Like many fresh graduates, Anna left university with an open mind. She wasn’t sure exactly where life would take her, but knew that she wanted to make a difference in the Philippines and inspire others.
From passion to business
In 2011, an illegal wildlife trade issue exploded in the Filipino news, and Anna met a few likeminded individuals online, who were all passionate about the issue. The was the start of Save Philippines Seas (SPS), which at the time was an online advocacy.
After the trade issue had died down, Anna’s love for her country and desire to help preserve its natural beauty inspired her to continue with SPS and turn it into something more. She continued as an Executive Director and “Chief Mermaid”, and started working full time in conservation and development.
Through Anna’s work, SPS is now a non-profit organisation that aims to protect the country’s rich, but threatened coastal and marine resources through education, information, and community based projects.
Inspiring change through education
Anna envisions a Philippines where every single Filipino loves and commits to the protection and restoration of the country’s wellbeing. Her ultimate goal is to make quality environmental education accessible to every Filipino, and to establish a world-class shark and ray sanctuary.
Each day Anna works to inspire others to become aware of the environmental issues around them and help preserve the world’s delicate marine life. She wants the beauty of our oceans to be enjoyed by many generations to come.
Growing stronger with challenges
Running SPS didn’t come without its fair share of difficulties. “There are two challenges that never go away when you run an enterprise: managing finances and managing people,” Anna explains. “The only way to overcome them is to keep moving, show results, and talk to staff members.”
She also advises all entrepreneurs to learn all the aspects of their business. “That way, as your enterprise grows, you know right away if something doesn’t look right.”
Anna uses Facebook as her primary marketing platform. “If there were no Facebook, there would probably be no SPS. Facebook has been our main mode of communication to promote our cause and projects, and reach seatizens not just in the Philippines but all over the world.”
Anna also believes the support and encouragement from her family and friends is what keeps her energised, everyday. “Have a small but solid group of friends to keep you grounded, encouraged, and inspired.”