Rodney Russ | Biologist and Founder of Heritage Expeditions
Rodney Russ worked for 12 years as a biologist for New Zealand Wildlife Service and it was during this work that he came to appreciate the importance of advocacy as a conservation tool. He then chartered his own vessel and advertised expeditions to the Sub-antarctic Islands, Antarctica, Pacific and more recently the Russian Far East. He is the owner, founder and expedition leader of Heritage Expeditions. In 2006 Heritage Expeditions pioneered a series of expedition cruises to the Russian Far East which have grown in popularity.
My Key Strength | I once read that “if you find a door shut, don’t just stand there banging on it find a window to climb through”. In my business career I have found many doors shut but I am really focused and believe in what I’m doing and so I never give up. Rather than give up or compromise my dream, I will find another way to achieve the same goal or outcome.
I use to make the mistake of “banging on the door too long and too loudly” (making a lot of noise about these problems) but I have learnt to recognize when a door is not going to open so now I quietly go about the business of finding another way to do the same thing … and before the critics and opponents realize it we have overtaken them and they are the ones trying to catch up.. whereas when I made a lot of noise about it they knew where I was all the time so they could follow my progress and be ahead of me.
So I guess a belief in what you are doing and a persistence to achieve it are essential.
Resources I Use | I read widely and often. I am inspired by ordinary people who have refused to accept “No” for an answer, those people who have followed their dreams, gone down but have risen up again (and again), those with a “passion” for life. Ordinary people with extraordinary lives. Those are the people that inspire me and for many years, I have kept a notebook and written down inspirational quotes/statements/ideas from these books/people. The notebook lies on my desk and it is amazing how frequently I flick through it and are reminded, encouraged and humbled.
I seek out wilderness experiences … I am fortunate that the majority of my work is in wilderness areas, vast oceans and remote islands are my “cathedrals” inspiring, uplifting and challenging.
I seek out like minded people … there is a lot of truth in the fact that you become like the people you associate with …I avoid negative, unhappy people, you don’t find them in wilderness areas anyway.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | Simply a better world .. a healthy world in which we (people) learn to live in harmony with Nature and where we take our responsibilities to the natural world seriously, pay more than lip service.
I Am Inspired By | This might sound crazy .. but Jonathan Livingstone’s Seagull in Richard Bach’s book of the same title inspired and still inspires me more than anything/body else. I identify with that seagull… It is OK to be different, you don’t have to follow the crowds. You can do your own thing. Jonathan is my role model.
The Best Advice I’ve Received |A quote that I have made my mantra for living “ What the mind can conceive and believe the body can achieve” Note: the two very important stages in this quote. Firstly conceive (the dream) secondly you have to believe it. Too many people miss out this second step and wonder why they fell over or fell short.
What Drives Me | In the words of the Lorax (Dr Seuss’s Book) “Unless”. “Unless somebody like you cares an awful lot, nothing will get better”. Conservation of the natural world is not optional. It is obligatory for all of us.
My Highlights | Two things stand out for me. One is the involvement of our company in several international conservation efforts. One of the major ones has been the project Birdlife International and Birds Russia on the Spoon-billed Sand Piper in the Russian Far East. The second highlight is the establishment of a family trust that has sponsored a significant number of young people to be part of expeditions to remote islands in the sub Antarctic and Antarctica.
How To Inspire Others | By having shared goals and visions. A goal and a vision that is shared and owned by everybody is much more attainable than if you are trying to drag everybody along with you. It is important that milestones along the way are acknowledged and rewarded (not necessarily financially). A sense of belonging and ownership of the goal and vision by everybody is encouraged. It is a team and there is no “i” in Team.
Performing At My Peak | I wish I could say I was always performing at my peak. I don’t but I do try hard. The key for me is ensuring that I eat healthy, exercise regularly and ensure that I have enough sleep. It is important to be in tune with and be attentive to your own personal body rhythms. For example I know that I don’t function at full capacity in the late evenings, but I work very well early mornings. So I schedule my work around those times. I am most creative before dawn so that is when I schedule creative work. Everybody’s body rhythms are different and it is important to get in tune with your own. Eat well and exercise regularly.
Useful Links |