An Interview with WiseOceans… Lluvia Soto from GVI
Meet Lluvia Soto! As Country Director for GVI Mexico she has a whole host of experience and knowledge to share with us. Having worked her way up from a voluntary position to where she is now, she is the one to tell us it is all about hard work and dedication.
Name: Lluvia Soto
Job Title: Mexico Country Director
- What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
Since I was a little kid, my father used to take me out to the beach to go snorkelling, exploring different beaches and learning about the marine environment. This was an inspiration for me and I decided that I was passionate about marine life and its conservation so I chose to study a degree in Biology.
- What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
Always look for opportunities and work hard to get them. Continue searching for training resources, courses, certifications that can be helpful on my work and professional development.
- How did you land your current job/position?
I heard about GVI when I finished university and applied for their National Scholarship Program. I participated for ten weeks and I decided that I didn’t want to go home so I did everything I could to stay. I was part of the field staff team for three years until the opportunity arose to become the Country Director. During this time I worked a lot to prove I had initiative and passion on marine conservation.
- Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
When I see the impact that our work is doing, how it is affecting local communities and also the lives of the volunteers that come to our program.
- Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
When we put together the reports on the health of the reef and give it to our partners and authorities, but mostly when I speak to volunteers and they express how the program has changed their lives and how they will convert to do a career on marine conservation. Raising awareness is such a key element in conservation, if people are not on board with all the initiatives and have good practices with the environment, all the work we do on conservation will be worthless.
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
The challenges of working with government agencies and private sector, there are many interests mixed between wanting to preserve but also using the resources to their maximum limits.
- Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Administration skills, I never thought I would need them but working in marine conservation is not all about being out on the field collecting data, there is so much to do on the admin side of things, even for writing proposals to get funds, you need to know basic budgeting and accounting.
- What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
To be passionate about what you do and to persevere, there are many times where we can feel things are not moving forward and might take longer than we would like to, so don’t lose hope and keep working on it, because if you don’t do it who will?
- What is your favourite marine creature and why?
I have several, but the manatee must be my favourite one. They are beautiful creatures.
- What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
It is definitely a dive where a pod of ten dolphins stayed with us during the whole dive, they were coming close to explore us but they kept their distance, they were coming and going. There was a little baby with them and it would come closer than the rest. I had to finish my dive because my buddy was low on air, and as we were going up, this baby dolphin swam up with us, stayed around during safety stop and also whilst we were waiting for the boat to pick us up. It was an amazing experience, he was just there observing us and staying close to its mum all the time. It was an amazing experience to see them in the wild.
Thanks Lluvia, great advice and always useful to hear that there are so many more skills to marine conservation than diving, the admin work also has to get done! We love manatees too!
To find out more about GVI’s marine expeditions and see how you can follow Lluvia’s footsteps, have a look at their Marine Research Expedition page.
Don’t forget to sign up to our weekly job alert email for the latest marine conservation opportunities.