Head of Operations and Marketing
How did you find out about and what made you choose the maritime sector?
I joined the maritime industry by accident; I had spent two years at home after having my son and decided that I’d like to change my career completely from Financial Services to study Psychotherapy at Bristol University. I applied for a temporary job at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office as PA to the Head of Operations. Within three weeks I fell head over heels in love with shipping and ditched my Uni course to focus on getting a full time permanent role within the UKHO. I’ve been in the industry for over a decade and although some days are more challenging than others, I’ve never fallen out of love with it.
Who has been the most important person to you in your maritime career so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with some incredible people during my time in the maritime industry, I can’t pick one so here are a few that have really influenced me…
Hayley van Leeuwen - Hayley was my first boss when I got a permanent role at UKHO. Hayley saw something in me that I could never dare to dream about; she saw potential and together, she helped me build the foundations of a career in marketing. She has supported me through thick and thin and taught me how to succeed no matter what. Michael Cauter - Michael gave me my first big break at UKHO and allowed me to manage and present the first ever online distributor Webex meetings. I was utterly terrified on the day we went live and I remember him taking me to one side and saying,” All the best things in life make you scared, just go for it”. He shook my hand in front of everyone afterward the event and I could not have been prouder. Mike Bailey - Mike and I worked together at GNS and spent three years presenting customer workshops around the world. He spent hours and hours teaching me about the workings of vessels, how the various roles onboard worked together, what the challenges were like for shore based teams and so on. Mike was the best mentor I’ve ever had and gave me an insight into shipping that I could not have gotten from anyone else. Nick Chubb - Nick was my first boss at Intelligent Cargo Systems and has been a huge influence to me. He always let me run with my ideas (no matter how off the wall!) and helped me learn from my failures as well as my successes. Nick was also a champion for women in the maritime industry and helped me find my voice to encourage other women into the field and speak out about areas that are so often ignored.
Did you study for any maritime-related qualifications and, if so, what and where?
Not formally but I have spent many hours researching and learning about the industry and of course, learning on the job.
What have you found most challenging in your maritime career so far, and how did you address it?
Working in a very male dominated environment can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. As women in shipping, we have the opportunity to change the narrative for the better, to reshape the biased viewpoints and build a community that empowers women. In 2019 I was asked to speak at the first ever Women in Shipping Forum in London. It was incredible to see how, as women, we could create a powerful voice by working together and supporting each other. This industry may have been a male dominated one but little by little, the tide is turning. We’re seeing more women in positions of power within the community and most importantly, directives coming from high profile groups supporting this change.
What does a typical day at work look like?
My day is very varied, which is exactly what I love about my job! Primarily I focus on working with our Distribution network to develop marketing campaigns and collateral to support customer outreach. I’m currently in the process of expanding our workshop program to potential customers which means devising website content, marketing brochures and email campaigns, finding and assessing key prospects, pulling together bespoke case studies for shipping companies and developing the overall format of the workshop and its deliverables. I also spend time working directly with customers to fully understand their pain points, feeding that information back to our technical teams to create products and services and work for the customer. I manage our social media channels, write blogs, create product marketing collateral, speak at online events and of course, provide new customers with demonstrations of our products to create future sales.
What networks do you belong to that support your work?
WISTA International - the Women's International Shipping & Trading Association
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like to spend time with my husband and son, play with our two kittens, read Stephen King novels and visit art galleries.