Communication is huge in conservation and wildlife biology careers. People tend to only think of the species, ecosystems, or research that scientists work on, but this research is always communicated in some way – to other scientists, the public, and/or various stakeholders.
In this interview, I sit down with Director of Facilitation and Planning at Impact by Design, Inc., Ben Christ. Ben was an undergraduate researcher when I was getting my Ph.D. at the University of Missouri and he talks about his trajectory from science into working directly with people at Impact by Design.
Impact By Design is a nonprofit consulting agency that provides training and capacity building to other nonprofit organizations so that they can increase their effectiveness and maximize impact. They specialize in nonprofits working on conservation, animal welfare, and environmental advocacy. It’s Ben’s job to bring together different sectors within a nonprofit or across nonprofits and their stakeholders to get specific outcomes.
Ben provides some great perspective on the things you need to think about when brining people together. These messages are especially important to hear now because we have a diversity problem in wildlife biology and conservation. One of the ways that we can help is by learning how we can hear others more.
Specifically we talk about:
- How Ben’s plan to go to graduate school broke down, but it was a blessing in disguise
- How and why Ben made the transition to consulting from science
- The importance of communication in conservation and the many ways things can go wrong
- How to run effective meetings
- How to make people feel comfortable
- How to encourage underrepresented voices and make sure they are heard
- Thinking beyond scientific research in conservation and wildlife work
- and MORE!
Resources and Sources Mentioned in : An Interview with Ben Christ
Stephanie Schuttler is a wildlife biologist with 17 years of experience in mammal ecology and conservation, education, and outreach. Read her inspirational story, “My Unexpected Journey Into Science” to find out how she went from the daughter of a jeweler to a Ph.D. in wildlife biology. Feel free to contact Stephanie here.