Meet Legal and Compliance Counsel, Dora Costa

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. Meet Global Graduate Engineer, Stela Kalogirou.

What’s your name and job title?

Dora Costa, V.Group Legal and Compliance Counsel and Global Data Protection Officer (London based)

Please explain your job in three sentences.

I am an English qualified lawyer and provide international legal and compliance support on claims and contractual matters across the Group’s global operations.  I draft, review, negotiate and advise on a variety of commercial contracts and tender documentation.   I also support dispute prevention and resolution and management of claims and litigation.

How long have you worked for V.Group?

It will be 2 years in May.

What led you to choose a career in shipping?

I would say shipping chose me in a way.  When I was looking for a training contract (you need to train at a law firm for two years to qualify as an English lawyer), I happened to get my first job at an international law firm in their shipping department.  I had just finished my studies and they were looking for law graduates who spoke fluent Portuguese  (my mother tongue) to work for a big case involving a Brazilian oil major. That was back in 2006 and I’ve worked primarily in the shipping industry since then.  Having also been fortunate enough to have lived in different countries (Mozambique, Portugal, Eswatini(formerly called Swaziland), the U.S, Zimbabwe and now the UK), I also feel at “home” in a global industry such as shipping.

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

That teamwork is a major driver of success.  During my career I’ve worked on very large cases and projects which involved not only lawyers but also experts from different backgrounds and professions. I’ve found that intersectoral collaboration is very important in our industry.  I see this collaboration every day at V.Group and I find it only makes our work more rewarding.

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

For sure.  Unfortunately, there is still a lack of women working in the industry (both onshore as well as at sea).  I would recommend that other women consider a career in the sector.  It’s an opportunity to work with people from all over the world, the ocean is the limit!

What has surprised you most about working in the sector?

The variety of work we get.  I used to work in law firms and whilst there is variety, this is by no means as much as that which you find in a shipping company such as V.Group. No day is the same.

What’s your favourite destination?

This is a hard one, but I must say Mozambique (aka the Pearl of the Indian Ocean). I come from a Portuguese, Mozambican and Indian background and the Indian ocean will always be my first and true love.