Women at work – and making waves

By David Gee

How great is it to celebrate the considerable accomplishments of women in the recreational boating industry in this unique issue?!

Of course, Boating Industry, and parent company EPG Brand Acceleration, support and lift up women in the workplace in general, and specifically in the boating industry, the entire year. That happens not only through articles and features, but also via ongoing support for the Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award, women-centric programming at the Boating Industry ELEVATE Summit.

And why wouldn’t we? Boating Industry and EPG is owned and operated by Marion Minor, the director of sales for Boating Industry is Leslie Palmer, Sara Nath heads up enterprise-wide marketing, Susan Clement oversees all of the shows and conferences for EPG, etc., etc.

No longer novelties

When the Women Making Waves program began, it was unusual to see women working for a boat builder in assembly, engineering, quality control or running the service department at a dealer. That’s still not common, but women yacht designers, marina owners, captains, instructors, mechanics and tech consultants are certainly not novelties.

There is still considerable progress to be made though, obviously. Women, for example, only account for 8% of licensed boat captains, and their pay is 85% of what men with comparable experience make.

Captain Sandy Yawn of Bravo’s Below Deck Mediterranean fame, and a one-time Boating Industry Insider podcast guest, is singlehandedly trying to change those statistics!

And she told me none of her success would have been possible if she hadn’t been mentored and given opportunities early in her boating industry career by those who believed in her.

“Mentors not only taught me about driving and running a boat, but also taught me about the business aspects of the maritime industry,” said Captain Sandy. “They also always reminded me to make sure to remember the ‘fun factor’ when it comes to boating and working on the water. It’s now my time to inspire other young ladies to jump in and say YES to taking a risk. It’s so worth it!”

One of last year’s Women Making Waves recipients, Lauren Beckstedt, the Chief Marketing Officer at Brunswick Corporation, seconded Captain Sandy’s sentiments on mentoring.

“I would not be where I am today without several incredible women who contributed to my success and challenged me to explore new directions and career opportunities within the marine industry,” she said. 

Let’s celebrate at ELEVATE!

The value of mentorship will no doubt be one of the topics during the “Women in the Marine Industry” panel discussion at the Boating Industry ELEVATE Summit in Orlando, November 14-16, at the Caribe Royale Resort & Conference Center.

And later that same night, we’ll have a chance to recognize all of this year’s Women Making Waves winners at a reception that will be open to all conference attendees. So congrats, and we can’t wait to celebrate your amazing accomplishments. 

David Gee is a communications consultant, keynote speaker and former editor-in-chief of Boating Industry.

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