Helping companies, governments, and communities find solutions to complex environmental challenges.
Jake has dedicated his career to finding solutions to complex environmental challenges. He is a sustainability innovator, conservationist, public speaker, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker.
For two decades, he has pioneered ground-breaking environmental initiatives as Grupo Puntacana’s Vice President of Sustainability. Under his direction, Grupo Puntacana has established itself as a leader in sustainable tourism, receiving international awards from World Tourism and Travel Council, Conde Nast Traveler, Leading Hotels of the World, Travel & Leisure, and National Geographic Traveler, among others.
Jake is an accomplished documentary filmmaker. He co-directed and produced Death by a Thousand Cuts, a feature-length film that explores deforestation and escalating human conflict on the Dominican-Haitian the border. The film was acquired by Participant Media and Univision and featured at more than a dozen international film festivals.
Jake speaks regularly at international conferences and business meetings, sharing his unique experience and specific lessons-learned while building sustainability success stories from within the private sector.
Tedx Santo Domingo
Jake's 2016 talk "How to Stop a Slow Motion Disaster" at Tedx Santo Domingo explores the intricate relationship between environmental destruction, politics, and economics. His talk highlights lessons learned while making the documentary film "Death By a Thousand Cuts."
Jake's 2019 talk "Don't Be an Expert, Make an Impact" (given in Spanish) at Tedx Youth Santo Domingo proposes that achieving positive change requires more "solutionists" and less experts. Change requires visionaries, but it also needs more grunts willing to do the work.
Change the World Summit
In 2022, Jake gave the keynote "Vision Talk" at the Change the World Summit in Santo Domingo. In his talk (in Spanish), Jake describes a revolution in real-time underway in coral restoration that promises to provide solutions to bring coral reefs back from the brink of extinction. Jake describes how the Dominican Republic is leading the way in applying new techniques and technologies in coral reef restoration.
Book: Waking the Sleeping Giant: Unlocking the Hidden Power of Companies to Save the Planet
Waking the Sleeping Giant, written by Jake Kheel, will unlock your organization's hidden power to save the planet. He offers an action-driven, common-sense approach to sustainability supported by real-life examples from his work in the Dominican Republic that demonstrate how companies can become a potent force for sustainability. This book offers up tangible ways everyone—from executives to employees—can make a difference and demonstrate the value of sustainability beyond the bottom line. Waking the Sleeping Giant has been translated into Spanish and is an Audible book.
Project: The Great Sargassum Blob
The massive arrival of sargassum seaweed invading the Caribbean is the climate canary in the coal mine. For over a decade, Jake has pioneered strategies to confront the sargassum crisis in Punta Cana. Learn more.
Project: The DR Coral Innovation Hub
Jake has led Grupo Puntacana's coral conservation and restoration efforts for nearly two decades. The DR Coral Innovation Hub teams local and international coral reef scientists, entrepreneurs, companies, and not-for-profits to utilize cutting-edge technologies and techniques to accelerate and scale coral reef restoration.
Film: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jake co-directed and produced the award-winning documentary film, Death by a Thousand Cuts. With a premiere in 2016, the film was acquired by Participant Media and Univision and screened at more than a dozen international film festivals.
Project: The Future of Garbage
Circular economy. Zero Waste. Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. Each of these objectives refers to the same idea: how to build a world without waste. Jake is passionate about making a waste-free world a reality. Having built one of the largest integrated waste management programs in the Dominican Republic, he has learned how to navigate the constantly evolving world of waste. Jake has become an authority on developing strategies to transform garbage into profit.
Film: The Island Naturalist
Jake produced the documentary series, The Island Naturalist in 2021. The series explores the conservation photographer Eladio Fernandez's unique relationship with the natural world. The series investigates the hidden threats confronting one of the most important humpback whale breeding areas in the world, the fascinating evolution an unknown but fascinating flower, the conservation of a critically endangered hawk, and the rediscovery of a lost Magnolia plant. Island Naturalist is an entertaining journey that will forever change the way we see the Caribbean.
Thoughts on surviving the natural, unnatural, and downright weird era we live in