Anyone who has worked on board a superyacht will confirm, that being a member of crew is not the typical 9-5 role. It brings exciting prospects of travelling the world, earning higher than average salaries and the opportunities to meet a plethora of great people along the way! But an exit from the industry can often be challenging; especially if it is earlier than anticipated.
Alongside the challenge of searching for a new direction for your career, acclimatising to shore-based life, women can find themselves facing difficult decisions about when and if it’s possible for them to start a family.
Cherise Reedman spent 4 and a half years on board a superyacht starting as a Stewardess and working her way up to Chief Stew before coming ashore and facing the challenge of “what’s next”?
During this time of re-invention and starting her own family, she came up with the idea of “Pearls of Wisdom”.
Pearls of Wisdom
Whilst discussing with her husband (a financial advisor) the financial challenges those who leave yachting can face, due to lack of awareness and information available for junior crew, she realised that the majority of crew get swept up into this unique and intoxicating industry, and thus forward planning for the next stage of their lives is often overlooked.
How could she share her experiences and knowledge of the options available and what should be considered by all crew, especially female?
By creating an open, networking community of like-minded individuals, enabling them to share their “Pearls of wisdom”.
Initially, Cherise gathered 16 women from similar backgrounds within the industry and gave them the opportunity just to talk. The event was a huge success as all who attended could share their personal experiences, financial challenges, the good and the bad they had faced on exiting their yachting jobs, which encouraged brutally honest conversations.
The following April, Cherise hosted her second event, this time at The Shard in London, and things rapidly expanded. She brought in industry experts such as Luxury Hospitality talent dynamics and marine accountants. Entrepreneurs shared their journeys of how they made the successful transition from employed staff to business owners.
The purpose of the day was to get women to take more of a look at themselves externally, to positively look at the skills they naturally lean towards and to find a suitable position that they will enjoy and excel in or perhaps even to consider starting a business of their own.
Other very relevant and current topics were also covered, including physical and mental healthcare and insurance during their time working in the superyacht industry. It was to encourage women to “take the power back” with their finances and plan for their future by educating themselves on the options available. After all, knowledge is power.
Pearls of Wisdom has continued to grow and develop with more and more women from the yachting industry getting involved. The growth has spurred Cherise on to plan, not just more events, but other ventures to support the initiative and the people she is connecting with.
In the working is an app that has been designed to help connect women in a safe and responsible way. It allows them to share their stories and experiences, so others can learn how to make an easy transition out of yachting, whilst forward planning for the future.
The app includes short videos on various subjects, delivered by trusted individuals who can be contacted directly. It also provides a private messaging service, for women to talk to each other about their experiences, as well as forum options for open conversations with more participants. There is even a business networking section for women creating businesses whilst transitioning ashore.
Included in the app structure is the option for participating partners to have their own section to offer training and advice on subjects such as finance, health (physical and mental) and how to set up their own businesses. They are also looking to develop the app further for live-streaming capabilities to connect with women who are working onboard or can’t attend the events.
Stories of Success
The soft launch for the app is due to take place at the next Pearls of Wisdom event later this month (31st March 2023) at the Harbour Hotel in Southampton.
The event forum is titled ‘Stories of Success’ and will focus on women that have come out of the industry to set up successful businesses providing a valuable opportunity for others to learn and hear about the trials and tribulations that come with creating and running a business.
The events have no more than 50 people, so the environment can be kept comfortable. Guests do not have to pay to attend, however it is encouraged that they participate making sure everyone is involved and can share & learn from each other’s experiences.
Cherise also enlists guest speakers who are women that have left the previously, to enlighten others on their experiences when leaving and how their careers and lives have developed over the years. Cherise says, “by connecting and talking, women can leave the industry in a nicer fashion.” The ultimate goal is to make it easier for women to return to life ashore and build their new lives positively.
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