10 Women to Watch 2019

Marthe Sandvik gives readers news from Oslo on an important step in furthering gender diversity in maritime – a rare instance where Splash actually supports a shipping awards scheme.

During NorShipping, YoungShip Oslo officially announced the names voted 10 Women to Watch in Shipping 2019. The initiative, first started in 2017, is part of YoungShip Oslo’s work to further gender diversity in the industry by bringing attention to female role models and inspiring young women to seek out careers in the shipping industry. YoungShip argues that diversity is key to solving the future challenges that face the industry, and will lead to companies becoming more competitive and innovative. The final 10 were selected from nominations received from all parts of the industry, by a jury led by Olav Sollie, the CEO of Norwegian Car Carriers. The women highlighted this year are those who continue to put their mark on the industry, and who are visible examples of leadership in action.

The 10 Women to Watch in 2019 are as follows:

Madina Berdigulova Aaeng, Head of Customer Analysis Department, DNB Ocean Industries (Kazakhstan/Norway)
Sarah Brooke, Assistant Vice President, Skuld (UK/Norway)
Ayse Asli Basak, Mid-Ship Group (Turkey)
Hande Ari, Commercial Manager, Seven Seas Group (Turkey/Norway)
Emilie Christiansen, Senior Claims Executive, Skuld (Norway)
Susanne Vinje, Head of Logistics, Hydro (Norway)
Sandra Ness, Founder, Turnss, Founder/Impact Manager of the Arctic Whale project, and the (previous) Marketing Manager for Tamrotor Marine Compressors (Norway)
Märtha Rehnberg, Partner and Co-Founder, DareDisrupt (Denmark)
Hilde Søbstad Løvskar, Chief Legal Officer, Skuld (Norway)
Jaquelyn Burton, Product Advisor Vessel Automation, Kongsberg (US/Norway)

From Basak who is the first female port captain in Turkey, to Vinje who is in charge of transport solutions for 95% of Hydro’s 3.7m tons of cargo annually, and Brooke who uses her knowledge to guide the industry on the legal implications of IMO 2020, the women highlighted here have all shown a passion for the industry and a willingness not only to shape conversations and set agendas, but to promote other women whilst doing so.

The nomination criteria for the 10 Women to Watch nominees were as follows:

  • Not above 40 years of age (YoungShip’s international limit)
  • 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
  • 2019 was the first year YoungShip Oslo took the list international, and the call for nominations were spread via the large international networks of global YoungShip branches and WISTA.

YoungShip also used the platform this year to call for more action on the matter, promoting specific steps companies could take to bring more diversity to their organisations, such as training on unconscious bias, striving for gender neutral succession planning for leadership positions, or requiring minimum one male and female to work together in hiring processes. With research emerging supporting that men and women read job openings differently, the latter is especially important to attract more women into the industry.

The 10 Women to Watch initiative has been strongly supported by YoungShip’s main partner, NorShipping, with Silje Bareksten, Head of Sustainability and Technology at NorShipping commenting: “For the ocean industries, empowering women and enabling men to lift their female counterparts and attract young talent is a huge task ahead. I am therefore very proud of our strengthened collaboration with YoungShip, WISTA, IMO and of course, the 10 Women to Watch Award. This highlight is so important to motivate future leaders with the values we need to change the industry towards a more inclusive one.”

Bareksten also served on this year’s jury, alongside Olav Sollie, CEO of Norwegian Car Carriers (Head of the Jury), Erlend Lous, Partner at lawfirm Simonsen Vogt Wiig, Marianne Møgster, Senior VP Finance at DOF ASA, Hans Christian Seim, CEO of Norwegian Hull Club, and Despina Theodosiou, CEO of Tototheo Maritime and President of WISTA International.


Splash is Asia Shipping Media’s flagship title offering timely, informed and global news from the maritime industry 24/7.


  1. These are professionals whom I respect for their professional achievements. Yet, this awards scheme wants us to believe that the only reason these professionals ought to be celebrated is that they belong to a certain gender!

    I am certain that these women would have shined even if they were to be chosen from a gender-neutral pool as they do in real life!

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