Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) changed its name to Re:wild in 2021
This year Jill Lucena joined our team as GWC’s new office manager. Jill ensures that everything runs smoothly in the office of GWC’s Chief Conservation Officer Russ Mittermeier. She manages the distribution and sales of several book series, including the CEMEX Nature Series, GWC-produced field guides and pocket guides and the IUCN Primate Specialist Group publications, among others. We spoke to Jill about what she loves about her job and her passion for GWC’s mission.
Q. How did you develop your passion for wildlife conservation?
A. I don’t have a background in biology, or the sciences. I studied Spanish in college and lived abroad. But when I moved to the Washington, D.C. region and I got my first job–receptionist at Conservation International–I spent a lot of time reading. I read everything I could find in the office. This is how I learned about wildlife conservation. A few years later, as CI’s media coordinator, I started attending the annual meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and organized CI’s exhibit. I got to know Russ Mittermeier (now GWC’s Chief Conservation Officer) and many years later, he hired me and I worked in his department for 17 years. So Russ really inspired me–and after my first trip to Guatemala and Suriname, I was hooked!
Q. What will your primary role be in supporting wildlife conservation at GWC?
A. I support Russ as office manager and I make sure he has what he needs for his trips to the field, donor meetings, etc. That means sending books, ordering field supplies, downloading digital images for his power point presentations. I also sell our field guides and pocket guides so that people learn about the species that we are trying to save.
Q. What do you love most about the work you do?
A. The people….I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many amazing primatologists through attending the Congresses of the International Primatological Society and the American Society of Primatology. And our GWC team here in Arlington, Virginia, is the best; we’ve all known each other for more than 25 years. I hope to visit GWC’s headquarters in Austin soon–I hear they are amazing as well!
Q. Why are you committed to GWC’s mission?
A. Because I know how important wildlife conservation is and it’s necessary for a healthy planet and to have fresh water, clean air and bountiful animal species.
Q. What is your favorite wildlife species?
A. The three-toed sloth. But I also love Sea Otters, Giant Anteaters, Capybaras, tapirs, manatees, Maned Wolves and Red Pandas.