Pride In The Ocean: Kate Sutter Insley

Photo credit: Kate Sutter Insley

Kate Sutter Insley (she/her), Senior Community Manager, Only One and World Ocean Day Community Engagement Lead

How is your work connected to national marine sanctuaries?

I work on the comms side of ocean conservation and well, everything ocean is always connected. More directly, I help lead creative strategy on campaigns that include sanctuary waters such as the global call to protect 30×30.

What/who inspired you to pursue a career in ocean conservation?

Photo credit: Kate Sutter Insley

My parents encouraged me to get scuba certified when I was 10 years old, and I’ve always had a love for the water. Initially, I pursued an architecture degree because I didn’t see career opportunities in ocean conservation. However, after landing an internship at the American Museum of Natural History, I realized I could make a living while working in ocean conservation – mind. blown. This realization completely changed my career path, and here I am today.

In June we celebrate both Pride Month and Ocean Month. What inspires you to have pride in the ocean?

The ocean literally never stops. It keeps producing o2, it keeps animals alive, it acts as our informal dump … all of this EVERY SINGLE DAY. This consistent dedication is downright inspiring. It just never stops doing it’s thing. And if you think about how cool that is it might warp your brain.  

What has your experience in this field been like as part of the LGBTQ+ community?  

The ocean conservation community is both small and very accepting. My experiences have been entirely positive. In fact, I met my wife many years ago at an ocean conference (Jackson Wild’s Ocean Year). 

What actions can the ocean conservation community take to be more inclusive?   

Photo credit: Kate Sutter Insley

In my experience, this field is not particularly exclusive towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Speaking more broadly, I believe that much of the inclusivity work can be achieved during the hiring process. When hiring new staff, don’t limit yourself to candidates with ocean experience. Not everyone has the opportunity to live near or travel to the ocean, so if a candidate has the right skill set from a different industry, advance them to the next round! There are many talented individuals with diverse backgrounds who could really make this field shine. 

What is your favorite memory at a national marine sanctuary or in the ocean?  

My mind quickly jumped to what might be considered a surprising answer: I had an incredible day at the Mallows Bay-Potomac River Marine National Sanctuary. At the time, my wife and I were living in DC. I have a particular fascination with shipwrecks, so we decided to take a day trip there with our dog, a picnic, our paddleboard, and some sunscreen. We spent the summer afternoon paddling around some truly underappreciated wrecks in the bay, followed by enjoying some fantastic sandwiches. I absolutely recommend visiting. 

Photo credit: Kate Sutter Insley