Teresa Gil, Head, Freshwater Programme, WWF España
MAVA Leaders for Nature Academy, 2020
Teresa's participation in the Academy has had a very positive impact for her personal style of leadership, the strength and resilience of her team, and the reach and opportunities for her programme and projects.
By developing and refining her collaborative skills, Teresa has built a reputation that has opened multiple doors outside the conservation sector, diversifying funding streams for the Freshwater Programme, and building wider engagement in her conservation projects.
Teresa had real success in her attempts to restore a wetland which was on land owned by a private company. First, Teresa had to lobby internally to get the marketing department to collaborate with her, and working together, they then approached the company which is in the process of donating the land to a local government for conservation. Teresa used this as a springboard for building a relationship with the private company, regularly informing them of progress and making them feel part of the project. This led to further opportunities that Teresa was keen to grasp, including being invited to speak at a conference for the private company's employees on the Balearic Islands.
This marked a shift for Teresa's Freshwater Programme. Corporate teams, who had previously engaged with WWF only on tree-planting and forestry projects, began to take an interest in aquatic conservation projects. Recently, for example, a large supermarket participated in its first conservation activity – removing exotic alien plant species from wetland.
"The Academy has given me tools to empower myself and to realize the importance of taking care of stakeholder relationships. For example, while managing the relationship with a private company, I was able to convince them to gift some land to the local municipality for a wetland restoration project on the condition that WWF monitors the project, and that the area is only used for conservation purposes."