Our People


Donald Makowiecki, Founder of Sailors For Hope,  is a retired physicist and electronic engineer having worked in research and management at several major research laboratories in the US and Europe. He is a knowledgeable sailor and World Sailing International Judge having officiated at major sailing events all around the world. He has an advanced diving certification and loves exploring wrecks. He winters in Tortola.

Michelle Slade, Communications Lead at Sailors for Hope, is an interior designer and communications consultant who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is experienced in all aspects of public relations including the development and distribution of news and featured stories, press releases, company profiles, marketing collateral, web content, annual reports and corporate presentations. Originally from New Zealand and an avid water person, Michelle enjoys sailing and kiteboarding. She writes a regular sailing column for the Marin Independent Journal and contributes to other sailing publications including Sailingscuttlebutt.com, Sailing World Magazine, and Latitude 38. Her other interests include long distance running, mountain biking, residential renovating, and travel.

Ingrid, Abery, is a London-based photographer specializing in yachting photography. Recent notable events include the America’s Cup in Bermuda, the J-Class World Championship in Newport, RI, and the Olympic Games in both China and the UK. Ingrid’s photographic expertise lies in action, drama, motion and light. Having gained a BA Hons Degree in Sculpture and Photography, her work gradually shifted from 3D to painting with light and form ‘in-camera’. Her lenses lead her to some of the most visually spectacular nautical locations around the world, from the British Virgin Islands to Barbados, Miami to Monaco, St Barths to St Tropez. Her gallery art can be viewed on the web and at Instagram.

Annie Ellicott, Marketing Lead, is founder and President of LeapUp Marketing Solutions, a marketing consulting firm which has assisted over 100 clients since 2003. With 25+ years of experience in consumer marketing, Annie has directed brand launches and turnarounds across multiple categories. Her tenures, from Fortune 500 to startups, have included senior roles in marketing and strategy at Walt Disney, Levi Strauss & Company, Women.com (iVillage/NBC) and American Medical International where she was on the McKinsey & Company consulting team. Annie holds a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University and an M.S. in Health Policy and Management from Harvard’s School of Public Health. Annie is also an avid Class V rafter, horseback rider, regatta racer and photographer.

Sailors For Hope is a non-profit 501(C)(3) public charity incorporated in the state of New York USA in 2017. Donors may deduct contributions as provided in IRC 170(C)(3) of the US Tax Code. EIN: 82-2942982