On the heels of its recent “Women Making Waves” special magazine edition featuring the announcement of 30 top women achievers in the recreational boating industry, Boating Industry Magazine — in conjunction with its parent company, EPG Brand Acceleration — has recently collected and compiled original survey results from women working throughout all segments of the marine industry.
For the past two years, EPG CEO Marion Minor has worked closely with a small task force of executives in the marine industry to explore potential organizational and programming opportunities exclusively for women. This group, organized by Wanda Kenton Smith of Kenton Smith Marketing, also included Volvo Penta’s Susan Bonivich; Chaparral and Robalo’s Ann Baldree; Correct Craft’s Angela Pilkington; former MRAA Foundation’s Natalie Briggs; and long-time industry executive and consultant Marcia Kull. After significant planning, research and initial development, the task force determined its next step was to prioritize targeted industry outreach to validate organizational need and to determine potential areas of focus and interest.
Boating Industry managed the turnkey custom four-month research project which included survey instrument development and widespread distribution through its social platforms, website and targeted eblast distributions, concluding with a list of key findings.
The survey revealed that 98% of participants expressed interest in joining a formal marine association exclusively for women working in the marine industry. The top areas of interest cited by respondents included attending networking events at boat shows; participating in an exclusive women’s conference; attending live seminars and training sessions; participating in mentoring programs; and development of a women’s awards recognition program.
“The vast majority of women who participated in the survey were extremely positive and enthusiastic about the concept of organizing a women’s group and were excited to become engaged and involved,” said Minor. “In addition, women shared scores of specific topics and recommendations with us they would like to see addressed.”
Survey participants were asked if they were interested in investing time and taking an active leadership role in the organization of a women’s group, with 65% volunteering to engage. As a result, a new “Women Making Waves Task Force” is currently being organized with the goal to further review and refine the initial work spearheaded by the original task force.
“We very much appreciate the countless hours, dedicated work and contributions of our initial task force members which laid the important groundwork for further discussion and development,” said Wanda Kenton Smith, who is co-chairing the new task force initiative with Minor. “We are equally appreciative of the many women who took time to respond to the survey and to express such positive endorsement for organization. We look forward to greater involvement by women throughout the industry as well as from corporate partners who can help us navigate a winning strategy for success.”