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La Jolla, California |  info@waittinstitute.org |  (858) 551-4443


Providing a wide area of expertise, our team aims to safeguard ocean resources and sustainably grow Blue Economies by cultivating a network of global partners through effective grants and human capital. 

Cherie Prothro-Shea

Managing Director

Cherie Prothro-Shea is Managing Director of the Waitt Foundation where she cultivates and executes initiatives on behalf of the board of directors. Cherie began working for Mr. Ted Waitt at Gateway, Inc. nearly 20 years ago. In 2004, when Mr. Waitt retired from Gateway to focus full-time on his philanthropic interests at the Waitt Foundation, Cherie joined the team and helped define the future vision of the organization. In addition to oversight of daily operations and reporting, Cherie manages a diverse global portfolio of non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and the Waitt Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) small grants program.


With the launch of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, Cherie helps evaluate conservation opportunities and is closely involved in establishing international government relationships.  She facilitates the development of a network bringing together world class technical experts to create customized partnerships for the purpose of advancing global ocean protections goals.  Cherie has an extensive background in business and investor relations. Combining her corporate background with the conservation initiatives of the Foundation, Cherie provides a unique perspective to program development, management and effectiveness. A native Texan, Cherie resides in Southern California with her husband, Larry.

Shayna Brody

Media & Communications Manager

Shayna manages communications across Waitt Institute project sites, the Waitt Foundation, and the Blue Prosperity Coalition. She develops communications strategies, creates content, manages websites & social media channels, and captures media as a staff photographer, videographer, and drone pilot. She brings expertise in marketing, branding, photography, videography, and graphic design. 



Shayna holds a Masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary biology and a minor in Media & Communications. She has a background in scientific research of marine mammal populations and behavior in South Africa, New Zealand, and California, as well as fish behavior and fire ecology in Rocky Mountain forest ecosystems. She has also worked at tech startup Lumi.com and in outreach and educational setting for many animal rescues, aquariums, and NGOs including The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Inland Ocean Coalition, Heal the Bay, Star Eco Station, and the Denver Aquarium.

Mark Dickey

General Counsel

Mark Dickey joined Avalon Capital Group, Inc., the Waitt Foundation, and Waitt Institute as General counsel in the fall of 2012.  Mr. Dickey has more than 20 years of legal experience, including 14 years in private practice. Before joining, Mr. Dickey served as General Counsel of Phoenix Solar US, a designer and builder of large-scale PV solar projects, and as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of VeraSun Energy, a leading producer and marketer of ethanol and distillers grains. Previously, he was Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at Gateway, Inc., a world-wide leader in the PC industry.


Prior to Gateway, Inc., Mr. Dickey was in private practice in North Carolina and Oklahoma, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, private placements of equity and debt securities, tax planning, financing and commercial transactions, licensing and joint ventures. Mr. Dickey earned his law degree from the University of Oklahoma, his Masters of Business Administration from Wake Forest University, and his bachelor’s degree in finance from Oklahoma State University.

Tamara Marshall, J.D.

Operations & Legal Director

Tamara Marshall was born and raised in San Diego, California. In her role as the Operations Manager she focuses on finances, contracts, and generally keeping the organization running smoothly. She joined the Waitt team as an employee of the Avalon Capital Group 2005.


Over the past 10 years, she has held numerous positions within the organization across the areas of human resources, administration, operations, finance, legal, and investments. She is an experienced professional accountant with a background in entrepreneurship and small business advising. Tamara has a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, and has completed her law degree at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Tamara aspires to use her law degree to make a difference in the world, and to give back to the community.

Josh Sherer

Chief Financial Officer

Josh joined Avalon Capital Group in 2017 as the Chief Financial Officer. He provides leadership, direction and management of the finance and accounting team at both the Waitt Foundation and the Waitt Institute. As CFO, Josh also oversees the financial forecasting and budgeting process, providing strategic recommendations to the CEO, president and members of the management team. Additional responsibilities include overseeing preparation of all financial reporting along with tax planning and compliance. 


Josh's background includes19 years of combined public and private accounting experience.  Prior to joining Avalon Capital, he was the Chief Financial Officer for a global clothing manufacturer with operations primarily in North and Central America. Josh has a Masters of Business Administration, a license in Chartered Global Management Accounting, and his Certified Public Accountant license in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.

Jennifer Aadnes

Administrative Assistant

Jennifer has enjoyed building a career in administrative support by working across a range of industries, including the nonprofit sector, over the past 20 years. As she gained experience, she realized her professional fulfillment lies in contributing to the overall success of the team and the organization. She has built and maintains a focus on providing reliable support to her colleagues and excellent customer service to partners. 


At the Waitt Institute, Jennifer is thrilled to combine her personal passion for living an environmentally conscious, low impact lifestyle with her day to day work.  

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