Do you have desire to do great things for tomorrow's decision makers of this beautiful planet?
You're not alone; CoalitionWild global mentorship programme builds collaborative and cross generational relationships between emerging environmental leaders and veteran conservationists. Together, participants gain perspective, find community and connection, discover solutions and solidarity, and bridge the generational and cultural gaps in the environmental sector.
Ussi Abuu: (UA) WildHub Core Community member who is working towards achieving the Conservation Catalyst status. I'm a CoalitionWild 2021 global mentor participant. I have also been part of the UN volunteer programme since 2016.
Flavia Martinelli: (FM) Master in Animal Biology, with a deep interest in biodiversity conservation, restoration and climate change. Current Coordinator of Actions and Partnerships at Plant-for-the-Planet Brazil and voluntary collaborator of CoalitionWILD. In addition, coordinates youth actions within the Global Rewilding Alliance.
UA: Why did you start your voluntary collaborator position at CoalitionWILD and what does this programme do?
FM: Volunteering has been part of my life since I was a kid, from the social work in the church until climate local actions as a volunteer of Brazilian NGOs. So, in 2020, after a while working part-time collaborating with Plant-for-the-Planet, I was missing having a bigger network with people working with conservation, because as a biologist, conservation was always a passion. When I saw the opportunity to collaborate with CoalitionWILD published in the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) group, I thought that would be an awesome way to dedicate my free-time. The programme connects young conservationists with more experienced mentors, and during one year they have regular meetings to talk about a subject that we suggest.
UA: What are the criteria to join the CoalitionWild global mentorship programme network? Do you have any books that you would suggest to those who would like to become part of the CoalitionWild global mentorship programme?
FM: It's very simple. To be a mentor you have to have more than 10 years of experience in your fieldwork, and if you want to be a mentee you need to be in the early years of your career. The selection process is made by registration in a form, and the CoalitionWILD team will choose those who are a good match for available mentors. The next program will start on January, and CW will open the applications at the end of this year. Regarding book recommendations, I believe it is always important to read as many different subjects as possible, which are not very connected to your own social circle and knowledge. A conservationist who is knowledgeable about gender equality or traditional peoples, for example, can stand out from the crowd.
UA: Do you have a mentor? How have they influenced you?
FM: Not really. I took part in leadership courses that made me better understand my personal and professional journey, and I also have professional friends who help me by giving me advice, but I don't have a specific person. To be honest, I manage to activate different people depending on the challenges I face, including Crista Valentino, the director of CoalitionWILD, who helped me in some specific situations. Each of these people influenced me differently, and the most important thing for me is knowing that we can count on each other, and not feel alone regardless of the situations we've been through.
UA: What are the top 5 lessons you learned from investing in today's leaders and tomorrow's decision makers within the CoalitionWild global mentorship programme?
FM: (1). Working with good people brings hope to these challenging days. I was able to regain hope in people and conservation within the global community of CoalitionWILD. It's great to know that there are people in different contexts fighting for the same cause.
(2). Connection between people has a strong value. The participants' testimonials about how conversations helped in many ways made me believe even more in the power of networking and connections.
(3). Have someone to talk in a regular basis can be healing. Through pandemic times is very important to not feel alone and be around people who encourages you.
(4). it's important to be malleable and embrace new paths when things don't work out. Being too attached to plans can be frustrating.
(5). Listening, especially in a mentoring position, is more important than giving advice. Sometimes we can find our way by talking out loud about our problems and challenges.
UA: How do you balance your work and home life?
FM: I try to establish limits to myself... so I never work during weekends, if I'm tired or overloaded I try to do small breaks, and I invest in things that I like, like gardening, woodcraft, cycling, reading, to keep my head in the right place.
UA: What values are you committed to?
FM: Honesty, transparency, dedication, respect and love for myself, respect for the history of others are some of the most important values for me.