• The Gala

    MaiTai Global and OceanElders are proud to present the Second Annual Ocean Gala, a fundraising event to support ocean conservation. Immerse yourself in interactive virtual reality experiences, then step into an evening filled with music, dancing, and insight from the most prominent people in ocean conservation. As a collaborative community of passionate men and women, these organizations have partnered to bring together today's and tomorrow's global leaders in a collective effort to protect, value and celebrate the ocean and its wildlife.
    The Ocean Gala
    Saturday, December 3, 2016
    Keynote Speaker: Sir Richard Branson


    Cocktail Reception - 7PM

    Dinner, Program and Live Auction - 8PM

    After Party with DJ Alex Cruz - 10:30PM

    Palace Hotel | San Francisco, CA
    2 New Montgomery Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105


    This is an Invite Only event

    To request an invitation, contact gala@maitaiglobal.org

  • Our Cause

    MaiTai Global and OceanElders are committed to support efforts in conservation and protection of the world’s ocean and its wildlife. The members of these organizations are dedicated individuals who strive to prevent further damage to the ocean. They seek to support proactive programs and organizations who produce meaningful results in the field of ocean conservation. They encourage, endorse and collaborate with influential leaders pursuing the protection of the ocean’s habitat and wildlife, its ecosystems and species biodiversity.
    Proceeds from The Ocean Gala Auction will provide financial support to MaiTai Global and OceanElders, whose collaborative work to tackle critical issues with other ocean organizations and world leaders have profoundly impacted efforts towards protection and conservation of the world's ocean and its wildlife.



    - Organizations Funded -


  • Organizers

    MaiTai Global
    MaiTai Global is made up of a group of extraordinary entrepreneurs, innovators and athletes. Participants in MaiTai events combine their energy, network and resources to help each other achieve professional success, pushing the limits of work and play while also fueling philanthropic activities around the world. The MaiTai Global mission is to marshal the support of extreme innovators, entrepreneurs and athletes to support environmental causes related to the ocean and related ecosystems. www.maitaiglobal.org

    OceanElders is an independent group of global leaders who have joined together to serve as a catalyst in the conservation and protection of the ocean and its wildlife. These individuals use their collective influence, supported by science and data, to promote ocean conservation, pursue the protection of the ocean’s habitat and wildlife to preserve its ecosystems and species biodiversity. www.oceanelders.org

  • Special Guests

    Sir Richard Branson

    Founder of Virgin Group

    Richard Branson founded the Virgin Group in 1970 as a mail order retailer and shortly thereafter opened a record shop in Oxford Street, London. The first album created from Virgin Records went to sell over 5 million copies. Today, Virgin is one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands. Virgin Group has expanded into air travel, mobile, financial services, rail, health & wellness, radio, hotels and resorts, space travel and renewable energy; investing through more than 200 companies worldwide.


    Jackson Browne

    Singer-Songerwriter, Musician and Activist

    Jackson Browne has written and performed some of the most literate and moving songs in popular music and has defined a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion and personal politics. He was honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2007. He was also nominated for a Grammy in 2007 in the category of Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album. Beyond his music, Browne is known for his advocacy on behalf of the environment, human rights, and arts education. He is a co-founder of the groups Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE), Nukefree.org, and Success Through the Arts Foundation, which provides education opportunities for students in South Los Angeles.



    Dr. Sylvia Earle

    National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine, is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for corporate and non-profit organizations.  She has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7000 hours underwater including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970, participating in nine saturation dives, and setting a record for solo diving in 1000 meters depth. Her research concerns marine ecosystems with special reference to exploration, conservation, and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments.

    Captain Don Walsh

    Captain Don Walsh USN (ret), PhD is an oceanographer, explorer, and former submarine captain. A graduate of the US Naval Academy, he holds graduate degrees from Texas A&M (MS and PhD) and San Diego State University (MA). His professional life has been almost entirely in the design, manufacture, and operations of undersea systems. In 1960, he was designated US Navy Submersible Pilot #1 and was the first submersible pilot in the US, having descended in the Trieste to the deepest point known in the ocean, the Mariana Trench. His half century of contributions to undersea engineering were recognized in 2001 when he was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering. Currently, he is the Honorary President of the Explorers Club.

    Rob Stewart

    Biologist, Conservationist, Documentary Filmmaker

    "Rob Stewart is an award winning photographer, filmmaker and activist. Trained as a biologist in Canada, Jamaica and Kenya, Stewart spent four years as a wildlife photographer before embarking on the journey to make his first film Sharkwater. One of the biggest documentaries of 2007, Sharkwater broke box office records, spawned conservation groups and was seen by 124 million people, changing government policy worldwide. Stewart’s second film Revolution brings the plight of the oceans and ultimately humanity to the masses. Revolution and Sharkwater have won more than 50 awards at top film festivals around the world. Stewart is on the board of United Conservationists, Shark Research Institute, Wildaid and Shark Savers; has written two books – Sharkwater: An Odyssey to Save the Planet; and Save the Humans."

    Alex Cruz

    DJ / Producer

    Alex Cruz is a Deep House DJ from Amsterdam whose “Deep and Sexy” podcast with millions of downloads on Soundcloud has garnered him one of the most sought after house DJ's out there. He has performed at hundreds of venues and events around the globe, including a special performance in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics. He will be the special guest DJ for The Ocean Gala Afterparty at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on December 3.

  • Committee

    Susi Mai

    Co-Founder and President of MaiTai Global

    Susi is a kite-boarding legend. She is one of the premier Red Bull athletes and during the 2003 Red Bull King of the Air competition, she was given the sports highest female honor: Red Bull Queen of the Air. In April 2012, she became a Patron of the Kite Right Charity, which uses kite-sports to help change the lives of individuals with physical, mental or learning challenges.



    Bill Tai

    Co-Founder and Vice-President of MaiTai Global

    Bill is an investor & entrepreneur who has served as a Board Director of  7 publicly listed companies he initially funded as startups.  Bill established CRV's Silicon Valley office and is a backer of ScribdWish.com on their behalf.  In a personal capacity he co-founded Big Data provider TreasureData and Linux company IPInfusion as Chairman and iAsiaWorks as Chairman &CEO.  He is a Board Director of BitFuryLuluVoxer and an early personal backer of fun startups including Canva, Shoes of Prey, Tango.meTweetdeck (Twitter), & Zoom.us.



    Gigi Brisson

    Founder and CEO of OceanElders

    Gigi is Founder and CEO of Ocean Elders. She created the organization in 2011 to be a locus of collaboration in the field of ocean conservation and sought out global leaders who have a personal passion for the ocean and its wildlife, including Captain Don Walsh, Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Dr. Frederik Paulsen, Dr. Rita Colwell, Dr. Sylvia Earle, E.O. Wilson, Gerry Lopez, Graeme Kelleher, Her Majesty Queen Noor, HSH Prince Albert II, Jackson Browne, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jim Cameron, Jose Maria Figueres, Nainoa Thompson, Sir Richard Branson, Sven Lindblad and Ted Turner. Prior to OceanElders, Gigi co-managed Attractor Ventures, a technology investment firm, for 20 years. She holds an MBA in Finance from NYU and a B.S. in Economics from Northwestern University.



    Maria Stermer

    CFO/Treasurer of MaiTai Global

    Maria is the CFO of MaiTai Global, and also serves as a financial consultant to various companies. She is currently the external CFO for Los Angeles-based real estate developer, Daniel Bernstein & Associates, and is responsible for financing all projects including JV, preferred equity and debt instruments. Previously, she was the external CFO for Permacity, a leading solar company in California, and a partner at Hoffman, Stermer & Associates, a public accounting firm. Maria is a certified public accountant, and has a B.A. degree in English Literature from UCLA, where she also studied Economics. She has worked with nonprofit organizations for over sixteen years, including starting her own from the ground up, and has served on numerous boards.

    Gala Chair

    Colette K. Young

    Entrepreneur in Residence with MaiTai Global


    Colette is an entrepreneur with an enthusiasm for solving problems and creating meaningful experiences. She is currently building out the sales division at Float, an enterprise mobility company that services F100/500 companies. She is the founder of Coco Zaza, a boutique consultancy specializing in technology, retail and hospitality. Through Coco Zaza's hype, she launched her own fashion blog in May of 2014 to keep track of her personal style, adventures and travel. Colette built her first business at the age of fourteen, a women’s fashion boutique, and has been coined one of the top young entrepreneurs by The Today Show, Forbes and MSNBC. Colette previously worked at o9 Solutions, FirstMark Capital and Prada Corporate and has been educated at The Fashion Institute of Technology and NYU Stern.



    Silent and Live Auction Director

    Daniela Colton

    Marketing Director for The Ocean Gala


    Daniela has been working in the motorsports and action sports industry for the past 7 years. Her experience in sports marketing has taken her around the world executing tours, trade shows and other launch events in the United States, South America, Germany and China. She now works as a private consultant; connecting athletes through authentic partnerships and managing relationships with brands to connect consumers through social and organic outreach. Her creative spirit and dedicated work ethic, allow her to have a career in what she feels most passionate about. She is an avid motorcycle enthusiast and regularly rides her motorcycles at home in Santa Monica. She holds a B.A. in Advertising with a minor in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of California - Orange County.



    Marketing Director

  • Sponsors

    We have teamed up with a group of amazing companies who value our cause as much as we do whose generous support has helped make our event possible.


    For Sponsorship Opportunities,

    Please Contact Maria at gala@maitaiglobal.org

    Download Sponsorship PDF

    Virgin Unite


    Virgin Unite is the entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group and the Branson family. Virgin Unite started with the aim of bringing people together to encourage them never to accept the unacceptable, to turn challenges into opportunities and to always push boundaries that make both business and the world better. Overhead costs are covered by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, meaning that 100% of all donations received go directly to initiatives we create or support.



    Other World Computing


    OWC is a leading manufacturer of flash memory and SSD upgrades, external storage, and connectivity solutions for Mac users and creative professionals everywhere. Since 1988, we’ve provided tools for Mac users to do their best work and get the most from their computers.




    MacSales.com is the premier online resource for upgrade and expansion products for Mac and iOS device users around the globe. For over 25 years we’ve offered outstanding DIY upgrade solutions and expert support to help our customers get more from their technology.




    “FairWarning delivers date protection and governance for mission critical applications such as EHR’s and cloud-based applications such as Salesforce.” www.fairwarning.com



    “Breathometer is the leader in breath analysis technology. Our mission is to build the world’s first portable breath analysts platform to help people make smarter decisions, improve healthcare and to save lives. Founded by Charles Michael Yim in September 2012, Breathometer develops innovative breath sensing technology combined with superior design, and usability to deliver the best of breed digital health products.” www.breathometer.com


    The Bitfury Group is the leading full service Blockchain technology company and one of the largest private infrastructure providers in the Blockchain ecosystem. The Bitfury Group develops and delivers both the software and the hardware solutions necessary for businesses, governments, organizations and individuals to securely move an asset across the Blockchain. The expertise of The Bitfury Group ensures successful, easy, fast, secure and cost-effective connectivity to the Blockchain.



    Events.com is a mobile-first online event registration and ticketing platform that helps event organizers better manage, market, and monetize their events — from simple pancake breakfast fundraisers to complex marathons and festivals.

  • Auction

    Live and Silent Auction

    The 2015 Ocean Gala netted over $600K thanks to the generous donations and contributions of our Sponsors and guests last year. Over 100 individuals and companies donated items to make this possible.
    Proceeds from The Ocean Gala Auction will provide financial support to MaiTai Global and OceanElders, whose collaborative work to tackle critical issues with other ocean organizations and world leaders have profoundly impacted efforts towards protection and conservation of the world’s ocean and its wildlife.
    Give your company great visibility to our unique community and help support our cause at the same time!
    The Ocean Gala committee is seeking donations for our 2016 Live and Silent Auction – For more information on Sponsorship Opportunities, contact Colette at gala@maitaiglobal.org


  • VR Challenge

    Deadline for submissions is September 30, 2016

    MaiTai Global, Extreme Tech Challenge and Virtual Reality Festival are exciting to announce the Extreme Virtual Reality Challenge, a sub-competition for VR/AR Game Creators and 360 Filmmakers wishing to use their creativity to support environmental causes involving the ocean and its related ecosystems.

    The top winner in this extreme competition will win a $10,000 cash prize and have their work featured at The Ocean Gala in San Francisco on December 3rd, 2016, featuring Sir Richard Branson as the Keynote Speaker.

    For More Information and How to Enter please visit: Extreme Virtual Reality Challenge

  • Media Contact:

    Valentina White - vwhite@bryte-box.com

    Juliana Ruiz - jruiz@bryte-box.com | 954.361.5236

  • Photos & Video