The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation has welcomed its new Executive Chairperson, Ann Lamont. Ann took over the reins from Maryke Musson who headed up the Foundation since its establishment at the beginning of 2020, until April of this year. The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation is the NPO / PBO partner of the Two Oceans Aquarium and focuses on education, conservation and research work.
Ann was first introduced to the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation through her strategy work and partnership with the V&A Waterfront. The Aquarium Foundation’s greater goal is very close to her own heart – the future health of the ocean, through conservation, education, research and partnerships. Ann’s strong strategic and operational skills and a proven leadership track record, both as a social entrepreneur and in leadership roles in multi-nationals, made her the perfect candidate to take over the leadership of the Aquarium Foundation. Her commitment to social and environmental justice has meant that Ann has spent a significant part of her career working in the development sector, both in South Africa and other African countries and worked as the Interim Executive Director of Greenpeace Africa. She relished the opportunity to head up a fairly new and growing NGO in the Aquarium Foundation.
Ann 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. “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.”
Ann believes that partnerships between entities like the V&A Waterfront, its tenants and the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation are critical for the furthering of ocean education. “What attracted me to the Two Oceans Aquarium Education 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 Education Foundation. Ann invites both 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 Education Foundation. We look forward to watching the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation grow and expand under her leadership.