Successful Business meets Martina Meinders, managing director at MARIN SHIPMANAGEMENT LIMITED, one of the leading shipping companies in Cyprus with 50 vessels of different types in operation and more than 1,000 seafarers from around the world on board.
Martina, when did you move to Cyprus?
I came to Cyprus from Hamburg in 1993. The company I was working at moved its operations to the island, and there was a job opportunity for me. Since then, I have been living and working here.
What is key to progressing as a business director? For example, traits, values, skills, etc.
To progress as a director of a business, you need high integrity and honesty, to be knowledgeable, inspire and motivate others as well as collaborate and promote teamwork.
What made you decide to have a career in the shipping industry?
It was my ambition to work in an international and multicultural environment. After completing my studies as a shipping agent in my hometown, I moved to Hamburg to gain experience working with larger shipping companies. The opportunities for a career in shipping were plenty as companies in the maritime industry engage in various activities, e.g. chartering, sale and purchase of vessels, finance, or ship and crew management.
What challenges is a woman facing today, who would like to have a career similar to yours?
Today, on a global scale, the share of women in this largely man-dominated industry is extremely small, 2%. The challenge is to encourage women to pursue a career in the maritime, trading and logistics sectors and gain the confidence to fill in senior positions in the future. Women in top positions need to lead by example to achieve diversity in the industry.
As a member of WISTA Cyprus (Woman in Shipping and Trading Association), of which I am a founding member and had been Secretary General in its first executive committee until 2015, we are promoting diversity in these sectors with a focus on gender diversity that is key to a sustainable future for the shipping industry internationally.
They say it is more difficult for women than men to be business leaders, “especially in Cyprus”. Do you agree?
I think this depends on the industry/profession as such.
As long as knowledge, authenticity, confidence, trust and a good leadership style are present, it doesn’t matter whether you are a woman or a man. I do not recall having had any major difficulties in my career. For myself, I can explicitly confirm treating both genders equally and fair.
What have been some make-or-break moments in your career?
A breakthrough moment for me was receiving the prestigious EMBA (Executive MBA in Shipping & Logistic) from the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, including the participation in professional leadership courses. Currently, we have a new challenge to proceed with innovative and creative digitalisation. We are implementing training, organisational restructuring due to the pandemic and all the changes that came with it.
It is a challenge for the shipping industry to work under the present circumstances of the global pandemic, however we strive on a daily basis to reach our goal.
What would be your advice to any female business leader reading this interview?
Stand up for yourself, take initiative and risks, and always challenge yourself to do better. Build up a valuable network and be passionate about what you do.
MARIN SHIPMANAGEMENT LIMITED
Tel. +357 25 871 355