Name: Sue Staniland
Role: Punta Arenas Operations Manager
1st ALE Season: 2003
Nationality: New Zealand
What first brought you to work for ALE?
I had previously worked for ANI in Patriot Hills in the 90s when Mike Sharp was camp manager. Mike became a partner when ALE was formed, they were looking for staff at short notice and I had just resigned from a job. Mike asked if I would like to come back to work for ALE.
What aspect of your job do you find challenging or love most?
There are many aspects that I enjoy, both challenging and enjoyable are the challenges presented by working for an American company in Latin culture with predominantly Latin staff, but also Russian aircrew and multi-cultural guests. There are many challenges managing staff, working with government departments, and relating to providers and guests. I enjoy problem-solving and working out the best way to keep up with an ever-changing environment as well as cultural challenges.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about Antarctica?
It is such a unique and such a special place, the purity, and crispness of the air – being able to see and hear for miles, I have not found that anywhere else, not even in the mountains. Getting off the aircraft for the first time is something I will never forget. It truly is a privilege to experience Antarctica.
What is one random fact about yourself you could share with us?
Not long after I started with ALE I had a chance of studying to be a paramedic or remain at EMT level with the ambulance service and continue working for ALE. I chose ALE for its challenges. I never thought that I’d still be working with the company 18 years on and with no huge desire to retire!!
What is your proudest moment at ALE?
How stable, loyal, and well the PA team works with whatever is thrown at them any hour of the day or night.
What are three words to describe ALE?
Dynamic, challenging, fascinating
What’s the most unusual question a guest has asked you?
I can’t think of anything very unusual as most questions are valid for people with no Antarctic knowledge. I was asked if it was ok to wear jewelry or would it freeze to the skin?
How do you keep a healthy work/life balance?
While in PA, I endeavor to leave the office every lunchtime. After work, walks along the waterfront or up the hill, escaping into a good book or movie and the occasional night out. There’s an active theatre in PA that holds occasional events, concerts, etc. Always an interesting evening. At home in NZ, although a little late in life – I’ve become addicted to yoga! Other hobbies are hiking, biking and pottery.