If you've had the chance to meet Ann Lamont, the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation's new Executive Chairperson, you'll know that passion and love for the oceans are at the heart of the organisation's new leadership. Ann took the reigns of the Foundation in April 2021, taking on the role from outgoing chair Maryke Musson. The Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation is the NPO/PBO partner of the Two Oceans Aquarium and focuses on education, conservation and research work.
Ann has always believed in working towards the future health of the ocean, through strong partnerships with organisations involved in conservation, education and research. When she was first introduced to the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation through her strategy and partnership work with the V&A Waterfront, she immediately knew her values were aligned. Ann's incredible experience and proven leadership, together with her strong commitment to social and environmental justice in South Africa and abroad in roles like the Interim Executive Director of Greenpeace Africa has made her the ideal candidate for taking on the leadership of the Aquarium Foundation.
“Anything blue is my cathedral. I might not have grown up near the ocean, but the ocean is certainly part of who I am. The beauty of the ocean and everything in it is so critical to our survival,” said Ann, who loves spending time in the ocean, be it cold-water swimming, or scuba diving and, with gratitude, shares this amazing underwater space with its inhabitants every chance she gets.
Ann believes that partnerships between entities like the V&A Waterfront, its tenants and the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation are critical for the furthering of ocean education. “What attracted me to the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation initially was the possibilities of future collaborations around ocean education".
“This is a very exciting time in which there is deep commitment to the ocean and where, after the setbacks of 2020, the responsibility to “build back better” is so prominent and vital. I have always taken the view that the line between public benefit organisations, NGOs and companies is shifting and changing as companies become more purpose-based.” Ann wants to see the projects of the Aquarium Foundation expand and for it to work in a collaborative way with relevant stakeholders, foundations, corporates and global players who are interested in what the Foundation is doing to further education, conservation and research in the marine environment.
According to Ann, corporate thinking broadly, and at the Waterfront explicitly, has evolved beyond seeing corporate social investment as a separate pillar or as standalone projects within the business, and is moving towards a broader view of corporate alignment and sustainable giving. The Waterfront in fact formally adopted a Shared Value Ecosystem strategy in early 2019.
She is also adamant about the link between social and environmental justice and that business has a role to play in both of these. “There will be no social justice, without environmental justice. If you don’t look after the environment, you simply do not look after people. We have to ensure that we embed this message in the business context.”
As the new Executive Chairperson of the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, Ann invites both the general public and companies to be part of the Foundation’s future by committing to ocean education and awareness, through participating and supporting the Foundation’s awareness programmes. “It is up to all of us to educate ourselves, and our families about what is happening to the ocean, from a sustainability and climate perspective. Where feasible it would be great to have more people contribute to our programmes, whether it is financially, through participating in beach cleanups, or supporting the outreach programmes that the Foundation undertakes.”
With her extensive knowledge and history of serving on not-for-profit boards, as well as being a Synergos Senior Fellow and Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellow, Ann will certainly be a great asset to the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation. We look forward to watching the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation grow and expand under her leadership!
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