International Women’s Day: Sarah Hoyle, Communications and Media Manager

8th March 2023

On International Women’s Day, Freshwater Habitats Trust Communications and Media Manager Sarah Hoyle shares her thoughts on the importance of equity in conservation and communications.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Communications is a hugely varied discipline that allows me to indulge my love of storytelling and writing and satisfies my natural curiosity/nosiness. Perhaps most importantly of all, means I get to work with many different kinds of people doing brilliant things.

I joined Freshwater Habitats Trust in April 2022, with a growing and rather urgent sense of wanting to use my communications experience to make a positive difference. Being part of an organisation that carries out practical work to achieve game-changing results for wildlife is quite an amazing thing really – and something I don’t take for granted.

What inspired you to pursue your current career?

I graduated with a Theatre Studies degree in the mid-1990s with no real career plan in mind other than a general sense that I might want to work in arts administration or the charity sector. After volunteering to gain some skills and experience, I went on to work in a number of theatres and arts centres, but it was a move to the Press Office at the Natural History Museum in the early 2000s, where I discovered the joy of working with scientists and conservationists, which set me on a new path.

Fast forward to Christmas 2021 when I was living in Cornwall and working for a communications agency and I saw the position advertised at Freshwater Habitats Trust. I’d grown increasingly concerned by biodiversity loss and saw this as an opportunity to channel that into something more positive than simply feeling angry and helpless.

Woman standing on cliff top, holding dog on lead.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2023 is ‘Embrace Equity’. Why is this important in conservation?

Freshwater Habitats Trust has a high proportion of female staff but women are still underrepresented in science and the conservation sector is not as diverse as it should be.

Tackling biodiversity loss is a mammoth challenge that relies on us persuading and inspiring people to make changes. To achieve that, we need creative ideas from people with different experiences, personalities, world views and learning styles, as well as a diverse mix of skills and expertise. That’s why making the conservation sector accessible and relevant to people from all walks of life is essential.

What advice would you give to a woman who is just starting out in a similar role to yours?

Listening and observing those working around you will help you be better in your role at every stage of your career. When I face difficult situations at work, I still sometimes ask myself what a colleague from decades ago would do – and I continue to take inspiration and learn new things from those I work with today. Don’t be afraid to be your own person though. Communications is a discipline that needs people with different thinking styles, personalities and approaches so you really don’t have to fit into a particular mould.

Woman giving presentation, gesturing to screen.

Who or what inspires you in your role?

It’s a cliché, but I’ll say it anyway: my two daughters, who are 12 and 10, inspire me. And this is for two main reasons. First of all, it’s important to me that I’m doing something to build a better future for them and Freshwater Habitats Trust is an organisation that’s making a measurable difference to the world in which we live. Secondly, I want them to see that, with hard work and bravery (and a bit of good luck), you can have a really varied, fun and fulfilling career that allows you to learn new things and contribute to society.

Sarah Hoyle joined Freshwater Habitats Trust in 2022, bringing 25 years’ experience in PR and communications. She works with colleagues across the charity to manage all of its communications activity, including social media, the website, internal communications and media relations. Sarah has held a life-long fascination with the natural world and is passionate about communicating Freshwater Habitats Trust’s work to a wide and diverse audience.