I have loved animals since I was small and wanted to do something with my life to save them, but somehow I got swept up into a management job in a huge company. What I knew of saving animals then is what we all see from the outside – the khaki outfits, the sweaty, scientific expeditions through steamy jungles to find rare and new species. It’s hard to see a way in from outside, and jobs seem as rare some of those species. Though I’d developed some great skills and experience over years of hard work in my corporate job, I thought that surely I’d have to retrain and become a biologist or a vet. How would I make the move from corporate to conservation?
A magical trip to a tiger-filled jungle in Nepal showed me a glimpse of another life, and how could I go about changing my own. I took the chance to work on a project in Kenya and found out that my skills were not only valuable but also scarce in nature conservation. It was a great realisation, and I leapt. I leapt from the safety of my known world into a new field, into an unknown country, into the promise of adventure. Into zero salary but into 100% meaning. It was one of the scariest things I’d ever done, but I knew it was right.
There were five of us and we started to create together: we built relationships, ideas, energy, and trust. We paved a path through an unchartered territory to find solutions, and to make it easier for others to join and come after us to grow and multiply our impact.
That I am still part of this amazing work five years later still amazes me; I mean, who’d have thought that I’d be helping to save animals as cool as tigers! I feel lucky yet I know that this was my choice. A simple choice really – money or meaning. Anyone can do it. All it takes is that first leap.