Start year: 2017
Work location: Manchester, UK
Why do you work for Patagonia?
“Not bound by convention” - to work for a company that uses this as an unofficial motto is amazing. For any other company, a jacket torn in half would mean either having to buy a replacement or being given a brand new one and the old jacket going to waste. Patagonia will repair your jacket, either for free or for a small fee.
What was your path to Patagonia?
In 2017, after finishing my Masters degree in Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology, my friend asked me to join him on a road trip that would take us around the Pacific North West, Rocky Mountains, the High Deserts of Utah, Arizona and Nevada, plus several US and Canadian National Parks. How could I say no?
On the road trip, the first thing I bought was a cap from Patagonia Santa Cruz as we were about to start heading inland to the deserts the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite Nation Park. The faithful trucker cap kept my head shaded in the sweltering - 85m below sea level - depths of the Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park. It was with me on the snowy peaks of Sierra Nevada mountain passes and the geysers of Yellowstone National Park. But, somewhere along the way, it broke.
I was gutted and when we got back to Banff in Canada, I popped into the Patagonia store to tell them of my crazy adventures with the cap. With not a moment’s hesitation, the member of staff offered me a new one and to recycle my old one for me. Right there and then, I decided I wanted to work for a company that not only made amazing gear but owned it when it broke and made me, as a customer, feel I was special, and I was part of the club.
What are you passionate about?
I'm really passionate about intersectional environmentalism in the outdoors, as well as representation of the LGBTQIA+ and disabled community. There is a stereotypical view of the outdoors that bars many who don't identify with the current status quo from engaging, or feeling comfortable to be themselves when doing the sports they love. Until this is tackled, head on, and we start to see change, this image will just self perpetuate - a feedback loop that keeps people from participating if they don't fit the standard norms seen in the outdoors.
Tell us about your environmental internship.
I spent a great week working with EcoAlbania on the cessation of dam building on the Vjosa river. It was a crazy week of earthquakes, rainstorms and five-hour minibus rides, where the amount of livestock on board outnumbered the amount of seat belts.
I got to visit a part of Albania that very few visitors ever see - and they are missing out. It’s a beautiful country with turquoise blue rivers and the most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. All of this is at risk of exploitation by big companies - many from outside of Albania.