Sam Sablan recently stepped down as executive director of the Marianas Islands Nature Alliance to pursue her first love, culinary arts.
A chef by training, Sablan left for Japan on Tuesday to further hone her culinary skills. She told Saipan Tribune that she loves MINA and leaves with a heavy heart, but she had no choice but to grab the opportunity to get back to her field of expertise.
She said a Japanese fast-food company offered her a job as they are planning to open franchises in the Marianas, Guam first and then Saipan.
MINA board of directors chair Frankie Eliptico thanked Sablan for her years of service at the conservation non-profit organization.
Before assuming the executive director post, Sablan served as a board member of MINA.
“Sam has made significant contributions to the growth of MINA, and she has been worked really hard to ensure that conservation continues to be a top priority here in the CNMI,” he said.
“We are sad to see her go, but we understand that her passion has always been cooking and she received this great opportunity to do just that. Of course, the board members and I wish her the best in all her endeavors,” he said.
In the meantime, Eliptico said that Elisabeth “Becky” Furey will be acting executive director until a permanent director is found.
“We are confident in Becky’s skill and abilities and have no doubt she will be able to continue the great work that Sam was doing,” said Eliptico.
MINA secretary Ron Smith also wished Sablan well. “She’s been wanting to pursue her culinary career for a long time and had a great opportunity to do so. We wish her the best of luck in all her endeavors. Beck Furey will be acting executive director on a trial basis under the direct supervision of the chairman of the board of directors.”
MINA is a conservation nonprofit organization. Recently, MINA hosted the Green Gala, which raised thousands of dollars for environmental efforts.