Women Making Waves: Courtney Chalmers

Courtney Chalmers

Vice President of Marketing, Dominion Marine Media

Education: B.A. in Digital Media, University of Virginia

Years in the marine industry: 12

Courtney Chalmers
Courtney Chalmers

What first drew you to the marine industry? Hands down, it’s the people. There are few industries where the job and the passion are one and the same, but the boating industry affords us that luxury.

The industry has the appeal of a small town, similar to the one I grew up in. It’s like having a family of a few thousand people – when something bad happens, you feel the support from every single person, and when something great happens, you’ll probably be in the newspaper (or Boating Industry magazine!).

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned working in the marine industry? It’s about boats – not cars, Coca-Cola or Nike. I have given a lot of presentations, and as a marketer, it’s tempting to share Coke’s newest campaign or sales data from the car industry. The boating industry, though, is a unique market unlike many others where consumer behavior is driven by a passion. I learned quickly – and sometimes the hard way – that you gain a lot more credibility when the content is highly relevant to boat dealers.

Keeping up with the industry news makes you a much better conversationalist. People are on the go, companies are being acquired, new boats are being launched – and it has served me well to know what’s happening. Maybe it’s my small town roots, but being in the know is the best way to stay on your toes.

Was it difficult to navigate a career in the marine industry? Why or why not? I figured out early on what my strengths were and the value I could bring to the industry. If you have that figured out, then navigating a career is much easier. Set goals, work to achieve them and have a plan B when you hit roadblocks.

chalmers-img_2164How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry? As leaders in the industry, I believe it is our responsibility to bring talented women into the industry and to develop the women on our teams to be influencers. By hiring – and developing – confident and talented women who are motivated to make an impact, we lay the groundwork for strong leadership in our industry for years to come.

What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry? Be resourceful. Surround yourself with smart people that you can count on, and return the favor.

Build a great personal brand. Carve out your expertise and be known for it.

“Just.” Strike It. I recently read an article by a former Google and Apple marketing executive, Ellen Petry Leanse, who encouraged the women on her team to strike the word “just” from their work vocabulary. She viewed it as a “permission” or a way to soften the blow.

I shared the idea with my team last year, and they’ve each said that their messages feel stronger and their convictions clearer by striking the J word. Try it. I think you’ll notice the difference.

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