Meredith Ann Epp
Communications and Marketing Manager, Marine Stewardship Council Oceania
I was born/grew up in: Boulder, Colorado, USA
I now live in: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I completed my training/education at: I did my undergraduate degree in communications and political science, then worked for a PR agency for 4 years. I always loved the ocean and had volunteered all over the world doing marine programs. So I applied to a Master's program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in La Jolla, California. I graduated in 2014 from the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.
Describe what you do at work.
I work at a small not for profit, with only eight other people in our office and we look after Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. As a result we do lots of different things everyday. We also have co-workers in London and all over the world so being flexible and a good communicator is important. My favorite days are when we get to go out to fisheries, (I've done this in Western and South Australia) and we film and interview the fishermen and women. Other times we are in the board rooms of big retailers and brands or presenting to the government on the latest fisheries science. My main focus is communicating the science and operations of our sustainable fishing program and finding creative ways to make people care and our oceans.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
No ocean, no life, no blue, no green! I always knew I loved the ocean but learning the science behind why it is vital to keep them healthy, gave me the knowledge I needed to go in and speak intelligently with powerful people. The organisation I work for now empowers seafood shoppers to make environmentally friendly choices, and I love that we have a positive impact and solution.
What motivates you in your career?
Knowing I make a difference and that I'm following my passion. I love learning new communications techniques especially with so much happening in the digital space. But I love getting out and meeting the fishers, they love the ocean and know it so well. The best feeling is salt spray on your face at dawn.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
After graduating high school, I did an undergraduate degree in communications and political science. Then I worked for a PR agency for 4 years. But I did not feel fulfilled. I always loved the ocean and had volunteered all over the world doing marine programs. So I applied to a Master's program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in La Jolla, California. I graduated in 2014 from the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. I worked hard, followed my heart and reached out to anyone I thought was doing interesting work. Going back to graduate school was a challenge, especially since I'd always avoided science before. But once you are passionate about it, I just couldn't get enough. I've moved across the world for jobs, but I've gone with my gut and it has paid off.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work I love surfing, snorkelling, hiking, travelling, going out dancing or to the beach with friends. I'm fortunate to travel for work a good amount so I'll explore different places and cultures whenever I can. I also volunteer with an organisation called Plastic Free July to help reduce single use plastics from getting in our ocean.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Keep talking to people that do interesting things, follow what makes your heartbeat