Damien Mander

Tagline: Wildlife Conservation

Talent Highlights

  • Australian Defence Force and Clearance Diver Training: Overcame rigorous training to become a Clearance Diver, emphasizing physical and mental resilience.
  • Special Operations Sniper: Served in an elite counter-terrorism unit post-September 11, developing strategic thinking and situational awareness.
  • Founder of IAPF: Transitioned to wildlife conservation, founding the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, showcasing adaptability and a commitment to global causes.
  • Influential Speaker: Delivers engaging talks across sectors, connecting with audiences through compelling storytelling and real-world insights, inspiring change and action.

Keynote Topics

  • Follow your passion to live your dream: How giving up everything, and breaking away from societies’ expectation can set you free to fulfil your true destiny
     
  • Conservation, Adventure & Leadership: From 12 tours of Iraq and travel through more than 60 countries, Damien can recount numerous tales, lessons and methods to overcome many obstacles that life can throw at you
     
  • Destroying fear of failure: Conquering a fear of failure to graduate through some of the world’s most arduous military selection phases can only come with the acceptance of mistakes along the way. Some fatal. These are the school fees of life, not failure
     
  • Entrepreneurial spirit & raw grit: If you chose not to follow anyone’s dreams but your own, it will require two things above all else: The belief that your concept is different and can effect change and the refusal to give up on making it reach its full potential.
     
  • Overcoming adversity in hostile environments: The ability to operate a multinational organisation across three continents, with multiple cultures, languages and often in a hostile environment is not an online lesson or something university can prepare us

Travels from:

  • Harare, Zimbabwe

Fee Range:

  • Fees* $20,001 - $35,000

Gallery

Videos

Video

Damien Mander has lived an extraordinary life for 37 years old. At 19, as a garbage collector in Melbourne, he joined the Australian Defence Force, graduating through one of the military’s most arduous courses as a Clearance Diver. Following the September 11 attacks, he went on to become a Special Operations Sniper in an elite […]

Damien Mander has lived an extraordinary life for 37 years old. At 19, as a garbage collector in Melbourne, he joined the Australian Defence Force, graduating through one of the military’s most arduous courses as a Clearance Diver.

Following the September 11 attacks, he went on to become a Special Operations Sniper in an elite counter terrorism unit.

Damien Mander | Wildlife Conservation

Later becoming a mercenary, he deployed to Iraq where, amongst other roles, Damien Mander Project Managed the Iraq Special Police Training Academy overseeing paramilitary training and deployment of troops.

Following three years of service in Iraq, he left the front lines with no direction in his life.

Akashinga has transformed a traditionally adversarial approach to conservation into an innovative, empowering, and gender-diverse model to protect wildlife and habitats.

Fortress conservation worked well, but ultimately, is not sustainable. In 2017, Damien Mander recruited the initial team of 16 female rangers in the Lower Zambezi valley of Zimbabwe.  These women became the first Akashinga Rangers (The Brave Ones in the Shona language). They embarked on a mission to safeguard Zimbabwe’s wildlife from the devastating impact of poaching. This marked the beginning of the organization’s collaborative approach, working directly with local communities to tackle the challenges of illegal wildlife trade and environmental degradation. Finally, instead of looking in, Akashinga was on the inside looking out, and sustainable and measurable change began to happen.

Akashinga has since revolutionized conservation efforts in Africa through an innovative, gender-diverse approach. From its humble beginnings, the Akashinga’s innovative strategies, community engagement, and commitment to training and empowering local individuals have propelled its growth. Today, the organization continues to expand its reach across multiple countries, forging a legacy of sustainable, female-led conservation that originated with those 16 dedicated rangers.

The impact of our female-led conservation efforts reverberates throughout the community, igniting a cascade of positive impacts. From nurturing children’s education to bolstering healthcare, eradicating poverty, and boosting life expectancy, these ripple effects leave a lasting legacy.

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