An Interview with WiseOceans…Serena Stean from Indo Ocean Project
This week we chat to Serena Stean the Program Director for Indo Ocean Project. Having moved from the corporate world to life in marine conservation Serena has found that although you may not always be rich in your bank account, your life will be rich!
Name: Serena Stean
Job Title: Program Director
Organisation: Indo Ocean Project
- What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
I grew up on an island in the United Kingdom and have always been attracted and fascinated with the ocean. I learned to snorkel aged 6 and did my first dive aged 8 in the Bahamas and from that moment on I said to my dad “When I grow up I want to live in a place like this”. Once certified, diving was all I really cared about and it was just a matter of time earning enough money in the boring corporate world before I could say goodbye to it all, complete my divemaster and instructor courses and since then I have never moved back to the UK.
- What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
I completed my divemaster and instructor courses in Roatan seven years ago and after a few years gaining experience decided to apply to work in Fiji as the Dive Operations Manager for a conservation organisation.
- How did you land your current job/position?
I met the Indo Ocean Project founder back in 2014 when I took over from her as the Dive Operations Manager at the Fiji Shark Conservation and we instantly clicked from the very first Skype interview. She always jokes that she has hired me to do her job twice, so when she started Indo Ocean Project I was in immediately before the project was even off its feet.
- Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I adore training conservation-minded divemasters and watching them go from diving for themselves to diving for other people. My absolute passion is Chondrichthyes so I adore teaching the shark and manta workshops to my divemaster candidates.
- Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Providing candidates with tools necessary to promote environmentally responsible tourism and conduct field science that collects data that makes a difference is a huge motivation for me. Knowing that they will go into the professional world of diving with the right attitude and will spread that knowledge and passion with every diver they encounter.
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
- Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Mentoring skills and managing a team. I thought that was just for the corporate world but all my work experience and training helps me out every single day.
- What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Keep going, don’t give up. Invest in what you love and eventually, it will pay you back. You won’t be rich in terms of your bank account but your life will be amazing.
- What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Bull sharks because they are pure power and yet so graceful.
- What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Being in the middle of a swirling school of over 1000 barracudas in Fiji.
Thank you Serena for your great interview. If you have been inspired by Serena’s story and would like to get involved with Indo Oceans Project it is easy to do so. Indo Ocean Project are currently recruiting for Divemaster and Research Diver Internships!