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Meet the Team

Get to know us

Meet the team behind Build the Reef who all share the same passion and enthusiasm for making our oceans more biodiverse and sustainable. They all believe in a better future for our planet where humans and nature can coexist in harmony. 

They are dedicated to delivering solutions involving real action to make a real difference.

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Rebecca Shaw
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Shaanan Smith

Founder & Director

Rebecca Shaw

Lead Marine Consultant

David Leslie

Chief Marketing 


Oliver Filipe

Chief Financial Officer

Shaanan grew up in a small fishing town in the North East of Scotland. He was born with a passion for two things; nature and understanding how things work. The latter fascination led him to a technical career path in engineering where he graduated in 2012 with a Master’s degree in Mechanical and Offshore Engineering. In 2017 he attained Chartership status as a credited industry professional. During this time, he remained true to his other passion and used all his annual leave to visit wildlife sanctuaries around the world from Africa to Indonesia.

After 7+ years working within the Subsea Oil & Gas industry, he now also applies his engineering knowledge and expertise to design artificial reefs and products for the betterment of our oceans. If he's not in the office, you'll find him taking part in voluntary beach clean ups or in the North Sea where he actively scuba dives all year round.

Rebecca is a biologist with a keen interest in conservation and environmental issues. Having graduated with a BSc in Biology, she furthered her knowledge by obtaining a MSc in Animal welfare science and legislation which gave her a background in policy and decision making, societal issues and how to conduct sound science. She currently works as a research technician at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

She also shares a passion for communicating science and is an active STEM ambassador, contributing to events that promote women in science and encourage children to get excited about science. She actively volunteers her time to residential conservation projects for the RSPB, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Countryside Ranger services assisting in wildlife restoration, surveying and educating the public about local wildlife.

David is a professional learning and development specialist currently applying his skills in the public sector with an array of industry experience from retail to catering, to finance and public relations. He thrives on change and keeps a close eye on the future of technology, emerging markets & trends allowing him to anticipate opportunities. A strong writer and orator, he is a Jack-of-all-trades who can turn his hand to anything and get results.

His creative flair, eye for design and marketing knowledge are intertwined with both his passions: climate and inspiring change. As an independent music producer who volunteers with supporting local artists and youth groups, he is a real community role model. This is further complimented by his strong engagement and public speaking skills. When Build the Reef approached him with the idea for the company he was inspired to take action and drive all activities towards supporting them in tackling marine rehabilitation.

Ollie is a professional financial trader with an LSE Economics degree which makes him the best candidate to run Build the Reef finances. Previously he worked for 6+ years at a top commodities trading firm in London, where he currently lives, while also being part of a decentralised venture capital (VC) fund. By nature he has a real talent for spotting trends and patterns;- the latest of which for him was recognising the inevitable negative consequences to the ocean and the wider planet if we continue to use these invaluable resources the way we are currently doing.

Despite personally investing in 50+ start-ups, Build the Reef captivated his interest and he is now committed to taking a very active role as CFO. He understands that awareness of the issues we face are important but not nearly as important as taking it upon ourselves to change it.

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