In this episode, I’m chatting with Jawnie Payne, who is revolutionizing the look of conservation. We explore her decision late in college to change her major and pursue zookeeping. She gives a perfect blueprint to follow for anyone contemplating entering this field.
We also dive deep into what it’s like being a black zookeeper. I highly recommend that anyone who’s in charge of hiring at their conservation organization listen to what she has to say. It’s also important for everyone else, just all of you executives really keep an ear open and take some notes.
Here is my convo with Jawnie:
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- What was stage one of starting your zookeeping career? [2:45]
- So how were you able to wedge your way into more of that side of the animal care/zookeeping field (from conservation education)? [14:29]
- Jawnie and I discuss the common misconceptions of zoos and their role in conservation. [27:00]
- Jawnie and I chat about how to research if a zoo is good to visit or if it’s some hell hole like Tiger King. [35:53]
- What made you decide to take that route (her strong social presence) to go beyond just what you do at work to really engage a global community in [zookeeping]? [41:40]
- Jawnie talks about her experiences as a black woman in the mostly-white zookeeping field. [42:44]
- Jawnie and I talk about the Black Live Matter protests that she attended in Nashville. [51:11]
- Since zoos historically look a certain way, what do you think conservation organizations or HR managers or whoever is responsible for recruiting for those roles can do to mix it up so that not everybody looks alike? [58:30]
- So what do you think is like success for you? When do you think you will feel fulfilled and whatever that means for you? [01:05:24]
- Parting thoughts. [01:16:39]
Download the full transcript below.
- Jawnie’s Instagram: @zookeeperjawnie
- Jawnie’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Jawniep1
- Global Field Program: https://projectdragonfly.miamioh.edu/global-field-program/