Women’s Leadership Program in Shipping

From 10 to 12 July and at the Pegasus Institute of Excellence, Bengaluru Campus, Synergy Marine Group and BW LPG India hosted 37 lady cadets from the Indian Maritime University’s Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Kochi Campuses, for an intensive workshop that left a lasting impression on all.

The three-day event began with a session led by Ms. Debasmita Sinha and Ms. Shruthi Shivashankar from Manah Wellness, highlighting the importance of mental well-being and strength and guiding everyone via purposive, focussed exercises. The day closed with the powerful and memorable slogan “Who’s in charge of my happiness? Me”, which gave rise to boundless zeal and very detectable enthusiasm.

The next day broke with picturesque beauty as we embarked on a delightful trek to a nearby lake, and a hearty breakfast afterwards set everyone up perfectly for a series of challenging and engaging activities. These gave the cadets profound lessons on planning, teamwork, effective communication, attentive listening and the transformative idea of considering obstacles not as hindrances but stepping stones towards success.

In the evening session Captain Aakriti Barthwal, Senior Marine Superintendent (QHSE) at Synergy Navis Marine outlined the unique challenges faced by female seafarers and addressed their concerns. Her invaluable insights resonated deeply with the participants, and as someone who has experienced it all her wisdom and outlook proved to be a great boost, visibly raising the cadets’ morale and surely inspiring them to persevere.

The last day began with an exhilarating trek to a nearby mountain, and after another delightful breakfast the students had the privilege of a guest session with Ms. Bindu Vinodhan, the founder of Mauna Dhwani, a non-profit organisation that focuses on rehabilitating and re-enfranchising women from marginalised communities in remote Odisha. Her inspiring story of unwavering spirit, courage and determination deeply moved her audience, reminding all that while pursuing unconventional paths is not without its challenges, it is certainly not without its rewards.

Outboard leadership program
Ms Bindu addressing female cadet.

Afterwards there were more exercises based on situational role-play, which gave first-hand experience of building confidence, assertiveness, critical thinking, handling pressure, effective communication, attentive listening and fostering teamwork. 

Activities in the OBL workshop
Activities in the OBL workshop
Activity for women seafarer in workshop

Through this experiential learning the 37 cadets have gained valuable insights and practical skills, contributing to their personal and professional growth, and with the whole Outboard Leadership Program Synergy Marine Group and BW LPG India have taken a further significant step in promoting women in shipping and empowering the next generation of female seafarers. The dedication and commitment of all involved have paved the way for a brighter future, where women thrive in the maritime industry. Please may this Program serve as a beacon of inspiration and herald more such initiatives that help women, and also highlight their contributions, in what until recently has been a wholly male-dominated sector.

As plainly shown by the following feedback from the cadets, together we can continue to raise awareness and create an inclusive environment for all.

“The OBL Program was a new and interesting experience for me. Over the course of three days I completely enjoyed it and had the opportunity to learn new things. However, more importantly, I gained a deeper understanding of myself, discovering where I stand and how my emotional and psychological well-being plays a role.”
Ann Sandra

“What I learned from the Program was how to enhance myself, become a better version of myself, and, most importantly, how to effectively interact with others. The final session stood out as the most impactful, as I gained valuable insights from observing my teammates and their reactions to various situations. All in all, it was a rewarding experience, and the lessons I learned will forever remain etched in my memory.”
Samriddhi Nabiyal

“The Program was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed the engaging and attractive way various topics were taught. Every activity provided valuable lessons. It was particularly intriguing to witness the post-activity discussions, where participants shared their diverse opinions. This experience highlighted the importance of individual perspectives and taught me the significance of self-awareness.
Athulya M S

“We had such a memorable experience at Pegasus. The Manah Wellness session acted as a mirror, in essence reflecting our minds to help us discover who we truly are. It greatly improved my leadership qualities, team building and overall mental strength. Moreover, the various activities taught me the importance of patience as a crucial aspect of being a seafarer, and I am determined to continue improving in that area.”
Surya S