Michael Skoletsky

Michael250.jpgMichael Skoletsky is a founder and the Executive Director of Shark Savers, dedicated to making significant strides in protecting sharks and rays. Michael and the Shark Savers team have taken Shark Savers from concept to being a formidable and successful advocacy organization for sharks and rays in little more than three years. Shark Savers is known for its innovative programs that utilize media and grass roots campaigning to shift attitudes against shark fin soup, to create Shark Sanctuaries, work towards protective laws for sharks and rays worldwide, and educate people as to the importance of sharks for healthy oceans.

His professional background is in media and marketing, helping companies and non-profit organizations to determine their next right move, ensuring that their brand resonates with customers, and defining fresh new ways of meeting the needs of both the customers and the company. This often involves helping a brand compete across digital and traditional media, as well as in other realms—wherever the customers are.

Michael’s career began in traditional advertising, working on both the agency and client sides with Procter & Gamble, Pepsi-Cola, and Coca-Cola. During that time, he was responsible for advertising and media campaigns for such products as Tide, Diet Coke, and various Pepsi brands. Beginning in 1990, he focused on the interactive and then Internet arenas, often bridging the gap between old and new media. He was founder and President of Panolog in Los Angeles, which partnered with Apple Computer to develop the 'movie studio of the future' software platform prototype. With Panolog, and later with interactive firm Viant, where he ran the Media & Entertainment practice, and with Blast Radius, he led many strategic initiatives and the resulting implementation for AOL, Time Warner, Paramount, Meredith, and others. Most recently, he led teams to produce Golf.com (for Time Inc,), Parents.com and BHG.com (Better Homes & Garden) for Meredith, and a few web-based AOL channels.

Michael's interest in the oceans has been a consistent theme in his life. As a child, he devoted much of his bedroom and allowance money to increasingly larger aquariums. He applied to college with the intention of becoming an oceanographer, although his other interests pulled him towards Communication Arts. In the early 80's, while working for advertising legend Alan Pottasch at Pepsi-Cola, he became a scuba diver. Mr. Pottasch had been an enthusiastic diver since the 1940's, before the days of scuba equipment, and was a NAUI diving instructor. Michael is grateful to Mr. Pottasch for introducing him to the undersea world and he has been diving ever since. His interest in sharks developed later, although an early close encounter with a regal and memorable shark changed is attitude toward sharks in an instant.

Michael was also a teacher of Transcendental Meditation and worked closely with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developing teacher-training and other video-based course materials. He has been meditating daily since he was 18. He has a BA with Honors in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.