Published on: 23 November 2023
Heralded as a tremendous success by organisers and attendees alike, the Women in the Marine Industry International networking and panel discussion event returned to METSTRADE on Thursday 16 November.
First launched in 2022, the Women in the Marine Industry International event, hosted by British Marine, Soundings Trade Only, METSTRADE and Marine Industry News, and supported by Barton Marine, welcomed more than 200 women, and men, at the METSTRADE Theatre for a breakfast networking session and industry leadership panel.
Niels Klarenbeek, Director of METSTRADE, and Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine, offered opening remarks followed by event host, Michele Goldsmith, Vice President and General Manager of Soundings Trade Only, who introduced the morning’s panel of dynamic female leaders from across the globe including: Gemma Gonzalez, Yachting Business Unit Director, Gruppo Boero; Laurie Louvier, Vice President Marketing, Dometic; Michelle Hildyard, Vice President Product Management & Business Development, Raymarine; Nicky Vaux, Partner & Business Development Manager, Empire Marinas Group, and host of The Boat Princess podcast; Rachel Bridges, Vice President of Aftermarket Products, Cummins Global Marine.
During the panel discussion, the speakers shared their experience, expertise and insights as female executives to a packed theatre and thoroughly engaged audience, with discussions focused on business leadership, AI, technology sustainability, and the future of the marine industry.
Commenting on the morning's event, panellist Gemma Gonzalez, Yachting Business Unit Director at Gruppo Boero said: “I found it very interesting to be part of the panel. For me, the most important thing that we discussed today, apart from the environment and digitalisation, was how we can use the lifecycle assessment. For me, this event provided the opportunity to inspire and motivate the new generation and how they are going to work in the coming years.”
Also on the panel was Nicky Vaux, Partner & Business Development Manager, Empire Marinas Group, and host of The Boat Princess podcast, who commented: “It was great to be on this year’s panel at METSTRADE. The more women we get on the stage inspiring other women the better. The more we talk about the changes in language we need to make, the support that we need for men and women to be strong in the industry and the more excitement we put out to the world about being in the marine industry the more we can get women in the industry. That’s what I love about doing events like this. It’s been fantastic to be involved!”
While panellist Michelle Hildyard, Vice President Product Management & Business Development, Raymarine also added: “My takeaway from today has been the number of people that came to see me after the session to say how my stories resonated with them. I really hope that I’ve inspired some people in the industry, both women and men. There are so many jobs in the marine industry for all types of talent, all types of people and for me, you don’t have to be technical to come into the industry. It’s a great industry to work in, it’s so friendly and so much fun.”
Sophie Mogford-Revess, Operations Director at LGM Products who attended the event commented: “The event was excellent. It is so important that events like this happen in our industry, it’s really needed. The fact that it’s promoted and supported by a lot of big names is excellent.”
Speaking of the event, Lesley Robinson commented: “Once again this has proved to be an incredible event, with an inspirational panel of women. We have been delighted by how many people have joined us today. It just shows that there is a real appetite for inclusive events of this nature.”
Michele Goldsmith, who moderated the panel, added: “The Women In Marine Industry International event offers a place to gather as a community, a place for men and women to learn, as all genders are welcome, a safe place to ask questions and a place to be with others who have reached levels in their industry where they can inspire the next generation going forward. I think the goal is to offer skills, tools and a path forward that will allow women in the next generation to reach new levels and to excel in their goals and ambitions.”
Another driving force behind the Women in Marine movement and in bringing this event to fruition has been Lyndsay McClay, Commercial Manager, Marine Industry News. “This second Women in the Marine Industry International event has been absolutely fantastic; it has been lovely to see it grow. We had so many more people attend this year, and we had an amazing panel. Michele did a fantastic job as our event compere once again and it’s wonderful to be a partner of this amazing event. Long may it continue growing and evolving to support women in the industry,” she commented.
In closing Lesley added: “I would like to thank everyone who joined us here today and of course my thanks to all of our speakers, METSTRADE, Soundings Trade Only, Barton Marine and Marine Industry News for bringing this all together. I hope everyone enjoyed the informative, insightful and engaging conversation as much as I did. We will be issuing a feedback survey to all attendees and very much welcome your comments and observations so that we can develop these events and see them go from strength to strength.”
The Women in the Marine Industry International panel discussion was recorded and will be made available at www.Metstrade.com in the near future. The organisers also invite the industry to connect on the Women in the Marine Industry International LinkedIn page, which is a joint venture they created.