We asked speakers at the 2022 Global Biodiversity Festival to share their story of how they ended up in their current career.
For Ximena Velez-Liendo, who is now a leading expert on Andear bears, it was love at first time in the field.

Velez-Liendo is a conservation biologist with fifteen years of experience in Andean bear ecology and conservation in Bolivia. She is co-chair of the Andean bear Expert Team, Bear Specialist Group IUCN since 2007, and past council member of the International Bear Association since 2001.


What’s your favorite thing about your job?

Being able to study these incredible animals, and all the ecosystem that they sustain.


When did you know you wanted to pursue the work you’re currently doing?

During my first day in the field. It was love at first sight.


Was there an educator or mentor who inspired you when you were young?

Susy Paisley was the first biologist to capture and collar an Andean bear in Bolivia. Her work inspired me to become who I am, and I still feel I haven't even reached 5% 0f what Susy did. She became my mentor and good friend.


If you could go back in time, what is one piece of advice you would give to your 18-year-old self?

Keep walking.


What advice would you give students today who want to pursue a career in STEM?

Make questions. Wander about nature and the universe. Never surrender!


What advice would you give parents who want to raise children who care about climate change, conservation, and STEM?

Let your children dream and dream big!

  • Sometimes it only takes one advocate to open the worlds eyes on the importance of conservation. Thank you, Ximena!

  • Wow, what an achievement. Keep it up.

  • It's great that you can enjoy nature every day in your job!   How big do those bears get?

  • nice

  • There so many things to learn from this biologist