Leadership Lessons from the Animal Kingdom: Interview with Julie C. Henry

Episode 97
45m | Sep 12, 2023

Lots of people think that the only way you can work in conservation and make a difference is by studying threatened animals to learn more about them so that we can save them. But there are a million ways to make a difference and drive impact in this field, especially when you follow your heart, pursue your passion, and open yourself up to creative possibilities.

In today’s Fancy Scientist podcast episode, we have a guest like none other before, author, keynote speaker, and facilitator Julie C. Henry, who’s using lessons from wildlife to teach and inspire others about leadership. We dive deep into this unique and captivating topic—connecting leadership to wildlife.

Julie's journey is far from typical. After realizing that the traditional path of being a scientist wasn't her calling, she embarked on a career as a senior leader in zoos and aquariums. But here's where it gets particularly interesting - Julie has since become the founder and president of Finish Line Leadership, a strategic facilitation and panel moderation services company, and has worked with over fifty-five organizations across corporate, nonprofit, government, association, and community sectors. She's also written the book, Wisdom from the Wild, on the same topic for anyone to learn. 

In our conversation, we uncover how she carved this unconventional career path for herself, transitioning from a zoologist to a keynote speaker. If you're curious about non-traditional careers, or if you've ever dreamed of stepping onto the stage as a speaker, this episode is especially for you.

I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion, especially the part where we delved into public speaking, something I'm personally passionate about. Remember, there's more than one way to make an impact, and Julie's journey exemplifies just that.

As you listen, I encourage you to reflect on your own journey. Are you on the path that truly resonates with your passions and values? Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to making a difference in the world. Embrace your uniqueness and explore unconventional ways to create a positive impact on our planet.

Specifically, we discussed:

  • The importance of listening to yourself and pursuing your passion
  • That it’s okay to leave research or science careers and how to switch out of it
  • How to think creatively about your career
  • The significance of fostering a deep connection with nature
  • What careers are like as a public speaker
  • What zoo and aquarium careers are like
  • And MORE!!

I’m Dr. Stephanie Manka (formerly Schuttler), a wildlife biologist of nearly 20 yrs with 20+ peer-reviewed scientific publications, author of the book Getting a Job in Wildlife Biology: What It’s Like and What You Need to Know ( and founder of Fancy Scientist. My channel and the Fancy Scientist LLC is dedicated to connecting people to science and nature, breaking stereotypes of, and empowering scientists. I help aspiring and struggling wildlife biologists get the right training so they can get jobs, live out their life’s purpose and make a difference in this world.

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Audio Player Image
Fancy Scientist with Dr. Stephanie Manka