GWC recently welcomed its first Chief Marketing Officer, Tabitha Upshaw, who is responsible for the organization’s branding, communications and marketing programs. Tabitha came to GWC from SunPower, a solar company, where she led brand marketing. Before that she led marketing for Dell’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. We caught up with Tabitha about the vital role marketing plays in wildlife conservation, and her vision for bringing GWC’s stories to life.
Q. Why are you passionate about wildlife conservation?
A. I am passionate about wildlife conservation because every living being plays an important role in our planet’s survival. Simply put, humans don’t exist without animals.
For the past 10 years I’ve worked to promote sustainability in the for-profit world, and I’ve learned the health of our planet isn’t a zero-sum game. If we look hard enough, we can find solutions that promote human, animal and environmental progress. One doesn’t need to be sacrificed for the others.
My children also inspire my passion for conservation. When my daughter was younger, she was really interested in sea turtles. We learned all about the perils these guys face. For her birthday, we donated to a local conservation organization who sent us pictures of a nest and hatchlings that we helped protect on the Texas coastline. It was so fun seeing her face when we received those photos!
Q. Why is marketing essential to effective wildlife conservation?
A. Marketing is critical to raising awareness of biodiversity, bringing it to life in a way that people can understand, and then motivating folks to take action.
Also, great marketing can help simplify the world of science and biodiversity into messages that anyone can understand. And in the words of Maya Angelou, “once we know better, we do better.” When people understand how our actions have a domino effect on wildlife, we can make better decisions.
Q. What is your vision for GWC’s marketing efforts?
A. My vision for our marketing is simple. It’s to build an army of loyal fans and donors through great storytelling and content, delivered through leading-edge digital strategies.
Q. What do you love most about the work that you do?
A. There has never been a better time to be a marketer. New technologies help us better understand our fans, so we can deliver stories and content they care about. Technology also helps us reach them with pinpoint accuracy. This doesn’t just benefit marketers, it benefits all of us. We typically don’t mind seeing messages that match our lifestyle and interests. I am not afraid to admit that I click on every athleticwear promotion I see in my Instagram feed!
But what I love most is that I am making a positive difference in the world. Not just for my children, but for generations to come. If we do our job right, future generations won’t think of conservation as a sacrifice. Conservation will be a natural part of everyday life.
Q. What is your favorite wildlife species?
A. This question is like asking me to pick my favorite child. Sorry guys, it’s just not possible! One of my favorite things to do is snorkel, so I am drawn to the beauty of marine life (sans jellyfish…ouch). I also have great affection for marsupials. Let’s give it up to those critter-mamas that carry their babies in built-in Baby Bjorns!