Exciting Plans for GFWC in 2016

(2016-02-26) My first year as Executive Director of Global Forest Watch Canada (GWFC) was a very busy and exhilarating year (it was so busy that I am only writing this in month 14). Taking over an organisation requires lots of learning, as I discovered throughout the course of 2015, and it can be exhausting too. After taking time to get to know the organization, its strengths and limitations, I have begun to make many changes, including moving our office to Ottawa. There are many more changes ahead in 2016 as we must move with the times and the advent of new technologies and big data.  

Of course, GFWC has always done great work, so we will retain many of our core functions such as updating national datasets on development activities. Also, as we always want to produce the best datasets and maps possible, we will retain our commitment to reviewing new products. 

On a broader note about our work, I had the pleasure of participating in my first Global Forest Watch (GFW) partnership meeting in Washington DC in early February. GFWC has been a partner in the GFW initiative since the beginning. With the wide array of organisations now involved, the opportunities for exploring new solutions for old problems, or new solutions for new problems, seems limitless. The speed and range of technologies now available is certainly exciting. I returned to Canada with new inspiration and many ideas for how to move GFWC forward as its own organisation and as a member of the GFW partnership. I thank all those at the World Resources Institute and other partners for an informative and productive meeting. See www.globalforestwatch.org for more information on the partnership and its work. 

On a personal level, 2016 will be an exciting and fulfilling year. Not only am I helping to reshape an organisation I co-founded 15 years ago, I am participating in an amazing strategic leadership programme with 77 other women, which will culminate in a three week trip to Antartica in December 2016. The programme will involve strategic leadership training combined with a science education programme on climate, biological and earth system research. The aim of the programme is to: elevate each participant's leadership capabilities; educate the participants on how polar science can tell us what is happening to the planet; and refine their skills to design and execute strategy, and to devise plans for future colloborations as women working towards a sustainable future. The programme focuses on women for a number of reasons including the underrepresentation of women globally in leadership positions. As this is only the first year of a planned ten-year initiative, I highly recommend other women with science backgrounds explore the opportunity for future years. Check it out at: http://homewardboundprojects.com.au/.
 
I plan to blog this year both about my journey as ED of GFWC and as a member of the first contigent of Homeward Bound. These are exciting times so please stay tuned and follow Global Forest Watch Canada during 2016. I hope you will like what you see GFWC produce in the months ahead.
 
Here is to an exciting year ahead.
 
-Wynet
 
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