2022 Women Making Waves

By Boating Industry Staff

Women Making Waves is Boating Industry’s effort to recognize the multitude of women in the industry who have made and continue to make great contributions to its success, propel its growth and lead their organizations and peers into the future.

Now in its fifth year and becoming a part of Boating Industry’s Top 100 Awards, the program is stronger than ever before. With over 120 well-qualified nominations for this year’s Women Making Waves, choosing this year’s honorees was no simple task.

There is such a large and continuously growing number women doing incredible work in our industry that the pages of the magazine simply don’t provide enough space to honor each and every one. However, the women below have given everything they have and more to the marine industry and have accomplished so much, with a pledge to continue pushing the industry forward.

Here they are, the 30 Women Making Waves as nominated by the industry and selected by Boating Industry.

Chioma Aladi
Program Director, Sustainability, Business Acceleration, Brunswick Corporation

Education: Igbinedion University (BSc.), University of Florida (MSc.), Kellogg School of Management (MBA)
Years in the marine industry: 4 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I applied for an MBA internship at Brunswick Corporation because they own a conglomerate of businesses. At the time, they had both a fitness and marine division and I was interested in gaining a rounded general management experience. After interviewing, I was offered a Corporate Strategy role with the marine division. To be honest, I was worried about accepting the offer because I had hoped to start with the fitness division, where I had more experience.  But I liked everyone I met during the interview process and felt it was an opportunity to stretch outside my comfort zone. I accepted the offer and began my journey in the marine industry.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
People in this industry are passionate about it and are excited to share their knowledge with you. I have had a chance to work in several roles at Brunswick, which exposed me to working with dealers and franchises. As someone new to the industry, I ask a ton of questions and reactions/responses to my questions are overwhelmingly positive – both within and outside Brunswick.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
It would have to be managing the acquisition of Fanautic Boat Club. I have always been interested in mergers and acquisitions because they are fast paced. Working on an international acquisition where half the team spoke a different language and worked in different time zones - 7 hours apart - was both a challenging and rewarding experience.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I stepped out of my comfort zone by joining the industry and have continued to do so within the industry through roles and projects I work on. Although stepping out of one’s comfort zone comes with a learning curve, it presents an opportunity to grow. I hope I inspire other women embrace a growth opportunity.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
You are where you are because people believe your voice and opinion matters. We bring unique experiences that add value to the industry and makes it stronger. Your voice is powerful, use it often.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Lake Michigan.

Nicole Armstrong
Vice President of Corporate Initiatives, Priority One Financial Services

Education: Florida State University graduate with degrees in Business and Marketing
Years in the marine industry: 15 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
When I started with Priority One in 2008, I had just moved back to Florida and was looking for a company where I could really plant some roots. I was completely new to the industry but knew right away that I wanted to join this amazing company that valued loyalty, honest relationships and quality work. I think many of our dealers embody those values too, and it makes the marine industry a great place to work.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
This is one big family business. Everyone is connected in some capacity, so it’s important to be honest, kind, and keep promises. If I tell a client I will do something, I better follow through!
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
Every time I step foot in a dealership, I get to meet our dealers face-to-face. I get to see first-hand their operations, what they do to succeed, and how we can support them. Most recently, we’ve been installing new financing technology in dealer showrooms that has resulted in a notable increase in deliveries. It has been fun and rewarding to see hundreds of highly satisfied dealers and customers as a result.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
I feel lucky to be a part of this industry and have for the last 15 years – I would not say it has been difficult. Earlier this year, Priority One was named a “Best Place to Work in Tampa Bay” and that undoubtedly has played a part in my experience. We also work with quality, family-run dealers that make our work rewarding.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
A family-friendly environment and balanced schedule allows me to do what I love while being there for my parents, spouse, children and friends. I hope my career and my work speaks for itself as inspiration to others -that they can “make waves” in this industry, too.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
As a mother of two young daughters, I encourage them (and all women) to listen to that “whisper.” If you have a feeling that something is not right, communicate that concern. If you have a feeling that something is right, lean into it. Your body responds with a gut reaction for a reason… your experience, education, and personality are speaking to you in a whisper. Take note, and don’t be afraid to listen.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Outside of the office, I love a bookstore visit, a jazzercise class and I never miss a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game.

Lucy Berg
Product Specialist, Yamaha Motor Corporation, Marine Development and Planning Division

Education: BA in English Literature, AA in Instructor Technology, AA in Applied Science (as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic)
Years in the marine industry: Almost 4 years
What first drew you to the marine industry? 
My love of the water and my passion for teaching drew me to the marine industry, Yamaha Marine specifically. I applied for the Marine Outboard Instructor position in 2018, because to me, it was the marriage of two of my favorite things; teaching and working on/being around Marine equipment on the water.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry? 
Lesson 1: Marine technicians provide some of the most valuable, yet under-rated service to the marine customer base. They ensure brand loyalty throughout the life cycle of marine product with the expertise they provide. I think marine industry leaders should be doing everything they can to promote the recruitment of men and women into the career field through tech school partnerships, apprenticeships, scholarships, and job placement agreements/sponsorships. The marine technician career field can be a very rewarding one, but if potential recruits don’t know about it, we will lose them to some other industry.
Lesson 2: I have learned that many manufactures, industry leaders and anglers are actively involved in fishery conservation. Conservation of our fisheries couldn’t be more critical to the marine industry and to the preservation of the world’s largest ecosystem and I’m proud to work for a company that takes this very seriously by playing an active role in preserving marine life along with critical fisheries. 
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not? 
I wouldn’t characterize navigating a career in the industry being any more difficult for me than someone else, because each of us are met with our own challenges and it’s all relative. For me, I was met with two different challenges when I started in the marine industry as an instructor: The first, I knew motors and how they work very well, but all my prior experience was working on my own vehicles at home and working on diesel construction equipment and flight line support equipment while enlisted in the Air Force. The marine outboard motor is a different animal; I had to adapt to a motor that was standing on its side and that had a propeller on the end of its driveshaft. Getting it down wasn’t as long of a walk as I thought it would be, but it was still intimidating. The second challenge was being met with skepticism. Multiple times I was approached by male students who said I surprised them when it became clear to them that I knew what I was talking about. I am always able to overcome assumptions that have been made about female mechanics or female teachers, but it is sometimes frustrating to work so hard and still be met with that skepticism.   
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry? 
I hope seeing a woman as a successful technician, an Outboard Marine Instructor and currently a Product Specialist could prove to anyone, man or woman that achieving career goals like those are completely attainable for us all. It’s true, the marine technical field is still predominately a male-dominated field, but I know for a fact this has nothing to do with a woman’s capabilities. If we want to draw more women into the marine technical career field and the marine industry, I think it will take active campaigning with targeted ads/publications/images showing women performing in what were once strictly male-dominated careers. Women need to see themselves in the shoes of those technicians, instructors, managers, and executives. I hope for the women who have walked the training wing hallway, they saw a female instructor leading those classes and realized for themselves that they could do the same thing. 
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Locally at Lake Allatoona, Ga. with my friends, family and especially my two boys. I love having the confidence and skills to teach my own children how to operate a boat safely and have fun on the water. The cool part is how my boys get to see their mom drive the boat, whether it’s just us or if we have guests with us along for the ride. For them, they won’t know the difference between a woman or a man operating a boat, because there is none.

Paige Bouma
Executive Vice President, Trader Interactive

Education: Old Dominion University
Years in the marine industry: PWC for 15 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
Before Trader Interactive even made its full launch into the boating industry, I had a deep love for the water that was passed down to me through generations. In fact, our family’s devotion to the water will soon be broadcasted through my father-in-law’s book about his experience solo circumnavigating around the world by sailboat in 2019. My family and I take to the water almost every weekend, whether it's on our 23-foot bowrider, sailing, tubing, or kayaking.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
One of my most memorable achievements may seem silly to some, but it really is the first step in boating - getting my boating license. It's a long, drawn-out process, but one that I set my mind to accomplishing. Although I don’t drive much, knowing that I can and having an understanding of the “rules of the water” adds another layer of comfort while out on the water. My husband fell overboard once while attaching a ski rope. I spun around and picked him up without hesitation. Passing the boaters education course provided me with the confidence to handle the situation. And this is exactly my motto for business, too. Even if something may seem too basic or challenging to do, sometimes it’s the foundational things that give us the confidence to handle any situation.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
It’s always hard to enter a new industry, however, I think the boating industry is ready for a newer marketplace like Boatline. We are focused on insights and helping dealers merchandise and connect to consumers.  Since I have decades of experience working with Powersports and RV dealers, it’s been a seamless transition to serving boat dealers. I am excited to be part of this industry and continue to understand boat dealers' pain points and find opportunities to help overcome them.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
Early in my career, I had a mentor encourage me to believe in my abilities and take a leap of faith to further my development. From this experience, I have learned that there is nothing more rewarding than being able to help others see their potential and guide them on their journey, all while celebrating their successes and achievements every day. Success cannot be achieved alone; every day we must learn from one another as every person has a different set of experiences and a unique perspective to pull from.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
The advice that I love to give to anyone at the start of their career is to follow their dreams, take calculated risks, and don't be afraid to try something new or step out of their comfort zone. It's easier to not take chances, but as the saying goes, "you lose 100% of the shots you don't take!" Hence, Trader Interactive’s decision to enter the marine industry!
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies? 
My favorite things to do are spend time outside and be with my family, and luckily all of my non-boating hobbies allow me to do both. When we are not out on the water, we are either RVing or riding dirt bikes!

Stacy Boyer
Assistant Plant Manager, Cobalt Boats

Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration on Human Resources Management 
Years in the marine industry: 13 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: Cobalt and #OnlyACobalt. I started my journey here in Human Resources, taking on roles from benefits coordinator to recruiter to even running the department for a while. However, in 2015, our plant manager came to me and asked me to step out of HR and into operations as the production manager over lamination. At that time, I thought he had lost his mind for suggesting such a big move, but I have since gone on to successfully run several other departments within Cobalt including gelcoat, grind, repair, upholstery, and even small parts. I have learned more about our business with every new opportunity I’ve been given, but more importantly I have built relationships with an awesome group of people who have helped me grow and succeed. In my current role as assistant plant manager, I am still building those relationships, and keeping the tradition at Cobalt of helping people achieve their personal and professional goals.
What first drew you to the marine industry? 
In truth, I did not grow up in the boating industry, and knew very little about it prior to coming to Cobalt. My family first moved back to the area after my dad got out of the Navy and I began focusing on my passions in leadership, people, and developing teams. I was still working on my degree in HR during the recession in 2008 when I lost my job and was presented with an opportunity to work for Cobalt.
In 2009, I came to Cobalt as the benefits coordinator, in fact I was probably the only brand-new hire that Cobalt had that year. I knew this opportunity would be a good foot in the door to put my HR degree and passions to use with a well-respected company.   
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
Boating is a culture and a lifestyle that is strongly based on building relationships. However, it is even more than that, there are lifetime friendships that are forged across this industry. If you have not grown up on the water, you cannot appreciate it until you fully submerge yourself in it. There is such a large variety in boating, whether it be for business, recreation, or pleasure. There are millions of boaters worldwide and every one of them are passionate about their specific type of boating, and their reasons behind the brand of boat they are loyal to.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
Some days are harder than others, especially given the current landscape with supply chain issues and the recent pandemic. Boating has historically been a male-dominated industry, and I did not know much about it when I started here 13 years ago. With that said, though, I have had some great mentors here at Cobalt. I’ve worked alongside men and women both who have always steered me in the right direction and invested in my career. These are people who I still go to for advice, and still trust to tell me exactly how it is. We don’t always see eye to eye, but it is always about growing together, and making things better for the next person.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I want women to know and appreciate who they are as individuals and what they bring to the table in this industry. I think that, as women, we always question whether our decisions are the right ones. I would encourage them to know who they are, don’t be afraid to speak their mind, and let their individual contributions speak for themselves. Don’t accept ‘no’ as a negative, but just as a redirection into something that could be better, as a new door opening. If I can do it, have faith that you can as well. Trust your gut instinct, it has very rarely steered me the wrong direction.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Never accept anything at face value, ask questions, and listen. I have learned more about this industry by paying attention to others, and what is going on around me than I ever would have by trying to do it alone. Always be willing to do and try new things, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today with Cobalt, if I would have waited for someone to ask. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and say, “pick me.”
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
My absolute favorite thing is cooking dinners, and spending time with my family.  They are all my world.  Other than that, I love being outdoors, gardening, hiking and of course boating.

Rebecca Browning
Clerk Supervisor, Chaparral & Robalo Boats

Education: High School Graduate
Years in the marine industry: 20 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
My father Richard Brady started me out at an early age with fishing tournaments offered by his job and I loved it! The feel of that fish tugging the line and the expectation of what was being reeled in! I now enjoy these same types of days on the water in our john boat with my husband of 33 years, Vinson Browning. My stepfather, Tom Wilson and the creation of a new position at Chaparral & Robalo Boats is what drew me to work in the marine industry.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
Being promoted to supervisor! It was an honor to be chosen to lead the ladies that will be doing the job I love throughout our company.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
Yes, at first it was such a new position. I’d like to think that I’ve helped to grow this position into more than they expected it could be in the beginning.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
By coming in everyday with a positive attitude, on time and ready to get to work. I decide before walking in the door it’s going to be a good day. Work hard and give 100% daily no matter the job you hold.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Your position is just as important as the next so give it all you have. Make it the job you love coming to daily through your work ethics.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Anywhere on a lake in the john boat with my husband! The cool water brushing the bottom of the boat, the relaxing breeze of wind on my face. It’s heaven on Earth!

Bruna Carincotte
Director of PR & Communications, Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

Education: MBA
Years in the marine industry: 7 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: I have been working at RBFF for almost eight years. I come from the Hospitality Industry, having worked at Marriott International, The Ritz-Carlton, and Accor Hotels.
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I am an outdoors person and have always enjoyed the boating lifestyle. I grew up in Brazil and although I never owned a boat, I had friends who were boat owners, and I got to join them several times on day trips across the coast of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
I started in the fishing and boating industry by chance (or destiny?). I was looking for a change in industries. RBFF showed up as an excellent opportunity for me and what I was looking for in my career in the United States.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that I could implement what I have learned in the hospitality industry in the boating industry, which made me feel a bit more comfortable in the arena. Another big lesson learned is that owning a boat or having the boating lifestyle so many wishes is not impossible. I had no clue about the variety of types of boat making. There is a boat for every budget and many ways to rent a boat or be part of boat clubs. I had very little knowledge of the many options available to enjoy boating.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
Not to me, at least. I always had outstanding support from the executive team at RBFF, especially from our current SVP of marketing and communications, Stephanie Vatalaro. She knows everyone in the industry and guided me toward the right people to navigate the many paths within the industry. I found great support from the industry in supporting RBFF in promoting fishing and boating to new and diverse audiences. I felt very welcomed and respected as a Hispanic woman in this country and industry. However, I also think there is much more to do to fully say the boating industry embraces diversity in the sport.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Don't be afraid to introduce yourself, ask for help and show what you can do to support diversity in the sport. Visit boating industry events, network, and listen to so many educational opportunities from experienced people within the boating industry to learn more about the product and the industry's challenges so that you can be more active in proposing creative solutions.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
In the U.S., I enjoy jumping on a boat from anywhere in the Chesapeake Bay area in Maryland, where home is. I live in Annapolis, which is considered the country's sailing capital. It makes it easier to be part of the boating community somehow and be on the water. Outside the U.S., boating along the coast of Colombia is magical. On Saint Andres Island, you can see the seven colors sea and around Cartagena Island there any many beautiful small islands that you can anchor and go swimming or even spend the day on their white, thin sand beaches.

Genevieve Casagrande
President & COO, SeaSucker, LLC

Education: B.A., University of Florida
Years in the marine industry: 5 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
Family and love of the water. SeaSucker is a family business, which I took over running in 2018. I’ve been fishing with my dad since I was a kid and I absolutely love working with my family every day designing, manufacturing, and selling products that allow people to outfit their boats and enjoy their time on the water to the fullest.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
Focus on providing for your customers. I think customers in the marine industry are some of the most loyal and the most willing to go above and beyond for the companies they love. If you make sure you are putting customers’ needs first and giving them the best experience possible, they will not only become your best advocates and marketing tools, but you’ll also continue to have sustainable, repeat business. We are incredibly lucky to have amazing customers at SeaSucker that are just as invested in the company’s success as we are!
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
Scaling the company to where it is today. When I think back on where the company was back when I first started and where we are now, it feels night and day. Our sales have quadrupled and our staff has doubled since then. I am particularly proud that we’ve been able to scale to customer demand and make major investments in marketing, all while keeping all our manufacturing in the U.S. and keeping our business family-owned and operated. It took a ton of hard work and sacrifice from our entire team, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
Sure, the first few months were a little difficult to navigate. I was young and taking over a family business, so many people had some preconceived notions about me. But, this sort of bias is pretty fleeting. The great thing about the marine industry is people ultimately value hard work and dedication. If you work hard, are good at what you do, and help lift up your colleagues, you’ll gain the respect of those around you pretty quickly and develop some great lifelong relationships along the way.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope to be able to inspire women to be their authentic selves in business. I hope to encourage women to figure out what they are best at and where their unique value lies, and use that to grow professionally. Don’t try to be someone else or define your value in the context of what everyone else seems to be bringing to the table.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Trust your gut and focus on the work. Work hard to become the best at your craft, and do so while being kind to those around you. Don’t forget the power of building teams, and not solely focusing on what you as an individual are contributing.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Running with my German Shorthaired Pointer, Fritz and mountain biking.

Tracy Coughlin
Director of Marketing, Marina Holdings LLC

Education: University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Bachelors of Business Administration
Years in the marine industry: 6 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: While I have over 33 years of professional experience in marketing, I didn’t start working in the marine industry until 2016 when I was hired as a marketing manager for Yarmouth Boat Yard and Moose Landing Marina. Then in the fall of 2017 owner, Steve Arnold, bought the Freedom Boat Club franchise for the state of Maine. Shortly after I advanced to become the Marketing Director for Marina Holdings, which is the umbrella company that all of Steve’s businesses fall under.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
I’ve always known that teamwork and collaboration were important, but I found in many companies, it was more of a talking point vs true company policy and culture. That is not the case in this position.
There are three, soon to be four, companies under the Marina Holdings umbrella. Being the sole marketing person responsible for all marketing efforts for all these companies, I’ve learned to be resourceful and creative. Partnerships with other businesses in the community have helped us broaden awareness and strengthened local presence. Teamwork across departments and between our different organizations has led to greater synergy and more effective, efficient business solutions.
And with Freedom Boat Club, collaboration is built into the fabric of their franchise model. It is encouraged and supported by FBC Corporate and by Brunswick Corporation. Executive teams from franchise clubs get together regularly and share best practices and learn from each other’s successes and failures. We challenge each other to find innovative solutions. Being a part of this has been an amazing learning experience and has helped our business grow.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
I was really honored to receive the Marketing National Brand Champion Award from Freedom Boat Club a couple years ago. It was not something I was expecting and definitely an award I am really proud of. It has been a true pleasure helping to launch and grow the Freedom Boat Club franchise in Maine. Building the business from the ground up has been a challenge, but it’s also been really fun and we’ve learned a lot along the way.
I’d also have to mention that I’m really proud to have helped Marina Holdings achieve the No. 9 ranking in Boating Industry’s list of Top 100 Boat Dealers in North America and Inc’s 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies in America.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
I think probably the biggest stumbling block for me was realizing the amazing career potential there is in the marine industry. I wish I had thought to explore jobs in the industry sooner.
Working for Marina Holdings has been a true pleasure. I’m grateful to Steve for bringing me onboard. Through the position I’ve gotten to travel, tackle challenging projects, and work with a crew of talented people who I truly enjoy learning from. My job role has expanded exponentially as the business has grown. And there’s even more growth on the horizon and I can’t wait to take on the new challenges.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I’d like to encourage more women to seek jobs in the industry. Especially with all the current efforts to increase inclusion and attract more women to enjoy the boating lifestyle, it is a great time to be involved and help drive those initiatives.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
I highly recommend pursuing a career in the marine industry. It’s a lot of fun, extremely rewarding, and there are fantastic opportunities available.
As people who know me will attest, I am not shy about reaching out, asking questions, and raising my hand to be involved. This has helped me meet a lot of really smart, capable, and driven people. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from them.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to others in the industry to collaborate and brainstorm. Sharing ideas, successes, and failures can help you to think of new solutions to old problems.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
There are so many beautiful places to boat along the coast of Maine it’d be hard to pick just one spot. The Basin in Phippsburg used to be a family favorite. I also love cruising from Harpswell up to Edgecomb and Boothbay, visiting any of the Casco Bay islands, and Christmas Cove in South Bristol.

Aine Denari
Executive Vice President & President, Brunswick Boat Group, Brunswick Corporation

Education: Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, University College Dublin, Ireland; Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University; Master of Engineering Management, University of Detroit Mercy; Master of Business Administration (MBA), Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; Stanford Executive Program, Stanford University
Years in the marine industry: 2 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
The exciting products, and the experiences we deliver were the primary motivations for me to join the recreational marine industry. We make products that enable people to create some of the best memories of their lifetimes, and the people in our industry are incredible passionate about the products they deliver and the lifestyles they help create.
At Brunswick, have a diverse portfolio of industry-leading products in our 17 boat brands, covering all major segments of the recreational marine space. So I was very excited about the opportunity to enhance those products and the consumer experience even further, including bringing new technologies such as electrification, autonomy and connectivity to the recreational marine space, from my experiences in the automotive industry.
Finally, at Brunswick we have some of the best, most talented people, and most passionate people in the industry, making Brunswick a truly great place to work!
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
What really impressed me since I joined Brunswick is the commitment of everyone. Every day, our teams give 100% to keep things going, to deliver to our consumers, despite the fact that we have been dealing with some of the very difficult circumstances we have been dealing with for the past two years, including the pandemic, supply chain constraints, labor shortages, geopolitical upheaval, and unprecedented inflation. So, I have especially appreciated this dedication from everyone through these intense times.
Also, I really enjoyed finding that so many people in our industry have a huge personal passion for our products – whether that be those who are avid offshore fishers, wakeboarders, or those whose favorite weekend activity includes a day cruising on the water with their families and friends. Seeing this passion and dedication from my teams makes it a pleasure and a privilege to come to work every day!
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
I have been extremely lucky to have joined such a great and welcoming team at Brunswick, who have made my transition from the automotive industry to the marine industry quite seamless. We have a very special culture at Brunswick which supports everyone, at all stages in their career. Given the size and breath of our organization, there are a large number of opportunities for individuals, which enables continued personal growth and development. And our world-class talent helps others in the company to learn and grow.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I sincerely hope my path from engineering to general management in male-dominated industries, with experiences in a variety of functions and industries along the way, will help other women see that options that are available to them also. In particular, we have too few women in P&L leadership roles in our industry, so it is a personal goal of mine to encourage more women to follow that path.
A particular passion of mine is mentoring and supporting women in our organization and the broader industry – both through individual mentoring relationships, as well as through broader leadership in resource groups and industry associations. For example, at Brunswick I have had the opportunity to have leadership roles with our women’s resource group, our Hispanic and Latino resource group, and with the Society of Women Engineers. These groups are all great resources to help other women build their networks and provide career advancement and support.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
My biggest piece of advice for women starting their careers in our great industry is to follow your passion! If you love what you are doing, you will be successful and enjoy the journey. I would also encourage women to look for opportunities and take risks throughout their careers. Sometimes it can feel a little daunting to lean into an opportunity that you are afraid you might not be fully qualified for. But often, these opportunities can lead to big career breaks, so can be well worth the extra effort required to lean into them.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
I live in the Chicago area, with my husband and our three kids, and we love family days on both inland lakes and the big lake here, escaping all the daily stresses, enjoying some tubing and swimming and ending with a nice relaxing dock-and-dinner. When it is not the season here in the Midwest we enjoy family vacations on the west coast of Florida, doing some boating, swimming, and shelling, and enjoying the beautiful sunsets while making amazing memories.

Cheryl Doberstein
Manager, Spellman’s Marina LLC

Education: Some college
Years in the marine industry: 21 years
What first drew you to the marine industry? 
My family loved boating. We knew with our experience and past boating history that we would be successful in this business.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry? 
Life is always better on the lake, but the biggest lesson I have learned being in this industry is that boating does not always go as planned. Props break, motors fail, people run out of gas. I have learned that you have to be flexible and be a problem solver.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not? 
When I started in this industry 21 years ago, it was a man’s world. It took a long time for men to respect and trust me to answer their questions. There are now many women in this industry from owners to mechanics. I never stop learning.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry? 
Know your boat and motor lines. Understand your customers’ needs and learn how to communicate with them. Go into every season understanding that it will be different than the last and always strive to do better.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, Wis. My marina is in this community and I love seeing my customers and their families on this lake. I have many wonderful memories with our family, swimming, boating and tubing.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies? 
I love to hike, bike and travel.

Carrie Fodor
Senior Manager of Design, Sea Ray

Education: BFA, Industrial Design with specialization in Transportation Design
Years in the marine industry: 15 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: Sea Ray: entry level, mid-level and Sr. Industrial Designer, Design Manager.
Boston Whaler: Sr. Industrial Designer.
Iconic Marine Group: Design Lead.
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I grew up boating with my family on the Great Lakes and have always been drawn to the water. I was also always a very creative individual, so I decided to pursue a career in design. I feel quite lucky to have found a role within an industry that combines my need for creativity with such a great hobby as boating and have been able to grow within a great company like Brunswick and share that with others.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
Be adaptable – change is constant and happens quickly. The faster you can shift your mindset and roll with the change, the easier it is.
Always look to the horizon – because change is constant and happens quickly! Look for what’s coming and what might be coming, even if it’s far out into the future.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
The first all-female design team for Sea Ray, with the recent release of our SLX260 model. It’s been reported that less than 2% of the marine industry is women. So, the sheer odds of having a design team with one woman, much less an all-female team on a project are really quite incredible for our industry. The design team wasn’t purposely assembled to be that way, so the fact that it happened organically is a testament to the culture that we’ve built both at Sea Ray and Brunswick, making diversity and inclusion a normal part of how we operate.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
It has been challenging to navigate a career in this industry at times due to the speed and complexity of how we, as a whole, operate. On top of that, our industry is a pretty tightly-knit group – so taking the time to learn the importance and history of those relationships and also working to build new ones has been important. Navigation becomes much easier with mentors that can guide you – people that are invested in your success and are willing to share their experience. I’m grateful to know such people both in and outside of my organization.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope to inspire other women in the industry by continuing to step up to challenges with strong leadership skills while constantly learning - and I support and encourage others to do the same! We each have something unique we bring to the table, and the table only gets better with diversity and inclusion. Whether through resource groups, mentoring opportunities, or simply setting a good example, giving back to the next generation of women and future leaders in our industry makes all of us better.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Find a mentor – don’t wait for one to find you. All you have to do is ask – reach out to both men and women leaders in your organization. Take chances and bet on yourself. When faced with challenges, don’t give up!
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Surfing (ocean) and camping! I love doing both locally in the area I live, as well as traveling to partake. If I can bring my dog as well, that’s a bonus. He loves boating and camping but doesn’t surf (haha!).

Victoria Fowler
Process Engineer, Malibu Boats

Education: B.S. in Chemical Engineering, University of Tennessee
Years in the marine industry: 6 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
Growing up, my family would joke that I was part fish because I loved to be in the water any chance I got. Unfortunately, the opportunities I had growing up rarely included boating, making the times I was able to go out on the lake very noteworthy. While I was searching for an internship in college, it was these memories that made Malibu Boats stand out to me when I stumbled upon their program.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to be open to change. Plans look great on paper, but the real-life application isn’t always perfect and sometimes you have to be willing to adjust on the fly. Changing the way things have always been done can be difficult, but, in the end, it’s worth it when it makes the job easier and more efficient for everyone.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
With Covid-19 and the industry-wide supply chain issues, I would say the last few years have been notable and being asked to help predict and track shortages during this time has been especially memorable and rewarding. Not only has being involved during such a unique time provided me with incomparable knowledge but also has allowed me to develop relationships with people whom I would otherwise have limited interactions with.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
It has not been difficult; everyone I’ve met and worked with at Malibu has been incredibly supportive. There are many opportunities to learn and grow, and the industry is filled with people who love what they do and want to share their knowledge. 
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope to inspire others by setting an example and being a mentor to other professionals who aspire for a career in the marine industry.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Don’t hold yourself back. I think sometimes the biggest obstacle is yourself and finding the confidence to accomplish your goals.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Tellico Lake.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Traveling, reading, writing, playing softball, and spending time with my friends and family.

Kathy Garcia
Marina Operations Manager, Port of Bremerton

Education: 21 years of OJT, Marine Trade Conferences including, PCC, NMTA, and AMI
Years in the marine industry: 21 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies:  Loyal to the Port of Bremerton’s Marinas. Began at the front desk and worked my way up to Marina Operations Manager for both the Bremerton and Port Orchard Marinas.
What first drew you to the marine industry? 
Who wouldn’t want to work on the water!  The view is amazing. Boaters are pretty fantastic too!
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry? 
Always be open and ready for change. In this industry something is always changing whether it be compliance regulations, derelict boats, staffing, customer expectations, security issues, facility maintenance, etc. I do my best to stay informed by being involved in marine organizations, maintaining relationships with regulatory agencies, networking with my peers, and taking an active role in my community. I try to be proactive rather than reactive which always brings about better results, but sometimes when all else fails, as my marine corps husband would say, “Improvise, adapt and overcome!” Also, I have learned that it is very important to make sure that our marina staff know how valuable they are and to make sure that they have all the tools they need to succeed.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? 
Being honored as the inaugural winner of Northwest Yachting Magazine’s 2018 Northwest Champion Award for Exemplary Marina Manager was a very special achievement of several I have been blessed to receive.  It feels great to be recognized for the passion and hard work I have put in.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry? 
Being authentic, building relationships, working hard, having a passion for what I do, treating people fairly, maintaining a positive outlook and truly caring about people is how I try to live my life. Those are qualities that inspire me, and hopefully will inspire others as well. 
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Take advantage of the many marine organizations and marina conferences that are available.  Get involved and build relationships. Networking with others that deal with the same issues in the marine industry is so valuable and the friendships that are made last a lifetime. Never be afraid to ask questions and get involved. Have a passion for what you do. 
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Currently we go boating in our land yacht and have been across the country several times plus visit the California desert frequently. On the water, you can’t beat the Port of Bremerton’s marinas, Port Orchard and Bremerton (shameless plug).

Jessica Heizer
Foundational Sales Consultant, East Coast, Boats Group

Education: BS Communications and Journalism, Suffolk University
Years in the marine industry: 6 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: I got my foot in the industry's door with YachtCloser as their website sales specialist in 2016. After driving strong business development, my roles evolved through two acquisitions and the covid market stall out. I am grateful to have navigated through three positions adding value to the inside sales department, co-op programs, and consulting brokers and dealers on all of Boats Group's marketing services. My territories have been dialed into Florida, spanned national and currently reach up and down the entire east coast.
What first drew you to the marine industry?
As a New Hampshire native, I grew up enjoying the lakes region and ocean with my family. I moved to Fort Lauderdale to make my dreams come true of beach and boat life year-round.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
Diving into all areas of the industry to learn and network has been incredibly beneficial. The more you understand, the better you can optimize services for clients and help connect people to better business for all.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
It’s tough to choose one! Achieving Elite Fleet top producer status for exceeding my goals. I am passionate about my work and helping clients succeed. Boats Group's motto is “getting the world on the water” — I love this saying because our dealers and brokers are selling a lifestyle that I love to live and am fortunate enough to work in as well!
I also recently received the Young Professionals in Yachting Helping Hands Award for my service to others through my volunteer and charity efforts. Giving back is a passion of mine so it was such an honor to receive recognition.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
I have enjoyed growing within Boats Group through two acquisitions. For those looking to enter the marine space or pivot; there are many helpful industry associations and resources online to pursue career endeavors. The community is wonderful and building solid relationships is key.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope to inspire other women by showing that being a part of this amazing industry can go beyond your day-to-day job functions. Giving back and volunteering in the boating community and your local community is something that can be just as fulfilling. There are many ways to provide support. For example, I’ve volunteered with several local and marine-based events and organizations like MIASF Broward County Waterway Clean-Up, Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, Coral Restoration Foundation, and Tortuga Country Music Festival with proceeds going to Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center. This also puts me in a position to be an amazing ambassador for Boats Group and the boating industry as a whole.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Stay motivated and pursue your passions. Get involved with something that excites you about the marine industry because your efforts will make a difference. My favorite mantra is "Manifest the best", I focus on this with personal and professional desires.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Since 2019 I have been weightlifting and competing in the National Physique Committee's bikini division. Bodybuilding has become a fun hobby and a great way to stay healthy. I love spending quality time with my family, friends and my dog Snuggles.

Callie Hoyt
Director of Federal Government Relations, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in History, minor in Art History
Years in the marine industry: 3 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I grew up camping and boating in Buggs Island, Va. – making some of the most memorable times my family cherishes and still laughs about today. As a parent myself now, I truly understand how priceless and meaningful these experiences are and wanted to play whatever role I could towards ensuring everyone is afforded those same opportunities to spend time out on the water with loved ones shaping memories and relationships that last a lifetime.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
My work is focused in the political arena and the hardest reality is that just because something makes sense doesn’t mean it will be easy to get done. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of transforming a “no” into a positive by using negative responses as opportunities to refocus, grow, and keep moving toward your target. 
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). This was an initiative I had been engaged in at my role prior to joining NMMA and was fortunate to be able to continue the effort from within the marine industry. The legislation began as an effort to address only the deferred maintenance backlog of the National Park Service. I testified before Congress to make the case for including other federal land management agencies that are integral to supporting outdoor recreation such as the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. With inclusion of additional public land and water systems in the final bill, GAOA made for one of the most historic investments in our public lands and waters our nation has ever seen.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
A majority of my career in the industry thus far has been during Covid-19 times which puts anyone in any industry at a disadvantage of having organic opportunities to connect with others. That being said, I have found the industry to be nothing but welcoming and look forward to further cultivating my network and am excited for where my career in the industry will take me.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope to inspire others to realize their own individual strengths, learn how to harness them to make your own playbook for success, and be unapologetically committed to achieving your goals.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
I have met some of the most formidable professional women in my career from within the boating industry and found there is an inherent desire to mentor and champion others to climb the ladder towards success. Spend time building your network and don’t be shy towards soliciting advice on how to grow professionally and advance in your career.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
I love to travel, cook, will try almost any form of outdoor recreation, and spend a lot of time at the park playing sports with my two young sons.

Laurie Louvier
Vice President, Marketing, Dometic Marine

Education: MBA, McKendree University
Years in the marine industry: 24 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: Have spent marine career with Teleflex, which became SeaStar Solutions and Dometic Marine through acquisitions.
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I’ve always loved the outdoors and working in the marine industry provided a chance to combine my passion with my work life. I also love to travel, and working in the marine industry has allowed me to see great places around the world, meet fantastic people and learn about different cultures.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
First, not be overwhelmed by the cyclical ups and downs of the recreational boating market. Like any industry dependent on economic conditions and disposable income, the boating market inevitably experiences peaks and valleys. It’s important to be creative during the low times and to keep marketing and supporting your brand, because it’s OEM and customer loyalty that will keep you on top when things rebound. Also, to appreciate the experience and enjoy the ride, because the boating industry truly is a fun business to work in.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
It would be my involvement with the Sierra Brand and the accomplishment of successfully taking an industry “household name” for 55 years and finding a way to make it even better and stronger.  Not only did we find a way to update the brand’s identity, we successfully expanded the product line into new markets. It’s a risky thing to tinker with such a well-established name, yet we pulled it off. I’ve been closely associated with the Sierra brand for my entire marine career, so this is something I take great pride in.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
There are always challenges to face, but it was not difficult for me personally. I was fortunate enough to find my niche in this industry with Teleflex and build a relationship with a world-leading brand as it evolved into SeaStar Solutions and now Dometic Marine. I have also been fortunate to work alongside passionate colleagues, whose inspiration and encouragement gave me the confidence to succeed.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope that through my path of growth and longevity with this company, other women in the industry will realize that this is very much within their reach, as well. If I can do it, so can they. 
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
To always be genuine and just be who you are.  You can be yourself and still relate to your customers. Put yourself in their shoes and listen to their challenges. If you can be the type of person who comes back with possible solutions, you will succeed. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but have the courage to learn from them.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
I don’t really have one favorite place. I love experiencing different styles of boating in different places around the world.  Every time on the water is a new and fresh experience — that’s what makes it fun and exciting.

Caroline Mantel
Director of Business Development, Boat History Report

Education: Bachelors, University of Miami
Years in the marine industry: 10 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
It was something different than what I was doing which created a challenge and presented lots of opportunity to have an impact. I was also fortunate enough to be able to work for and with someone I respected greatly, which is why I’m still here 10 years later!
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry? 
That there is always another lesson to learn! Technology is constantly advancing which creates significant opportunities to implement meaningful change. However, the marine industry in general is years behind the auto industry and change doesn’t happen overnight. Patience but persistence is key. 
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? 
Being an integral part of Florida adopting the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act (UCOTVA) that will add a “hull damaged” brand to boat titles in Florida in 2023. This is a huge victory for the boating industry and a very impactful achievement for Boat History Report. I was also very honored to have been selected to serve on the National Boating Safety Advisory Committee (NBSAC) which provides advice and recommendations on matters relating to recreational boating safety to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Coast Guard Commandant and the Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy. It’s quite humbling to work among some of the most well-known and respected individuals in the marine industry.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
I was kicked out of two preschools for being strong willed and stubborn – two traits I never grew out of.  I am used to having an idea and being able to implement it quickly but when the private sector works with the public sector, change takes time and that has been difficult.  However, the marine industry is always advancing (even if it’s slow) so while frustrating at times, it’s a very exciting industry for possibility. 
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope other women in the industry see all these incredible women being honored and realize that you’re limited only by your own motivation and drive. 
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry? 
Be vocal and outgoing.  If you get pushed to the side, push back – don’t let someone make you feel less worthy because of your age or gender. Rising to the top in any industry is challenging, made even more so when the majority of your counterparts are male, but once you make a name for yourself, it has a greater impact. 
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Making memories with my family and watching my toddler learn new things, distance running, and spending time outdoors.

Kathryn Menendez
Director of Procurement, Maverick Boat Group

Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Master’s in Business, Certified in Production and Inventory Management
Years in the marine industry: 1 year
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: Maverick is the first company that really attracted me to the marine industry. I have, however, worked as the Supply Chain Manager for NAFTA for a company, United Initiators, that supplies raw materials to the Marine Industry.
What first drew you to the marine industry?
The idea of creating a top-quality product for pure leisure drew me to this industry. Buying a boat is a dream come true for a lot of people, and it’s great being a part of that. The amazing opportunities for advancement and longevity were also a big draw for me; the market is thriving.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
Boating is a small world and relationships are important. I appreciate being able to call a vendor to rush a PO when we need it and them delivering quickly. Being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone who cares makes a difference, and that’s the experience you get a lot in this industry. Whether it’s with vendor relations or coaching my teams, I want to express empathy.  To understand their constraints when they can’t supply, understand our ability to demand a part that we haven’t planned for, and be able to communicate all facets to the other stakeholders in the company. This leads me to my second lesson and that is complete and selfless transparency. I emphasize honesty within my Maverick team to develop conflict and resolution strategy. It’s not about the problem. It’s about the solution.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? 
Having the full support and trust of the Maverick leadership team to develop and execute a warehouse expansion with full resources has been one of my most memorable achievements.  It’s incredibly humbling to be trusted to execute on a large CAPEX project, and it’s worth every second when you see it all come together.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
In the beginning, it was challenging to learn the parts quickly within a fast-paced manufacturing environment, a new ERP system, an aggressive growth strategy and a pandemic, but after six weeks I went to the deep-end. Best practices in Supply Chain apply to all manufacturing industries. I took everything in my toolbox and applied it at Maverick while leaning on the support of my colleagues and peers to learn everything I didn’t know.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
It can be challenging to succeed in a male dominated manufacturing industry, but it’s also incredibly rewarding when you succeed. If it’s what you want, make it happen and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough. I hope to inspire other women to not hesitate with their career path, do your due diligence, find your supportive people/company (like Maverick), and take a leap.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?  
Be a sponge.  Listen, engage, read, learn, and do everything you can to grow. Focus on what you know and apply it. Everything else will follow.
What is your favorite place to go boating? 
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
I enjoy spending time with my family at the beach or at Disney World. We enjoy traveling, golfing and exploring.

Heather Mess
Marina Manager, MarineMax Sarasota

Education: Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
Years in the marine industry: 7 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: I have been with MarineMax for all of my Marine Industry career. Within MarineMax, I spent time in the Business Office and Marketing role before taking over the Marina Department in 2018.
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I relocated from Ohio to Florida, chasing the sunshine and waves. After finding a role with MarineMax, I discovered a family within the industry with similar infatuations for a lifestyle on the water, making my career something to be passionate about. Each step in the boat buying and ownership process is driven by ensuring safe, quality time with friends and family. Every role in the Marine Industry plays a part in creating those meaningful memories on the water. Being a part of that is what drew me to the marine industry.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
All facets of the marine industry are driven by emotions, not transactions. Meeting the boater’s needs is not about giving them what they want and moving on to the next customer. It is about understanding their “why” - understanding their passion for being on the water and how important that is to them, then doing everything possible to meet their needs before they ask. The marine industry is a breeding ground for innovative technologies and processes that continue to find ways to meet the needs of the boaters with better communication and education on boat care. Some of these technologies are scheduling applications for service, fuel, and launches.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
The support that I received from my mentors at MarineMax encouraged me to take on the role of managing the marina at the Sarasota location. When I first took over there were outdated processes that needed to be updated. The marina also went through a major renovation with new racks, members lounge, equipment, and concrete. Through all of that I was able to grow the department to become the top marina within the company two years in a row and continue to remain one of the top marinas.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
Each industry has its challenges to navigate. My personal experience with the marine industry has been enjoyable because there is so much to learn and love. Since the industry is multifaceted, the biggest challenge would be choosing which division suites someone's skillset and style.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
As a mother of two daughters, I hope to inspire them and other women to welcome each challenge as a learning opportunity. Growth is found outside of your comfort zone. Find a professional path in something that you care about because that is an unteachable quality and will give you the drive you need to push through the thick of it.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Always learn and network! The marine industry is continuously growing and changing. Strive to be a part of that growth, or even at the forefront of a new idea. 
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Sarasota Bay is a beautiful place to explore. The water color and marine life provide plenty to look at and enjoy.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Outside of boating, I spend time exploring Florida’s nature with my two daughters. We enjoy learning about the outdoors and all the life that can be found in nature. When we are not lounging on the beach and catching sunsets, we are camping, hiking, or paddleboarding in one of Florida's incredible parks.

Lisa Murphy
General Manager, Gregg Orr Marine

Education: BS in Organizational Management
Years in the marine industry: 8 years
What first drew you to the marine industry? 
I grew up boating and love Lake Hamilton. When I found out Gregg Orr was buying some local marina/boat dealerships, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to get into the industry with a great company. I was excited about the challenge and opportunity to change the way marine dealers and marinas in our area operated. We wanted to offer more services and a better experience for boaters.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry? 
I’ve learned that our teams and people need to be ready to “pivot” and adjust to challenges quickly and problem solve to help customers when there are challenges out of our control. I’ve learned that our customers are like family and when treated that way, they stay with us. Exceeding expectations of our customers is important. The boating community is more tightly knit than people think and it is important to maintain a reputation of being "that woman," the one who is always available to help keep people on the water and happy.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? 
2020 was a year of constant pivoting, a major increase in business, a lack of staff at times. We had a lot of new boaters that year and business was intense. I am very proud of how not only me, but my team, handled that year. We maintained a “No Matter What” attitude and worked hard to take care of customers, initiate new boaters to the lifestyle, and keep each other safe and customers happy.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
No. Everything came naturally for me. I have watched many of my staff and co-workers graduate in the business, kind of seamlessly as well. Young people who work in our rental department often move up to sales and are successful. I think if you are made for the boating industry it is easy to navigate.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I want women to know that there is a lot of room for them in the boating industry. It’s a great space for women. It’s fun and requires multi-tasking and problem solving. It is also rewarding to be a part of families enjoying time together on the water.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry? 
Be prepared to work hard. Think outside the box. Be relentless and remember business is personal.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
My home lake – Lake Hamilton in Arkansas – is my favorite place to boat. We have a great community of boaters and it’s a great place to meet new friends.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies? 
Off roading and traveling.

Peg Phillips
Executive Director, National Safe Boating Council

Education: BBA, Georgia Southern University
Years in the marine industry: 14 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I grew up on St. Simons Island, Ga. and knew how to operate a boat long before I held a driver’s license. I have always been drawn to water and spent countless hours skiing and fishing the lakes and rivers. Volunteering with youth organizations to lead nature hikes and paddling tours, I became keenly aware of a disconnect and fear that so many youth have in exploring the natural world. What began as a volunteer role eventually became a career as I created summer camps and programs to teach kayaking to middle school and high school students. It was such a pleasure to watch their enthusiasm for the sport grow as they became more confident on the water. Spending most of my life in coastal Georgia and Florida, I have witnessed my fair share of irresponsible boating, and I became involved with local and regional initiatives and advocacy to educate boaters. My passion for safe and responsible boating led me to the National Safe Boating Council, and our team believes that a perfect day on the water is a safe day on the water.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
We are but one spoke in the wheel relative to recreational boating safety. Through a combination of legislation, training, education, and outreach, we impact boater behavior; creating a more confident, safer boater. But we can’t do that alone. We need partnerships and shared missions from law enforcement, instructors, retailers, marketers, state and federal agencies, and others involved in boating safety.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
Building the best team in recreational boating safety. I am the coach, but I am also part of the team. I have a bond with each individual, and my goal is to give them the tools to achieve their highest potential. This methodology provides the structure and support to build a confident and cohesive team.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
The recreational boating safety network is not only welcoming, but I am approached on a regular basis from peers who ask if there’s anything they can do to help me further my career. They genuinely want me to succeed, and I have felt welcomed and accepted from the start.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope that I inspire women through gratitude and validation. I am so grateful to be part of the best team in recreational boating safety. It is such a joy to work with a team who is genuinely passionate about the programs we are creating. And, we all like to be validated for our work! I make it a practice to let women know how awesome they are.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
When you love what you do, and who you do it with, it doesn’t feel like work. Find something that you are passionate about, and make that your career. Find a mentor – someone who has what you want – and ask them to help you achieve your goals.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
It’s too tough to pick one place! If I had a month to go boating wherever I wanted, I’d return to these favored locations: kayaking through the mangroves of the Turner River, Fla., powerboating in Lake Pleasant, Ariz., powerboating in Lake Allatoona, Ga., rafting the Chattooga River, Ga., paddling with the sea lions in Monterey, Calif., and paddling with the manatee in Estero Bay, Fla.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
I’m an avid hiker and have traversed trails all across the country. Just a few years ago, I made it to Alaska and hiked up to a glacier which was just a phenomenal experience. I’ve hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail in six states, and I’d really like to finish the entire trail system when I retire. Perhaps one of my more unusual hiking habits is swamp hiking, or as some call it – the wet hike. This type of hike is an out-of-your-comfort-zone experience for many, but I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I’ve walked through a south Florida swamp. Akin to reaching a summit, the adrenaline rush that comes with hiking in alligator, and huge spider, habitat is a great rush!

Angela Pilkington
Executive Vice President/Chief of Staff, Correct Craft

Education: BA, University of Florida/MBA, University of Central Florida
Years in the marine industry: 40 years
What first drew you to the marine industry? 
I started with Correct Craft in 1981 as the secretary to the VP. I wasn’t specifically looking for a job in the marine industry but fell in love with it once I started.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry? 
The marine industry is comprised of the most genuine, friendly, happy and hard-working people I have ever met.  I have been given numerous opportunities at Correct Craft and am thankful I took that first step 40 years ago. We strive to make life better, and what’s better than being on the water!
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? 
I love operations! In my role at Correct Craft, I work with the teams in Operations to continuously improve.  I enjoy these relationships and am amazed with the results we have achieved as a team over the last few years, especially through the pandemic and supply chain challenges.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
It has not been difficult to navigate a career in this industry.  In the early stages of my career I was often the only woman in the room, but I always felt like I was respected by those I worked with.  I worked hard and continued to learn throughout my career and was supported and mentored by several co-workers. 
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I have been mentoring several people for a few years in our company.  I plan to continue to do this until I no longer can – I want to give back to the industry and help the future leaders develop into the best they can be.  Our manufacturing companies have unlimited opportunities for women – whatever you are interested in – operations, design, engineering, finance, sales, marketing – marine manufacturing can fulfill your dreams and I want to help in this endeavor.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry? 
Find your passion, work hard, be a lifelong learner, and honor your commitments with integrity!
What is your favorite place to go boating? 
We have a summer home in Blairsville, Ga. on Lake Nottley. Our family loves to spend time on the lake here.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies? 
I enjoy spending time with my family, walking our three dogs and reading. 

Sally Reuther
Owner/CEO, Annapolis Hybrid Marine

Education: BA; MA; and MFA
Years in the marine industry: 29 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies:

  • G. Winters Sailing Center – Sailing Instructor
  • Bay Yacht Agency – Yacht Broker
  • Jeanneau America – Marketing Assistant

What first drew you to the marine industry? 
When I started teaching sailing I found I loved helping others learn about sailing and the enjoyment of being out on the water with only the wind to propel them. I knew I wanted to keep working in the marine industry, especially
with sailboats.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
I have learned that every boat is different, and every customer uses their boat differently than someone else with that same boat. This creates and interesting challenge to help the customer so they are happy with the outcome. I’ve also learned that the marine industry is actually quite small and it is so wonderful to see people in other marine fields each year at the boat shows and learn what is new and exciting with their world.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
Starting my own business in an emerging field and hanging in there so that at this point, after 12 years, I can claim we are successful. I am proud of the fact that we have been one of the leaders in helping to teach people about the advantages of electric propulsion.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
Being a woman in a predominately male oriented industry can be daunting to say the least! But I learned a long time ago as a woman working in technical theatre, that one of the best ways to achieve your goals is to not only talk to everyone involved, but to understand what they do and the great knowledge they bring to the field. So, when I started in the marine industry, I found it easy to talk with the yard guys and ask about what they were doing so I could learn from them. It is important to make friends and share ideas and knowledge. We are all here to bring the love of sailing to new owners and I believe we all enjoy doing that or we would not be doing this job.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I have always had jobs which I have enjoyed and being in the marine industry has probably been one of the most rewarding because of the many great people I have met while in this industry. I hope that other women will see what I have done and realize that they have much that they can bring to the industry in all of its many fields. 
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
I started late - I did not grow up around boats and I did not see the ocean until I was 27. If you find you love doing something for yourself, like sailing as I did, then don’t be afraid to seek out a job in an area that you will enjoy. Open yourself to learning all that you can and then excel in your chosen area because what you do makes a difference!
What is your favorite place to go boating?
As much as I love the Chesapeake Bay, I would have to say that the Bahamas hold a very special place in my heart. From the clear, sparkling waters, the lovely sand beaches, and the incredible people who live there and welcomed us when we cruised those islands, the islands of the Bahamas were magical and special.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Photography has always been my favorite hobby and I continue to use my camera as my creative outlet. I like to sew, and I’ve done some sewing on a number of boat related projects for our own boats.

Tatiana Serrato
F&I Business Manager, Nautical Ventures Group

Education: Degree from Centro de Diseño Taller 5 in Colombia, South America
Years in the marine industry: 5 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: National Liquidators – Repo Regional Supervisor
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I started out working in the auto industry doing titles and registrations for a South Florida Car Dealership. I saw an ad from Nautical Ventures for a similar position and it piqued my interest, as I’ve always had a love for boats and the ocean.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
Every single boat sale is a different story. Every customer has their own wants and needs and I’ve had to learn how to adapt to each individual customer’s objectives and desires in their wanting to buy a boat. The transaction between the buyer, seller (in the case of a used boat) and being mindful of the priorities of the dealership involve a myriad of details that need to be clearly-defined, explained, and well-executed, so that everyone is happy after the sale is made.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
When I first came aboard, our F&I department it was in a state of reorganization. I had to create new policies and procedures, establish financial protocols with banks and lenders, centralize procedures between all six of our dealerships, design a training program for our sales and administrative team, etc. I would lump all those together as one memorable achievement since they are all interrelated. Once this was complete, it allowed me to scale up and handle the transactions for over 900 boat sales that we made in 2021. And that’s why it’s memorable.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
Yes, because the reality is the boating business is a male dominated category and to earn respect and recognition, I had to be tough and resilient to avoid falling into the stereotypical role most male counterparts try to put you in. But once you earn that respect, which results from doing the right job, then it’s smooth sailing.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope to inspire other women by being a positive role model. I lead by example, demonstrate commitment and show respect. I work more than is expected of me, and I make sure that my coworkers see that. Customer service and satisfaction is our best reward, every time there is an issue with a customer my goal is to facilitate internal communication within the company so we can overcome every challenge. This generates an impact on every single deal, and can be one of our biggest contributions. Last but not least, proving that knowledge is the key, I always try to learn as much as I can and spread this knowledge with my team. It doesn’t matter if it is within my department’s area of expertise or not, knowledge will be the tool that will give women more opportunities. I teach them that in order for you to take those opportunities, you need to be prepared.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
First, I want them to understand it’s a male dominated industry. That doesn’t make it bad, but understanding that helps to navigate it. I then tell them three things:

  • There is lots of opportunity to be had, especially for a woman. Woman bring a different perspective to this industry and one that has an increasing influence over the boat buying process. Having that insight can give women an advantage towards job growth.
  • Work hard, prove yourself first and then you’ll reap the rewards. In my department, I give raises and promotions proactively to those who go above and beyond their job scope. 
  • Learn about the industry beyond the job that you were hired for. This will prepare you for a promotion with a company like ours that promotes from within.

What is your favorite place to go boating?
Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park is my absolute favorite place to go boating. Here we can snorkel, swim, and frolic in an idyllic tropical setting while getting away from the usual boating (sandbar) crowds. I also love watching sunsets from our boat.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
I love to travel. I try to use my free time to go to Colombia, spending time with my family and visiting friends who still live there. I also enjoy spending time with Nala, my sweet and lovely, 7-month-old Shiba Inu.

Tess Smallridge
Manager, Marketing Communications, Torqeedo Inc.

Education: Business Administration
Years in the marine industry: 9 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
It’s part of me. Like most Florida kids, I was on (or in) the water almost as much as I was anywhere else, mostly on whichever disreputable, barely seaworthy sailboat, fishing boat, or airboat someone would let a bunch of young hooligans borrow. It’s a wonder any of us lived.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
If you need an expert, become that expert. Learn every tiny inch of your business inside and out, and treasure the colleagues and mentors who help you do it.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
Not my achievement, but it’s exciting to see the shift over the past decade in our industry conversations around electrification and sustainability.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m pretty sure they lie but working in the marine industry is probably as close as you can get. This industry is full of people doing what they love, and that care about the things that boating brings along for the ride: time with family and friends. Fun and excitement. Connection to nature. Can it be a difficult industry, particularly for women? For sure. But it’s worth it.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
Don’t look to others for inspiration. Find your passion and work to create it. When I joined Torqeedo, I was inspired by the chance to advance the conversations around sustainability within the industry. Almost 10 years later, I’m still psyched to go to work every day.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Make sure to take the time, look around, and be proud to work in an industry that builds such powerful connections between people and planet.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
I recently went sailing in St. Maarten, so it’s my one true love. At least until I go somewhere else.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
I enjoy getting creative in the kitchen, hiking, reading, comedy, and playing outside.

Keisha Bentley Spicer
Director, Heyday Wake Boats

Education: MBA (Lincoln Memorial University), BSBA Finance & Economics (University of Tennessee)
Years in the marine industry: 11 years
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: I’ve had the pleasure of spending my entire marine career at Brunswick. Within Brunswick, I’ve held the positions of International Planner, Inside Sales Coordinator (Bayliner/Heyday), District Business and Marketing Manager (Bayliner/Heyday), Strategy and Business Development Manager (Heyday), Director of Heyday Wake Boats.
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I grew up boating with my family in East Tennessee. My favorite memories of childhood include time on the water, competing with my brother for the kneeboard trick of the day, wakeboard time, and of course, to see who could hold onto the tube the longest before being pushed off. When we would arrive home, my dad and I would wash the boat together in the driveway, often turning the task into a water hose fight. Those are core memories that I cherish, and I knew I wanted to play a part in making those same memories for other families. So, after grad school I pursued the world’s largest marine company, Brunswick, and have been honored to not “work” a day since then because I get to live my passion every day.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?

  • One of the most important factors of success is to find a team/group of people/person that you can count on to guide, support, encourage, and genuinely care about your success.
  • You have the ability to impact lives in a positive way, helping to create lasting memories by offering products and/or services that bring people together. Keeping those people, their experiences, and expectations in mind as you make decisions for your company help guide towards a more meaningful and long-lasting relationship with them.
  • The path to success is most often not self-evident, straight, or short. It likely presents deviations and may command great patience. Decide first if this is an industry you are passionate about and that you want to help affect change towards. Once you’ve decided that, the journey prescribes a greater amount of satisfaction, pride, and flexibility. With those, the expedition of goals becomes quite rewarding.

If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
The opportunity to guide the design, development, and launch of the Heyday H22 alongside an amazing team is my most memorable achievement.  Our team worked diligently to rebel against norms, innovate, and prioritize the customer experience. Receiving numerous awards for our passion project has, collectively, been some of the most gratifying memories of my career.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
It has been difficult to navigate a career in this industry. I took a very non-traditional route as a female in the marine industry. By doing so, I was met with a variety of negative/challenging obstacles. Overcoming those required an unwavering support team, humbleness, and nonetheless, a strong drive to change the narrative and achieve my goals.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope others are inspired to action. To be willing to dig in, stay the course, and drive towards their goals, no matter the situation. To recognize that barriers can be broken through grace as well as vigor. To know that the world, this industry, and the families that count on us to provide wonderful experiences need your authenticity.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
First, take the time to learn. This is an industry built on tradition as much as it is innovation. You must understand before you can prescribe or propose. Creating a strong foundation of knowledge and perspectives will allow you the opportunity to be an effective teammate.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Boating in East Tennessee is simply unrivaled!

Nikki Storey
President, Great Lakes Boat Building School

Education: Lake Superior State University; Bachelor of Science, Management
Years in the marine industry: 7 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
I was drawn to the marine industry approximately seven years ago. I was and am motivated to support students, particularly underprivileged students, looking for careers. The necessity for marine skilled trade labor is at an all-time high. The marine industry provides an opportunity for students to have lifelong careers supporting themselves and their families; all while loving the work they perform on the water. Knowing I’m supporting students and working alongside the marine industry to address their workforce challenges is hands down the most fun I’ve ever had in a position I’ve held.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
I’d heard naysayers say I might be challenged to be seen or heard in the marine industry – by virtue of being a young female leader. I never put any weight in that statement as I had never experienced “not being heard”. If you know me, you’ll know I’m typically heard. I recently attended a boating conference with the mentality that people will be happy to see me here and want to learn all about Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS). The first day, I approached marine vendors and manufacturers to share about GLBBS only to be dismissed. Some event staff were too busy chatting with co-workers about the football game. Others gave me the look like “who’s this little lady talking to me about? A school in Michigan? Why?” The people I met were not hearing me – yet I was a solution to one of the most pressing issues in the industry – skilled workforce shortages. My mind reverted to the previous naysayer commentary about being a “young female.” Dismayed and frankly a bit defeated, I leaned on a friend and mentor for advice and encouragement. We developed a strategy to be heard and I went back with a plan of action. That strategy resulted in an overwhelming response of support and relationship development. Some of these relationships are the catalyst of the positive, marine leadership engagement GLBBS is benefiting from today.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
At Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS), as a non-profit organization, we were founded and generously supported entirely by private funding from the local Les Cheneaux Islands community sixteen years ago. Fast forward through the years and challenges faced by the school; GLBBS has an outstanding reputation and many memorable achievements under its belt – 100% career placement, national accreditation, strong scholarship and sponsorship programs, 92% average student satisfaction, industry relationships, program expansions and more. The listed achievements are some of many. The most recent approval from the Federal Economic Development Administration of $2.7 million to provide 80% of the funding for a new “Marine Trades Skilled Training Center” is the jewel in our crown. Public investment acknowledges the track record and reputation established at GLBBS to be the “leader in marine workforce development.”
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
There were times I questioned whether I’d be able to navigate a career in an industry that I have little to no experience in. What I have found is that I am very capable of maximizing my best skill which is relationship development. Through relationships with students, marine industry leaders, GLBBS board of directors and others, I have enacted the strengths and knowledge of others in the best interest of the School and industry.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
My hope for women in the marine industry is through my positive outlook and “let’s get it done'' attitude, they will see there is opportunity for them. There is an industry wide, concerted effort to expand diversity, which includes female leadership, something I am thrilled to see. I would also follow that up with “You’re entitled to nothing.” Dig deep, find your niche, get creative, start swinging and don’t come out until you win.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Attributing to my success is my ability to be exactly who I say I am, every single day. What you see is what you get. In a world of fakeness - authenticity is refreshing. Focus on who you are and embrace it! What are your gifts or talents representing you? Share those with everyone you meet and the opportunities will present themselves.
What is your favorite place to go boating?
Having spent most of my life living inland of the lakes, boating was not a part of my life growing up. Becoming the President of GLBBS has fully immersed my exposure to boats and boating. A boating novice myself, I’m frequently learning right alongside our students (backing up, docking and navigating boats). Last year I took the plunge and purchased my first boat – a 1984, 23-foot Tiara which resides in the Les Cheneaux Islands, the best place to go boating. Last 4th of July, I spent the entire day in my boat alone- I’ve never felt freer in my life!  
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
Some of my non-boating activities include anything outdoors or recreational. I enjoy skiing (both downhill and cross country), biking, hiking etc. Last but certainly not least, I absolutely adore my springer spaniel Lucy who travels with me everywhere I go – both land and water. If I have the opportunity to meet you, you will hear everything about her and our adventures!

Corrie Wilson
Executive Director, World Wake Association

Education: A.A. Roane State
Years in the marine industry: I started wakeboarding competitively at the age of 12 and competed professionally for 5 years before starting my role at the WWA almost 9 years ago.
Other companies you have worked for in the marine industry and titles you held within those companies: Through my competitive wakeboard career, I had the opportunity to work with several boat companies and equipment brands on various levels.
What first drew you to the marine industry? 
As a lifelong water-lover, boating enthusiast, and wakeboarder, I always knew that I wanted to somehow be able to be involved in the sport and industry that I love. Watersports is what I’ve always wanted to do from the moment I stood sideways on the water.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel not only the U.S. but the entire globe and meet fellow wake lovers. It’s been eye opening to see how different cultures and countries approach boating and watersports. There’s been more lessons learned than I could possibly count along the way.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
Being named the World Wake Association’s first female executive director six years ago. In addition to that, producing successful events of any scale that share watersports with new people alongside my team is always rewarding.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
I don't feel that it’s been difficult. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have incredible mentors that want to see me succeed and grow. That’s one of the many things that I love about the marine industry is the people and relationships along the way.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I hope that other women see that there are opportunities to have a career doing what you love in the marine industry, whatever that may be. It just starts with reaching out to see what opportunities you can get involved in.  Have the confidence to always be willing to learn along the way.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
My advice would be to get involved where you can. Put yourself out there, be willing to put in the hard work and go above and beyond to be noticed. That’s how all my opportunities opened, I reached out to see how I could be involved, started small, put in the work and it grew from there.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
I enjoy any opportunity to be creative, whether it’s painting, stitching, or beading. I also love anything outdoors.

Leslie Zlotnick
Marketing Division Manager, WaterCraft Group, Yamaha Motor Corporation

Education: BS Advertising, University of Florida
Years in the marine industry: Almost 19 years
What first drew you to the marine industry?
The Yamaha brand, specifically WaveRunners, were what first drew me into the marine industry. I still recall cramming for my initial interview – the variety of engines, product names and riding styles offered by the Yamaha WaveRunner lineup was intimidating and impressive! Then there were the Jet Boats – unlike any other boat I’d seen before. The opportunity to work on a brand with a legendary reputation was what excited me most about the opportunity.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry?
The biggest lesson: marine industry enthusiasts are created every day. Boating knowledge is a bonus for those entering the industry, not a prerequisite. Knowledge happens through usage and exposure to the product. The best part is obvious - usage of the product is fun and seldom feels like work.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why?
The longevity of my career within the industry is my biggest achievement. Loyalty is big for me, and Yamaha and the people I work alongside allow that loyalty to remain constant. More so, promoting a brand that brings people together on premium products and continues to create loyal customers is a continuous achievement as well.
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not?
The word “difficult” hasn’t come up much during my career in this industry. We’re in the business of creating memories. When things get challenging, it’s often beyond our control. The comradery within Yamaha and the greater marine industry makes navigating challenges rather effortless.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry?
I say often: boating, or the marine industry, is for everyone. We don’t go boating and think, “Where are all the women out here?” Remember that if the activity of boating is for everyone, working in the industry should be the same.
What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry?
Be open to learning something new while bringing your subject matter expertise to the industry. You can change the industry by welcoming and retaining new owners with your new ideas, and you’ll get the benefit of becoming a boater along the way.
What are some of your favorite non-boating hobbies?
A good podcast and a long walk whenever I’m able. Spending downtime with family and connecting with friends is my usual weekend itinerary.

2 comments

  1. What an amazing range of women with varied backgrounds and areas of expertise! So proud of their achievements in this wonderful family of the marine industry! Congratulations to all!

  2. Great story and congratulations Laurie Louvier!

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