Who We Are
YachtAid Global is made up of volunteer advisors:
Founder & Program Advisor – Mark Drewelow
Mark provides overall leadership and strategy for YachtAid Global. Having spent 20 years at sea, sailing over a quarter million miles on luxury yachts around the world, it was his memorable interaction with the locals that inspired him to give back the most. He currently works as the founder and CEO of C2C which provides a broad spectrum of solutions to luxury yachts. Mark is considered an expert in solving Superyacht operational issues and specializes in cruising patterns in the Eastern North Pacific waters.
Events – Dhardra Blake
Dhardra manages fundraisers and events for YAG. Her background involves sales, marketing, media and events for companies such as ESPN, ABC, Brown-Forman (makers of Jack Daniels), an internet marketing company as well as various political campaigns. She has a degree in marketing/international business from Florida State University, and after being laid off from the internet company in 2001 randomly fell into yachting (as many with previous corporate jobs/lives do) initially as Stewardess transitioning to Chef and most recently to Charter Agent. Developing charter departments specializing in Day Charters on private yachts for JustYachtRentals.com and YachtBrasil, Dhardra has recently launched her own company “LuxuryDayCharters.com” catering to clientele who are seeking to “Be a Yacht Owner for the Day” and enjoy all South Florida (and the surrounding islands) have to offer.
Eric grew up in New Jersey and Massachusetts, first boating on the Hudson River and later in the Chesapeake and Narragansett Bays. He started his first successful business at age 24 and as a seasoned entrepreneur with 25 years of professional experience he offers YachtAid Global a breadth of management skills with a focus on strategy, marketing and project execution.
Eric is based in Newport, RI and Fort Lauderdale, FL as a yacht broker with Camper & Nicholsons International. Since 2008, in conjunction with his work as a broker, he has owned and operated Vintage Elite, an innovative membership and luxury lifestyle firm that specializing is aligning elite lifestyle experiences, brands and membership offerings with philanthropy in generating long-term, sustainable revenues streams for YachtAid Global and other philanthropic partners. Eric engaged initially with YAG assisting with fundraiser events and currently focuses on global business development, strategic fundraising and alliances.
Public Relations – Leah Yam
Leah is the director of communications for Marine Group Boat Works, a superyacht repair facility capable of hauling out boats up to 220 feet, and Fifth Avenue Landing, a superyacht marina, both located in San Diego. She manages the overall communications and oversees the companies’ marketing programs which includes advertising, public relations, community outreach and crew relations.
Yam is a USC graduate where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing, consumer behavior and multimedia. Prior to Marine Group Boat Works, she worked in the digital lab at the Getty Conservation Institute and a PR firm in San Diego managing several local and national clients including Henry’s Farmers Market, Las Americas outlet center, EasyTurf and Association for Behavior Analysis.
She sits on the PR board for the Salvation Army and the Chula Vista Nature Center. When she’s not giving back to the community, she’s trying out new restaurants, mastering yoga poses and cooking her way through life.
Business Development Middle East – Scott Gillespie
Scott provides active support to YAG with the donation of his time, resources and his well established worldwide network of business associates. His active participation brings new opportunities to YAG and accomplishes goals for the organization. Scott is currently founder/director of the Jigsaw Group a boutique entity that specializes in practical solutions for early stage enterprises looking to become global. The Jigsaw Group is a business accelerator, which aligns capabilities, with resources and opportunities. Scott is based in Dubai. The Jigsaw Group is an Australian company with team members operating globally. Also… The Jigsaw Group is working with T2VC in the Gulf Region to support early stage ventures including the Bedaya Program with Cisco and US Aid. Scott is currently working on projects in the Gulf Region from Dubai.
Business Development Europe – Denise Lémann
Denise provides active support to the development of YAG worldwide through her multidisciplinary background in Engineering, Medicine, Social Sciences, Arts, Strategy, Management, CSR and Corporate Renewal and through her international network. She is director of Lemann Consulting Ltd involved in the development of the Leadership and in the corporate renewal and accelerated growth of big and small organizations. She has the Modular SLOAN (IEMP). from London Business School and she is based in London with an antenna in France.
Information Technology – Vinnie Whibbs
Vinnie started his love affair with the ocean as a very early age spending many hours on the water sailing with his father and grandfather. At the University of Notre Dame he was a member of the sailing team and after college he spent four years serving as an officer in the US Navy aboard the USS Rushmore. Vinnie now lives with his wife Jenny and their three kids (Maggie, Vinnie and Caroline) in Encinitas California and typically logs a number of hours every week in the Pacific ocean. However, these days most of the hours are on a surfboard rather than a boat . . . same love affair just a different method of transportation.
Special Advisor – Ann Berchtold
Ann is currently the Founder and Executive Director of ART SAN DIEGO. Ann has over thirteen years of experience in business development and marketing positions with Fortune 500 companies, small business “start-ups” and non-profits. Proven success in developing successful marketing programs through every stage of the product life cycle including: conceptual, client research, business strategy, development, marketing and promotion, launch and sales.
Ann is well known for her advocacy on promoting the arts and art education in San Diego and has been recognized within the community for her civic-mindedness. The San Diego Daily Transcript named her as a 2011 Top Influential People. San Diego Magazine listed her as one of “50 People to Watch” in 2011. She was nominated by the San Diego Business Journal as a “Women Who Mean Business” and by San Diego Magazine for “Woman of the Year”. She was featured in OCT Issue: 944/ “Culture Shockers: Inside 13 Creative Minds Propelling San Diego’s Art Scene Forward”. 2009: Featured: April 2009 / “Do What You Love” Mentor, 2008, Voted: Movers and Shakers: Who’s Who in the SD Visual Art World.
Ann is a graduate of LEAD San Diego. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing with a minor in Fine Art from San Diego State University/National University.
Social Media – Jackie Guenther
Jackie provides support to the development of YAG’s digital presence through the use of social media and other interactive marketing strategies. She has experience in a diverse range of marketing fields, including radio broadcasting, public relations, and product development, but in recent years has shifted her focus to social media and web-based marketing. Jackie has a Bachelors degree in Communications & English from York University in Toronto, as well as dual Masters degrees in Integrated Marketing Communications from San Diego State University and the University of Malta. Jackie’s love for the sea recently led her to pursue the yacht crew lifestyle first-hand, now working aboard mega yachts; however, it is her desire to apply her marketing knowledge for the benefit of helping those in need that has led her to pursue a role as part of the YachtAid Global team.
Logistics – John Ray
John and Vinnie are cousins. John also has a distinguished career as a officer in the US Navy. He served in the supply chain management side of operations and hold an MBA in logistics. Photo of John will follow soon along with more information.
Finance – Don Dempster
Operations – Judi Tucker
Judi grew up with very adventurous parents who encouraged her to travel the world and to always embrace the wonderful opportunities that came her way! At a young age, she and her family left South Africa on a small yacht to cruise the world – her parents wan
ting to expose Judi and her brother to fascinating places and intriguing cultures. After a few years of exploring, they decided to settle on the east coast of America where Judi completed her education. Upon graduating from university, Judi joined the superyacht industry where a one year ‘experience’ turned into a ten year career. As Judi sailed around the world, she had amazing adventures and met the most interesting people along the way. Judi looks back on those years with very fond memories. She only wishes she could have been involved in YAG at that point, so as too have been able to help the communities that welcomed her and her fellow crew mates with open arms! Judi stepped off yachts eventually and now manages a busy family estate with her husband in NY.
Brazil Operations – Gabriel Borba
Gabriel worked in San Diego with YachtAid Global and C2C inc for 2 years. Gabriel is instrumental in all aspects of YAG Brazil from finding and qualifying beneficiaries, working with suppliers, benefactors and sponsors as well as direct contact with yacht Captain and Crew.