Leadership Feature: Gideon Shaanan
“In the big picture, it’s more important to know what the message is than how you deliver it,” says FishWise board member Gideon Shaanan. For a decade, Shaanan has been a force for organizational introspection and long-term strategy at FishWise. His focus on authenticity has seeped into all parts of the organization’s mission.
Shaanan is leaving the board of directors in 2023 after 10 years of excellent service, and while he will be missed, he leaves the organization stronger and more equipped to fight for global change. In his time with FishWise, he has challenged the nonprofit to apply ideas and research in a large-scale and standardized way. His goals for organizational sustainability meant that FishWise was challenged to think big.
“The thing that makes FishWise unique in its field is the organization’s expertise in gathering and sharing data with the world in an actionable way,” said Shaanan, “20 years ago, FishWise was founded to provide knowledge to the Santa Cruz community about fisheries- today it is working with organizations and governments on a global scale.”
Shaanan believes there is enough information on environmental and social risk factors out there already, and FishWise is the right agency to gather and organize that data to serve the seafood industry.
Previous board chair, Marc Mangel, recruited Shaanan for his expertise in entrepreneurship and productization. His focus at FishWise has been data-intensive and framing the issue this way has encouraged major organizational technology initiatives.
In his career, Shaanan developed commercial products, specifically software and technology, and brought them to market in development, management, and executive roles. Since the early 1990’s he forged solutions and met the demand for innovation with new products, largely in the tech and data field. He has specialized in rapidly identifying business and product opportunities and bringing them to market.
At this chapter of his life and career, Shaanan feels a deep concern for climate change and the lack of action on this urgent matter. His experience and perspective have been well utilized in putting fishWise on the front line of developing scaled-up solutions for oceanic preservation.
As the organization’s needs changed and fluctuated, Shaanan played a major role in keeping FishWise consistent and steady. He established methods and protocols to roll with the punches during tough times. The board created a small group of board members and executive team members to collaborate for transitional times. His leadership was crucial during times of organizational growing pains.
“I love the organization,” says Shaanan, “There was a time I devoted 60% of my time working for FishWise simply for the love of the organization and its potential. It is an important mission, so I’m hopeful.“
FishWise has been lucky for its dedicated leadership- and Gideon Shaanan’s role cannot be overstated. The board’s responsiveness to the staff, the industry, and environmental and social issues demands has steered FishWise toward tremendous potential. As new leadership prepares to take over, the strong foundation built by leaders like Shaanan leaves us ready to achieve more in the future.
Thank you for your many years of service, Gideon!