Business Leader & Co-Founder, SureShade
Education: Double Master’s Degree in Marketing and Operations, Drexel University
Years in the marine industry: 9
Was it difficult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not? My career began 20+ years ago in the male-dominated manufacturing industry, so I’m used to that dynamic and therefore has no bearing on getting the job done. What I learned and appreciated very quickly was how many women in this industry are in leadership roles – from the Grady White President Kris Carroll to Regulator President (and also NMMA Chairperson) Joan Maxwell to the many women managers, engineers and production personnel I have met along the way. I think this industry does a good job of welcoming, promoting and celebrating women.
If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? Well, other than leading our company growth to where it is today – factory installed on 65+ boat models – I am also proud to represent my local hometown of Philadelphia as a leader in manufacturing and boating, and I have spoken on several panels with other business leaders including a Women in Manufacturing Panel held earlier this year. Most recently, I helped host the NMMA Day on the Water event for the DNC in Philadelphia where I was proud to showcase our Delaware River waterfront and the economic importance of the boating industry. Next I am looking forward to helping bring a major boat show back to Philadelphia and also aligning the right folks so that we can begin a serious discussion on building a world class marina on the potential-rich Philadelphia waterfront.
How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry? I hope to continue the momentum that existing women leaders in this industry have created and demonstrate that there are tremendous opportunities for women who want to be in this industry. Given that women are clear influencers in boat purchase decisions, it’s important that women aspire to leadership positions that ultimately impact boat design and ensure that boats offer features, products, accessories, access and storage options that women desire on a boat. I recently watched an episode of a new show call “Boat Buyers” on the Travel Channel. The wife kept asking how she can get more shade – which not only made me smile of course, but it shows how boat buying really is a team decision between husband and wife.