Registration is open for California Maritime Academy’s Women In Maritime Leadership Conference, March 15-16! Will we see you there?

Last March, Women Offshore was proud to represent at the Women in Maritime Leadership Conference at the California Maritime Academy (CMA). The conference focused on supporting women in the maritime and transportation industries and was open to prospective students, current students and industry professionals.

Women Offshore’s representative Sheila LaFleur (CMA 02’) collaborated with Elizabeth Simenstad, founder of Sea Sisters, and Captain Chae Guillot (CMA 14’) to discuss the sensitive topic of how to earn respect as a woman in the maritime industry.

Stepping on board a ship with a shiny new license does NOT earn you automatic respect from the crew. So how does one go about gaining trust and respect? Well, it’s a process.

Here are 5 steps discussed in the panel last year:

  1. Know Your Craft: Confidence comes through learning your craft by dedicating a sizable amount of time and energy to ensure your competency. Trust and respect come naturally when you demonstrate knowledge, hard work and a willingness to ask questions to understand what you don’t know.
  2. Develop your own style: Don’t feel pressured to adopt someone else’s leadership style. This may come through trial and error in finding out what works for you.  It make take a process of “coming into your own” to develop the leadership style that works best for you. Trust your instincts. When you’re able to be yourself, and not someone else, people will respect that because what you say is more natural and not forced. This takes time, so allow yourself grace to get there.
  3. Give yourself credit. You know SO much more than you think! Just being qualified enough to get to the place you are now shows that you possess the tools and knowledge to get the job done. You may have acquired the knowledge slowly at an academy or through the hawsepipe, and may not realize just how much knowledge you actually possess! You might surprise yourself at what orders come out of your mouth, how you perfectly dock that tug or how you threw that heaving line with such precision! You got this!
  4. Embrace the struggle: Become familiar with the feeling of being overwhelmed with responsibility or new information. If you’re not learning anything new, then you’re not growing so just embrace it and realize this is all a part of the ride. You are never going to feel like you have enough time to complete everything that needs to be done on a ship and there are always new responsibilities piling on your plate. It seems as if there’s always work left to do. Prioritize and forgive yourself for the things you couldn’t get done today.
  5. It’s not “US” vs.“THEM:” Working on a ship is a team sport regardless of gender, age or ethnicity. Respect goes both ways. Working on a ship creates a dynamic where you HAVE to learn to work with people from all walks of life and you won’t believe the friends and relationships you gain though having to “get through it” together. If you don’t present yourself as the odd- woman out, it sets the stage for others not to see you that way either.

Nothing of value in life is gained overnight. You’re out there, you’re doing it and you have already experienced success. If you get discouraged, remind yourself that this is all a learning process and you’re making way every day. You will get to the point where you don’t have to try to gain respect, you will just have it.

Interested in learning more?! Register for 2019!

This year, the Women In Maritime Leadership Conference is scheduled for March 15-16, under the theme “Transporting Women Farther.” Women Offshore will be there and encourages you to attend to network with other maritime professionals and hone your leadership skills during workshops.

Write down the discount code below for being a part of Women Offshore and then click to fill out the registration! We look forward to the conference where we will be inspired to affect even more positive change in the maritime and related industries, alongside you!


Women Offshore

About The Author: Women Offshore

The Women Offshore Foundation is an online organization and resource center for a diverse workforce on the water. Its mission is to propel women into meaningful careers through access to a worldwide community and professional development resources, while raising awareness amongst industry leaders and decision makers about issues affecting women on the water. Contact Women Offshore today: [email protected].

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