IPNLF strengthens its senior management team with two new additions

The International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) has hired two new senior team members to strengthen its efforts in fundraising, marketing and communications, and consolidating its regional program in North America.

Kama Dean Fitz joins IPNLF as its new Americas Director, and Philippine Wouters will serve as the organization’s communications manager. Both hires arrive as the world is grappling with the fast-changing developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, IPNLF noted.

“With approximately 800 million people dependent upon fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods around the world and with 108 million people working in small-scale fisheries, the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) is the only non-profit association that is solely committed to promoting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains. As we still need to continue to create the biggest impact – when and however we can, IPNLF is strengthening its senior management team with these two key appointments,” the organization said in a press release.

According to IPNLF Managing Director Martin Purves, hiring Fitz and Wouters aligns with the organizations five-year strategic plan, to be released soon.

"Despite the difficult times our fisheries and fishing communities are currently facing, IPNLF will continue to support the one-by-one tuna fisheries we work with, both at sea and on land, where there are many communities that depend on them for their livelihoods. These excellent additions to our team are in line with our new five-year strategic plan, which will be publicly launched in the near future,” Purves said.

Fitz, as IPNLF’s Americas Director, will oversee IPNLF’s development and fundraising efforts as well as membership outreach and relationships in North America. As necessary, she will also spend a small amount of time supporting developing work in Latin America, IPNLF said. In addition to her time working with the organization, Fitz will help with other consulting projects including the Oak Foundation, in a program officer role with Oak-grantee WorldFish; managing the Oak and Walton-funded Small Scale Fisheries Funders Network, where she works with ocean conservation and sustainable food system funders interested in supporting SSFs; providing technical development support to the Multiplier Sustainable Seafood Fund, a forgivable loan program for seafood companies engaging in fisheries sustainability; and overseeing a Packard-funded organizational effectiveness project with FishChoice.

Prior to joining IPNLF, Fitz served as a program officer with the Walton Family Foundation and The Ocean Foundation. She also founded and worked as an executive director of a nonprofit focused on sustainable resource management (fisheries, fresh water, tourism) in communities throughout Mexico. In her career, Fitz has specialized in designing and executing conservation and sustainable development strategies; translating trustee interests and goals into programmatic plans; and building collaborative partnerships with governments, civil society, and the private sector to accomplish shared goals, IPNLF said. She has experience working in the U.S., Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.

As IPNLF’s new communications manager, Wouters will be responsible for all IPNLF-related marketing and communications initiatives. Time spent as a competitive sailor and sailing instructor in Europe established a connection between Wouters and the ocean. Growing up with three brothers, meanwhile, has “made her a communication and negotiation expert from an early age on,” Wouters said.

Before coming to IPNLF, Wouters began her career helping to launch Yelp in Europe as a community and marketing manager before moving into the role of marketing and communications director for the review platform company, heading up its communications, marketing campaigns, PR, and event organization efforts. Following her time with Yelp, Wouters worked independently helping to structure and position various companies, including KIA, Corporate Sports Events, and We Are Eves. In tandem with her work with IPNLF, Wouters will continue to tend to her independent projects and second passion of opening her own bar and restaurant in Amsterdam later in 2020.

“Although these are very challenging times, we’re excited about the future and long-term commitment to responsible fisheries by our market partners, empowering these fisheries to give back to the seas and people that depend on them," Purves said. "With small-scale fisheries the world over being more vulnerable now than ever before I’m sure both Kama and Philippine bring the right levels of enthusiasm and expertise to realise our vision of a world with thriving fisheries that work in balance with nature by catching one fish at a time. We are very happy to have them on board."

Photos courtesy of IPNLF


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