Ocean Strategies is proud to celebrate our 5-year anniversary during Pride Month! We’re taking this opportunity to uplift LGBTQ voices and leadership, and share our own TOP FIVE points of pride to mark this momentous occasion.
An invitation to be brave, from Brett
I often remind myself that I am the recipient of everyone else’s bravery. Perhaps you feel this way, too. Humans try to put neat definitions on the world and each other. But really, life is not black or white; it’s also full of gray and every color in between. To those brave people who’ve helped bring understanding and equality to people like me who identify as LGBTQ+ and everyone else who doesn’t fit neatly into a definition: Thank you.
The Ocean Strategies (OS) team jokes that our company’s acronym actually stands for team “Over Share.” We create space for each other to be human, and we’re not afraid to share and seek support from our colleagues. I’m so proud that as we celebrate Pride Month, my team challenged me to be brave and celebrate that Ocean Strategies is an LGBTQ-owned business during our five-year anniversary. Thank you to my family, friends, team, colleagues and my communities in Seattle and Homer who help me feel brave. Though the fishing and seafood industry is not known for its diversity nor for many LGBTQ-identifying people, I’ve found incredible support and care.
The clients and projects we serve are intentional. We are a forward-thinking team that puts our skills, energy and hearts into the people and resources we care deeply about. We ask tough questions and welcome hard conversations. Thank you to our colleagues who put your confidence in us. We do not take your trust for granted.
My journey coming out was deeply personal. I chose to speak to family, friends, and my community on an individual basis, and it was exhausting. I’ll never forget the reaction of my running partner and a lifelong friend. He’s older than me, lived in Seattle for decades, and I knew he was an advocate (a better word I’ve recently learned over ally). He said, “I’m so sorry, Brett. I’m sorry that I didn’t have the courage to ask you how you’re doing. That you’re carrying both the weight of a new identity and the energy to broach the subject with all of us. I could have asked you how you’re doing, even if that was uncomfortable for me. Complacency doesn’t define our friendship, and I’ll do better next time.”
The Ocean Strategies team always seeks to do better. Help us celebrate five outstanding years during Pride Month by supporting each other and organizations who build safety and bravery for the LGBTQ+ community.
The Top 5 Things Ocean Strategies Is Proud Of:
1. Ocean Strategies is a proud LGBTQ-founded, -owned, and -led business
Brett’s introductory note explores his journey coming out as an LGBTQ-identifying person, and how Ocean Strategies is a forward-thinking business operating within fisheries and the seafood industry. The Ocean Strategies team is proud to work for an LGBTQ-founded, -owned, and -led business.
2. Our team has more than doubled over the last five years
Our small but mighty team has more than doubled over the last five years. After returning to Seattle from D.C. in 2017, Brett launched Ocean Strategies and quickly brought on Hannah Heimbuch, who is now based in Kodiak, Alaska. Since then, Georgie Heaverley, Tyler Edgar and Jes Hathaway have come onboard from Alaska to Montana to Maine, giving our team coverage from coast to coast and everywhere in between, as well as an unparalleled versatility in fisheries policy and marine resources consulting.
3. Ocean Strategies has served more than 20 clients
In five years, we’ve served more than 20 clients in commercial fisheries, trade organizations, foundations, NGOs and private companies. Examples of our proudest accomplishments and moments include:
- Segment on The Today Show promoting sustainable Alaska seafood
- Continuing to support commercial fishermen and the seafood supply chain during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Produced the 2021 Bristol Bay COVID-19 Fishermen’s Handbook for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association
- Conducted survey of West Coast fishermen on Covid-19 impacts, results and company reference included in The U.S. Department of Commerce’s report U.S. Seafood Industry and For-Hire Sector Impacts from COVID-19: 2020 in Perspective.
- Supporting community-based, Alaska pot cod fishermen: An act of cod: Alaska-based fleet gets a gift from Board of Fish
- Ocean Strategies Senior Consultant, Jes Hathaway, reported on a major win for the Under Sixty Cod Harvesters’ increased allocation from just over 6 percent to as much as 15 percent of the total Bering Sea cod quota to the low bycatch, Alaska-based pot cod fleet.
- Our team serves in many leadership positions across the seafood sector, as directors, board members, and in advisory roles:
- NOAA’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
- North Pacific Fisheries Association
- Fed by Blue docu-series
- Under Sixty Cod Harvesters
- Alaska Fishing Communities
- Alaska Marine Conservation Council
- Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
- Alaska Fish & Game Advisory Committee
- National Fisheries Conservation Center
- Connecting the seafood supply chain to commercial fishermen and communities, and being food providers!
- Progressive Grocer
- Podcasts and media our team has been featured in
4. We are emissaries in equity
We are proud to be emissaries in equity while challenging ourselves to be better advocates. As we delve into research and strategic planning for equity measures in domestic fisheries, we strive to open new and old pathways and expand access for stakeholders in an industry we all hold dear.
5. Please join us in supporting and donating
For Pride Month we’re asking our colleagues and partners to please join us in donating to an organization that is working on LGBTQ rights and equality. Any amount you have to give is a generous, kind and welcome offering.