Francesca C.

Assistant General Manager
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Francesca C.
Environment
Environmental Geography
Undergraduate
James
2015
United Kingdom

My employment

Assistant General Manager
Conservation Lower Zambezi
Zambia
Charity and voluntary sector
Small business (0-49 employees)
2015

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A day in the life of a Assistant General Manager in Zambia

Conservationist based in the Lower Zambezi, Zambia. Happy to answer questions and engage in discussions about the world of conservation and working abroad.

What I do

I work for a Zambian Conservation NGO in the Lower Zambezi, Zambia called Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ). CLZ is committed to the conservation of wildlife in the Lower Zambezi for Zambia’s future generations through wildlife protection, environmental education and supporting community development.

My Responsibilities:
- Assisting the General Manager with fundraising proposals, grant reports, donor relations.

- Financial Support: budgeting, petty cash and cashbooks.

- Project manager of community projects (human-wildlife conflict mitigation), communicating and managing the Human-Wildlife Conflict coordinator and providing technical support to the program.

- Marketing; press and publicity through social media, newsletters, yearly reports etc.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Fundraising - for the fundraising role within my job, I am using my report writing skills that I built up at university in order to convince those at larger organisations to support our projects here in the Lower Zambezi. Alongside this I am using my budgeting and financial skills to manage the finances of these grants and report on them at the correct times.

Marketing - my love of social media and connecting those outside of the Lower Zambezi to what we do has lead me to develop my skills in the marketing department.

Working in a small team - this is one of the skills I have used the most whilst being out here in the Lower Zambezi. We are in an isolated area, working, living and socialising within a small team of people and so my ability to cooperate with others and constantly problem solve with the rest of our team is highly important

Project managing - this is something I was entirely new to when I begun my job at CLZ, but I have learnt quickly to be able to do this as well as undertaking an online course in order to improve my skills on this.

What I like most

My job offers many different perks and I am really enjoying being directly involved in wildlife protection in the Lower Zambezi. Being able to see our projects make a difference to local people and wildlife populations is really rewarding! The location also is a huge pull factor - living in the middle of the African bush is really spectacular! I am welcomed by the view of the Zambezi River every day and we often have elephants walking through camp on a daily basis.

What I like least

Living in close proximity to those you work with can often have its drawbacks, especially in isolation! We are 6 hours drive from the nearest town and there are days when there is no form of communication due to bad internet! There are also aspects to my job such as managing cashbooks and finances that are not as exciting as other parts, this is the case in all jobs however so you learn to accept it!

What surprised me most

The amount of responsibility I was given in such a short period of time was surprising. I did not have the confidence in myself before this job to undertake projects that were above my capability, however now seeing that the organisation has confidence in me to do the job, I am given more responsibilities.

How I looked for work

Before finding the job at CLZ, I searched many different online websites (www.environmentjob.co.uk, www.conservationjobs.com, www.biaza.org/vacancies) as well as looking at different conservation organisations worldwide on their volunteer programmes.

How I found out about the job

Personal contacts

The recruitment process

I had to apply for the job through the CEO of the organisation, I was then asked to fill out an application form and send it to them alongside a cover letter and CV. I then was called for a skype interview shortly after the application process.

My career goals when I graduated

I knew I wanted to work in conservation somehow but I was unsure of what particular part. I knew I needed to get field experience so that was my first goal.

My career history

I have had many different odd jobs over the years I was at school and university (working in cafes, restaurants, shops etc.) and these all developed my skills professionally however I struggled to get professional experience within the conservation sector therefore I signed myself up to volunteer programmes at CLZ in order to get some experience.

What has helped my career to progress

Having a range of different skills from lots of different jobs has really helped my career progress. As well as continuing to learn, through reading scientific journals and undertaking online courses.

Courses taken since graduation

Online course in Project Management. Will begin another online course in Food Security in September.

How my studies have helped my career

The range of different skills I learnt through my degree have helped hugely within my career, particularly for my report writing and for understanding new issues within the conservation and wildlife protection sector

What surprised me about my career so far

I am still fairly early on in my career and I hope it is a long one, but I have been surprised by the amount of help people are willing to give and how important it is to take up opportunities to learn more about my field.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

I hope to be working in a larger conservation organisation hopefully coordinating a specific wildlife protection or community engagement project.

My advice to students considering work

Put yourselves out there! Try and get a range of different work experience, whether or not it is directly linked to your chosen career and NETWORK!

My advice about working in my industry

Conservation is all about networking and meeting people who are in the sector so make sure you connect with others who are working in similar fields as you would like to get yourself into.

Other advice

Make sure you keep up to date with what is going on in your field (for example in conservation- knowing the latest issues) and continue to learn even after you leave university as you must keep your brain engaged!

Next steps...

If you like the look of Francesca’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Francesca a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Francesca to be your mentor.

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