by Laura Riavitz, Marine Biologist and Lenovo Innovator.

Originally published on Lenovo Storyhub

Connectivity was, is, and will always be important to me.

I live thousands of miles away from my family due to my work as a marine biologist, traveling to different countries to work on coral reef rehabilitation projects. Because of technology and the ability to stay connected, home never feels too far away.

Staying Connected Amid COVID

Like everyone else in the world, my life as I knew it flipped upside down when the pandemic hit. I could no longer travel or be in the ocean, I even temporarily could not work remotely. It was in that moment that I realized the true meaning and importance of connectivity.

Working in a vital field like ocean conservation, my job often feels like a race against the clock to save corals around the world. While society seemed to stop when COVID hit, the world was losing more and more precious corals every day. My team knew our work wouldn’t stop – couldn’t stop – while we waited for the pandemic to end. We just had to get creative and stay connected.

Being on an international team where all of us live in remote places, we’ve been able to stay connected through different devices and apps to share ideas, brainstorm ways to keep our work and efforts going and plan for future projects. Though times are still pretty tough, feeling and being connected empowers me to stay positive, while continuing our important conservation efforts remotely.

Pushing Forward

Fast forward to today, I now conduct coral planting projects here in my area, and it feels good to be back among corals and reef fish doing what I know best. It has been reassuring to know that each existing reef rehabilitation location has a strong and reliable team, and as we all remain well connected and can exchange our results and progress, our work can and will continue to move forward.

Working from home has some positives too, especially with the help of smart technology and good Wifi you can literally work from anywhere. I admit, it’s been nice to be near the coffee machine and fridge whenever I want. It’s also been a time where I have been able to focus on myself and carve out time to do things I otherwise wouldn’t have, including watching webinars to expand my knowledge, taking online courses outside my field of experience, and finding additional online work to make up for financial losses. One of the biggest things I’ve learned throughout the pandemic is that individual adaptability is essential in times like these and staying connected is vital to maintain personal and professional relationships.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned throughout the pandemic is that individual adaptability is essential in times like these and staying connected is vital to maintain personal and professional relationships.  

The ocean is still my favourite office, and I am glad to be back in the field and work directly from locations where I am growing corals. Reflecting on this pandemic, great things happened too, and I credit passion, reliable technology and human connectivity for it.

Follow me on Instagram (@seariavitz) to be a part of my #LenovoInnovators journey and support my mission of preserving our ocean’s coral reefs.

Watch the video below to hear more from Laura on what connectivity means to her personally and professionally.