What do you do?
I manage three businesses in London, Huston and Dubai, which carry out ship surveys around the world. I am responsible for checking work in the London company, and sort out any problems arising amongst 300 surveyors worldwide. I oversee the finances of the group, and monitor any potential issues, while liaising with the managers of the other companies to ensure smooth running and to motivate. I also plan marketing activities to promote the business and to find new clients - this involves website development, as well as managing social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn. I organise travel to meet clients around the world, attend conferences and exhibitions, and I meet with many clients or surveyors that visit London.
What does a typical day at work look like?
On a typical day I go through e-mails, and talk to staff about what is going on with all the surveys we are conducting. I check through reports from other group companies in Huston and Dubai, and go through the financials. I will also talk to surveyors about problems they might have with their jobs, and I handle anything needed for marketing and client liaising.
How did you get to where you are?
I originally asked an agency for a job using languages, and was sent to a shipping company - but to a Greek shipping company, and Greek certainly wasn't one of my languages! But the job sounded interesting, so I took it, helping the insurance manager for a fleet of 70 vessels. I loved the world of shipping, and was hooked. I moved to the copany I am currently with, when it had just started, and was managing only one vessel. With only 2 people in the company, this turned out to be an excellent way to learn just about everything. As the company grew, I was encouraged to complete the professional qualifications from the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, as my manager thought it would be easier to be taken seriously as a woman with qualifications (this was the early 80's). And my manager was right! Over the years, I have done just about any job possible within the company, including learning how to do the accounts, so i could work from home while my children were young. 10 years ago, I became the Managing Director of the London company, and I became the CEO of the whole group last year.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love sailing and would love to spend more time doing it, but realistically only get a couple of trips every year (sometimes I manage to build a bit of it into a work trip!). I have a dog and a husband, and I always go for walks on weekends. My kids are grown up, but I often meet up with my daughter to go see films or to the theatre. My son lives in New York, so it is more of a challenge to stay in touch, but it is a great place to visit him! I like excitement and I have done parachute jumps, paragliding, zip wired (did the longest one in the world last year!), and I like to travel and see other ways of life. I get to travel for work, but I try to go to places I have not yet seen when I go on holiday.