International Women's Day

Friday, 08 March 2024

This International Women’s Day we catch up with our amazing Head of Sanctuaries, Jana.

Hi Jana, tell us a bit about yourself and your current role;

My name is Jana, I am the Head of Sanctuaries for SEA LIFE TRUST, managing two of the charity’s sanctuaries, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and the Beluga Whale Sanctuary.

I oversee the day to day running of the sanctuaries, splitting my time between Cornwall and Iceland! 



What was your journey to becoming Head of Sanctuaries?

From a young age, I harboured a deep passion for animals and a desire to make a difference in their lives and during my early education I also discovered my talent for numbers, business, and finance. I decided to combine my passions and pursued degrees in Business Management and Marketing, setting the foundation for my career.

I studied at University of Alaska and also started working at the Alaska Zoo as an education host, educating visitors about the animals that lived there. Alaska zoo not only had some incredible resident animals, but they also rescued and rehabilitated baby orphan moose and once they were well enough, they would be returned to the wild. I loved it there but wanted to further my studies and to have different experiences as well.

After leaving Alaska I moved to the UK where I finished my Masters in Tourism Management and went to work for SEA LIFE. After 5 years, I was promoted to Head of sanctuaries for the SEA LIFE TRUST overseeing the Cornish Seal Sanctuary here in Cornwall and the Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland which I have been doing for the last two years now.


What do you love about your job?

I love the variety that the position allows, every day is different and has its own challenges to overcome. There could be urgent onsite equipment issues one day, and a wonderful seal pup release the next. I am so passionate about the legacy of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, improving animal welfare and making it an amazing place to work!


Which women inspire you?

Throughout my journey, I have been fortunate to encounter many remarkable individuals who have left an indelible mark on my life. However, one woman stands out above all others - my mother. Growing up in a communist country where women's roles were often confined, she defied societal norms and pursued her passion for engineering, got her higher education degree and eventually establishing her own successful interior design business.

My mother's unwavering determination and fearless spirit served as a beacon of inspiration for me, instilling in me the belief that no dream is too wild and no obstacle too daunting to overcome. Her resilience and tenacity continue to guide me on my journey, reminding me of the importance of courage and perseverance in the face of adversity.