Before joining Wild Philanthropy, I spend over 10 years working for Fauna & Flora International, which I believe is one of the most effective global conservation organisations. It is an incredible place to work, and one that really helped me define the direction of my career. It’s stuffed to the rafters full of highly talented and committed individuals who really want to make a change in the world.
Of all these people, there is one person in particular who really had a huge influence on me – Ros Aveling. She was in fact the person who recruited me to FFI and I had the privilege of working closely with her over the duration of my time there. She acted as a mentor, helping me navigate through the various opportunities that arose at FFI, teaching me a different way to look at conservation. She also persuaded me not to do a PhD but to take a sabbatical from FFI to do an MBA, which 10 years ago was quite a radical suggestion. I learned a huge amount from her, both professionally and personally.
I won’t go into too much detail here about how amazing Ros is as this wonderful blog from her son, Martin Aveling, wildlife artist extraordinaire, provides a beautifully personal tribute to her. Please do have a read. From a professional perspective, Ros has always been well ahead of the game. Always championing new and innovative ways to do things – and empowering those that work with her to rise to challenges they may well not have realised they could rise to. I came to FFI from a more traditional Zoology background and Ros introduced me to a more people–orientated approach to conservation, one that saw the positive impact different sectors of society can have if encouraged to do so.
After 17 years at FFI, Ros has recently left her post as Deputy CEO. I know she will be greatly missed, but I am also sure the many influences she has had over the years will continue to shape the organisation – and conservation in general – for many years to come. As an example of how respected Ros is in the conservation world, her gift from David Attenborough was the promise of naming a new species after her. Incredible stuff!
I wish you all the very best in the next chapter, Ros, which no doubt will continue to shape the futures of those lucky enough to work with you.
Ros, thank you – for everything. I do what I do because of you, and for that I can’t tell you how grateful I am.