MEET OUR TEAM
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
James O. Griffin
Mr. Griffin’s interest in the protection of wildlife and wild places was ignited by David Attenborough’s documentary, “A Life on Our Planet” that aired on NetFlix in 2020. Mr. Griffin said, “After watching this documentary, I was struck by how little I knew about the devastating loss of wildlife, wild places, and biodiversity due to poaching and loss of habitat, and how this loss ultimately impacts humans. I decided to do something, not just be an observer, and hope that the problem would be solved by others. I was compelled to become part of the solution.”
Mr. Griffin has 35+ years of experience in leading companies in the defense, law enforcement, physical security, internet, and healthcare industries. He has successfully led large, small, public, private, startup, and turnaround companies in USA, Asia, Pacific Rim, Latin America, Europe, Middle-East, and Africa.
As Managing Director, Mr. Griffin led the turn-around of Simplex Asia (Hong Kong) Ltd, a physical security, fire, and life safety systems manufacturer with operations throughout China and Asia. Major customers included: Great Hall of the People, The Forbidden City, China Bank World Headquarters, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Guangzhou Metro, Shanghai Metro, Shenzhen Airport, and Beijing International Airport.
As Vice-President and General Manager of IPIX he led the start-up of IPIX Security that developed, marketed, and launched the world’s first 360° mega-pixel digital camera that could simultaneously see in all directions with no moving parts or blind spots. The IPIX 360° cameras were selected by the U.S. Secret Service and the White House Communications office for use at the 2004 G-8 Summit at Sea Island, GA.
Mr. Griffin has served as President and CEO of CDEX Inc, a publicly traded small medical healthcare and security devices company that used photonic technology to develop medication validation hardware and software for hospital pharmacies to ensure patient safety.
He served on the board of directors of CDEX Inc., Simplex Asia (Hong Kong) Ltd., Simplex Mexico, Cardkey Systems Australia, and IPIX, Inc.
Mr. Griffin holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University, Northridge, CA and a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA.
Zacharia Ali is Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Member of ZAR Capital Group a specialized advisory and investment services firm successfully bridging the proverbial gap between users and providers of capital worldwide. During the past 24 years Ali has amassed a multitude of valuable resources, enabling him to connect financial providers, private equity groups, hedge fund managers, venture capitalists, and banking institutions – with emerging businesses that possess large market potential and proprietary characteristics, such as protected technologies or diverse market positions.
Mr. Ali is also the Founder and Chairman of Carthage Solutions. Carthage Solutions was formed to provide sovereign end-users with a single, trusted source from which to procure security and defense products, solutions, and services as part of a broader strategy to attract sovereign and foreign investments in construction projects for housing, schools, medical facilities, and infrastructure development for oil, gas, power, and petrochemical facilities, and agriculture and food processing facilities. It is essential that sovereign governments be able to equip, train, and deploy security and defense assets to protect these investments and provide a stable and peaceful environment in order to attract foreign investors. Without proper security and defense assets within a country it will be more difficult to attract foreign investments that are vital to the development of the country’s essential infrastructure, medical, education and housing, in order to meet the fundamental needs and aspirations of its population.
Prior to building these organizations, Ali established himself abroad serving as financial advisor to the Bin Aweidha Group in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. He worked extensively toward the development of market and finance strategies in support of worldwide projects with an emphasis on structuring global business activities in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Mr. Ali did his undergraduate studies at Howard University and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School receiving B.S. degrees in International Business and Marketing.
Ms. Ely became aware of the plight of endangered wildlife species during Safaris in Kenya in 2008 and 2014 she said, ”After my second Safari experience I had an opportunity to meet the Director of the African Wildlife Association at a conference in Washington, D. C. where we discussed wildlife conservation. These two experiences created a desire within me to give back to the animals and try to help them from becoming extinct. My association with International Wildlife Defense Foundation, as a member of its Board of Directors, affords me the opportunity to use my experiences and talents to help IWDF achieve its goals and objectives of protecting our wildlife heritage for future generations.”
Sharaine has 40+ years of international experience in education, construction and land management, and as a writer, editor, and interpreter. Sharaine has worked as an interpreter in French, Italian, and English, and as a writer and editor. She has edited a biography that was published and more recently she was co-writer and editor with a psychologist on a book about alternative treatments for depression.
As an educator, she taught English and History at the Field School in Washington, D.C, and at the Université St. Joseph in Beirut, Lebanon. She continued teaching in Beirut during part of the Lebanon War in the 1970’s.
Ms. Ely has more than thirty (30) years of experience as a project manager for construction and land development projects. She has successfully managed the on-time and on-budget delivery of projects to clients such as Pillar Construction and the Washington Soccer Stadium. She has worked on construction and land development projects in the USA and Africa.
Sharaine has served as a member the Board of Directors of several hospitals, including Providence Hospital in Washington D.C. She has also served on the board of several non profits including the Field School in Washington, D.C., and several non-profit organizations in California.
Ms. Ely completed her undergraduate studies in history and sociology in the United States and in Italy. She completed her graduate work in History at the American University of Beirut.
Mary Lynn Griffin
Ms. Griffin has always been an animal lover, and was initially introduced to the abundant diversity of wildlife and incredible beauty of Africa while on safari in Kenya. She feels privileged and excited to be a part of this innovative and audacious organization that seeks to protect and preserve these irreplaceable endangered wildlife species. "They are a gift to mankind and our responsibility to defend and protect for future generations", she said.
Ms. Griffin has devoted most of her professional life to being an educator. She taught internationally for the Department of Defense Schools in Germany, Turkey and Japan and in Iran at the American School of Isfahan for International Schools Services. Additionally, Lynn worked as a program manager for The College of Continuing Education at The University of Southern California, a career guidance counselor at Pace University NYC, and a marketing manager for The College of Professional Studies at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She also taught at the Graduate School USA in Washington, DC. She has also worked as a researcher at The Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
She received both a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Science degree in Education from The University of Southern California, and a Master of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling from California Lutheran University.
• Multi-time founder
• Founder, Fmr. CEO and Chairman of Betable, a technology platform and marketplace for the online gaming and gambling markets backed by some of the most highly regarded venture funds in the world.
• Operated Betable from conception to scale-up of >250,000 depositors and >$1B of transaction volume.
• Grew Betable user adoption and monthly revenue >30% MoM for 24 consecutive months.
• Raised over $100M during career from top venture investors worldwide.
• Holder of multiple patents across various industries.
• Prior to founding Betable, was venture capitalist at VB in New York.
• BA in Economics and English from University of Pennsylvania.