With all the employees we have around the world, we wanted to bring to light who we are here at IIL. Each month we will spotlight an employee from one of our offices. Here, we introduce Cathryn Chee, Managing Director at IIL Asia.

In the concrete jungle of Singapore, Cathryn Chee feels right at home. A self-proclaimed city girl, she loves everything about her city with the high rise buildings and hills, except for one thing: the lack of wildlife.

Since she was a little girl, Cathryn has always loved animals. The passion started out with household pets like dogs and cats, and she would look after other peoples’ dogs because she just loved being around animals so much. “It’s therapeutic for me. It’s also interesting because they don’t speak but they make other noises in order to communicate with me,” she says.

Her love for animals didn’t stop with dog sitting. Cathryn now follows her passion by taking trips to learn about animals found in the wild. “A trip is usually 8-10 days and I go to learn how the animals are taken care of, how they eat, how they breed, how to work with them, how to greet them, and so on,” she says.

So far Cathryn has worked with dolphins, ostriches, penguins, and—her favorite—pandas.  Pandas have always been her favorite animal and she’s seen them in a ton of zoos; however, when she went to a panda research lab in China, she was able to get up close and personal with them.

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Another favorite of hers was working with ostriches in South Africa. She even got to ride one! “They’re so much fun to work with because they’re so hyper and also very strong.” She also went on safaris to see elephants, giraffes, and even got close to a family of lions. Cathryn never feared for her safety because the safety precautions were very clear.

Although Cathryn’s passion is for the sake of education and a love for animals, it’s a hobby that can get pretty expensive. Fortunately, all the money she pays is donated to the research facilities, so her experiences in turn help the animals she observes.

For her next big trip, Cathryn hopes to go to Antarctica to swim with the seals. This type of trip is done via a research team that opens their facilities to civilians. Cathryn will be able to follow the researchers as they work, and learn more about their interactions with global warming and with the animals in the area.

As for where Cathryn sees her passion leading her in the future, when she retires she hopes to get part-time work at a wildlife preserve. “I think it’s important to give back to the environment. It affects each and every one of us and it’s our duty to help. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as big as helping animals, but it can be as simple as picking up your garbage or not using the AC to save power.”

For anyone interested in taking similar trips, Cathryn suggests researching online since they are not heavily advertised. She found the Antarctica trip by looking through National Geographic.

Don’t miss next month’s IIL Spotlight to learn more about our team. We are more than just your average company. Together, we are a family.