Building a more diverse and inclusive yachting industry
Written by: Lynne Edwards
In May this year, Luxury Hospitality (LH) announced its commitment to championing diversity in yachting by signing the industry’s first ever Diversity & Inclusion Pledge, an initiative from She of the Sea.
She of the Sea is a community of professional women in yachting, spearheaded by Jenny Matthews and Natasha Ambrose who both hold Chief Mate 3000GT qualifications. Their mission is to rewrite the narrative of female crew in the superyacht industry by raising visibility and awareness of diversity and inclusion.
By signing the Pledge, LH has joined 40 Ambassadors and 20 other Signatories including companies and organisations considered to be ‘movers and shakers’ in the Superyacht industry, as well as another seven support organisations from different sectors. Each of us is publicly committing to create real change by building a more diverse and inclusive yachting industry in our own unique ways.
Our own team is an example of inclusion and diversity as we recruit based solely on skills, experience and personality. We aim to be our own best examples in this!
Why a Diversity & Inclusion Pledge is essential in yachting
As yachts become larger and their crew more numerous, owners, legislative bodies, management companies, crew recruitment agencies and Captains become more demanding. As a result, the once familial environment onboard a superyacht has become much more challenging for crew. Because of this, crew welfare has been pushed to the forefront of many people’s minds.
LH recognises that the nature of our industry often means discrimination based on factors such as gender, age, skin colour, body size and nationality are commonplace. Sexual harassment and bullying are also factors that need addressing and minimising as far as is possible.
What’s driving Luxury Hospitality’s commitment to championing diversity and inclusion?
Many of us who work with LH have witnessed the superyacht industry evolve and change drastically over the last 20 to 40 years. We acknowledge that it’s an exciting and demanding sector but along with the wonderful opportunities come challenges. We also know that a diverse workforce is widely recognised to significantly outperform any other.
The late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and owner of superyachts on which LH Founder and Managing Director Peter Vogel worked, believed that it’s in our DNA not to judge people by gender, age, sexuality or skin colour. Instead, we should identify the perfect match based on natural energy, skill and experience. Mr Allen insisted that recruitment of crew for his yachts was to follow this principle, which encouraged Peter to embrace this approach in his work. We apply these fair and sound principles to everyone with whom we do business. We also believe this philosophy aligns perfectly with the She of the Sea Diversity & Inclusion Pledge.
What have we achieved since signing the Diversity & Inclusion Pledge?
We understand that we cannot change the industry overnight, but are fully committed to ‘levelling the playing field’ and to doing what we can to help make life in the superyacht industry fun and ensure crew experience an enjoyable and fulfilling career.
To this end we’ve created fully certified, industry-specific technical and speciality training courses, as well as incomparable Leadership and Management courses and Mentoring programmes. Our courses and programmes are all designed to empower students by encouraging them to become the best version of themselves. That in turn empowers them to better manage and overcome the challenges of the industry.
We also offer 1 or 2-day Positive Workforce Culture courses, which partly focus on Crew Welfare by addressing some of the more serious challenges crew experience onboard. While focusing on a serious topic, the courses are delivered in an enjoyable, engaging and interactive way.
Creating positive workplace cultures free from discrimination
To move towards a high-performance, competency-focused yachting industry and one which is free from discrimination, we are working with our industry peers to help develop healthy and efficient work cultures onboard and ashore.
The first step to achieving that is giving individuals and teams the opportunity to gain greater insight into how they and others function, feel, communicate and operate. Such awareness leads to open and honest conversations, which helps build trust and an environment in which people feel confident to be themselves. This recognition and acceptance of ‘self’ and others is how cohesive, high-functioning and inclusive teams are created.
LH Insight Training programmes are designed to help individuals and organisations both ashore and at sea to gain the insight they need to build high-performing teams and create positive workplace cultures. A workplace free from discrimination is one in which people thrive.
Want to know more?
If you would like to learn more about our full range of workshops and training courses and how we work with management companies, crew recruitment agencies and yacht crew members themselves, please contact us via our website.
Let’s build a more diverse and inclusive yachting industry together!