Independent International Consultant in agricultural science and policy

Liesl Wiese-Rozanova
About MePublications

ABOUT ME

I work as an international consultant in agricultural science and policy, based in the beautiful winelands area of South Africa. With a PhD in soil science, my technical focus is on soil organic carbon and sustainable soil/land management in relation to sustainable food production, resilience to climate change, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

I chose independent consulting not as a “job”, but as a way to live an inspired life. This website is a next step to share how my professional journey is underpinned by my passion for connection, my belief in the power of positive communication, and my desire for creative expression.

Welcome to my journey!

KEY TECHNICAL EXPERTISE

Soil organic carbon (SOC)
  • Conducting quantitative and qualitative research on SOC
  • Considering SOC in relation to agricultural sustainability, soil health, climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Producing scientific and non-scientific writing related to SOC
  • Considering SOC in national carbon sink assessment
Sustainable soil/land management (SSM/SLM)
  • Technical support to formulation and implementation of SSM/SLM projects, including identification of appropriate SSM/SLM practices

  • Preparation of technical and policy documents

  • Developing and presenting teaching materials for capacity development

Agricultural science/policy interface
  • Providing technical expertise and recommendations in the development of national soil and agricultural policy

  • Analyzing policy for inclusion of SSM, SLM, SOC and more

  • Providing recommendations on integration of global environmental targets in national policy

Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)
  • Applying the LDN Conceptual Framework in project formulation
  • Supporting regional harmonization of LDN application in project context
  • Land degradation and SLM assessment as baseline information for LDN concept
  • Developing and presenting teaching materials for capacity development
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
  • Analyzing NDCs for inclusion of SSM and SLM related aspects
  • Analyzing national policy environment related to implementation of SOC related NDC targets

 

Land use planning
  • Providing technical expertise in land use planning processes
  • Developing policy recommendations for improving integrated land use planning

SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES

Languages

English and Afrikaans – native proficiency in both

Oral and written communication

I believe communication is one of the most important skills in work and life – I take pride in my oral and written communication skills through scientific and non-scientific writing and oral presentation.

Computer skills (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Skype, Zoom)

I am very skilled at using various computer programs and enjoy improving my skills as required for new challenges and tasks.

Building collaborative relationships
  • I have a natural interest in connecting with team members and stakeholders to stimulate open communication, a sense of trust, collaboration to achieve common goals, and build a caring and fun team spirit.

Self-motivated individual

I am motivated by pride in my own work, the joy of making a meaningful contribution to any project I’m working on, the satisfaction of delivering quality work on time, the opportunity to learn something new with each contract, and the meaningful connections I make with people around the world.

Creative problem solving

I find it fun to look for creative solutions to what might seem like tedious problems. I do this through active listening, observation, a natural curiosity of how things work and how people relate, and my personal preference for keeping things simple and easy. Especially the latter preference naturally drives me to find creative and simple solutions to simple or complex problems. I usually don’t do this alone – discussing and brainstorming different solutions and scenarios with team members and beneficiaries is crucial to cover all the bases and make sure that solutions are useful.

Geographic Information System

I have basic proficiency in QGIS to view and edit maps for project activities and reports.

Teamwork
  • One of the best perks of my work is the opportunity to meet and work with international and multi-cultural teams, with or without remote supervision.

Timely delivery and results focus

Delivering quality results on time brings me tremendous satisfaction and joy.

Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement

This is what this website is all about. I enjoy sharing information I become aware of with my network, especially if I believe it would be useful for the work others are doing. Continuous self-improvement is my second nature, which is why I enjoy reading and sharing insights from books on this page.

Active listening

If I initially seem quiet in meetings and workshops, it’s because I am good at listening and observing before formulating my input. I focus on hearing what is being said and what is not being said, recognizing where others might disagree while (actually) saying the same thing, understanding the context and needs of different stakeholders, and looking for entry points to foster better understanding, communication and collaboration. When I speak, I have something to contribute.

MORE ABOUT ME PERSONALLY

What motivated you to become a freelance consultant?

I strongly believe that people deliver their best work in an environment where they can use their natural strengths, talents, interests, and capabilities to deliver quality work, as well as continue to learn and develop as individuals while working effectively as part of a team. That was what I wanted for myself. I spent many years assessing what that is and looks like for myself, and that’s how I flowed into freelance work. For more, see my response to the next question on what I love about freelancing.

What do you enjoy most about freelance consulting?

I love freelance work for what it gives me – freedom and variety!

Freedom to choose what I want to work on; opportunity to work on a variety of topics, with a variety of people, in a variety of places; the flexibility to schedule my work/life balance according to my strengths and priorities; the ability to say “no” when I feel something is really not for me; shifting my perspective from being an employee to providing a service; being able to represent myself, my voice, and my professional opinion rather than a specific organization; interacting with people from a place of neutrality, rather than representing a specific organization (it’s incredible what difference this can make at times). Yet, whenever I provide a service for an organization, I view myself as an ambassador for that organization during that time period.

Would you consider full time employment?

I am not aware of a full-time job that would give me all the freedom and variety I mentioned in the previous question. And yet, opportunities come in different packages, so I consider all opportunities – both part-time and full-time.

The most important criteria are that the tasks align with my personal and professional goals, interests, and strengths, as well as that I add value and quality service to the client or organization.

Don’t you find it stressful when you don’t have a contract?

Fortunately, no, I don’t. When I chose freelance consulting, I knew it would include times when I don’t have contracts, so I adjust my mindset and plan accordingly.

Financially, I plan and save to ensure I always have the necessary capital to carry me through 6 months to a year in advance.

On a personal level, I adjust to the natural flow of busy versus quieter times. During crunch time, often with multiple contracts, I enjoy the thrill of being busy, mentally stimulated, and involved. During quiet times, I enjoy the break and change in pace and spend more time on other things that are important to me.

Professionally, I have a number of papers I want to write for peer review submission, plus I have this website that needs content. I always have something to do.

Where does most of your work come from?

I consider myself very fortunate that most of my work is offered to me by professionals from my network, or by new contacts following referrals. My network is continuously expanding.

Until now, my most important marketing tool has been to deliver quality work on time, while building lasting relationships with the people I provide my services to. Now, this website provides me with additional visibility. I do apply for the occasional vacancy announcement, but only if I really want to do the work. Interestingly, many of the contracts I have worked on were never advertised.

What motivated you to develop this website?

This website is a platform where I share more my work and personal interests. More importantly, I provide insights on how my work is underpinned by my passion for communication, connection, creativity, and self-discovery.

As an example, I enjoy reading books and recently made it a priority activity in my schedule. The “Books” section of this website motivates me to read more consciously, summarize the most valuable points from each book, and think how it can relate to my work regardless of the topic. This is a new creative angle I look forward to exploring.

Get In Touch

Email Liesl at:

info@lieslwiese.co.za