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Meet Our Management Team

The executives

We have the makings of a truly impactful and committed brains trust that will drive the organization forward astutely, ethically and efficiently.

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Shannon Elizabeth

President and Founder

Shannon was born in Texas where she grew up before eventually moving to Los Angeles, California to establish her successful acting career. She has starred in over 50 films and television shows, including the global hits American Pie ...
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Shannon Elizabeth

President and Founder

Shannon was born in Texas where she grew up before eventually moving to Los Angeles, California to establish her successful acting career. She has starred in over 50 films and television shows, including the global hits American Pie, Scary Movie and the newly rebooted Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back.

Shannon has a deep and abiding respect for all life and is a staunch protagonist of a vegan lifestyle. In 2001, she began to follow her true life’s passion of saving animals by launching her non-profit, Animal Avengers, first as a dog and cat rescue operation and then with the broader remit of wildlife conservation. Shannon continues her acting career, but her primary focus has become helping wild animals in Africa and elsewhere by whatever means necessary. In order to be hands on with her projects and to expand their scope and influence, Shannon moved to Africa in 2016 and now lives in Cape Town.

The media development of the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation, especially production of video content, will be a major aspect of Shannon’s ongoing work. In addition, Shannon continues to travel for acting and public appearances, speaking engagements and whenever needed to help animals in the hope of making the world an even better place.

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Simon Borchert

Chief Executive

Cape Town born and bred, Simon is a socially and environmentally-minded brand and business strategist with an insatiable desire for outdoor adventure and a deep passion for protecting Africa’s wildlife and wild places...
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Simon Borchert

Chief Executive

Cape Town born and bred, Simon is a socially and environmentally-minded brand and business strategist with an insatiable desire for outdoor adventure and a deep passion for protecting Africa’s wildlife and wild places. He is a keen yachtsman and has a special concern for the well being of our oceans.

With more than 18 years of business and consulting experience, Simon has successfully delivered strategies to some of the biggest brands and agencies in South Africa, including Media 24, Distell, SAB, Maserati, Momentum, Ogilvy and FCB to name a few. He has also delivered strategies for Africa Geographic magazine, WWF South Africa, Ogilvy Earth, Desmond Tutu’s African Leadership Institute, the Volvo Ocean Summit and others in the conservation and NGO space. Simon is also an award winner in magazine publishing and was a co-founder of the groundbreaking Brand magazine.

Simon spearheads the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation and oversees all operational matters, including fundraising, technology, brand development, marketing and production.

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Peter Borchert

Editor-in-Chief

Peter is an independent commentator, publisher, conservationist and lifetime protagonist for the value of Africa’s wild places and cultural heritage. He won high regard for his vision, probing editorials and as a commentator on and about Africa.
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Peter Borchert

Editor-in-Chief

Peter is an independent commentator, publisher, conservationist and lifetime protagonist for the value of Africa’s wild places and cultural heritage. He won high regard for his vision, probing editorials and as a commentator on and about Africa.

His media and publishing career spans some 45 years, first as managing director of the general book division of Cape Town-based Struik Publishers, now an imprint of the Random House/Penguin group, and from 1992–2013 as the founder and publisher of Africa Geographic magazine. Today, Peter’s commitment to Africa, its wildlife and people, remains integral to his life, now finding expression in his association with the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation and his website Untold Africa.

In addition to furthering the aims of the Foundation in general, Peter will apply his considerable experience in print and digital publishing to the development and content of the Foundation’s Wildlife Review initiative. He is also an experienced public speaker. On most days, when not glued to his laptop, Peter can be found walking his dog, Luna, on Rondebosch Common against the backdrop of Table Mountain.

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Jude Pels

Executive Assistant

With over 20 years experience in a C-suite environment, Jude has provided executive support to the leadership in Deloitte, Coronation Fund Managers and Nedbank. Jude joined the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation in 2020 to support a team making a real difference in the lives of those without a voice.
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Jude Pels

Executive Assistant

With over 20 years experience in a C-suite environment, Jude has provided executive support to the leadership in Deloitte, Coronation Fund Managers and Nedbank. Jude joined the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation in 2020 to support a team making a real difference in the lives of those without a voice.

The Management Team

Our management team has the makings of a truly impactful and committed brains trust that will drive the organization forward astutely, ethically and efficiently.

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Merlyn Nkomo

Program Manager

Merlyn Nomusa Nkomo is a Zimbabwean Ornithologist, conservation leader and writer. She is also Mandela Rhodes Foundation alumni with leading African youths...
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Merlyn Nkomo

Program Manager

Merlyn Nomusa Nkomo is a Zimbabwean Ornithologist, conservation leader and writer. She is also Mandela Rhodes Foundation alumni with leading African youths and communities to an environmentally just, sustainable and equitable future at the centre of her purpose. Merlyn is a science communicator using public seminar talks, social media, photography and perspective articles to engage both scientists and the public in making conservation and natural resources management inclusive. She mentors other youth in ornithology and conservation in her home country and aspires for a transformed and inclusive conservation industry in Africa at large. Merlyn believes in the regenerative power of nature as not only a recreational space but also a career path for young people and the source of livelihoods for local communities.

Merlyn writes and consults for the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation and is part of the Youth Empowerment team developing the scholarship fund for African women in conservation.

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Luke Folb

Editor

Luke is a writer and journalist from Cape Town, South Africa. He has covered just about every beat under the African sun and eventually settled on specialising in environmental, cultural and political reporting and commentary...
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Luke Folb

Editor

Luke is a writer and journalist from Cape Town, South Africa. He has covered just about every beat under the African sun and eventually settled on specialising in environmental, cultural and political reporting and commentary.

His media career has seen him work in print newspapers and magazines as well as digital. During his time as reporter he was also named the Young Journalist of the Year for the Western Cape province of South Africa. He now works as a freelance writer and helps the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation’s editorial department.

When his head isn’t buried in a news story, you'll find him viciously hurling coaching advice at the television whenever Manchester United grace the playing field.

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Kira Akermann

Program Manager

Kira Akermann was born in Cape Town, South Africa. From an early age, she fell in love with animals of all shapes and sizes, feathered and furred...
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Kira Akermann

Program Manager

Kira Akermann was born in Cape Town, South Africa. From an early age, she fell in love with animals of all shapes and sizes, feathered and furred.

She is a passionate and dedicated horse rider and has been awarded both provincial (Western Province ERASA Endurance 2016) and national colours (SA Colours: Endurance ERASA SA Endurance 2017) for endurance riding. Her passion for the discipline stems from its emphasis on forming a strong bond with the horse, along with having exceptional horsemanship skills. When she isn't competing in endurance races, she shares her passion with likeminded young individuals through equestrian coaching and training.

Kira is equally passionate about canine companions and has experience training German Shepherd dogs for socialising, shows and protection work, which she acquired through the German Shepherd Dog Federation of South Africa.

Her passion for animals, along with her innovative ideas, effective relationship building skills and strong work ethic, has placed Kira in the ideal position to spearhead the Shannon Elizabeth Foundation - 'Animals Protecting Animals' Program.