Today we had the opportunity to interview Shana Gavron.
Shana was always a nature enthusiast and it became clear to her that her passion for wildlife needed to be more than just an interest. She found the perfect opportunity when she stumbled upon Conservation Finance, which is where investment banking meets environmentalism in a way never seen before. Her first college degree was in Finance.
After 15 years of hard work with very little time spent on pursuing what really mattered-her love for animals – she finally decided to take matters into her own hands and followed through with plans from many years ago: Endangered Wildlife OU.
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Table of Contents
Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Shana Gavron: After I completed my Masters degree in Finance, I had the opportunity to do a Masters degree in Wildlife Management. While doing the dissertation, I realised that a gap exists between conservation and finance, and so I set out with the bold aim of finding a solution over time. I then started my career in investment banking, but, after 15 years, I finally decided that it was time to pursue my passion. That is when I decided to start Endangered Wildlife OU and decided to really set out to achieve the goal I had set myself so many years ago.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Shana Gavron: One of the hardest parts of the development of Endangered Wildlife OU was to find a way to bring such a complex concept to reality. However, whenever there were doubts, my team has been there and I have been blessed with a passionate, determined team that has bonded amazingly well and everyone is determined to achieve the same goal.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Shana Gavron: Probably the worst advice that I received was to try to fit the business into a more traditional box. Fortunately, I have never followed this advice because I do not think that we would have reached the point we are at if we had tried to conform to more traditional methods.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Shana Gavron: In many ways the pandemic has benefited the company. It has allowed for increased exposure and meetings that would not have necessarily been possible without the shift to remote working. Even with online shopping, in ways this has made things easier for the company due to increased awareness of and accessibility to products and services.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Shana Gavron: Where we are really unique is that we actually place a justifiable financial value on biodiversity. And this is not in a general sense, it is on an individual species and location basis. There is nobody else who is doing this. Additionally, we take a multidisciplinary approach, which gives us more flexibility and use compared to our closest competitors.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Shana Gavron: Besides having the knowledge and background, my greatest strength is the word that people always mention when speaking to me – “PASSION”. I am always told by different company stakeholders that I am so passionate about my company and what we are doing, and that this passion always comes through strongly.
What’s your favorite leadership style and why?
Shana Gavron: Even though I do have strong opinions, I try to be a democratic leader and give responsibility to the team. We generally make more significant strategic decisions together as a team as I do value everyone’s input.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Shana Gavron: I would certainly hope my personal brand reflects the company’s values. It is something that I strive for – the company reflects my ideals and values and I would hope that this is apparent.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Shana Gavron: I think the main thing is to follow your passion and never to let anyone tell you that something is impossible. Yes, it is necessary to be a realist, but if you have an idea you believe in and are passionate about it, never give up on that. It may take time to achieve, but, in the end, it is a very satisfying feeling to see a business concept realised.
Rey Perez, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Shana for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Shana or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.