A Big Thank You To Amy Kerr
Nonprofits are built on the backs of the staff, volunteers, interns and board members, people who give it their all with far less recognition or compensation than they deserve.
Moving from the woods of Lincoln, MA to the Gloucester waterfront was a big change for Ocean Alliance. We had been in our Lincoln offices for over 35 years, so the move to Gloucester was overwhelming on many levels – to this day we are still unpacking boxes.
I like to say that we are a 43 year old start up, since the move to Gloucester for us was not just a move in location, but a move in a new direction for the organization. One thing we knew almost nothing about – and did nothing with prior to our move – was social media, yet clearly we needed a way to let both our new community and old friends know what was going on with the organization. As we settled into our new home in Gloucester we did not have a social media plan or budget – so it was going nowhere.
When you have lived with someone for over 20 years, you think that you know them. I will admit that my wife Amy surprised me one day almost 2 years ago when she said, “You have to get going with Social Media. I’m willing to pick up the reins.” Amy is not a technology-focused person or a whale person, she is an artist. Those of you that know her know that she is deeply committed to the environment. For example, Amy started her own group, Clean Gloucester, that meets every weekend spring, summer, and fall to collect litter around the city.
Amy has supported me and guided me through thick and thin over the last 20-plus years. That said, taking over the social media aspect of Ocean Alliance was not a role that she had trained for, or (dare I say) dreamed of. The rest of this story is easy for me to tell, as our social media pages speak for themselves. Amy did not do a good job – she did a great job. She excelled in this role. Starting at roughly 500 followers when she picked up the reins, we now have almost 10,000 followers from around the globe on our Facebook page alone, and many thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram as well.
Amy gave far more than the 10 hours a week that she planned on. More important to the organization and to myself, however, was the leadership role she played with the staff and volunteers and the style she gave our social media presence. There’s an old saying that good interviews come not from the interviewee, but from the interviewers who ask the right questions and know how to get the story out of people. Amy knew how to get the story out of people, whether it be hard science or trivia. She gave our Social Media great balance and perspective. Hers was not a voice of despair as to the plight of our oceans, but a voice of concern, reason and hope. Instead of pessimism towards the ecological damage done to the oceans, she instead provided suggestions for making a difference to our followers.
Clearly I married this woman because I think that she is remarkable. While Friday the 30th of January was her last day as Ocean Alliance’s Social Media Manager, she has proved to me once again how remarkable she is, and how we can all swim into deeper waters that we might be comfortable with and in doing so, affect real and positive change. Thank you, Amy, for giving Ocean Alliance a powerful platform to speak from and for giving voice to the animals who cannot speak in their own defense.
We are grateful beyond measure.
– Iain Kerr, CEO, Ocean Alliance