Celebrating Inspirational Women

In honor of International Women's Day, Ocean Conservancy staff celebrate the women who have inspired them

International Women’s Day is this weekend and its the perfect time to celebrate the women in our life who’ve helped to inspire our love, wonder and passion for the ocean, as well as our work to protect it. I asked members of our staff to contribute messages honoring the women who have made a mark on their lives. Whether they are women of history who inspire us with their acts of courage, luminaries whose footsteps we walk in, or close friends and family who support us everyday, these women have helped lead the way and inspire us in our work for our ocean.

Jane Goodall

“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” – Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall 7

“Jane Goodall is a ‘shero’ to millions of people young and old, beginning her career as a woman scientist in her 20s and turning her passion for people, animals and the environment into a lifelong mission to save our planet. Jane embodies the true example that if you turn your passion into activism and stand up for what you believe in, you can truly make a difference in our world as an individual, and more importantly as woman. At 85 years young, she continues to raise awareness about protecting chimpanzees and other great apes (and all animals and ecosystems for that matter), works tirelessly to inspire millions of people around the globe and is building a legacy as a strong woman leader for our environment. On a personal level, Jane is someone I have looked up to since I was five years old and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work directly with her for more than four years. During my time working with Jane and traveling with her, I learned more than any single person or college course has ever taught me.”

– Jacob Petersen, Associate Director, Events & Outreach


Dekila Chungyalpa

“This International Women’s Day, I celebrate my friend Dekila Chungyalpa. A daughter of the Himalayas, Dekila calls herself an ‘ecofeminist’, someone who ‘works to dismantle all patriarchal systems and rebuild community so that everyone marginalized, including nature and wildlife, are valued as equal.’ Her work focuses on bringing the seemingly disparate worlds of faith and conservation together. It’s an approach that Dekila pioneered at WWF and continues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison through the new Loka Initiative, which supports faith-led environmental and climate efforts of faith leaders and culture keepers of indigenous traditions around the world. From Thailand to Kenya, the Amazon to the American Midwest, Dekila’s work has consistently demonstrated that faith-based conservation allows us all to find both common ground and common cause—love for our sacred earth and our duty to protect it.”
– Trishna Gurung, Senior Director, Communications


Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“In 2018, I visited the site of the first Convention on Women’s Rights, held in Seneca, New York in 1848. The building is still there and the park across from it has been named for one of the primary organizers, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. This year, the United States celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which Stanton did not live to see, but which was a result of the work of suffragists like her, who worked for decades to advance rights for women. Stanton not only pushed for women’s voting rights, but she also advocated for employment, property and other rights that we women have today, but which she did not. In this 100th anniversary year, I’m grateful to her and the scores of other women who risked their lives to create a better world for generations yet unborn. She spoke often of courage, and that resonates with me both professionally and personally. Courage will be in high demand as we enter this decade of action for the environment, a decade which will have significant impacts on future generations.”
– Edith Cecchini, Project Director, Corporate Strategy and Policy


Jennifer Huntington

“A cliché perhaps: my Mom, Jennifer Huntington, continues to be an inspiration in my life and work. She has the moral courage to tackle any situation head on, with compassion and resolve. When I find myself sliding towards the easy way out, I think of her and get my act together. She taught me how to listen fully, a skill that has been endlessly helpful in my work.”

– Henry P. Huntington, Director, Arctic Science


Dawn Lee-Tu

“Dawn is a mentor and friend—she is one of the amazing women that I look up to. Not only was she instrumental in my journey, she is also the person that showed me what true allyship looks like. She is so dedicated to her students and in making sure higher education is accessible for all marginalized communities. Her work and passion for justice and equity is what motivates me here at Ocean Conservancy—making sure that our ocean represents all communities that rely on it.”
– Rozette De Castro , RAY Conservation Diversity Fellow


Melinda Manning & Lauren Turchio

“I am very grateful to have had two wonderful former bosses at the New York Botanical Garden: Melinda Manning, Vice President for Communications and Lauren Turchio, Vice President for Marketing & Communications. They mentored me and were role models who helped me grow as a public relations professional throughout my time at the garden. Their support not only helped to launch my career and develop a passion for plants and our planet, but they were instrumental in assisting my transition to Washington, D.C. and Ocean Conservancy. Their work at a major New York City cultural institution makes them a great example of female leaders for International Women’s Day.”
– William Unotti, Communications Assistant

What women inspire you? Share your tributes to the women who inspire your love and wonder for the ocean with @OurOcean!

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