TBTI Project Manger receives President’s Award for Exemplary Employees - Champion of Innovation

Written by Evan J. Andrews

At the award ceremony: Vesna  with TBTI Director Ratana Chuenpagdee, (left) and her colleague Ange Drake (right). Credit: Carissa Brown

Vesna Kerezi, TBTI Program Manager and Communication Specialist was recently awarded Memorial University’s President’s Award for Exemplary Employees in the Champions of Innovation category. The President’s Award for Exemplary Employees recognizes the commitment of non-academic employees to service excellence for the University community. Champions of Innovation demonstrate extraordinary commitment to novel approaches, invigorating practices, and sustainable operations, as well as experimenting with bold endeavours. Vesna was nominated by Evan J. Andrews, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Ruyel Miah, and Nova Almine.

The nomination packages highlighted Vesna’s contribution to TBTI, particular on the heels of its 10-year anniversary, and the ways in which she improved our professional lives and personal well-being. In his nomination letter, Andrews emphasized Vesna’s role in anchoring and advancing TBTI’s contributions:

At the heart of [TBTI’s activities] is Vesna’s resolve and actions in support of collaborative research that matters from community and governance perspectives. Without Vesna’s commitment, the key contributions of TBTI – innovation, transdisciplinarity, and case studies – would not be realized.

In her letter, Ratana shared key examples in support of Vesna as a ‘Champion of Innovation’, and then highlighted the following:
What matters the most…is about the level of commitment and pride that Vesna has, not for the work that she does, but for the impact of her work on the lives of small-scale fisheries around the world.

Finally, in their joint nomination letter, Ruyel and Nova focused on the experience of working with Vesna, as they navigated their student journeys. They wrote:
Vesna has a huge positive impact on students like us and her colleagues. We often call her a source of “positive energy” as we feel her presence brings good energy to the lab.

After learning about receiving the award, Vesna remarked “I look at this award as a recognition of the spirit of TBTI and our teamwork. I’m touched beyond words.“ On December 8, 2023, Memorial University’s President, Neil Bose, handed Vesna this well-deserved award in a ceremony held on campus. Vesna, we are very proud of you!

To date, Vesna has overseen the production of 15 e-books as well as numerous other communication outputs that cover global and local research about small-scale fisheries and oceans. The e-books, published as part of TBTI Global Book Series, disseminate research findings to the public and often feature voices that are underrepresented in traditional academic publishing. Not only are these books an incredible resource of small-scale fisheries knowledge but they are also freely available for download from the TBTI website.