Three Industry Leading Women on Yachts & Yachting
Historically male-dominated, the yachting industry has seen a growth in women leaders in the last few decades. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight three female figures who currently have great influence on the industry. From yacht manufacturing executives to luxury interior designers, these women in yachting have already made a big impact and are poised to continue contributing to the luxury yachting space for many years to come. We have not only compiled a few of their major accomplishments but have also collected some of their insightful thoughts on yachts and the yachting industry.
Executive Vice President at Azimut | Benetti Group
The daughter of Paolo Vitelli, the founder of Azimut | Benetti Group, luxury yacht manufacturing is part of the family business to Giovanna Vitelli. After joining the company in 2000, Vitelli has worked her way up to executive vice president and become the leader of product strategy and development. Respected for her grasp of what modern yacht owners want, she has significantly contributed to the company’s continued success. Some of her successful initiatives include streamlining the group’s management processing and partnering with renowned architects and designers outside of the yachting sphere.
“This is still very much a male directed industry because there is so much technology – engineering is one of the most fascinating and important parts of the business and this department is male dominant. Saying that, yachts are a combination of beauty and technology and on the beauty side, we’re seeing more and more ladies. There are also more women coming into the technical side, which is probably due to the new generation who don’t see one thing for men and one for women. But I think that traditionally, and in Italy for sure, the presence of women at high levels is still an open issue that’s not solved yet. At our company, I don’t actively push to hire more women but I think we are more open minded than a usual Italian industrial company.” – Giovanna Vitelli, Azimut Benetti Group Executive Vice President 1
Show Director at Cannes Yachting Festival
As show director of one of the largest and most prestigious annual yachting events in Europe, Sylvie Ernoult must ensure that hundreds of boats and tens of thousands of industry professionals and yachting enthusiast safely arrive at Cannes for the festival. The event, ideally located on the French Riviera, celebrates the latest product launches and company developments from the yachting world. Ernoult has organized the event for the past eight years to great success. While the Cannes Yachting Festival has to skip 2020 due to COVID-19, Ernoult is organizing its comeback for September 2021.
“Luxury is often what we want but don’t have. For me, time is luxury. My job is certainly extremely exciting but very demanding. My luxury is having time for my family, my friends and if we can also spend time on a boat – even better!” – Sylvie Ernoult, Cannes Yachting Festival Show Director 2
Founder at Zaniz Studio
As founder of the London and Tuscany based Zaniz Studio, Zaniz Jakubowski has designed a number of high-profile luxury homes and yachts across the U.S. and the Middle East. Jakubowski is a private yet incredibly accomplished multi-discipline designer. One of the most well-known residential urban commercial and residential projects she oversaw the design for is Trump Tower. After branching out to nautical projects, Jakubowski has worked on a growing number of luxury vessels including ocean liners SS Norway and Queen Elizabeth 2. Her studio also did the interior and exterior design for the 108 meter gigayacht M/Y Luminosity from Benetti.
“It's like designing someone's private island,” she says. “People live differently onboard a boat compared to a house. You need to fulfil all the functions in case they spend extended periods onboard. You have to consider things like adequate food stores and how to get vehicles on and off the boat. If I need cranes, I don't want them exposed so I need them to fit into the profile seamlessly. All those things become critical when you can’t simply go outside.” – Zaniz Jakubowski, Zaniz Studio Founder 3
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- Becoming a Female Yacht Captain: An Interview With Brianna Kerrigan
- Superyacht Execs Give Insight on Yacht Industry Trends
- Rachel Ingram, Forbes – How Giovanna Vitelli Became The Most Powerful Woman In Italian Yachting
- EAT LOVE SAVOR International Luxury Lifestyle Magazine – A Moment With… Sylvie Ernoult, Commissioner General Of The Cannes Yachting Festival
- Rachel Ingram, Forbes – From Trump Tower To Gigayachts: Designing The World’s Most Illuminating Superyacht