Meet Team Verdis: Wayne Warrington

Wildlife biologist, nonprofit professional, sustainability researcher, certified communications trainer, entrepreneur, higher-education faculty… Wayne’s interdisciplinary background earned him a unique set of skills and the ability to connect industries, research methodologies, and professional disciplines which are typically siloed.

Wayne joined Verdis Group in November 2021 and is based in Phoenix, Arizona. He developed a passion for sustainability while traveling the world as a field biologist and witnessing displaced rural communities migrating to urban populations centers — quite frequently inhabiting some of the most marginalized and degraded areas. He found a natural fit in combining field conservation, environmental education, and sustainability within the Zoo and Aquaria industry and has been a sustainability advisor since 2016, providing guidance and professional development opportunities to sustainability practitioners nationwide. He has a Bachelor’s degree with dual focus in Environmental Conservation and Evolutionary Ecology, a Master’s degree in Sustainability, and holds multiple certifications including Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4.

Wayne emphasizes the human-centered focus of sustainability through community-building and participates in several sustainability committees for local, regional, and national organizations. His superpower is translating and synthesizing multiple, and frequently divergent, viewpoints into narratives that are digestible and actionable. His Gallup Strengths are Belief, Input, Intellection, Learner, and Strategic.

The best advice I’ve ever received: Before graduate school, I remember a visiting lecturer that spoke during a recruitment session. Their advice for sustainability students was to consider forgoing specialization and instead focus on immersing themselves in a variety of competencies. The argument was that sustainability required systems thinking to implement and there were plenty of specialists in each of the industries and sectors where we would seek to work. The value we would provide is in highlighting the connections between components of systems that are typically examined or addressed in silos. So far, it’s been pretty spot on!

My favorite days always include: Cuddles with my kiddos.

One skill that everyone should learn: Systems Thinking. There’s lots of technical aspects of systems thinking that folks can dive into, but really the biggest benefit for anyone is in recognizing that nothing exists in isolation. Especially as a society, we are more likely to develop long-term effective solutions when we identify the interactive components of systems that need addressing.

My favorite place in the world: I was a field biologist in a past life and did quite a bit of traveling for work. During a trip in Australia that required considerable hiking into remote areas, I ended up at a secluded waterfall. The falls weren’t remarkably tall or wide, or exceptionally beautiful or colorful, but it has stuck with me to this day as one of the most peaceful places I’ve encountered. When needing to center myself, I simply recall my time spent sitting on a large rock on the edge of it’s pool and listening to the water tumbling into itself.

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