Jennifer has been a huge part of our journey since we started Ulovane way back in 2005. We have been neighbours, co-workers, friends and our children grew up exploring Brentwood farm together. 15 Years ago Jenn welcomed us into her home and life when we arrived in the Eastern Cape not knowing a soul, for that we are so thankful. Her love of nature, combined with her passion for teaching children has always been a huge inspiration to us. She really is one in a million and we feel blessed to be apart of her drive to educate future generations about conservation!
Dr Jennifer Gush: Director of Amakhala Foundation
I have always known in my heart that I wanted to teach. I thought I was heading for a traditional teaching career in a classroom. Marriage, being part of a family that created a game reserve and living in the bush changed that. I have ended up teaching children in the outdoors about nature. This is a huge privilege. The greatest thrill for me is watching children engage with nature –either seeing the big, charismatic mammals for the first time or realising that small creatures like ants and lizards are important. Watching children engage with nature is deeply satisfying and knowing that I can help facilitate that experience is most rewarding.
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to women considering a chosen career/path such as yours?
Be aware that careers and opportunities change all the time. Think broadly about what you hope your life’s work will be and don’t assume that you have to stay within the same career for your whole life. The world is changing rapidly and we can’t begin to imagine what jobs the future holds. Be adaptable but true to your passion; which is my case is teaching and nature.
What has been your biggest influence to get you to where you are today?
The biggest influence of where I find myself today has been the support of my family (including my super-supportive husband) and my friends who believe in a “can do” attitude and have always encouraged me to keep working towards my goals and that anything is possible. As Nelson Mandela puts it – “It always seems impossible, until it’s done”. My faith has also helped me enormously.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To my younger self –dream bigger and plunge into the unknown sooner–you never know where it will take you. Trust your intuition and choose a career that satisfies your soul.