Mar 08, 2021

A Discussion Led By Female Leaders in Yachting

woman on a boat looking out onto the water

Female Leaders In Yachting Discuss How Women Can Succeed In the Industry

To celebrate International Women’s Day, BOAT International hosted a virtual panel of women yachting industry leaders to talk about their experiences working in the industry and how young women can navigate the current space to achieve success. The hour-long discussion, which was hosted on the mobile app Clubhouse, brought some of the most influential female figures across the industry including:

  • Fiona Poole, CEO of Hunton Yachts
  • Brunehilde Derda, co-CEO, Principal Naval Architect and Engineer of D.W. Yacht Design
  • Sara Gioanola, PR and Press Office Manager of Heesen Yachts
  • Ann Avery, Northrop & Johnson sales broker
  • Ashley Perrin, arctic ice pilot
  • Jenny Matthews, Founder of She of Sea
  • Marie Solimand, Founder and Creative Director of Bergman Interiors & Njord By Bergman
  • Sarah Colbon, Co-Founder of Njord by Bergman Design House

Many of these women shared their experiences being in a male-dominated industry. They discussed how the industry is changing as well as gave some advice to other young women who are either already in the industry or want to start working in yachting. As the panel went on, a few common themes emerged including confidence and minimizing gendered thinking.

Young Women Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Be Confident

Many of the female leaders in yachting that spoke on the panel recounted how they had held themselves back in the beginning of their careers. They had feared that they lacked the knowledge or abilities. But as they gained more experience, they found that their skillsets were no different to their male peers. The conclusion was that having strong sense of self confidence was a valuable asset for young women trying to make it in the yachting industry.

Gendered Thinking Should Be Removed From The Industry

Another common theme that emerged as the virtual discussion continued was a critical view of gendered thinking. Some panelists discussed how they never viewed themselves of “female” versions of their job positions, while others argued that gender separated awards felt reductive. A common consensus seemed to be that the yachting industry would benefit from minimizing or even removing the role of the gendered thinking that currently influences it.

“We really believe now more than ever is the time to no longer divide by gender type in yachting. It’s about including and celebrating all our achievements, taking responsibility, being aware, knowing when to challenge and always striving for change.” – Sarah Colbon, Co-Founder of Njord by Bergman Design House 1


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  1. Charlotte Hogarth-Jones, BOAT International – BOAT International unites female leaders in yachting on new Clubhouse app


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