“Women want to earn their leading positions in the industry based on their capacities, not because they are merely included for the sake of diversity.” The organiser of the Women in Marine International Network Panel seeks to empower her sisters by sharing ideas of how to take their positions and strengthen the yachting and boating sector.
“We want to create an environment in which attendees feel safe to engage, learn, share and ask questions,” Michele Goldsmith envisions. “In preparation, we will ask the audience what they would want to know. What questions do they have and what learnings are valuable to them. The event format includes a light breakfast, industry leadership panel and time for networking, all prior to when the show floor opens on the 2nd day of METSTRADE. The industry leadership panel discussion will begin with each of the female executives sharing their personal background their challenges and triumphs, and how they got to where they are now. As their stories unfold, additional questions will be asked about empowerment, leadership, process, and how they make themselves and their ideas heard. The panellists will also share insights and advice with the audience.”
Goldsmith is Vice President and General Manager at Soundings Trade Only, a dedicated professional multimedia outreach for the marine industry. She is pleased to notice that a growing number of women reach top positions in the yachting and boating industry. Yet, inequality still exists. “There is a strong desire for a community with women that empower one another,” the organiser learnt from the Women in Marine Network event as organised last year during METS. This was organised in a collaboration between British Marine, METSTRADE and Soundings Trade Only and supported by Marine Industry News, with a panel discussion and light breakfast at the Elicium theatre. More than 100 people attended. More people wanted to come, but space limitations forced a limit on the number of participants.
With over 30 years of experience in the marine industry, Goldsmith was responsible for marketing, sales and product development in different roles. During executive meetings and strategy conferences, “I was forever the only woman at the table.” She emphasizes that diversity, in terms of gender, ethnicity, culture and age, is essential for teams to perform well. “The marine industry has a tendency to stay in their own little bubble,” she noticed. “Our readership at Soundings Trade Only includes many business owners and executives, beyond offering them the latest marine industry news, we look outside the bubble to the greater business, leadership, management, and financial trends that could impact the industry and their business growth. For instance, we have done several articles on data protection and hacking, a concern of many industry segments. Our mission at Soundings Trade Only is to reflect the industry back to itself, inform the industry of what is happening inside and outside the bubble, and inspire with a look ahead.”
“Regardless of gender, diversity of thought, background, experience, culture, and age are the recipe for teams that produce the best results. Women comprise only 2% of the marine industry workforce. That 2% comes to the table with a great ability to multitask. Many must, as they work and raise families; they are accustomed to working on multiple projects simultaneously. My advice for male leaders is to have an open mind to what women can bring to the company, to their ideas and their insights.”
“One of the key questions that women working in the industry want to know is how to be heard. We have had sessions on the use of language for negotiation and empowerment. One tip that resonated with the Women in the Industry audience is to remove the word ‘just’ from their vocabulary. A woman in our network wrote to me to say, ‘You have a wonderful way of always making someone feel comfortable while pulling them out of their comfort zone, so they feel comfortable growing and branching out. I try to put into practice the teachings that the sessions have provided. While I am still a work in progress, I have noticed a difference, and my boss has seen it in me as well and made comments on it.’ The main goal is to make it easier for the next generation of women in the marine industry to excel, have a support system and to realize their dreams, goals, and ambitions.”
The team of Soundings Trade Only, British Marine, METSTRADE and Marine Industry News is partnering once again to bring to life an event focused on women working in the marine industry. Goldsmith: “As we did last year, there is a dynamic group of female executives from across the globe and from various sectors and roles who will comprise our leadership panel. We look forward to an event filled with community, learning, inspiration and more. I look forward to moderating the panel and to an empowering event on the Thursday morning.” Those interested in attending should register early, as this free event is expected to quickly reach maximum capacity.
Women in the Industry International forum will be held on November 16th in the Elicium Theatre prior to the doors opening at METSTRADE show, that runs from 15th - 17th of November 2023, this year from Wednesday till Friday.