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Humans Behind AquaAction: Anne-Pascale Richardson

By AquaAction
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Who are the humans behind AquaAction? Meet Anne-Pascale Richardson, our AquaHacking Challenge Manager! Learn more about her through those questions!

  • Where are you from? Where did you grow up?

I am French-Caribbean and recently Canadian! I had the privilege of growing up in Africa before going to university in Europe and finishing my studies here in Canada, where I have lived since 2003. For more than 10 years I have been living on the south shore of Montreal in ” the city by the water “, Sainte-Catherine.

  • Who inspires you?

People who make their difference a strength and people who dare to bring change with authenticity, integrity, and respect.

  • Do you like traveling? What’s the best place you’ve traveled to?

Yes, I like to travel and I have traveled a lot, but I don’t travel as much as I would like to lately. The best place might be Zanzibar in Tanzania, but also the north of Scotland, or maybe Japan… hard to say.

  • What’s something you’re proud of?

My resilience. I have been through many difficult situations, personal and professional, where it would have been easy or tempting to give up (but for the wrong reasons). However, I persevered, learned, grew, and most of all I came to understand that when the environment around us is difficult or hostile and we can’t really change it, it is we who must change and see opportunities rather than fatalities.

  • Do you have any mentors in your professional life?

Yes, I have a few. I like to surround myself with people who are more expert than I am, and with whom I am not afraid to be challenged, to ask for help or advice. Alone we don’t move forward and not only in our professional life.

  • How long have you been working in the water industry?

I have been working in the water environment since I have been working for AquaAction, so since 2016 with the second edition of the AquaHacking Challenge that was focused on the St. Lawrence River.

  • 3 words to describe yourself?

You tell me!

  • How would you describe your job?

My job is exciting, multidisciplinary and stimulating.

Exciting for the cause we defend: water, but also for the talented young scientists and entrepreneurs who are involved in our programs. Multidisciplinary because of the actions I take every day to contribute to it. Stimulating thanks to the different partners with whom I collaborate every day to achieve this goal!

  • What motivates you most in your work?

What motivates me the most is the impact we have, not only on water (ultimately), but more importantly on the journey of our AquaHacking Challenge participants, the finalists in particular.

  • What do you think is a healthy water source?

I don’t think there is a simple answer to this question. A few years ago I even wrote a post covering the subject. But to try to keep it simple I will say that a healthy lake or river is a water source that is not contaminated, nor is it threatened to be.

  • What is your best memory related to AquaAction?

Since 2016, I have a lot of great memories related to AquaAction. The strongest memory is more of a feeling, the great pride I feel when I see the finalists move forward with their projects and successfully complete the entrepreneurial steps. The finalists are so inspiring. I remember them when their project was just an idea and I am very proud that AquaAction with the AquaHacking Challenge I am responsible for played a major role in their journey. I remember a team that wanted to withdraw before the semi-finals and after a few key exchanges they changed their mind, pitched their solution in the semi-finals, were selected and finished in the top 3 of the competition. Several years later, that team is still active!

  • What water fact impresses you or makes you react strongly?

The fact that there are still many communities in Canada (10th largest economy in the world), mostly First Nations communities, that do not have access to safe drinking water in their homes and so since several decades… it is shocking.

  • What is your favourite lake or river?

In Quebec, it will be the Jacques Cartier River. A jewel. Excellent river for kayaking and having strong sensations.

  • Do you have a tip about water? / What are your pro-environmental gestures or efforts or resolutions?

Drink tap water and moderate its use as much as possible. Recycle, compost, and avoid single-use plastics. Change your daily habits one step at a time. For example, replace shower gel bottles with soap bars.