What is your current Job Title or Role?
Head of Conservation Education & Communication and Marketing
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
Enjoy yourself in your search for what you want to do and remember that nothing is set in stone. There are so many amazing opportunities out there that its Ok to change your mind or research a company or role that you wouldn't normally be interested in. your job may not even have been created yet! Try to meet as many people as possible by looking for local STEM events, STEM clubs or business open days or free conferences. Most importantly when you meet someone new, have the right attitude. Be friendly and professional and smile!
How did you get to where you are today?
I didn't really like school, I'm a practical person rather than particularly academic, but I tried my best and then went on to do a degree in conservation and environmental management. After this I did lots of 'random' jobs and volunteered until I got my big break by working for the Devon Wildlife Trust at Wembury Marine Centre. I was a volunteer warden for the summer and it was the best decision I have ever made! I'd never even been to Plymouth before I saw this opportunity advertised on environmentjob.co.uk. After Wembury, I managed to get a job as a Host at the NMA and have worked my way up reaching the position of senior manager at the NMA, as well as Chair of the BIAZA Conservation Education Committee and President of EMSEA. As mentioned, I'm not very academic so I have got to this position by hard work and networking. If I can do it, anyone can!
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
I do something different everyday, but ultimately my team and I are here to support the charitable mission of the NMA. All of our work links back to that in some form or other. Today for example I read a report on how connecting with nature helps us to care for the earth - I'll use this information to continue to ensure that the Aquarium fulfils its conservation mission of 'connecting us with our oceans'. I gave advice to a member of my team on a World Oceans Day Project she is coordinating. I sent a variety of emails on everything from budget control to a complaint on Facebook about the Aquarium. I planned what I was going to say in our senior management meeting, where one of the topics will be the engineering work being undertaken on some of the aquarium life support systems. I also reviewed a spreadsheet on the NMA events plan for the year with expected income generation figures so that we can make decisions on which events we'll run next year. Maths and science feature heavily in my role!
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
Animals and planet earth and the ocean! I just love nature and I've always had a strong feeling that I wanted to do a job that would help to protect the beauty of the natural world. I've always been very concerned about how humans treat the planet and so my inspiration everyday is seeing the ocean outside the NMA window or a little spider in my living room and wanting to be their voice.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working with my lovely team and watching them achieve their goals is a great feeling. I also love working with a wide variety of other inspirational women and men across the field of marine conservation. When you meet people that are passionate and are working on amazing projects, you feel positive that we can all make a difference.
What do you like to do outside work?
I like to relax when I'm not at work, so you are most likely to find me walking my dogs by the sea, reading a horror fiction book or watching a cheesy film, cooking something yummy for dinner or socialising with friends and family. I feel very lucky to live here in Plymouth, but I also love going on holiday and laying on the beach and drinking cocktails!