More than 225 shipping and trading executives from 30 countries joined the Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) aboard the ms Koningsdam, Holland America Line's newest vessel, on November 9 for the WISTA 2016 International Conference and Annual General Meeting. The Conference, hosted by WISTA USA under the leadership of its President, Alexandra Anagnostis-Irons of Total Marine Solutions, featured the Annual General Meeting (AGM), a robust Conference program agenda, and a variety of workshops designed to transfer knowledge on the industry, leadership, and growth.
WISTA International President, Karin Orsel of MF Shipping Group, opened the AGM by underscoring the dramatic growth of WISTA, which is now active in 40 countries and boasts nearly 3,000 members. This growth has been fueled by its successful networking, representation of the entire industry at the membership level, and collaborations with other international organizations.
To that end, Ms. Orsel announced that WISTA has entered into new collaborative agreements with Marine Money, Mare Forum and North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) to support having WISTA members included on global conference speaker rosters. This is in addition to existing relationships with IMO, World Maritime University, ISWAN and Crew Connect.
As part of the Conference, WISTA honors an individual in the maritime community for their professional excellence and outstanding achievements. For the first time in WISTA history, the 2016 Personality of the Year award honored two individuals: Rod Jones, President and CEO of the CSL Group, and Captain Maria Soledad Viggiano of the Argentine Coast Guard patrol vessel Madryn. Rod Jones, who has enjoyed a lifelong career in the shipping world, including as an officer in the United States Navy, and various roles at Navios Corporation and Van Ommeren Shipping. In 1985, he joined Canada Steamship Lines and rose to be president and CEO of the CSL Group in 2008.
Captain Viggiano is the first woman in the Argentine Coast Guard to receive command of a patrol boat, having served in the Coast Guard since 2003 and working her way up the ranks. In 2013, she received her Master's degree at the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden where she began to fully appreciate the value of diversity in all its many forms.
Holland America Group Executive Vice President, Fleet Operations, Keith Taylor, joined the Conference and introduced ms Koningsdam Captain Emiel de Vries, Chief Engineer Willem Zuidema and Hotel Director Don Habets, who spoke about the construction, new technologies, operations, and challenges associated with running a ship that is also a floating hotel. Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford then spoke to the group about of the challenges he faced as an African American in the corporate world and challenged the group to find their own way to give a larger purpose to their professional achievements.
The Conference included a variety of panels, presentations and workshops centered on the future of the maritime industry. Panelists included: Keith Taylor, Executive Vice President, Fleet Operations, Holland America Group; Bud Darr, Senior Vice President, Cruise Lines International Association; Fred Kenney, Director of Legal and External Affairs of the International Maritime Organization; William Gallagher, President of International Registries, Inc., Katharina Stanzel, Managing Director of INTERTANKO, and Angie Hartmann, Crew Manager of Starbulk, among other impressive speakers.
As technology and innovation continue to impact the future of shipping, Conference sessions focused on state-of-the-art ships, addressing alternative fuels, unmanned ships, and future financing were well attended. Presenters included: Margaret Doyle, Senior Manager, Business Development of Eagle LNG Partners LLC; Alexandra Anagnostis-Irons, President of Total Marine Solutions; Stine Mundal, Head of Section Environmental Certification, and Janine Heinicke, Divisional HR Director , of DNV GL; Kathleen Haines, CFO of Heidmar Inc.; and Katerina Stathopoulou, Executive Director, of Investments & Finances Ltd.
A panel on trends and challenges for ports and shipping was headlined by CSL's Rod Jones, with presentations by Diane Edwards, General Manager People, Systems and Technology at Ports of Auckland Limited, Parker Harrison, Vice President, Procurement at Crowley Maritime Corporation, and Kate Belmont of Blank Rome LLP.
Small group workshops included WISTA as a catalyst for international trade, shipboard environmental systems, women in leadership in the marine industry, and the state of shipping transport and trade in Asia.
The 2017 WISTA International Conference and Annual General Meeting will be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on October 3-6, 2017.