Lisa Wooninck professional headshot and a photo of her in a wetsuit on a beach

Lisa Wooninck | Superintendent

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

What does a typical day look like for you?

This is a new position for me, as I was promoted in November 2021. I spend time engaging with staff either one-on-one, or in teams in support of their work to protect, explore, and learn about Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. I also coordinate across the other sanctuary sites and engage with our partners to advance the sanctuary mission of protect, explore, and learn.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is an incredibly beautiful, diverse and inspirational place. It's a privilege to lead such a talented sanctuary team and engage with our partners and supporters to increase awareness and stewardship of our sanctuary, including promoting sustainable recreation in the sanctuary.

What if any challenges have you faced as a woman in an ocean-related career?

I have been lucky to have been part of a cohort of talented and generous women in marine sciences and conservation throughout my studies and career. We share career advice, celebrate each other's successes and commiserate over our adversity. I've also had women leaders to look up to and mentor me in my field and at NOAA (such as Dr. Jane Lubchenco, former NOAA administrator and Donna Wieting, director of the NOAA Office of Protected Resources) which has been hugely instructive and affirming.

What is one piece of advice you would share with someone who might be thinking of pursuing your career path?

Follow your passion and get out there and intern or volunteer for a day, week, or month to see if marine science or conservation is for you. It's not all about academics: you need to know how to function as a team member. From there, build your network, follow your dreams, and enjoy!