Each Friday during Women’s History Month we’re featuring three WaveMakers on RBFF’s staff and asking them a few questions about their fishing and boating experiences and insights on female representation in the industry. This week we spoke with Johana Reyes, Director of Strategy & Operations; Rachel Auslander, Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships; and Kendra Lee, Marketing & Creative Manager.
How did you get into fishing and boating?
Johana Reyes: Through working at RBFF.
Rachel Auslander: My first fish was caught on a Barbie rod in Naples, Florida in a stocked pond behind my grandparents' condo at age seven. I lapsed until I started working at RBFF and caught the biggest striper (33") of the whole staff on our fishing trip about 3 weeks after I started. I was hooked!
Kendra Lee: My brother-in-law is really into fishing and good friends of ours have a boat. And of course, RBFF.
What do you love most about fishing and boating?
JR: The connection with nature.
RA: I love the sound and smell of the water, the joy on people's faces when they hook their first fish and the challenge of it all.
KL: Feeling like time and real life—what’s going on outside of that boat—doesn’t matter. Time just stands still for a few hours.
Who do you go fishing and boating with?
JR: The RBFF team and friends.
RA: My 6-year-old and I started going during the pandemic, but mainly I fish with my awesome colleagues and other folks in the industry.
KL: Anyone who invites me and has it planned out so all I have to do is come along for the ride.
Why is female representation in fishing and boating important?
JR: With the growth of new women influencers and YouTubers in the sport, we have seen an increase in women participating in fishing and boating activities. Women are changing the image of these sports.
RA: Women are the CEOs (Chief Entertainment Officers) in the family and need to see themselves represented in these activities, so they are top-of-mind activities when planning outings for their families.
KL: Because it's boring looking at the same people over and over and feeling left out. Maybe I just get FOMO more than other people, but I like the unexpected and to have my perceptions challenged. Makes you look - and think - twice.
What advice do you have for other women looking to dive into fishing and boating?
JR: It is not difficult, and it is a great activity to spend quality time with your family and kids.
RA: Every woman I've met is so friendly and always willing to help out other women anglers and boaters with tips and suggestions. Whether you meet them in person, via a social media channel or just follow their blog or social feed, I'm sure you can learn a lot from them. But don't hesitate to reach out!
KL: Just go along for the ride, then decide if it's for you. Tweak the experience to make it enjoyable for YOU. One size doesn't fit all.
Who inspires you?
JR: Greta Thunberg. She knows what she wants, and she is making an impact on the world. She is leading by example.
RA: I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She knew how to multitask effectively and still maintain her sense of humor and grace, even while dealing with her own illnesses and criticisms of her actions and decisions. Although she lost both her sister and mother at a young age, and had to care for her ill husband as a young new mother, Ginsburg used her intellect and convictions to persevere throughout her life as a working mom in a male-dominated industry. She gave back by spending much of her legal career as an advocate for gender equality and women's rights. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a wonderful example of a strong, smart and successful woman.
KL: Honestly, I'm inspired by ALL women getting through this thing called life on their own terms and getting through their own struggles.
Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
JR: Women’s History Month is another opportunity to rise up, connect with other women, support each other, tell our stories, and show our potential.
If you’re an avid female angler and boater join us in sharing your passion, helping spread the word, and getting more #WomenMakingWaves in fishing and boating. Want to lead the charge? Join our women-powered social media movement to increase our visibility in the fishing community by becoming a WaveMaker.