#43 When Passion Leads to World Change with James Hennessy

James Hennessy is the founder and director of the National Reptile Zoo, an inspiring example of someone who followed their passion and created a social enterprise that has made an impact around the world. His story of following his curiosity and problem solving skills to build a successful business is an inspiring example of how to make your dreams a reality.

James Hennessy was encouraged by family and friends to follow his passion, but on a professional level he was warned it would be a waste of money. At eight or nine years old he began to take an interest in unusual animals and then problem-solved his way to building habitats for them.

He built a successful building business, but his passion never faded and he eventually opened a zoo to showcase his beloved animals. People were fascinated by them and, as his collection grew, he realised it had to start funding itself. Taking a risk and investing in a commercial location, he saw the impact he was making through a former visitor who had gone on to work in the Antarctic. James had found his true purpose.


In this episode, you will learn the following:

  1. How did a nine-year-old boy wrangle his way to transforming a collection of reptiles into a national zoo with a strong conservation remit?
  2. How a multidisciplinary point of view can open doors you never thought possible.
  3. What was the epiphany moment when James realized the global impact of his work?
  4. How are you using data to change the relationship between zoos and what happens in the wild?

"You find a way, you work your way around it. It always works itself out." - James Hennessy


Get Connected with James Hennessy:

Website: https://www.nationalreptilezoo.ie/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thenationalreptilezoo/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nationalreptilezoo

Twitter: https://twitter.com/natreptilezoo 


Other Episodes Like This You'll Enjoy:

Growing a Sustainable Social Enterprise with Mick Kelly from GIY

Learning at Large: The School of Place with Tasneem Khan

Are your Annoyances Untapped Opportunities with David O'Halloran


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