Leading the way

Women have been offering the boating industry solutions to its problems since the first family marine business was born.

But over time, the number of women in the boating business, the diversity of their roles and the heights to which they’ve risen have increased. Just take a look at the winners of the Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award, currently celebrating its 20-year anniversary. The award, which was established to celebrate the leadership and commitment of a marine retailer to her industry and her community, has recognized the achievements of a wide range of boating business professionals, from fellow marine retailers to boat builders, engine manufacturers and industry consultants.

When you talk to these women about their careers, some will tell you they’ve been able to help the industry better target female boaters. Others will share with you the accomplishments they’ve achieved using their unique communication and leadership skills. Still others will tell you that being a woman has had nothing to do with their job performance or their contribution to the industry.

I think they’re all right. In today’s world, there are as many different experiences and perspectives as there are persons, and we each apply them to our jobs in our own way. Boating Industry magazine’s aim in highlighting the women leaders featured in this article is to share their solutions to the industry’s challenges in hopes that it might help it improve and grow.

Not only have these submissions been edited for clarity and length, we received so many that we were unable to fit them all in the magazine. For the full-length versions of the following solutions, as well as 11 additional submissions from some of the industry’s best and brightest, visit the March issue on www.boatingindustry.com.

Simplify the experience — Marcia Kull, Volvo Penta

Turn to your backyard — Cheryl Fischer, Fischer Marine Boat Sales and Brokerage

Think Pre-Owned — Peggy Bodenreider, GE Money

Seek the right people and keep them — Fran Galati, Galati Yacht Sales

Communicating Success — Holly Johnston, Honda Marine

When the going gets tough, reach out and touch — Salima Benchoukroun, freelance public relations and marketing professional

Leadership vs. Management — Debbie A. Davis, MarineMax

A plan of your own — Cindy Squires, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)

Making water access a priority — Bernice McArdle, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)

Find new blood — Lindsey Johnson, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)

A sense of urgency — Ann Medford, Sea Tow

Make a plan — Lucile Capo-Miller, Cannons Marina

Get certified — Nancy Smith, Colorado Boat Center

Spreading the word — Nancy Michelman, BoatU.S.

Work together — Wanda Kenton, Kenton Smith Advertising & PR

Be inclusive, not exclusive — Patricia Kearns, NAMS-CMS, Recreational Marine Experts Group, Inc.

Show, don't tell — Valerie Ziebron, VRZ Consulting

Make the difficult decisions — Marion Goodman, Lynnhaven Marine

Take care of your employees — Kris Carroll, Grady-White Boats

Be green — Laurie Fried, West Marine

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