Wildlife Works

Driving sustainable development across communities through language learning

About the customer

Founded in 1997, Wildlife Works was created as an economic solution for wildlife conservation that drives measurable, direct finance to forest communities for their own development goals. They do this by channeling marketplace finance to the forest communities for their own conservation and development plans.
Company Size:
Babbel Live

The challenge

An international company, Wildlife Works has teams around the globe, including in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. To effectively live out their mission, they require clear communication between teams and offices. In the Congo, many team members are only French-speaking, while many team members in Latin America are only Spanish-speaking. 

These language barriers became a challenge, and to make matters worse, there weren’t many people in each region who could help with translation. This bottleneck hindered communication, efficiency and job growth across the entire company.

Why Babbel?

It was the team in the Congo who first asked Leanne Kocian, the Global Human Resources Director at Wildlife Works, for English lessons. From there, she discovered that people in the US and Latin America also wanted to take language classes to better speak to their colleagues around the world. 

In addition, as Wildlife Works began expanding into Brazil, the company realized they didn’t have many Portuguese speakers and identified a gap in communication there. After receiving a marketing email, Leanne discovered Babbel and was immediately impressed by the platform, including the lessons and tools that the platform could offer.

“Language learning has helped break down some of those language barriers and even allowed us to be more inclusive as a company so that people aren’t left out.”

Leanne Kocian, the Global Human Resources Director

Leanne mentioned that she would invite everyone to meetings, but they couldn’t actively participate or contribute to the conversation, which isn’t true belonging. Babbel has been able to help them be more inclusive as a company and provide more opportunities for employees to contribute and feel more included in those larger conversations. 

Since implementing Babbel across teams, the platform has gotten a lot of engagement across Wildlife Works. It’s been a way for people across countries and teams to connect with each other. And, for some people, it’s become a catalyst to grow and move up in their professional development. 

Leanne brought up one employee from Colombia that has stood out in her mind. Prior to implementing Babbel, he seemed to have difficulty when having to deliver presentations in English when collaborating with the global team.  Since Wildlife Works implemented Babbel, he has become one of the top learners. After only 6 months on the platform, Leanne commented, “Now when I hear him present, he is so confident. He contributes more, and it’s going to enable him to play such a huge leadership role in the organization…to me that’s the biggest success story.” 

Leanne believes that others will start to display a similar kind of progress as more people engage with the platform.

Team members have also been practicing language learning with Babbel for personal use when they travel. It’s even been a fun talking point in staff meetings—Leanne likes to highlight the top learners of the week, and everyone will celebrate or comment “congrats” in their language. It’s brought teams closer together by celebrating each other’s cultures and learning experiences. 

Leanne admitted that she feels more assured now speaking in a different language after using Babbel.

“I wasn’t confident before greeting people in their language because I didn’t know it, so it felt disingenuous, but now I feel more confident greeting or saying ‘thank you’ in whatever the person’s language is that they speak.”

She’s noticed this happening among other teams, which she finds inspiring. “It’s a genuine effort made by everyone.” 

Babbel has impacted Wildlife Works in other ways as well. It’s become an incredible tool to highlight in the hiring process. Most of their job descriptions have a preferred qualification for language skills, but sometimes candidates don’t list their specific language experience because they aren’t completely fluent. When Leanne brings up Babbel as an option for those who have an existing foundation in a foreign language but need some practice, candidates get excited and become more interested in the role.

“That is a big selling point…It’s something we can highlight that’s reflective of our culture. That’s a specific example of what we do to strengthen our teams and give people an opportunity to pursue this for themselves, whether it be personally or professionally.”

Since May, they have gotten so much engagement from the platform—they have doubled the amount of interest!

The cultural bites on the platform are especially a favorite: “It’s not just your textbook vocabulary,” said Leanne. “I like the conversation aspect. It makes more sense as far as how it would really sound or how a conversation would really go. I love the games.” The culture bites are a major draw for many learners—for good reason! Babbel’s culture bites give learners helpful tips to speak more naturally, using the lingo that a native speaker would. 

Leanne raved about the incredible work her customer success manager has done—from tips to promote Babbel across the organization to tools and fun activities to increase engagement. “That support has been fantastic!” she added.

Babbel has also been the one benefit that is available for everyone. Since Wildlife Works is a global company, there are regulations in place for other countries in terms of the different kinds of benefits they can offer. Babbel is the exception. 

“It’s a benefit that works for everyone. We can extend it to everybody at the company.” 

Implementing Babbel has left a positive impact on the organization. “This is something where you’re truly doing something 100% positive and giving people an opportunity to advance their careers or pursue something personal if they like to travel…It’s one of my favorite initiatives we’ve done this year. I think it’s great and everybody loves it!”


Being able to communicate effectively across teams and countries is sometimes easier said than done. As Wildlife Works shared, speaking and understanding each other’s language builds trust and respect across teams and countries. With Babbel, the company has been able to better connect with each other and fully live out their mission to drive sustainable development to local communities.

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