Katerina Dodds - Willie Creek Operations Manager

Katerina Dodds - Willie Creek Operations Manager

Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up overseas but moved to Perth when I was 8 years old where I completed the rest of my schooling. After a few years of travelling, working and a wrong university degree choice I moved to Queensland to study marine biology at James Cook University. At the completion of this, I started working in tourism and research completing work in Queensland, Iceland, Mexico, America, Useless Loop and Shark Bay. I spent my last 5 years previous to Broome managing an aquarium, 4WD and scuba diving business in Denham where I was the Dive Instructor & General Manager. After living in a town with a population of 900, moving to Broome for me felt like the 'big smoke' but it still holds its rustic appeal. 

As the Willie Creek Operations Manager, what does your job entail?
My role covers all the happenings and people at the Farm, and there’s always a new part of my job waiting to be discovered from one day to the next. I just try to make sure everyone’s visit to the Farm is as educational, fun and smooth as possible.

Tell us how you started working for Willie Creek Pearls?
I had some friends staying in Broome and they invited me up to stay. I bought a last minute ticket as I'd never been and was really impressed with the town. So much so that I jumped on Seek that night just to have a casual peruse of the tourism jobs available and I stumbled across the Willie Creek Pearl Farm Operations Manager position. I applied the next day and found myself moving up here 2 months later. 

What is the best part of your job?
The incredible views from the desk and that I am a people person. I love who I get to meet from one day to another, and getting to hearing the great travel tips from people who have spent their life on the road the past few months.

What is the toughest part of your job? 
The remoteness of the Farm, while appealing comes with its issues. Depending on our own fresh water and power production comes with problems, especially when combining the salt, heat and storms that we get in the area.

What is your favourite thing about working with pearls?
I love seeing all the new stock coming in, and the final product after so much time has been invested in each oyster and how the jeweller has decided to best showcase each individual pearls best features.   

What do you find so special about Australian South Sea Pearls? 
Knowing that the industry is strictly regulated, and the oysters are grown in such pristine conditions and areas I know that the industry will be able to operate safely and sustainably for years to come. 

What is the most surprising thing you have learnt about Pearls or Pearling? 
How many people are involved in with the production of a single pearl. There are whole teams involved and it’s a very labour-intensive activity each step of the way from growing, collecting, cleaning, rotating, teaching, setting and selling the pearl.

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