IMO celebrates graduating women maritime leaders

Thirty women from maritime administrations across the globe have completed the first ever Leadership Accelerator Programme (LEAP) run by Maritime SheEO, designed to equip women with leadership skills. Following the success of the first iteration, IMO has committed to sponsoring another group of future women leaders in the second half of this year.

The programme, which ran over eight-weeks, was part of the IMO’s Women in Maritime programme and run in collaboration with the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International).

“The Maritime SheEO programme is focused on building competence, which is one of the most important factors that organisations consider when choosing leaders,” says IMO’s head of Africa and manager of the Women in Maritime programme, William Azuh. “Programmes like these are very important to build an individual’s confidence as they go into leadership and the confidence of the sector in appointing leaders from historically marginalised communities. We look forward to supporting the next edition of the Maritime SheEO programme and will be releasing details of the programme in due course.”

The LEAP blended-learning course, which includes self-paced learning as well as small group coaching, is designed to enhance personal development of leadership skills through modules on building professional networks, strategic thinking, persuasive communication and more.

“It has been highlighted during the years that the path a woman must take to advance to top positions is more difficult than it may be for men,” says Despina Theodosiou, president, WISTA International. “But that shouldn’t be the case. Leaders in any profession and of any gender should be able to direct, encourage, and inspire others. I think the most important thing about this course is that it gives women equal opportunity [as that granted to men] and the means to succeed.”

The women participating in the course have varying degrees of maritime work experience, with careers that range from just a few months to over two decades. The networking opportunities created within the course have benefitted attendees and many of the graduates of the course have already reported career progression because of the training and support they received.

“I can use the programme and contents in my actual work and could actually experience the benefits,” says course member Zahra Al Lawati. “One of the important things I learned from the programme was the power of the ask. I asked for a promotion and have been granted that.”

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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