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Claire Simeone

Conservationist; Marine Mammal Veterinarian; TED Fellow

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Dr. Claire Simeone is a conservation leader, working fearlessly to heal the animals and ecosystems of our planet. A veterinarian by training, Claire specializes in working with marine mammals, studying the connections between animal health, ocean health, and our own health.

In the wake of her father’s death, and the day she brought her son home from the hospital, Claire suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a rare post-partum heart attack. This, coupled with severe burnout, led her to a re-evaluation of life, work, and saving the world.

In addition to leading conservation efforts for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal at The Marine Mammal Center, Claire is committed to leading with heart, and awakening heart listening in others. Claire was the first veterinarian ever selected as a TED Fellow, and is the author of numerous scientific articles, book chapters, and is a seasoned speaker. Claire’s work underscores the connection between humans and animals, and how our very survival relies on a return to listening to what wisdom the natural world has to share.

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Bio

Dr. Claire Simeone is a conservation leader, working fearlessly to heal the animals and ecosystems of our planet. A veterinarian by training, Claire specializes in working with marine mammals, studying the connections between animal health, ocean health, and our own health.

Claire has spent more than a decade in the veterinary field. In that time, she honed her skills as an expert in clinical marine mammal medicine. She has created novel therapies, like creating a treatment for sea lion eye trauma, and has researched diseases, treatments, and understanding health trends for marine mammals across North America. She has worked both in the field and in hospitals around the world, to improve animal health and welfare, train the next generation of health leaders, and advocate for conservation of wildlife.

In the wake of her father’s death, and the day she brought her son home from the hospital, Claire suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a rare post-partum heart attack. This, coupled with severe burnout, led her to a re-evaluation of life, work, and saving the world.

In addition to leading conservation efforts for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal at The Marine Mammal Center, Claire is committed to leading with heart, and awakening heart listening in others. Claire was the first veterinarian ever selected as a TED Fellow, and is the author of numerous scientific articles, book chapters, and is a seasoned speaker. Claire’s work underscores the connection between humans and animals, and how our very survival relies on a return to listening to what wisdom the natural world has to share.

Claire has a young son, and lives in San Francisco, California, with her partner, fellow marine mammal veterinarian Shawn Johnson.

Speech Topics

Claire Simeone has worked with unique marine mammal species around the world, and built a career focused on conserving species and furthering our understanding of health. She tells tales of gathering knowledge about wild, endangered animals, and caring for seals so sick their progress is counted in minutes.


Claire’s work was driven by a desire to save the world. When her own life was paused following a heart attack after giving birth, later leading to burnout from her demanding career, Claire shares how the shift in her priorities led her to a clearer understanding of how we define health.


With her compelling style of storytelling, Claire shares how her work and drive took her to the brink, and how it was her very animal patients whose wisdom brought her back to living a passionate, fulfilling life. This motivating talk will inspire audiences to re-examine the path towards their greatest impact.


Claire Simeone’s work focuses on conserving threatened and endangered marine mammals.  She sees our human impact in each seal patient entangled in ocean trash, and in each massive whale struck by a ship. Often, the impacts are more subtle, hidden, and do not seem related to our own everyday lives.


Claire’s storytelling through a unique lens highlights the connections between us all. If we trace every action from its final impact back to its source, we find ourselves holding the string for each first, small step.


Claire Simeone works with marine mammal patients whose brain and heart are affected by an invisible toxin.  The toxin causes them to become disoriented, to lose their way, ending up in her healing hands.


After suffering a heart attack after giving birth, Claire’s road to recovery included a realization that her old way of leading – through the mind – was becoming less and less effective. By healing her heart, and those of her sea lion patients, she discovered that the new leadership was through her heart. Claire shares stories of adaptation in the face of disease – and how her animal patients shape the way she inspires others to lead. This passionate talk takes audiences on a journey, showing them that leading may come from a surprising place within.


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