Sonia Cassidy

Field: Global Catastrophic Risk

Position & Organization: Director Of Operations, Alliance to Feed the Earth in Disasters (ALLFED)

How did you get started in this field? A friend asked what I was doing at the weekend and if I could help out. I said yes. The “helping out” turned out to be the 2017 “Existential risk to humanity” conference (Chalmers, Gothenburg). So I flew to Sweden at a moment’s notice to assist with running ALLFED’s pre-conference workshop. This is how I transitioned from previous business continuity, operations, management and crisis communications background to GCR.

What do you like about your work? Learning about the science and the geeky parts of it. Also hope, which is central to the work of ALLFED. Being involved in an organisation which is working towards “Feeding everyone no matter what” seems worthwhile. I also like the thought of potentially not only contributing to the food security of mankind in the event of a catastrophe but also helping preserve biodiversity while at it.

What do you not like about your work? In truth, I am at a stage of my life when I do not do many things I dislike without a very good reason. If you are asking about what aspects of my work are least enjoyable, we all have some… For me, it’s whatever is not an effective use of my time.

Do you have any advice for women who want to enter this field? Go for it and be ready to be surprised. The conversations you will be a part of may end up shaping the future so rid yourself of preconceptions and approach them with an open mind. Keep your creativity flowing as ideas and opportunities can come from the most unlikely places. Do not ever underestimate yourself and what women bring into the world, this field or any other. Our talents and skills are needed, and so are you!

What makes you hopeful for the future? Emergent social and political movements and the new awareness growing around our planet and our stewardship of it. The science of our time is also very exciting indeed.

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