Our Team

We are a team of explorers, entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts who put our passions to work every day.

Dan Buettner

Dan Buettner


Dan Buettner is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer, and founder of Blue Zones. He’s also the New York Times bestselling author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way and The Blue Zones Solution. Dan has appeared as a longevity expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, ABC World News, CBS’s The Early Show and CNN.

Ben R. Leedle, Jr.


Ben is a transformative business leader who was the President and CEO of Healthways, Inc. from 2003 to 2015. He is broadly recognized as the driving force behind transforming that company from a small business to the number one independent population health management company in the world. Among his many accomplishments prior to joining Blue Zones, Ben co-founded both the Blue Zones Project and the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index innovations.

Tony Buettner


Tony leads sales, product development, partner relationships and delivery of overall company operations and services. He is also a National Speaker and former explorer, Blue Zones expedition member, and entrepreneur. He received his BA in Operations Management from the University of St. Thomas and spent the first thirty years of his career running his own companies based in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including an adventure travel company. Tony enjoys hunting and fishing, the outdoors, and is dedicated to his family and wife.

Nick Buettner

Nick Buettner


Nick is responsible for leading the development and implementation of the Blue Zones Project in all of the Blue Zones communities and corporate sites. He is also a National Speaker, Blue Zones expedition member, and ed-tech innovator. Over the last 20 years, Nick has led 17 expeditions over 6 continents around the world, three of which were to Blue Zones sites. Nick received his BA in International Business with a minor in Economics from Augsburg College. In his free time, Nick enjoys playing hockey, gardening, and going on adventures.

Amelia Clabots


Amelia oversees daily operations, Human Resources, IT support, accounting, finance and website management. She received her MBA from the University of St. Thomas, is a Certified Professional Project Manager (CPPM) from the University of St. Thomas, and received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Amelia is passionate about health, individual and community wellness and helping others.

Dan Burden


Dan leads the company in reinventing streets, neighborhoods and towns with walkability and bikeability solutions. He is the nation’s most recognized authority on walkability, bicycle and pedestrian programs, street corridor and intersection design, traffic flow & calming, road diets, and other city planning elements. The White House recognized him as one of the top ten Champions of Change in Transportation, TIME magazine called him “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world,” and his peers at Planetizen list him as one of the 100 most significant urban thinkers of all time.


Danielle Schaeffner


Danielle supports and leads various active transportation efforts aimed at creating safer, more walkable and bikeable communities. She received her MPH from Emory University and her BA from Lewis and Clark College. Danielle loves exploring new places, adventuring outdoors, and being in or near the ocean.

Sam Skemp

Sam Skemp


Sam oversees the Blue Zones Speaking Bureau as well as provides executive assistant support to Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner. Sam also helps coordinate the company’s publicity initiatives, social media programs, and other partner projects. Sam received a degree in Business Management and Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. He loves to golf, ski and spend time with friends and family.

Naomi Imatome-Yun


Naomi runs the editorial and media operations at Blue Zones, overseeing the company’s publications, social media platforms, national communications, and media relations. She is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, has launched some of the fastest-growing websites and magazines in the market, and is the former managing editor of Forks Over Knives. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University.

Aislinn Kotifani


Aislinn manages social media and email marketing communication, writes and edits articles, and handles metrics reporting. She also assists with brand management and business development communications. In addition, Aislinn manages the online store and handles product development and marketing. Aislinn graduated as an Aquinas Scholar from the University of St. Thomas with degrees in Communication & Journalism and French. She’s a national champion hurler, a hockey player, and has a bad case of wanderlust.