Natalie Lobartolo by Jai Kennedy

This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with Natalie Lobartolo from Reef Connect.

Name: Natalie Lobartolo

Role: Marine Conservationist

Company: Reef Connect

Top Tip: Be bold and put your wonderful self out there!

Quick Fire Questions

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation? 

I always loved being in nature and clearly remember moments in my childhood that were key in inspiring my passion and path. This drove me to create opportunities for others to experience these magical moments of connection with nature. It is how many conservationists are born!

2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?

A lot! I always followed my heart and passion despite what my parents, teachers, friends and society told me. I always chose courses and subjects I was interested in rather than what would make me money or get me jobs, and I think that was the key to my success. I loved what I was doing so that was a natural motivation and driver of success.

3. How did you obtain your current position? 

With a LOT of dedication and hard work! It is the culmination of years of applying myself, making connections and maintaining focused on my career goals.

4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?  

Seeing the expressions of awe and wonder on people’s faces when they discover the reef and its creatures for the first time.

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

Absolutely! I receive immediate feedback from guests both in person as well as random messages from people years after I took them on a tour, SCUBA dive or snorkel. These messages often involve an expression of gratitude for how impactful their time at the reef was on their lives. That is the best inspiration and motivation you could ever hope for.

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

Don’t listen when everyone tells you all the reasons you can’t!!!

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

I have without doubt used Excel skills in every single one of my jobs. Business, technology and media skills are always valuable.

8. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?  

See my post 🙂 there’s a lot there so take your pick.

9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?

I love the coral polyp! It is small, humble, underappreciated and magnificent. Without it, much of the reef structure and life that depends on it wouldn’t exist. It is fundamental, fantastic and oh so BEAUTIFUL!

10. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?

Dropping down on a SCUBA dive to come face to face with a humpback whale. On that same dive we saw turtles, Maori wrasse and manta rays!! Seeing the whale come directly towards us was an image that will be etched in my memory forever.

“You may hear NO a lot more before you hear a YES, but trust that it will come. Be determined and persistent.”

Natalie Lobartolo

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