People behind SAFOSO: Aurélie Castinel

March 20, 2024

How do you contribute to SAFOSO? Describe your role at SAFOSO.

I joined the team as a Senior Consultant in January this year. My role consists in providing project leadership and management, helping identify new opportunities for SAFOSO and assisting colleagues in their work where I can. It is very much a balancing act between ‘doing’ and ‘directing others’ to do the work, which is a continuous learning process. Having worked in the public sector for more than 15 years across biosecurity policy, operational and science roles, I have a good understanding of client expectations when outsourcing services. My background is in veterinary medicine and epidemiology but my experience working in the aquatic and plant health sectors could also help grow SAFOSO’s contribution to One Health initiatives.


What are you currently working on?

The main project I am leading seeks to establish an information exchange platform on African Swine Fever to enhance public private partnerships and improve disease control in the Asia-Pacific region. Also, together with the leadership team, I am involved in exploring new project or collaboration opportunities. Then there is the various ad hoc support I provide to colleagues, whenever they need help with their projects. So far it has been very diverse!


In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in animal health?

Animal health stakeholders – professionals, researchers, officials, etc - tend to work in siloes. Collaborating is not a second nature in this field. There is a lot of buzz promoting transdisciplinary approaches to solving animal health challenges, but I think it will only happen when animal (and human) health stakeholders acknowledge and value the expertise and experience around them: ecologists, indigenous knowledge holders, economists, social scientists, etc. This is quite a difference compared to what I have experienced while working with plant heath scientists and industry in New Zealand and overseas.


What inspires you to come to work every day?

The opportunity to add value, no matter the scale of the difference I can make.


What skills are critical for success in your role?

Perspective: “Content might be King, but Context is Queen”. Despite being used in marketing, this saying sums up the importance of delivering fit for purpose solutions or advice, suited to a particular context. The environment in which we work at SAFOSO is so varied that every project brings a different solution, that needs to be adapted to the client needs.

Patience: as it sometimes happens, things can take much longer than anticipated, especially when busy stakeholders are needed to progress an initiative. It is really important to be able to be adaptive, understanding and patient (while trying to keep things on track!).

Innovation: it is important to be open-minded and dare to be different (think outside the box!). This applies to so many life situations, not just professional!


What has been a highlight in your work for SAFOSO?

Still early days to answer however I am already in awe of my colleagues and the number of languages they can speak and switch to so swiftly.

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