I consider myself lucky to work at Ocean Conservancy for many reasons—not the least of which is the incredible, passionate group of female colleagues who inspire me to work my hardest every day, and have served as an amazing set of mentors in my professional life.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the important work done by Ocean Conservancy’s women in conservation. They’ve answered some questions about their professional experience, and offered their advice for anyone who may be looking to enter the field of conservation themselves!
Who or what inspires you to continue the work you do?
“As an advocate, environmental attorney, and working mom, I am inspired by all the women who have done it before me. It’s great to see that the tide really is turning—having kids no longer has to derail your career. My professional life is filled with ladies who kick ass on all fronts.”—Ivy Fredrickson, Staff Attorney, Conservation Programs
“Two things: nature and people. Seeing the beauty of the ocean and its denizens, and knowing how much people love and rely on the ocean for everything from sports to relaxation to food to water, air, and life itself.” —Anna Zivian, Senior Research Fellow
“This is cheesy, but my mom volunteered a ton when I was a kid. When I grew up and had to pick a career and find a job, I don’t think I realized there was anything else to do except work that strives to improve the world around you. Environmental conservation is my passion, but it definitely grew out of that sense of civic duty that came from spending so much time on volunteer efforts in my community growing up.” —Addie Haughey, Senior Manager, Government Relations
“The people I work with inspire me. Their passion, commitment and drive to create a better world make me excited to come to work every day.” —Amy Fonville, Director, Membership
“Making the world a better place! My work in Development allows me help Ocean Conservancy members fulfill their wishes of leaving a legacy in protecting our ocean for future generations.” —Kisbel De La Rosa, Planned Giving Officer
“The ocean is such an amazing and important system that we know relatively nothing about. How crazy is that?! Every day I learn something new. Every day! I hope it stays that way forever.” —Sage Melcer, Research Assistant
“My earliest inspirations came from my grandparents, who had a deep love for the environment; I have lovely memories of playing in the rivers where I grew up. I am always inspired by my creative friends and the world around me. I was also lucky to have a graduate advisor, Dr. Amy Rosemond, who is a constant champion for women in science.” —Amy Trice, Policy Analyst, Ocean Planning
What advice would you give to young women looking for a career in your field?
“First, be fearless! Second, think about your skill set and what you enjoy doing day to day and how that can intersect what you enjoy learning about. There are so many multi-disciplinary fields these days like environmental journalism, environmental health and toxicology, environmental law, business and environmental sustainability, even accounting for a non-profit in a field you love. You don’t have to be a PhD research scientist to be in the field of conservation… but you sure can if you want!” —Tracy Parsons, Director, Program Development
“Don’t be afraid to go off-script and make up your own path. Your career may never look like anyone else’s, and that’s fine! At the end of the day, if you made a difference, you’ve succeeded.” —Sarah Cooley, Science Outreach Manager
“You don’t have to take “no” for an answer. When I wanted to apply for my first research grant, a professor told me that I wasn’t qualified and should get more experience first. I applied anyway and got the grant. Had I let him shake my confidence, I wouldn’t be doing the research I am today. “ —Erin Spencer, Digital Coordinator
“Don’t let stereotypes of what you are or are not—in my case ‘scientists are not good communicators’— become a crutch for not improving yourself or enhancing your skillset.” —Alexis Baldera, Conservation Biologist
“Never underestimate the contribution you can make in preserving our precious ocean. Take your best skills and explore with your mentors how you can apply those talents in a way that benefits ocean and marine wildlife conservation. That’s what I did and it has made all the difference.” —Charlotte Meyer, Director, Planned Giving
“Find a mentor! If you see a woman you admire, ask her to coffee and pick her brain! And support women leaders in your workplace—there still aren’t that many women at the top of the conservation field, and that needs to change.” —Bethany Carl Kraft, Director, Gulf Restoration
“Consider extended travel or studying abroad. Marine science is as much about how people and cultures interact with the ocean and its resources as it is about uncovering the lives of the creature themselves. Considering these motivations from different perspectives will help you solve problems wherever you land.” —Elizabeth Fetherston, Marine Restoration Strategist
Want to share your story? Join the conversation on Twitter by following @OurOcean! We’ll be sharing questions throughout the day about what it’s like to be a woman in the field, and sharing profiles of some of our own inspiring staff members using #WomenInConservation.