After traversing the Aquarium hallways and interviewing a research diver, an Aquarium biologist and an Ocean Wise coordinator for our special Ask the Staff blog series, I find Samantha Hui, an events coordinator, sitting at a computer in her office.
Have I finally come across the most boring job at the Vancouver Aquarium? I ask a little facetiously.
“No!” she says before dissolving into laughter.
She goes on to explain that even if her job doesn’t seem obviously exciting because she doesn’t work directly with the animals, there’s still lots of cool things about it: the events are always changing, and she loves working in such a unique space (“There’s no other venue like it!”).
Samantha gets a real kick out of working like a madwoman for months, or even a year, in advance of a big event that helps support the Aquarium’s mission.
Samantha’s been at the Aquarium for almost two years, but like a lot of staff here, her Aquarium connection started a long time ago. Her first of many Aquarium memories is one of her dragging her mom to see the frogs. After enjoying the frogs, her mom looked into another exhibit and immediately let out a “blood-curdling” scream. Samantha remembers security and other staff rushing over, only to find that her mom had just reacted to seeing a snake – she was deathly afraid of snakes. Samantha has been a big supporter of the Aquarium ever since!
Samantha is busy planning for Night at the Aquarium, the Aquarium’s signature fundraising event, which she’s been organizing with the help of the events committee volunteers – “These are people who are ambassadors for the Aquarium. They might not be out in the galleries but they make a huge impact.” The generous support of sponsors, partners and donors helps with the rest, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the Aquarium’s conservation, research and education programs.
Samantha is currently sorting through a number of donated silent auction items in her office. “That’s why there are so many bottles of wine in my office right now. So everyone likes to make fun of me, saying that I’m drinking on the job.” Wine? Cracking jokes? It definitely does not sound boring to be the Aquarium’s events coordinator.
Learn about other Aquarium staff during the Ask the Staff program taking place daily during Vancouver Aquarium Up Close, a special feature exhibit on now until April 30.
Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.