Doctor from The University of Montana School of Law, where he also received a certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law. During law school, Patrick interned at the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

After law school, Patrick was an attorney in Seattle, Washington with Perkins Coie. He actively provides consulting on business prospects to Guided Opportunities, a non-profit which focuses on community development by offering educational opportunities to communities in Honduras.

Brooke Skinn

Brooke grew up in Eden Prairie MN and began a deep love for nature at an early age during Robert Ballard's Jason Project that the Eden Prairie school district was partners on. Her love for the ocean grew as she started traveling as a child. She originally wanted to be a marine biologist to help support the ocean environment and all the plants and animals in it.

As we all find, life has other paths and the ocean became a hobby for Brooke instead of a career. She has 7 scuba certifications and spends her vacations in one of the worlds many oceans each year still. Currently Brooke works at 3M in Master Data Management as a global governance leader. In her professional career she has partnered with Best Prep for the past 12 years and has been public speaking in the middle school and high school classrooms all over the twin cities. She has a huge passion for teaching kids and an even bigger love for the worlds oceans.

Bashir Ahmed

Chair

Bashir oversees the development and operations of Aeon for Ocean. His business acumen and technical expertise has proven valuable in Aeon for Ocean initiative. He has been the driving force behind upbringing of Aeon for Ocean's organizational entity, forging partnerhip with organizations alike, online presence, etc. He always has been an avid advocate of investing in science and engineering.

Professionally and personally has been involved in various aspects of business development & technology for years and passionate about STEM education. He continues learning about marine life & ecosystem and has been studying about marine habitats and ocean conservation for past several years and believes "it is about knowing and recognizing that we are part of everything, and everything is a part of us - We are One"