Although MAR Leadership is relatively new, our program has a lot of people talking. Both our fellows and experts have benefited from our model, which breaks the form of traditional leadership development programs by bringing together a diverse group of individuals that represent a wide array of professional sectors. What are they saying? Check out the videos and testimonials below!
“Coral reefs are the “rainforests” of the sea, containing 25% of all marine life, providing nourishment for an estimated 500 million people, protecting fragile shoreline ecosystems and attracting tourists that sustain coastal economies with tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. And these reefs are also facing serious threats including sediment runoff, destructive fishing practices and poorly planned coastal development. This includes the spectacular Mesoamerican Reef – the Western Hemisphere’s longest barrier reef. To save this precious natural heritage will take a new kind of leadership and that is exactly what the MAR Leadership Program is all about—working with dynamic young leaders of today who will become the decision makers of tomorrow—committed to protecting the amazing Mesoamerican Reef System. By supporting the innovative conservation projects of these young leaders, the MAR program is working at the grassroots level—including scientific research, sustainable fishing practices, and community-based tourism—to build a new generation of coral reef conservationists. It’s about giving back to help save our planet for future generations.”[/toggle]
“My experience in the MAR Leadership Program has been truly unique. I’ve learned about things that aren’t directly related to coral reef conservation, such as how to develop a business plan. I’ve also learned how to sell a project idea and how to get it financed. As conservationists, we usually focus on the protection of an area’s resources and don’t always address the big picture of how to finance our activities and present projects in a manner that will capture the interest of donors. The MAR Leadership Program has given me the ability to put a business-oriented spin on my project, in addition to the traditional conservation focus that has defined my past initiatives.”
“My participation in the MAR Leadership Program has provided me with a dynamic, creative and distinct training experience. Through the program, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who have truly enriched my personal and professional life, and I’ve had the chance to share with my MAR colleagues (experts, coordinators and fellows) unique experiences in a unique place: the Mesoamerican Reef System. The training I’ve been provided with has allowed me to convert my weaknesses into opportunities. During the fieldtrips, I’ve realized that now, more than ever, we need to carry out actions that favorably impact conservation. The program has allowed me to share this urgency with my colleagues and has made me realize that we’re not alone in our efforts; we’re a vibrant and active group!”
“The MAR Leadership Program has helped me re-engineer my dreams. It has enabled me to turn an abstract idea into a business plan as a strong step toward implementing my project. The entire process has been interesting, educational and fun and, as a bonus, I have had the privilege of working with a group of highly committed Fellows whose different interests come together as a force to achieve conservation in the MAR.”
“Apart from the tools, contacts and new knowledge I have gained through the MAR Leadership Program for my own professional development, I have had a great opportunity to get to know colleague leaders from the region with whom I share common interests. Furthermore, the program has afforded me the opportunity to learn about success stories in the other MAR countries that inspire us to work hard to maintain the Reef’s health and contribute to a new development paradigm based on sustainability and a vision for a shared future.”
“I am proud to call myself a MAR Fellow. It’s a great opportunity to get to know and learn from other leaders who are going after the same conservation objectives in their careers. To hear the challenges they have had to face to get to where they are is an inspiration for me to keep working in the MAR. The contact networks and possibilities to form alliances both with the leaders and participating experts is such a valuable element of the program. Also, the friendships that I’m forming with my fellow MAR colleagues are getting better and better throughout the year and this is by far the best gift that the program has given me.”[/toggle]