The Team

Ship Location

Saanich Inlet, Canada

Mandy Leith

Photo of Mandy Leith
Communications
Content Strategy and Narrative Engagement Lead
Ocean Networks Canada

Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?

As a science communicator, I translate hard science into accessible language. Whether it's writing, photography, video, social media or events, I look for the narrative spark that will draw an audience into a story - the human story that can bridge the intellectual and cultural worlds. The goal? to inform, engage and inspire ocean scientists, curious coastal dwellers, and decision-makers. It's an honor and a pleasure to help tell the biggest story of our time: the vast deep-sea frontier. It's time to know the ocean, it's our future! 

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

Storytelling and technology are at the heart of it all. I watched the Apollo moon landing on TV as a young child, and it sparked a lifelong yearning to explore and share stories about understanding the unknown. Whether writing, taking photos, making films or engaging on social media, I am passionate about telling stories that inform citizens, engage communities and inspire action to protect our fragile blue planet. 

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My father was a great storyteller. When I was starting my career, he encouraged me to travel and live adventurously, so that I would have interesting stories to tell. 

What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?

The process of turning hard science into plain language is fascinating. Scientists and communicators approach the world from different perspectives, so it's a worthwhile but complex task to meet everyone's needs. It makes me unreasonably satisfied when I am able to accurately translate a scientific research project into a story that entertains and informs the general public. 

What other jobs led you to your current career?

My storytelling career initially led me into the world of film and television production, where I worked for many years as an editor at the BBC in London, the National Film Board in Montreal and many TV stations in Canada. I've also worked as an independent producer, director, camera and sound person. For 13 years, I ran a successful non-profit documentary screening series called OPEN CINEMA, showing topical films in cafe-style venues followed by discussion, using film as a tool for community engagement. To enable my life as an explorer, storyteller, and artist, I've also turned my hand at many jobs over the years: grape-picking, cleaning houses, delivering blueprints, working in a bookstore, teaching yoga. 

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Film and Television Studies, with Education -- Christ Church College, Canterbury 1984. 

What are your hobbies?

I love traveling, exploring and camping in my westfalia camper van, biking, swimming, hiking, watching old classic movies, and I recently took up painting. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career like yours?

Travel the world, heed the call to adventure, and keep telling the stories that excite you using whatever tools are at hand. 

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?

As a staff writer, content creator and storyteller with Ocean Networks Canada, I was invited to join the team onboard the Nautilus to support ship-to-shore communications, social media and science communications. I am beyond excited to experience life at sea aboard an exploration vessel!