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Life Changes

Posted: March 13th, 2012 | Filed under: oceans, self-aggrandization | 2 Comments »

Big news! After nearly four years agitating for change at Spitfire Strategies, I’m making a move. At the end of this month, I’ll be joining the team at Upwell to amplify stories online and fly the ocean flag.

As one of the first Upwell team members, I’ll help to define the future of the baby new project that is currently being incubated at the Ocean Conservancy. Upwell is a startup with an ambitious goal of curating the enormous quantity of ocean content that exists, tracking the online conversation about oceans, creating and amplifying online content in experimental data-driven campaigns, and sharing everything we learn with the ocean community.

Why the change?

Well, first, I should say – I love Spitfire. Since 2008 I’ve been helping to create engaging websites, managing unwieldy yet ambitious coalitions, writing stories to bring complicated issues to life, using social media to spark connections and create community, devising strategies to motivate the hardest-to-reach audiences to take action on important issues, pitching national and local media outlets to cover the hard work of nonprofits, crystallizing the brand identity for organizations and foundations to help them create internal community and external consistency, and more. It’s been a busy four years. I’ve learned a lot and met a lot of brilliant, passionate and creative changemakers.

But I’m approaching that time in my life when my own goals, passions and pursuits are narrowing. My life lens is less wide-angle, more pinhole. After years of working with organizations like Ocean Conservancy, Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Blue Ocean Institute, the Packard Foundation, and the World Wildlife Fund, I’ve cultivated a love for the oceans. I suppose that love has always been there. I grew up blocks from the ocean and spent my adolescent summers at beach camp, I’ve only excelled only at water sports, and I’ve found love in an aspiring marine biologist.

The ocean is the lifeblood of our planet. The driver of our climate. An unexplored frontier. A beautiful landscape with a million colors, species, depths. The oceans hold relics of prehistory and keys to the future. We can’t ever know everything about them, but we sure try.

ᔥ The Ocean is Wonderful

I’m also passionate about technology and the way it’s shaped the way we communicate. As an avid outdoorswoman, I see the affect the web has on us – it inspires us to be glued to our screens instead of exploring the outside world. People tweet at conferences rather than revelling in the knowledge and inspiration that surrounds them. I most likely have hundreds of friends on facebook that I haven’t actually spoken to in years. Reality is shifting. But in every change there lies possibility. The immediacy that social media presents allows us to share our opinions in real time. It gives the “lesser” of us a voice. It creates connection where it may not have otherwise existed. Access to inspirational material – stories, videos, photographs, art, opinions – has never been greater.

I’m eager to flex my creative muscle and take ownership of the work I do. As a communications consultant at Spitfire, I’ve been able to help organizations plan their communications efforts so that they are strategic and effective, but I rarely get to do the work. I’m helping others create change. I have enabled, instigated, inspired, instructed, advised, coached, trained.

I’m ready to do.

My role at Upwell is still squishy.  I’m going to craft campaigns, build connections in the community, develop and curate content and more. I still get to be a jack of all trades, but I’ll be operating in the salty sea water world.

I am excited about this change in my life and career and hope to chronicle it here. For the time being, you can follow us at @upwell_us.

ᔥ The Ocean is Wonderful

 


2 Comments on “Life Changes”

  1. 1 Amber Gregory said at 1:18 pm on March 13th, 2012:

    Rachel, congratulations and this is SO awesome! As you may have gathered from my constant yammering online, I am also incredibly passionate about the ocean, as well as all of these organizations and more. I truly respect your career path and am so thrilled for you. If there’s any way I can help out or get involved (somehow!) please let me know!

  2. 2 Lucy said at 3:23 pm on March 13th, 2012:

    Ray,

    So so happy for you!! Congratulations! Hoping to see you in SF in early April.

    Lucy


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