Meet Regional Crew Management Partner, Katie Lea

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have developed a series of interviews featuring some of our incredible colleagues, celebrating their jobs and their contribution to the Maritime industry.

The objective of this campaign is to raise awareness around diversity in the industry, and to inspire women to consider the maritime industry as an exciting career prospect, with a multitude of opportunities.

What’s your name and job title?

Katie Lea, Regional Crew Management Partner

Please explain your job in three sentences.

My job is to oversee crew management activities across our UK and Americas region, which has over 120 vessels and 4500 crew.  I work closely with the regional MD to develop crewing strategy and ensure quality service to all our clients.  I also support in developing new business opportunities and delivering P&L targets related to crewing.

How long have you worked for V.Group?

Just over one year.

What led you to choose a career in shipping?

Just after leaving university, I took a temporary role at a ship management company which was supposed to be for only 2 weeks – that was 20 years ago, and I’ve been in the industry ever since!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

I think women have a tendency to avoid the spotlight and be modest about individual achievements – but over the years I’ve learnt that, even if it feels out of character, it’s important to make yourself visible and draw attention to where your contribution has had positive impact.

Would you encourage other women to work in the shipping industry?

Definitely.  Apart from it being such a fascinating industry to work in, there’s been a lot of positive action towards gender diversity in recent years and this means greater opportunities are opening up for women.   There are so many career options in different sectors and disciplines, and I’d be happy to see my own daughters follow careers in shipping.

What has surprised you most about working in the sector?

I find it surprising that in an industry constantly facing labour supply shortages, we’ve not made faster progress in attracting women to work at sea.  When I started my career in 2001, only 2% of seafarers were female and it’s not much different today – that’s a lot of untapped resources!  Thankfully, various industry organisations and global networks are working hard to drive positive change by raising awareness of opportunities for women at sea, developing effective employment policies and providing better shipboard facilities for women.   Hopefully, things will have improved by the time my daughters are entering the job market.

What’s your favourite destination?

Dubai.  I love that it’s so cosmopolitan and it’s somewhere you can enjoy many different cultures and experiences.  A friend once described it as Disneyland for adults, which I think is very accurate!  But it also caters brilliantly for kids and it’s very safe.