An Interview with WiseOceans…Cassia Patel from Oceanic Global

This week we chat to…Cassia Patel, Program Director at Oceanic Global. Cassia’s advice is to take some risks and don’t be afraid to stray from your predicted plan, all roads can still lead you back to the ocean!

Name: Cassia Patel

Job Title: Program Director

Organisation: Oceanic Global

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?

I grew up on an island in Hong Kong and have always loved the ocean. In HK it is also painfully clear the impact our actions have on ocean health and therefore on the health of our communities. I wasn’t able to go outside for recess as a school child on some days when the air pollution was too high and went swimming in bays filled with plastic. I also saw how we were directly driving the extinction of our native pink dolphin species!

  • What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?

I studied Biology and Environmental Engineering in university, taking some field courses in Marine Ecology and interning with coral restoration groups as well as others for underwater research experience. I was always hungry to learn more about the latest news in ocean conservation and which issues deserved more attention and a focus on solutions.

  • How did you land your current job/position? 

I began volunteering at Oceanic Global after I graduated and was able to join them full-time 6 months later. I was drawn to the way they tap into creative communication to engage diverse audiences in ocean conservation! I was particularly excited to break out of academia and directly engage with communities, industry leaders and policy-makers.

  • Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?  

Empowering people of all ages to step up as leaders in their community to drive change!

  • Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’? 

Our industry solutions work engaging with businesses to help them eliminate single-use plastics and improve waste management feels the most tangible and directly promoting our goals of responsible consumption and living in harmony with our planet.

  • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?  

That there is no “wrong” path to take, all experience is educational and gives you a sense for the skills you have to offer, the environment you like to work in, and the type of work you find most meaningful. Take some risks and don’t be afraid to stray from your predicted plan, all roads can still lead you back to the ocean.

  • Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?

Graphic design (In Design, Figma, etc.) and website maintenance (WordPress)

  • What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?  

Stay hungry, keep learning, keep reaching out for opportunities!

  • What is your favourite marine creature and why?  

Nudibranchs ~ not only are they gorgeous and alien looking (in the best way), but the diversity and complexity of their forms is humbling! I nicknamed my best friend “nudibranch” and she has no idea what I’m talking about.

  • What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?  
Diving in Tubbataha (Philippines) with whale sharks. Whale sharks are beautiful awe-awe-inspiring creatures, it was incredible to see them breach and play with us under the waves. They will barely move their fins, but be moving through the water so much faster than we could ever hope to keep up.

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