Day 2 started much like the first day. Pen, pad, ready, set, go!

On October 9th, it was the second day of the Women Offshore Conference. Just like the first day, I was ready to extend my network virtually, learn from the speakers, and engage in a workshop. I took notes throughout the sessions, and here are some things I picked up on that I wanted to share.

A Personal Message from Captain Sandy Yawn: “When I had a pushback, I didn’t fallback, I made a comeback.”

Kicking off the second day of the Women Offshore Conference was Captain Sandy Yawn, star of the show Below Deck Mediterranean. She was my coffee and invigorated me for the day ahead as she inspired us with her words on constantly propelling oneself forward. “When I had a pushback, I didn’t fallback, I made a comeback.”

Captain Sandy shared that growing and learning was about the journey one takes, not the destination. As I sat and listened to her passion for the ocean, and the adventure it has provided her with, I reflected on my journey. I felt a sense of connection with the other attendees watching Captain Sandy, as the ocean has provided us all with a life and a purpose that we passionately pursue.

Small Group Discussions, Part I: Breakout Rooms to Discuss Bystander Intervention

In Small Group Discussions, Part 1, examining bystander intervention, my group volleyed ideas on how to interrupt conflict and insert oneself in a positive or neutral manner, so as not to exacerbate a conflict further, and yield a positive result.

Lifting the Curtain on Human Resources Panel Discussion: Understanding HR

Next, Lifting the Curtain on Human Resources Panel Discussion was aptly named, and our speakers were inundated with questions. Lisa Mullins of Transocean talked about the importance of partnering yourself with the right company to foster personal growth in ways that are meaningful to you. One of the best questions posed was regarding the lack of satisfying interaction associated with online applications. Janee Ortiz shed valuable light on the importance of doing your homework on the company, the history as well as the recent events. “Custom connections” was my favorite takeaway phrase from this. Jennifer Foster talked about the enhancement of the workplace with the addition of technology. Lisa Mullins was adamant that you should not be discouraged by it, but should sprint toward it. Companies integrating technology are companies that invest in the future of the workforce, and have exponential growth potential, and that is THE bandwagon to jump on.

On making oneself stand apart from other candidates, Heather Peterson discussed a recent interview she conducted that blew her out of the water. The person she interviewed asked her questions that were well crafted, and demonstrated passion and preparedness that inspired her to incorporate this candidate into the Mercy Ships family. And apparently a PDF resume is resoundingly preferred. I never would have even thought to ask about this if I hadn’t attended the Women Offshore Conference.

Small Group Discussions, Part II: Breakout Rooms to Discuss Bystander Intervention

Small Group Discussions, Part 2, rounded out our earlier discussions on bystander intervention, and we quilted a better understanding of everyone’s role, supposed or desired, in conflict.

Self Advocacy 101 Workshop, led by Erica D’Eramo: Undoubtedly one of the Best Events at the Conference

The Self Advocacy 101 Workshop, led by Erica D’Eramo was undoubtedly one of the best events in the entire Women Offshore Conference. It removed the stigma that people don’t ask for what they want because of a lack of self confidence, and took the concept of gas lighting and security out of the equation. Erica taught us about loss aversion bias: the fear that losing something versus the desire to gain something is designed to protect us.

We were also prompted to consider the biases of the person we’re asking for something from. She also recommended eating first. “Hangriness” is a real inhibitor for both sides.

In spite of the technological forum, the engagement of attendees was palpable. We were excited to be empowered. We hungered for it. The things we gained from the Self Advocacy 101 Workshop with Erica gave us the courage to know that we deserve everything we want and are willing to work for.

Captain Wendy Williams, Closing Keynote, Ignited Passion to Pursue My Dreams

Captain Wendy Williams was the final keynote speaker, and she closed out this momentous conference in a most personable way. I had this inexplicable feeling that she was simply sitting across my breakfast table from me, sharing a cup of coffee as she earnestly recanted her stories from 30 years of being not just a mariner, but a humble human achievement machine. Her words weren’t necessarily ones I’d never heard before, and yet somehow, coming from her, they took on entirely new life, and ignited a fresh, fiery passion to pursue my dreams and take on the world.

Wave Maker Award Ceremony Honored Captain Makhosi Mbokazi of South Africa

Lastly, the Wave Maker Ceremony hosted by our fearless Women Offshore leader, Ally Cedeno, awarded and honored Captain Makhosi Mbokazi of South Africa. Captain Makhosi mentors and fosters growth within other burgeoning mariners, one of the most important and significant roles a person can ever play, because there is no handbook for being in this industry. We are all constantly learning, growing, changing, failing, succeeding, adjusting our expectations, and striving.

When I became a part of the Women Offshore family, I hadn’t expected more than to be of service to the cause. The heartfelt support from its community, and my personal growth from its events, continues to delight and surprise me. I can’t wait to see what next year’s Women Offshore Conference has in store!

Looking for more? Listen to the Women Offshore Conference Recap on the Podcast!

If you missed it, check out Julie’s takeaways from Day 1 of the Conference HERE!

Julie Schaeffer
About The Author: Julie Schaeffer

Julie Schaeffer is a graduate of California Maritime Academy and holds a USCG unlimited 3rd mate license. Growing up sailing and boating imbued her with an early and deep passion for being on the water. In her free time, Julie cycles and volunteers with dogs. Her other loves are cooking, making people laugh, writing, scotch, horses, and senior doggies.

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