Maria Ho has been with the Sea Around Us since October of 2014 and has, since then, been the right hand of Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Dirk Zeller.
As their administrative assistant, she enjoyed being what she calls a “resource person” and populating their calendars back to back with talks, trips, Ph.D. defences, press commitments, lectures and so on. “I love coordinating events, conferences, and catering for meetings. I also enjoy proofreading work and editing text for publication. I like helping people,” she says.
Before joining the Sea Around Us at Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Maria held a similar job at BC Children’s Hospital for more than nine years. When she was considering joining the Sea Around Us, she knew that the change was going to be drastic, but there was something stronger pushing her to make the move.
“I was fascinated by the work that Dr. Pauly and his group were doing,” she says, remembering a piece she read in The Georgia Straight where Dr. Pauly revealed how imported seafood is laced with antibiotics and pesticides that are not allowed in Canada.
Maria is passionate about the sustainability of food production, particularly when it comes to fish. “I am concerned about the state of our wild salmon populations that are affected by the practice of the farmed salmon industry. I love seafood and I am always curious to know how seafood is caught. Is it done in a sustainable manner?”
Besides learning more about where her seafood comes from and about the research on fisheries, overfishing, and declining fish stocks that is being conducted at the Sea Around Us, Maria has also strengthened her professional skills in the past couple of years.
“I learned that it takes a great deal to coordinate conferences, for example. There are lots of email exchanges and follow-up work required to ensure that everything is running smoothly. In this position, I have utilized my strong follow-up skills, people skills, communication skills, plus take on a creative problem-solving approach to resolving day-to-day matters,” she explains.
Since she believes in lifelong learning, Maria has also found time to continue her education by taking courses and workshops on organizational behaviour, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, work safety, among others topics.
But after a decade of non-stop hard work and 25 years of involvement with UBC in different capacities, Maria decided that 2017 was going to be the year to pursue new career goals.
In the new year, she also plans to continue cultivating her passion for music.
As it turns out, Maria is also a performing vocalist and recording artist.
Her affair with music began as a child after she joined her school’s choir and started taking piano lessons. Years later, once she finished university, she studied vocal training and jazz theory. Nowadays, Maria leads her own band and has performed a variety of jazz standards and Brazilian songs from the Great American Songbook at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, BC Children’s Hospital, Jazz Vespers, BC Hospitality Foundation, the Vancouver Christmas Market and special events, including the 2010 Winter Olympics celebration at Robson Square.
She has also released two albums and is currently working on a new one, always inspired by her idols Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Shirley Horn and Freddie Cole.
“My music can be heard regularly on various top jazz radio stations in the US, as well as in Europe,” she says.
Whether it’s in the music business or making people’s lives run smoothly, Maria has built a career path that can only lead her to success.
The Sea Around Us wants to thank her for the contributions she made to the project and wishes her all the best in her future endeavours!