Victoria Jollands – Deepwater Group

Name: Victoria Jollands
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Age: 32
Job Title: Senior Policy Advisor / Marine Scientist
Education: PhD Candidate, Master of Science (Hons.) Bachelor of Commerce

Victoria is a successful and respected Senior Policy Advisor at Deepwater Group – a non-profit organisation that works in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries to ensure that New Zealand gains the maximum economic yields from their deepwater fisheries resources, managed within a long-term sustainable framework.

Following a path taken by few women into the realm of policy and taking on the difficult industry of New Zealand Fisheries, Victoria has carved out a place for herself among the boys and recently even travelled to the United Nations Pacific Tuna Conservation Conference in Bali, acting as Secretariat for the duration of the conference.

In today’s profile, Victoria tells us about her journey to policy and her plans for the future.

If there was one piece of advice I would give to anyone, it would be to feed your curiosity.

Looking at what key attribute that led me to where I am today, besides drive and ambition, it was my curiosity. Coupled with a passion for problem solving and the ocean, I have been working on a career in marine policy now for 13 years, if you include university.

This was not a straight forward path, however. Growing up I spent most of my time figuring out THE question: ‘what do I want to be when I grow up’.

Once out of school, I was like a ping pong ball released into the world, smashing into anything and everyting I could get my hands on. This led me to retail, modelling, bartending, economics, reception, and administration – flip-flopping from opportunity to opportunity, it wasn’t until I spoke to a mentor at my university that I gained some sort of direction, this package of advice shaped my subsequent choices that led me down the path of science. While urged that this was not a wise choice, I compromised on having something to fall back onto – a conjoint in science with commerce. Finishing up with a marine science specialisation and accounting, I was perplexed at what to do with it. Friends would joke “what are you going to do, count fish?” Maybe not count them, but it was close!

Like the sunshine song, I feel like I still am figuring out THE question. But ever since I moved towards what I wanted to do, every choice has been a conscious one. This does not mean I haven’t made wrong choices either! I don’t believe there is such thing in making a wrong choice, in the realms of career choice anyway.

All choices are collecting experiences and importantly realising more about what you don’t want, to find out what you do want in a career, and life generally. It doesn’t matter if you say yes to the first job offer or to the first flat offer – all these random choices that don’t make sense at the time make you who you are. At the time I didn’t realise what I would do with accounting and marine science, I just had a passion for science and a love of business / social systems.

I still don’t know how to truly marry the two together but that’s part of the todays environmental problems and I guess that is why I do what I do, I picked up something requiring a solution and I intend to spend the rest of my life solving our oceans biggest problems – balancing use and conservation.

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