The purpose of life is to live a life with a purpose. When Farrah E. Smith read a quote by Winston Churchill, “To each, there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for what could have been their finest hour,” she felt disappointed, feeling that she wasn’t preparing for her moment to make a difference in the world.
While climbing the corporate ladder, Farrah steered away from her passion for kids and animals and found herself feeling unfilled professionally. She determined the best way to impact the causes she cared about and have a more meaningful career was to transition to the non-profit sector. Then, she came across the show “Whale Wars” on Animal Planet and loved how the brave Sea Shepherd crew put their lives on the line to save whales, thinking to herself that these were people living a life of purpose and passion.
Igniting the spark within herself, Farrah landed a job at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), and now a decade later, she is the Director of Major Gifts at SSCS. Farrah is responsible for strategic relationships with major donors, foundations, celebrities, and advisory board members. In addition, she oversees Sea Shepherd Productions, a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society subsidiary that develops docu-series content for film, TV, and new media.
Finding a Cause that Matter Most
Farrah years spent working with wealthy and high-profile clientele and hosting events for the entertainment industry were all preparing her to be the right person, with the proper skill set and the perfect connections to make a difference at her favorite charity. All the relationships Farrah had made over the previous ten years in Los Angeles and Las Vegas came to be invaluable in her new role at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Over the past decade, Farrah has had the incredible opportunity to raise millions of dollars to help protect the ocean and save marine wildlife. She feels honored to be a Sea Shepherd and surrounded by such devoted and passionate individuals, all of whom she considers heroes. Farrah is grateful to finally be living a life of purpose, impacting two of the causes that matter to her the most, ocean conservation and animal welfare.
Protecting Ecosystems and Species
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is an international non-profit marine wildlife conservation organization. Sea Shepherd’s mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Its engagement model provides unique, at sea resources to assist, serve, and support developing coastal and island governments in protecting their sovereign waters against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Sea Shepherd’s primary goal is to significantly enhance a government’s capacity to patrol, monitor, and enforce its laws.
Saving a Lot More Lives with New Approach
Farrah notes, “Sea Shepherd has grown and evolved quite a bit over the last few years. Of course, we have always been an anti-poaching organization. However, we save many more lives with its new approach of partnering with governments to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.”
It can be seen that the model of cooperating with government bodies worldwide is showing increasingly good results. For example, just in Africa alone, Sea Shepherd works with eight coastal states has resulted in the arrest of over 70 vessels for illegal fishing and other fisheries crimes. Over the past five years, Sea Shepherd assisted law enforcers from its partner governments as they arrested dozens of vessels resulting in numerous successful prosecutions. These efforts increased monetary recoveries for its partners, reduced subsequent maritime crimes, and helped restore fish populations.
Tackling Most Critical Issues with Awareness, Cooperation, and Education
Farrah states that Sea Shepherd is the only organization with ships on the frontline stopping wealthy industrial fishing companies from the World’s wealthiest countries from stealing from some of the World’s poorest people. Not to mention, labor abuse is rampant in the illegal fishing arena, with some fishers kept at sea for months to years without pay or adequate shelter. By working with governments to intercept IUU vessels, Sea Shepherd is also impacting human rights issues. Farrah believes that cooperation, awareness, and education are the way forward to tackle the most critical issues we face today, climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution, or social justice.
Leading a Fight for Protecting Marine Wildlife
Sea Shepherd is leading the worldwide fight to protect marine wildlife against the deadly threat of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing by using its ships, cameras, and crew to investigate and document what is happening at sea.
Farah expresses that Sea Shepherd uses technology to track down illegal poachers and report their activity to the appropriate authorities and expose the fishing industry’s impact on the World’s oceans to the public at large. Sea Shepherd’s campaigns in African waters were recently featured in National Geographic’s Trafficked, hosted by Mariana van Zeller. In addition, SSCS’s work combatting IUU fishing was also featured in the groundbreaking Netflix Original documentary Seaspiracy.
People can see Sea Shepherd’s challenging mission to protect the most endangered marine mammal in the World in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film Sea of Shadows as well. Sea Shepherd has always said the camera is one of the greatest tools for change, and that is even more true now that their work is being highlighted on global media platforms like Netflix.
Expanding Conservation Role Globally
Sea Shepherd’s Conservation program joins with the nations of the world in the goal of protecting at least 30 percent of oceans by the year 2030, a target endorsed by more than 100 countries at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Sea Shepherd has been instrumental in establishing shark sanctuaries in Gabon and Palau. Currently, it is partners guiding the development of the proposed UN High Seas Treaty, which seeks to create legally binding MPAs within nearly 50% of the planet currently without protection. Through local partnerships, coalition building with NGOs, and sustained emphasis on building country partnerships, Sea Shepherd will expand its critical conservation role in Central and South America, along the coast of Africa, across the Mediterranean, and in the Western Pacific.