Member Profile – Q&A with Anna Chaffey CSci, CMarSci, MIMarEST
More than 20 years into a career that began in marine archaeology before transitioning to marine environmental consultancy, Anna Chaffey CSci, CMarSci is inspired by the developing opportunities presented by marine renewables – and a keen advocate for the value of mentoring.
What should IMarEST members know about you?
I’m a marine environmental consultant, working in the field of marine science for over two decades. I was born in Nigeria and moved to the UK as a teenager. I’m married with two primary school age children. Outside of work, I’m a beaver leader in my local scout group and love the outdoors, from being at the beach to walks in the countryside.
What inspired you to join the maritime industry – and why?
I love the water, being in and on it, and it is this love for the marine environment that has directed my career. I also wanted to be in a position where I can actively contribute to a sustainable environment for future generations.
Describe your early career.
I started out as marine archaeologist, where I was the computing specialist during archaeological surveys. Initial questions regarding the potential for archaeology (both maritime and prehistoric landscapes) versus natural seabed features led to me completing an MSc and then eventually a PhD with a focus on regional scale seabed morphodynamics. This marked my transition into the physical environment side of marine science. Since then, I have been in consultancies, providing the specialism in relation to offshore, coastal and estuarine environments.
How did you get to your current role?
My previous roles were in consultancies where I would only be involved in projects for a relatively short period of time while addressing particular client requirements. However, I wanted the challenge of being involved over a longer period of the project lifecycle, with secondment opportunities into developer firms.
Describe maritime’s biggest challenges.
Coming from the perspective of a marine scientist supporting developments in the marine environment, there are multiple challenges – however, these in turn lead to innovation and strategic progress. Reducing carbon emissions to tackle climate change in line with government and international goals is generating growth, however this is not always aligned with regulatory timescales and supply chain necessities. There is also a lot of competition for marine space with the requirement for co-management, strategic collaboration and sustainable use.
What are you most passionate about in maritime today?
I find the energy transition and the incredible growth of marine renewables very interesting, as it provides a lot of opportunities for organisations and individuals to upskill. In my current role I am supporting non-offshore wind marine renewables projects, many of which are still at concept development stage, and working towards buildout. It’s great to be working, supporting and contributing to innovation that facilitates the global move towards energy transition.
When did you join the IMarEST and what does it mean for you?
I joined quite late in 2019, although I was aware of IMarEST as a marine archaeologist back in 2003. My initial hinderance was confidence in having the demonstrable knowledge and experience to meet membership requirements. It was important for me in joining, as it was opportunity for networking with other professionals and experts in the marine industry. I also used it for informal mentoring to support my career progression. I’m an advocate for mentoring and it’s something I have supported promoting in IMarEST.
What’s the best career advice you’ve been given?
It was from a motivational speaker, so not directed personally at me, but the advice was about building resilience, focussing and working through adversity – which is applicable to my career but also life in general.
And what advice do you give to those starting out?
I regularly tell colleagues I’m supporting not to be afraid to ask questions and seek support. Do be prepared to throw yourself into your work and be engaged with what you do, but do not be afraid to reach out for help and guidance.
What’s next for you?
I believe there is always scope for continuous learning and development, so for me it’ll be the next challenge that helps me to develop further, while making contributions in my area of expertise.
To find out about mentoring and other volunteering opportunities, please get in touch with our membership team at [email protected]
Amy McLellan is a journalist and author. She was previously editor of Energy Day. Twitter @AmyMcLellan2