Continuing our series of inspiring stories of some of our Oceanic female colleagues on the occasion of the International Day for Women in Maritime, 18 May 2024, meet Mariana Charalambous, our Head of Business Development and Service Excellence.

Can you share with us a brief background about yourself and what motivated you to pursue a career in the shipping sector?

My name is Mariana, I am Head of Business Development and Service Excellence, and I am with Oceanic for 5 years. I have started my career in shipping 13 years back in Cyprus. I had discovered my passion for shipping when I was still a student during a brief internship with a local shipmanager.

From the beginning I found it fascinating how versatile shipping is and how much I was learning in such a short time. I learned fast that in shipping there is never a boring day. Therefore, after completing my studies I pursued actively a career in the maritime sector, I started from small nevertheless it was a steep learning curve from the very beginning. In shipping we have to be willing to learn something new every day.

In 2015 I moved to Singapore and spent there 7 years gaining experiences in the shipmanagement and ship supply sector and I joined Oceanic first in 2019 as Business Development Manager for South East Asia. Singapore is one of the biggest shipping hubs and has given me some great exposure.

Since 2022 I have relocated back to Cyprus and assumed my current role heading and supporting our Business Development and Service Excellence teams globally.

What aspects of your job do you find most fulfilling, and how do you enjoy collaborating with colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds?

For me it is most fulfilling to be able to help our clients to find tailored solutions for them to fulfil their targets especially those related to the crew wellbeing and to be able working closely with my team and other departments to support them so to achieve our collective goals.

Working with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds around the globe enables me to understand better the needs of clients based in the same region, being closer to them and understand how we can support them best.

How do you see the future for women in seafaring and the broader shipping industry?

Looking back to 2011 when I started in shipping, women in the shipping industry have already come a long way. I am glad to see women being represented more and more at sea and ashore not only in general but also in managerial roles.  There are still challenges, however every additional woman joining the maritime sector is representing that positive change and I firmly believe that women need to support each other on this quest continuously.

What advice would you offer to women aspiring to embark on a career at sea or within the shipping industry?

Always challenge things, shipping is constantly evolving, and we should see ourselves as part towards a positive change. Shipping is so diverse, there are opportunities all along our career, as long as we seize those.  We must believe more in ourselves and our capabilities and then every woman in shipping will find their place and where they want to be.

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