What is your favorite travel memory?
My trip to South Africa, for sure! It was full of adventures and learning experiences. I felt so close to nature, where I feel the happiest! I have been fascinated by the ocean and marine life from an early age. When I was in Florida, I had swam with Dusky sharks, which was very special; however, my encounter with a Great White through cage-diving in South Africa made me fall in love with sharks even more. During my trip to South Africa, I contributed to the conservation of Great Whites, which was why my travel experience was so enriching. Being in their natural habitat was mesmerising and sharing that serene moment with a Great White underwater was indescribable.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I have a deeper understanding of the intersections of the economy, environment, and social factors. Each Sustainable Development Goal is intertwined with one another and is vital to meet each of these goals for the survival of life on earth. Also, when I first joined GVI, I was set on working from one or two locations, but now I have many in mind.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Speaking from personal experience, as a volunteer in marine conservation at GVI, I had the incredible opportunity to design video content for Saving Our Sharks to raise awareness on shark conservation; I was happy to have helped inspire people to change their perspectives on sharks. Additionally, I researched and redesigned educational material on Marine Protected Areas and the positive impact on communities where they are implemented: the education materials were to be utilised by business schools in South Africa. I have now returned to GVI as a VI supervisor, and I look forward to welcoming students from around the world to the VI programs.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
Honestly, there are so many programs that I would like to take part in that it is hard to choose just one as they all offer something unique! But, if I had to choose just one, it would be the Lemon Shark and turtle conservation program in Curieuse Island. The reason why I would choose this program is because it deepens the understanding of shark behaviour and furthers conservation efforts, which is crucial now more than ever. Sharks have been around for about 450 million years, and they've survived five massive planet extinction events. Sadly, now some species are critically endangered, and the Lemon Shark population is decreasing, making the species vulnerable. Therefore, it is imperative to use the tags to better understand how to conserve sharks and improve the relationship between humans, sharks, and other marine life.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
The people! We are all passionate and dedicated to make a positive change, and we share common goals and values. GVI works with inspiring partner organisations across different locations, which is exceptional. I am very proud that my team ensures we tailor every program to the interns' interests to maximise their experience whilst ensuring the projects that our global partners need are delivered in time and with excellent quality.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Firstly, I believe people are the biggest asset of a company; people are the driving force of a successful organisation. Secondly, an organisation with practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs is another success factor. Lastly, it is vital for an organisation to support work-life balance and value its employees to move forward successfully.