We were so delighted to speak to Rose Damen of Damen Yachting to find out her journey to Managing Director of one of the most successful yacht builders ever. Damen Yachting is the master yacht builder behind more than 100 Amels superyachts, SeaXplorer expedition yachts, Yacht Support vessels and major yacht refits. They have a rich history in luxury yacht building. Amels became part of Damen in 1991 and Damen Yachting, a division within the Damen Shipyards Group, was created in 2019.
We spoke to Rose about her journey into the yachting industry. She told us:
“I have grown up surrounded by shipbuilding. My love of boats and the experiences these open up stem right back to my childhood. We spent many hours out on the water, my father Kommer Damen even decided to fulfil a lifelong dream by taking a leave of absence from work to embark upon a sailing trip around the world with us in tow! So I guess yachting, in one form or another, has always been part of my life”.
However, Rose also made the conscious decision to follow a different career path before taking up her role in the yachting industry, spending several years working in finance, both in London and in Asia, and this enabled her to bring additional and relevant skill sets to the family business, eventually joining Damen Yachting in 2017.
The superyacht industry has long been identified as a male-dominated world, in both numbers and with what many of us consider to be traditionally a man’s job. But momentum has been shifting, there are more women taking on leadership roles within the industry and at Damen Yachting this is definitely the case. Their management team is now 50:50 male:female.
Rose stated: “Women are succeeding in every part of this industry, including traditionally ‘male’ professions. I’m proud that Damen Yachting is leading the way. Our efforts are appreciated by our clients. I’m inspired by several pioneering female Amels and Damen Yachting owners, who all smashed stereotypes during their careers. In our own small way, our efforts are also contributing to greater social equality in the world. I hope that diversity – in all forms – will continue to grow and develop over the next decade and beyond”.
How do you get to the top?
We asked Rose to share with other women what lessons she has learnt along the way which might aspire others to lead a company in the superyacht industry, she said:
“Don’t hold back! It is an industry where the number of men does outweigh the number of women but that should not stand in your way. Over the last couple of years we have been actively promoting women in yachting. It’s great to see our female role models inspiring women to find their future in yachting. Two years ago at Monaco yacht Show we launched our first ever “Women in Yachting” event. A chance for females of the industry – CEO’s, business owners, interior designers, brokers, crew, project and engineering specialists, media and journalists and more – to come together and share their experiences of the highs and lows of a challenging and male-dominated industry. There is plenty of opportunity for young women to step in and let’s make sure we support each other!
It’s about breaking down the barriers to entry by focussing not on the skills or defining characteristics of each person or role but by looking at bringing diversity together to build well-performing and productive teams. Taking the focus off certain labels, stereotypes and typical needs per role and concentrating more on the overall combined skill set of multiple people.”
Highlights of your role
Rose opened up about her job and what makes her really thrive on a daily basis. She told us that “every project and every client is different in terms of the requirements, needs, style, wants and way of life. They have their own story, own journey and own onward plans and to be part of helping create someone’s dreams and vision is incredibly rewarding. I am particularly proud of our team – I see them as our greatest achievement – and of course, every single yacht we deliver across the entire portfolio.
I believe we never stop growing, learning and developing. It’s about continuing to apply that entrepreneurial family spirit to Damen Yachting. Ensuring our portfolio diversifies to meet our clients’ yachting needs, growing the company and the people within it and maintaining strong relationships with owners and their teams, captains and crews. And all the time, staying very much a family business. Working as a family, remaining dedicated to our craft and feeling connected to the product we deliver”.
What has yachting brought to your life?
The sailing trip her father took her on during her childhood was an experience that made a huge impact on her. It wasn’t just the beautiful destinations, but it was spending that quality time with family; the excitement of discovering new places and the opportunities to enjoy unique and special moments together.
These are qualities Rose believes the yachting industry is all about and still enrich her career today.
To find out more about Damen Yachting view their website.