top of page


The Board of Directors contribute to the Waitt Institute's overarching vision and strategy to create and implement sustainable ocean plans in partnership with committed governments, local stakeholders and communities.

Ted Waitt

Founder & Board Chairman

Ted Waitt, co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Gateway, Inc., helped revolutionize how people use technology to live, work, and play through pioneering the direct marketing of personal computers. Labeled a maverick by national business publications, he has since gone on to form multiple enterprises: Avalon Capital Group, Inc., Avalon Pictures, Waitt Foundation, Waitt Institute, and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention. Ted oversees all Waitt Foundation and Waitt Institute efforts and is actively engaged in each project from conception to completion.

Dave Russell

Vice Chairman


Dave is the CEO and Founder of Puro Sound Labs, a consumer audio company that focuses on Healthy Hearing consumer audio products. Previously, Dave served as Executive Vice President of Avalon Capital Group, Inc., from 2005-2014. He serves as a board member and vice chairman for the Waitt Foundation & Waitt Institute.


Prior to Avalon Capital Group, Inc., Dave worked at Gateway, Inc. from 1988 until 2005 in a variety of positions, including director of procurement, senior vice president of procurement, senior vice president – supply chain, and general manager of digital television. He joined Gateway’s Board of Directors in February 2007, leaving when the company was sold. Dave serves as the Chairman for 1MORE USA, a global leader in affordable premium audio products. Additionally, Dave serves on the board of directors of Vizio, Inc., an industry-leading consumer electronics brand.

Shane Hartnett

Board Member


Joining Avalon Capital Group, Inc. in 2007, Shane is currently the firm’s President responsible for investment and operational oversight. Avalon Capital Group, Inc. is a wholly-owned private investment company owned by Ted Waitt, co-founder and former chairman of Gateway, Inc. Shane also serves on the Waitt Foundation Board of Directors.


Prior to joining Avalon Capital Group, Shane was a vice president at Gateway, Inc., holding numerous positions in operations and supply chain management during his 20-year tenure. Notably, he developed, launched and operated Gateway’s manufacturing facilities across Asia and North America.

Emily Waitt

Board Member

Emily is a Marriage and Family Therapist working with adolescents, young adults, and families impacted by chronic stress, multigenerational trauma, and dysfunctional family dynamics. She earned her undergraduate degree from Brown University and holds a master's in clinical psychology from Pepperdine. Emily completed her clinical training at the esteemed Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills, CA, where she worked with adolescents and families from a psychodynamic perspective.


Beyond this, her experience in the field includes positions at the Center for Professional Counseling, Beverly Hills High School, and PCH treatment center. Emily's therapeutic approach is individually tailored to address each client's unique needs, employing an array of therapeutic modalities to help them gain insight, process their experiences, and learn to regulate their nervous system. To further her knowledge, she is currently obtaining a doctoral degree in Psychodynamic Child Psychology and Psychotherapy.

Emily Waitt.jpg

Sophia Waitt

Board Member

Sophia recently received her Bachelors of Social Sciences degree from the University of Southern California. Currently, she works for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). NRDC is a non-profit international environmental advocacy group that works to find solutions to problems such as overfishing, climate change, and oil spills. Sophia is extremely passionate about giving a voice to animals in need and has spent the last few years volunteering and fostering for Best Friends Los Angeles Rescue.

bottom of page