What a lovely surprise – THANK YOU to whoever nominated me – a much-appreciated compliment! Now, where to start.. 🙂
In January 1982, I fell quite accidentally into the Superyacht industry, whilst visiting my sister in Antibes. I’d never heard of the yachting industry but with a degree in Hotel Management under my belt, I thought I’d give it a go when offered a stewardess position, perhaps to return later to my hotel job in Sydney, Australia where I’d been living. Little did I know what lay ahead….
In September 1996, 14 years, thousands of nautical miles, many wonderful experiences and innumerable rum punches later, I moved ashore to get married and in 2001, as a mother of two young boys, I began training interior crew for Bluewater Yachting in Antibes, having written the courses from Introductory to Chief Stewardess level.
Over the next 20 years, I worked for some excellent Interior crew training schools both in facilities ashore and onboard some of the world’s most beautiful Superyachts, mentoring and teaching all I knew to prospective and working interior crew. During this time, however I became aware of the need for Personal Development and Self-Management components in the technical courses I was teaching and took classes in these topics myself, then introduced elements of these subjects into my own lessons.
Since 2008, to date, I’ve been involved in creating, updating and teaching the interior crew “GUEST” (Guidelines for Unified Excellence in Service Training) programme, initially under PYA jurisdiction, and was part of that Steering Committee. Now, as part of the Maritime Hospitality Sub-Group for the programme, which, since January 2019 has been accredited under IAMI (International Association of Maritime Institutes), I’m delighted to see that with huge efforts from Joey Meen and many training providers worldwide, the programme has evolved into a really worthwhile and comprehensive professional career path for interior crew to follow, from newcomers to Pursers and that at last it is gaining better awareness and recognition within the Superyacht sector. It has been a hard nut to crack, but definitely worth the effort! I firmly believe that now we can empower interior crew with the professional training, qualifications and recognition afforded to other departments on board, the crew – as a whole have a much better chance of performing at optimum levels. Then everyone wins – from Owners, to charter guests, Management companies and the Captains and crew themselves!
In 2017, I became PYA Director of Interior Training and this year, in 2021 I formed the PYA Welfare group of an elected team of yachting industry professionals, to work alongside ISWAN, with the aim of helping to support and give guidance to interior and other yacht crew. In 2019, I was fortunate enough to be part of a wonderful, heart-centred group of people in Palma who set up the “Life is For Living” support group, following the tragic suicide of a young yachtsman on the island, to let crew know that they are never alone and that there are Associations, groups and individuals to whom they can turn for help. Having been writing articles and speaking on the subject of Crew Welfare for more than a decade, it is extremely gratifying to see that there is now so much support available to those Captains and Crew working in our fascinating, but sometimes extremely challenging industry.
In 2018, after a 20+ year hiatus from working in the role of Chief Stewardess, I had an opportunity to return to sea as CS on a 50m Feadship and still enjoy being part of this crew for the yacht’s summer cruising schedule, since apart from the joy of being back at sea, it helps me keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry.
My principal work, however is as Insight Specialist with Luxury Hospitality, helping to guide Captains and crew in Self-Leadership, Self-Awareness, Emotional Intelligence and many other essential elements which empower them to create happy, balanced and successful lives on the yachts on which they work.
I’ve been tremendously blessed to have enjoyed a fascinating and rewarding 40 year career in this dynamic, ever-expanding, ever-changing industry and now in the concluding years of my career, I’m striving, along with colleagues and contemporaries, to use our experience to help make the Superyacht industry as enjoyable, fulfilling and equitable a sector in which to work as we know it can be – and on a personal level to inspire women to see that a professional career in yachting, whether as a member of the interior or deck crew; as Captain, HoD, Purser, Engineer or Chef, will provide a plethora of transferable skills and doesn’t have to end at the chime of a biological clock!
“Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today!”