The top women to watch in shipping 2019.

11 JUN 2019 

YoungShip officially announced the 10 Women to Watch 2019 with a formal ceremony at Norshipping. YoungShip believes that for the industry to remain competitive, the shipping industry of the future must have access to a diverse talent pool, with the brightest of all backgrounds. These talented leaders were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Have shown a passion for the maritime industry and its future development
  • Have demonstrated the ability to inspire others
  • Have exemplified strong interdepartmental or company-level leadership skills and decision-making qualities
  • Have demonstrated a willingness to teach and share knowledge with others
  • Have taken significant responsibility relevant to their career level.


Jaquelyn Burton, Product Advisor Vessel Automation, Kongsberg  (US/Norway)

Jaquelyn Burton holds a degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and has more than ten years experience at sea as Officer and subsequently as Master Mariner. She has worked on various vessel types, including LNG, RORO and Dry Cargo vessels, and also holds an Executive MBA. In 2018 she started her current position with Kongsberg Maritime, where she is part of the team that is shaping the future of automation in autonomous vessels and aquaculture.

She is a proven leader in critical emergency situations at sea and is described as kind and smart, and an unstoppable force by those nominating her. Jaquelyn works to lift other women as a mentor, and is driven to increase focus on safety in the industry. In addition, she is a frequent contributor to  gCaptain and Women Offshore and an active member of the SOCP (the Ship Operations Cooperative Program) writing guidance for US shipping.

“At sea, these people you work with, the ones you manage, your team: lives, works and faces these challenges together. Each brings their assumptions, predispositions, and training with them. Some are team-oriented, others can try to push each other down, some are great communicators, and others assume that everyone is a mind reader.

I believe that to increase female leadership in the maritime industry, we all must become better mentors. We must have supporters and be supporters – no one in this industry regardless of gender accomplishes anything alone. The tool is conversation; it is hearing the voices and supporting ideas. Women become leaders in industries where they are given a voice, where they feel that their efforts are impactful, where they have reciprocal relationships throughout their organizations.”


Madina Berdigulova Aaeng, Senior Vice President, Head of the Customer Analysis Department at DNB Ocean Industries. (Kazakhstan/Norway)

Madina, who is originally from Kazakhstan, started as a Corporate Trainee in DNB in 2007, after finishing her studies at the Norwegian School of Economics. She was a corporate analyst and client relationship manager in the Shipping & Offshore department at DNB, and has risen to become the Head of the Corporate Analyst department in the DNB Ocean Industries division. She is described by her colleagues an extremely resourceful person and one that shares knowledge and insight with her colleagues worldwide and supports those around her.

«With its cyclical nature, it has never been dull to work in the maritime industry. Moreover, complexity has been increasing with focus on sustainability, corporate responsibility and increased regulatory framework.

As the industry is changing, the business models are changing, providing new challenges and opportunities. In DNB I have experienced that good role models and their diversity, offering opportunities through mobility in the organization, showing trust and inclusion are effective tools in attracting and developing female talents.”


Sandra Ness, Founder at Turnss, Founder/Impact Manager of the Arctic Whale project, and  (previous) the Marketing Manager for Tamrotor Marine Compressors. (Norway)

Sandra is educated at the Norwegian Business School BI, and has a varied background. She has previously worked as the Marketing Manager at TMC, one of the world’s leading compressor suppliers to the maritime industry, and was a part of the company’s leadership group. She left TMC this year, to start Turnss, an advisory company focusing on helping businesses adjust to sustainable business models, focusing on the climate and people.

She is also the co-founder and impact manager for the Arctic Whale projectlaunching the summer of 2019. Arctic Whale is a science and innovation project with the goal to engage humans to sustainable action on plastic in the oceans and how it effects the maritime ecosystem.

“In order to implement and increase female leadership, I believe we need to use data driven solutions and validated research to increase transparency so the insights can talk for themselves.”


Hilde Søbstad Løvskar, Chief Legal Officer, Skuld (Norway)

Hilde reached the position as Chief Legal Officer in global maritime insurance company Skuld this year, after having worked at the company since 2009. She has a law degree from the University of Oslo, and came to Skuld via the Maritime Trainee program with the Norwegian Ship owners Association, after being inspired to join the Norwegian Maritime Industry after studying abroad. She is currently part of the leadership group at Skuld, and promoted to her current position whilst on maternity leave.

Hilde is described as a person with great knowledge and experience within her field of maritime insurance, and very well respected by her colleagues.

“I have been fortunate to work in a company that values diversity and work/life-balance while also expecting dedication and going the extra mile. In terms of diversity: Where there’s a will, there is a way. But also the opposite; where there’s no will, there’s no way. Companies may need to evaluate their recruitment culture and form a strategy for diversity in leadership. The SHE index can be a tool in this assessment. Also, I believe employers should not see parental leave as a female “problem”, but rather look at employees in the longer and more sustainable perspective.“


Märtha Rehnberg, Co-Founder/Partner @ DareDisrupt, member of the High Leve Industrial Roundtable “Industry 2030” at the European Comission. (Denmark)

Märtha is Co-Founder and Partner in DareDisrupt. She is also a member of the High Level Industrial Roundtable with the European Commission.  She holds degrees from Copenhagen Business School, and Esade Business and Law School.

Märtha is also a member of the Danish Governments industry group for green industry and biotechnology,and frequently toted as one of the leaders of the future by various groups and university symposiums.


Ayse Asli Basak, Mid-Ship Group LLC (Turkey)

Ayse Asli Basak was the first female port captain in Turkey, and has been working on board various types of vessels within the dry cargo segment, also as a Safety Superintentend. She was promoted to an on-shore position with Turkish Company Mid-Ship Group, handling supervisions of scrap and steel products’ shipments in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Istanbul Technical University Maritime Faculty and a Master’s degree in International Trade & Logistics Management. She has participated in a research at Kobe University as the first representative student in ITU Maritime Faculty.

Ayse has also been very active in Turkish maritime sector as board member of The Chamber of Marine Engineers, Turkey (UCTEA), General Secretary of ITU Maritime Alumni Association and Press Officer of WISTA Turkey. She also participated World Maritime University’s

Maritime Women’s Global Leadership Conference” as the representative of Turkish maritime industry in 2014 which was held in Malmö, Sweden and represented her country again there in April 2019 in “Empowering Women in Maritime Industry Conference” on behalf of Chamber of Marine Engineers Turkey.


Sarah Caldwell Brooke, Assistant Vice President, Skuld (UK/Norway)

Sarah holds a degree from College of Law, Bloomsbury and Inns of Court City Law School, City University. She is also a qulified Solicitor in England and Wales.

After graduating she worked as an Associate with some of the top lawfirms in London, Jackson Parton and later Hill Dickinson. Sarah joined Skuld as a Senior Lawyer in October 2016, and was promoted to Assistant Vice President, Solicitor in January 2019. She has also been voted Norway’s top Shipping and Commodity Lawyer in 2018 by Marine Transport News.

Sarah is a frequent speaker, and has been visible in the industry spreading knowledge of the legal issues surrounding the Global Sulphur Cap 2020. She is also the chair of Norway’s Young Comité Maritime International (“YCMI”) whose mother organization CMI holds IMO consultative status, and fluent in three languages, including Polish and Russian.

”Shipping has remained vastly rooted in traditions and hidden away as one of the more discreet industries. That said, it is being increasingly challenged to reduce environmental impacts and on the issue of gender equality, continuous improvement is a necessity. When it comes to gender equality, it seems that the industry has plotted its course in the wrong direction. That said, life is ten percent of what happens to you and ninety percent of how you react to it. Women must allow themselves to take more space at work and step out of the narrow box. My advice to women in shipping is not to be afraid to shine and to start being role models.”


Hande Ari, Commercial Manager, Seven Seas Group (Turkey/Norway)

Hande is orginally from Turkey, but has lived in Norway since moving her with her previous company Wallenius Wilhelmsen. She holds two degrees, in Business administration or logistics engineering management. In 2013 she finished her Master’s degree in Logistics Engineering and Management on a Full Scholarship from Chinese Government, thereby joining Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics as a Supply Chain Solutions Specialist, at their Shanghai City Office, China.

She was quickly noticed by the head office in Oslo, and was promoted to the position as Global Commercial Manager at the age of 27, as the youngest person ever holding that position in WWL. In 2018 she was recruited to her current role in the Seven Seas group, where she handles commercial matters and long-term strategy work, in close cooperation with the CEOs office.  She is described by her colleague as an inspirational contributor with a large working capacity, and the ability to develop relationships – the latter well supported by her ability to speak and write in five languages. She has previously served as a Board Member of YoungShip Oslo.

“Until now, shipping has offered me various exciting roles in the commercial areas in both Europe and Asia and continue to reward me by providing new career opportunities in different areas in shipping.

Given the ever-changing environment in this industry, it is crucial to foster innovation and creativity through a diverse workforce. For this reason, every company in shipping should have diversity strategies to benefit from different ideas and perspectives to be successful on a global scope.”


Susanne Vinje, Head of Logistics, Hydro (Norway)

Susanne is responsible for the transport solutions of inbound raw materials to the smelters, and outbound of all metal products at Hydro – one of the most renowned and largest industrial company in Norway, with the responsibility of a total of 3,7 million tons of cargo, 95% of which is seaborne transportation. She heads a team of 20 people and is responisble for the operations as well as the contractual portfolio. Susanne initiated her career in Hydro as a trainee in 2005 and has held various roles in Norway and abroad in the Bauxite and Aluminum division of the company.

She is described as a dynamic leader, rich in the initiative, with very good people – and influencing skills. She sets the logistics agenda in the industry as a speaker and panel debate participant in several forums, in both the business and political sphere.

Susanne holds degrees in international business from the University of Strasbourgh in France, and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.  She is proficient in five languages.

”I think companies in the maritime industry should set up specific mentoring programs for young talented female workers to retain them. Female students should be approached early in their studies by female leaders in the maritime industry to see the advantages and the opportunities that exist.”


Emilie Christiansen, Senior Claims Executive, Lawyer, Skuld (Norway)

Emilie has a law degree from Kingston University in London, and started at law firm Wikborg Rein whilst still a student. After achieving the title of English Lawyer and Solicitor in the UK, she returned to Norway to continue her work in Wikborg Rein’s Oslo office. She went over to the industry side of the business in 2018, spending a year as legal counsel in DNV GLs digital solutions work, and has since moved to Skuld in her current position as Senior Claims Executive, working with a portfolio of shipping and offshore clients.

Emilie has always been passionate about the industry and contributing to its development on a volunteer basis, holding positions requiring high levels of commitment as President in Youngship International from 2016 til 2018, simultanously as being the Chair of Youngship Oslo. She is currently a member of the Board of WISTA Norway, a mentor for start-ups in the ocean industry with Katapult Ocean, as well as an external examinator in English Contractual Law at the University of Oslo. She has a reputation in the industry for being a highly skilled lawyer, with strong professional traits, and a tough counterpart in negotiations.

« Companies should make the (easy) effort of visualizing leadership opportunities. This is something which would inspire and show women that the possibilities are there. Companies should further put down measurable diversity goals, preferably at board level, to ensure that they commit to increasing female leadership participation, as the results will have to be reported. Lastly companies could (and should) focus on much more transparent pay policies, making information about salary levels more accessible to everyone.»



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