Industry Voices: Musings from Michele

Words of wisdom from this year’s Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year

By Michele J. Goldsmith

Today I find myself doing something I never imagined, penning an article for Boating Industry magazine’s annual Women Making Waves issue. Each year, the recipient of the Darlene Briggs award has the privilege of gracing the pages of this magazine. So, first and foremost I extend my heartfelt thanks to the Briggs family, the MRAA educational foundation, Adam Quandt and Boating Industry for the incredible honor of being named this year’s Darlene Briggs award recipient.

Today is June 3, 2024. Exactly three years ago, I hosted our first Women in the Industry event. Since then, more than 1,600 women and men have attended these events. We have offered virtual, in-person, and hybrid formats, featuring a range of guest speakers and panels on topics that impact people both personally and professionally, regardless of their career stage. Topics have included making meaning in your life, avoiding burnout, developing your personal brand, the inner and outer game of self-confidence, negotiating for empowerment, etc. Recordings of these events are available for you to view at your leisure at Additionally, this month marks the kickoff of the 3rd annual 1+1 mentoring program, connecting newcomers to the marine industry with seasoned leaders. The goal of the Women in the Industry series is to provide community, support, resources, a safe place to learn, develop skills, network, and ask questions. Ultimately, we aim to help people in the industry reach their goals and achieve their dreams. I want to personally thank Volvo Penta, MarineMax, and Sea-Tow for their unwavering support of these initiatives from day one.

Nothing about my journey has been conventional. I have worked in manufacturing operations, sales and product management, marketing and now publishing for the global marine industry. Over the course of 33 years and through the development of the Women in the Industry series, I have learned valuable lessons along the way. If you will indulge me the time, I would like to share some of them with you.

  • Everyone has it within themselves to excel. Your drive, passion, and ability to execute are the keys to success. Stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself can lead to incredible growth. It has for me, clearing my mind and creating the belief that I am capable of more than I thought possible.
  • Ask for what you want, and not tentatively. Remove the word “just” from your vocabulary. As Nora Ephron said, “Be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
  • Remain true to yourself, your values, and your creativity. They will be challenged, and you will be asked to conform. Stay true to yourself.
  • Know your worth and when you are asked to do something, communicate your conditions for success – what you need to do the job well.
  • Understand that you will be faced with a wide range of situations, good and bad. What you can always control is the way that you react to them.
  • Seek mentors, find people who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities. I am grateful to those who have enlightened, guided, challenged, and supported me.
  • Look outside of the industry. Attend an event, seminar, webinar, etc. unrelated to the marine industry. Learning from diverse thought leaders can spark innovative ideas.
  • Understand your pillars – your guiding principles or true north. When you know what those are, you will align your work, projects, initiatives, and people with them and master the art of saying no to those that do not.
  • I am a workaholic, and it took me a long time to understand that no matter how important you are to an organization, it will continue without you. Therefore, self-care is essential. Take time to renew your spirit and creativity.
  • Be visible and get involved. Collaborating on projects that benefit the community and industry offers opportunities to build deeper connections with others for a shared purpose.
  • No matter if someone is the CEO or the janitor, everyone is human with feelings and flaws. Interact with them as a human first. Remember what Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
  • Most of all, enjoy the journey and relationships you build with the wonderful people in this industry.

Once again, thank you to Boating Industry, the MRAA educational foundation and the Briggs family. I am humbled and deeply grateful for this honor.  

Michele J. Goldsmith is the vice president and general manager of marine business-to-business multi-media brand, Soundings Trade Only group, part of Active Interest Media. Her marine industry experience includes manufacturing operations, product development, and marketing and sales management roles to the OEM, aftermarket, domestic and international sectors. Michele’s impact extends beyond her professional roles, as she has actively served the marine industry on the NMMA board of directors and its executive board, as chairperson of the NMMA MACD board of directors, on the Grow Boating and NMMA PAC board of directors, and the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) technical board of directors.

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