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Inspirational Woman in Eco Tourism Careers: Taryn Ingram-Gillson

Highly motivated, strong, brave, patient and kind – this is one woman that has truly inspired us over the years. We have been working with Taryn for many years now and have always been so impressed by her positive attitude, her professionalism and her connection with nature. From starting out as a guide to now being a director in a company that deals with many eco-tourism projects, Taryn is truly an inspiration to many men and women in the Eco-Tourism industry. Taryn holds a BSc Honours in zoology, she is a FGASA assessor and FGASA birding specialist for the Savanna and Thicket biomes. Taryn is a CyberTracker Track and Sign Specialist and is the first woman in the world to become a CyberTracker evaluator (in Track and Sign identification and interpretation).

Taryn Ingram-Gillson – Director at Worldwide Experience and owner of Down to Earth Nature Training.

Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to women considering a chosen career/path such as yours?

Be strong in who you are. Take the time to do some regular ‘deep soul work’ and make sure that what you say and do align with your core values. Know what authenticity and integrity mean to you. Learn to stand your ground with grace, but stand your ground when necessary. Write down your goals and plans and check in with them daily, and don’t be afraid to change them as your journey evolves. Build resilience… you will need to bounce back from disappointment, loss and setbacks every now and then so you can keep on keeping on. Remember that you never know who you’re inspiring! Practice self-care – you can’t fill from an empty cup. Enjoy life, grab those moments when you can be carefree, stay spiritually connected to nature. Be actively involved in the conservation community. Be teachable and humble. Commit to making a difference with your life. Inspire. Keep the momentum going up the qualification ladder.

What has been your biggest influence to get you to where you are today?

My love for nature is my primary driving force, and I have always felt compelled to make a meaningful difference in my life while hopefully inspiring others to do the same. A few of my biggest influences are:

  • The South African conservation television show 50/50 which I watched while growing up
  • My cousin Tanya Starck who studied conservation while I was still in school – I saw her as a trailblazer for women who wanted to work in this field
  • Mother Earth and her interconnected web of life
  • But it’s mostly friends and colleagues along the way who have inspired me to keep going, to keep expanding my comfort zone and who have truly helped, challenged or inspired me. There are so many amazing people who have inspired me, too numerous to list on this platform!

What in your career has brought or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfilment?

  • Witnessing students evolve not only as safari guides and trackers but as people. It’s a privilege to be part of other people’s journeys in a way that is positive and inspiring.
  • Developing the Nakavango Conservation Programme in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • Changing people’s lives through providing opportunities – a responsibility and privilege I treasure

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t take everything so seriously! Don’t beat yourself up so much for your mistakes. Trust your instinct, it’s one of your senses and it just knows things!

To connect with Taryn –