REEF members are the heart of our grassroots marine conservation programs. A diverse community of divers, snorkelers, and ocean enthusiasts support our mission to conserve marine environments worldwide.
This month, we're pleased to introduce Chunnie Wright, the newest member of the REEF Board of Trustees. Chunnie has been a REEF member since 2008 and joined the Board of Trustees in the spring of 2022. She is the owner of the Law Office of Chun T. Wright, a Washington, DC-based boutique law firm, which focuses on trademark and copyright law, emerging technologies, and adventure travel law. She has been a litigator at major law firms in the San Francisco Bay Area, a federal prosecutor in Washington, DC, and vice president of anti-piracy legal affairs at a DC-based trade association. In addition to REEF, Chunnie serves on other boards that focus on conservation, nature, and adventure travel. She received her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and her J.D. from the University of California Berkeley School of Law. She is an avid diver and traveler. As an enthusiastic and efficent business person and attorney (as well as an adventurous spirit - she has summited Mount Kilimanjaro!), Chunnie brings a valuable perspective and skill set to REEF, and we are excited to have her as a member of the Board of Trustees. Check out our Q&A with Chunnie to learn more. You can view bios of the full REEF Board of Trustees here.
Where are you from?
I live in Maryland, in the Washington, DC metro area, but as a “military brat,” I don’t feel like I’m “from” anywhere. I spent my early life in Asia (Japan and Korea) and the rest of my childhood in Georgia, Italy, and Texas. I went to college in Texas and spent seven years in the San Francisco Bay Area, attending law school and working.
When and how did you become involved with REEF?
I was first introduced to REEF through Ned and Paul’s Reef Fish Identification books, which I devoured on a liveaboard in Fiji as a new diver. I couldn’t get enough of marine life ID and joined REEF in 2008. I met Ned and Anna shortly after that on a dive trip to Bonaire where they were holding their annual Marine Life Education Program. We stayed in touch over the years and my involvement with REEF expanded to helping REEF with some of its legal needs.
What inspires you the most about REEF’s mission and programs?
I love that they are built around a strong sense of community, and that they have made substantial impacts in conserving our marine environment. While REEF’s work involves serious issues, its programs are fun, educational and engaging and really tap into the passion and observational talents of divers, snorkelers and anyone who loves marine life. The people behind REEF are extremely talented and committed. The people inspire me just as much as REEF’s mission and programs.
What is your favorite fish (or animal?)
My favorites include the Redlip Blenny, Bottlenose Dolphin, Manta Ray, and out of water, the Bateleur Eagle.
Where is your favorite place to travel, or a place you’ve always wanted to visit?
I love to travel to new places and preferably ones where I can dive and that take me out of my comfort zone. I have seen a lot of the world but haven’t yet dove in Palau or Indonesia so those are high on my list. I also love art, history and food so France and Italy are always a joy to visit and they’re just a short overnight flight from where I live.
What is your favorite book?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
What do you do in your free time?
Outside of diving and adventure travel, cooking, reading, running/swimming, and gardening in raised beds which is new for me.
Who is your hero?
Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman in Congress. She inspired me to become a lawyer.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
It's hard to settle on one thing. Joining the REEF Board of course, plunging into the abyss by starting my own legal practice and making it past year five, helping countless people and businesses in my professional work, summitting Mt. Kilimanjaro a few years ago for a milestone birthday, and working with wonderful women early in my career to found a non-profit that assists API domestic violence victims in the Washington, DC area.