This spring we welcomed Alex Quintero to the GWC team as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). As COO, Alex is responsible for the day-to-day administration and operations of GWC, which includes the areas of finance, accounting, human resources, fundraising, facilities and general administration. Prior to joining GWC, Alex worked for The Nature Conservancy for 18 years, where he wore many hats. Most recently, he was TNC’s director of operations for the North America Region.We checked in with Alex about what appealed to him most about joining the GWC team and why he’s passionate about helping save wildlife.
Q. What about GWC’s mission drew you to the organization?
A. I’ve been lucky enough to work in the conservation sector for the last 18 years. I’ve come to truly appreciate the inimitable work of scientists who continue to discover new truths about the world around us. GWC uses a science-based approach to drive conservation impact while focusing on wildlife, wildlands and guardians. While it may seem like these are three separate elements, they are interconnected and mutually dependent, just as all of us are on this planet we call home. No one element can exist without the other, and by benefiting one you benefit us all.
Q. Why are you committed to GWC’s mission?
A. John Sawhill, a former CEO of The Nature Conservancy, once said: “A society is defined not only by what it creates but also by what it refuses to destroy.” I believe in leaving things better than I found them. That includes this planet we call home. We share a responsibility to protect species, lands and waters for future generations. Every day is a miracle when you consider the fragile balance, the perfect harmony, of ecological systems that sustains all life on Earth.
Q. How did you develop your passion for wildlife conservation?
A. I was lucky enough grow up in the generation that learned not to take nature for granted. I have always loved to explore, and to find great solace in nature. I can remember watching hours upon hours of nature shows on TV with my father, being amazed by the sheer variety of life. I want my legacy to be that same sense of wonder for my children (and yours).
Q. In what ways will you support wildlife conservation at GWC?
A. As the Chief Operating Officer, my job is to manage the business of GWC. We are a non-profit organization. That means we have been entrusted by the public to receive charitable donations from individuals who want to create a legacy of conservation. My job is to ensure that every dollar we receive is used as efficiently and effectively as possible for the greatest impact. Non-profits must also do all of the things that a normal business must do (and more!). I manage day-to-day operations, and take care of our staff and partners, so that they can focus their skills and passions to advance our mission.
Q. What most excites you about this new role?
A. GWC is a small, nimble, and dynamic organization made up of incredible people and partners who change the world every day. The organization has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years. We have an incredible opportunity to build an institution that will have a lasting impact for years to come. I’m thrilled to be able to bring my almost two decades of experience to the organization, and add value in any and every way that I can!
Q. What is your favorite wildlife species? Why?
A. I have a deep love of all things marine. I have gone swimming with manatees, sharks, sea turtles, and whale sharks. I’ve always been fascinated by the creatures that swim, crawl and float in our oceans. There is still so much mystery in our seas, and so much to learn about: from tiny phytoplankton that sustain so much life in our oceans, to blue whales (the largest creature on the planet). I couldn’t pick just one!