As Reef-World is growing at an ever-increasing rate, both in terms of project outcomes and geographical range, I wanted to expand on the type of work and various programmes that keep me busy day-to-day as a Director of Reef-World.
When not ‘out in the field’ - which usually consists of training national teams (often made up of government and NGO staff) to support Green Fins - I’m usually working from our main office in Bristol, England, alongside my wife and co-Director of Reef-World, Chloe.
I cycle into work every day. If I have successfully avoided being killed by the cars and buses, I get into the office around 8.30am. This is 3.30pm for the staff in our Philippines office and our Partnerships Manager based in Bali, which means I usually spend the morning talking with the team over Skype, Slack or WhatsApp for a few hours before they head home for the evening.
Once we’ve caught up, aligned our workloads and prioritised our immediate tasks it’s time to go diving… into my Inbox. (I recently became a Dad, so Dad jokes are necessary - apologies!) There are usually about 30-50 emails each day that require either my input or the need for me read and stay in the loop.
Green Fins is a UN Environment initiative currently operating in 10 active countries - with 3 potentially new ones on the horizon - and each month we’ll also receive a couple of emails from other non-active countries interested in using the Green Fins approach to manage their marine tourism industry.
In comparison to the travel, training, diving, interesting debates and discussions with various stakeholders etc, being at my desk in a relatively calm, organised environment has its merits. This time to concentrate and focus allows me to take a wider appreciation of our global efforts. Each email is so different to the next, which provides a variety often ranging on the edge of bizarre. We work in a shared office space and I often get weird looks from the other desks when I’m on the phone discussing dead dolphins, sharks, extreme weather, unusual flight insurance claims, mentioning celebrity involvement or dealing with ministerial and press phone calls.
At the moment, lunch is typically “al-desko” due to heavy workloads, lots of new countries and partnerships kicking off coupled with reduced work hours to help look after my daughter. Yes, I know it is bad to stare at a screen for hours on end, so a walk round the block a couple of times or, if workloads permit, a quick trip to the gym at lunch does wonders for my mental state of mind.
To give you an idea of my day, today I had to:
Issue Green Fins’ member Certificates to the national teams in the Maldives, Antigua and the Dominican Republic
Review Assessment reports to ensure the global standard of Green Fins is maintained
Support someone writing a children’s book on single-use plastic
Review the criteria for a sustainable tourism destination certification scheme
Undertake the usual banking tasks of moving and sending money internationally, internally etc.
Review various partnership agreements, NDAs etc while Reef-World looks to adopt a strategy of securing more sustainable financing
Set up meetings to encourage partners and the private sector to look at their supply chain and reduce impacts where possible.
Quick review of Social media whilst our Communications Manager is on leave to make sure there is no Twitter storm going on. I generally leave that up to people who know best but I am on hand to jump in when conversations get heated or someone adds a misleading comment, as we know is all too common on social media.
Website development work
Arrange our annual Trustees’ meeting
Support some Assessors with some specific questions over WhatsApp (while they are on a boat somewhere more attractive than my office!)
Review staff outputs and targets
Read some scuba diving articles about top locations, new equipment and the ever-present conservation piece which is great to see nowadays.
If all is going well and I don’t have any meetings that overrun, I usually wrap up by 17.30. Then it’s time to head up the hill on my bike for 15 mins to get home. Hard to fathom but I have actually wanted a real commute for a while. Since my office has often been my home, I’ve found the work-life mindset hard to flip between.
The commute acts as this great transition zone where I can plan to get ready for work and mentally plan the day ahead. At the end of the day, I can zone out, switch off and just focus on beating that guy in the orange jacket and black helmet with legs like Sir Chris Hoy to the top of the hill who seems to mirror my work hours and route. As with our global mission to ‘make sustainable diving the social norm’, I am getting closer each week.