WISTA International (the India Chapter) was founded by Sanjam Gupta in 2013 as an initiative to connect women leaders in the Maritime industry together. This created a community for women leaders to collaborate and uplift each other in an industry which used to primarily be male-dominated and had created several barriers to entry for women who wanted to enter this industry.
We spoke to a few women from WISTA who wrote to us their story in the industry and their involvement with WISTA.
Uma Negi, Chief Commercial Officer, Sharp I-Tech Solutions
I have spent more than 15 years in Ocean Shipping and e-commerce, with INTTRA & OOCL, and felt a great need to serve with a common platform for sailing schedules for the shipping industry. My peers in the Ocean Shipping Industry know me for blending transformational work of manually documented ocean shipping processes to e-services with hands-on results. I am a perfectionist and my ambition has led me to develop solutions for the industry that they require. I surround myself with like-minded ambitious people and problem solvers who have helped me grow to where I am today. Always remember that a woman is designed to multi-task without a realisation that they are performing 10 different tasks at the same time. So I always advise my team to stay easy and stay calm! The world is not the same for women as it used to be and it’s changing for women for better. WISTA’s involvement in the industry has definitely made an improvement.
Monica Damania, Ocean Product Manager – Maharashtra & Gujarat at Forin Container Line (Skyways Group)
I was introduced to shipping by my father. I truly enjoyed learning about shipping through the companies I had worked in. I had great colleagues and bosses, especially Nityam Khosla & Oorvez Batty, who made me ready to move to next level in Industry and have made me the woman I am today. MANSA (Mumbai and Nhava Sheva Shipping Association) has recognised me by awarding me with “Best Lady Employee & Industry- 2017”.
I was given the opportunity of making International Visit which helped me get more clarity on networking area and see how the women in our industry are growing.
In the same way, I discovered WISTA in 2013 when they launched in India through the EXIM newsletter. I remember an ad being placed where any woman of industry those who wished to be a part of WISTA and have access to a great platform for networking and learning more and more about the industry. I registered immediately and am now a proud WISTA member. Sanjam Gupta, President of WISTA, has always been so supportive of me and has been there for me when I needed it.
Monica has a positive attitude and sets high targets for herself. An active WISTA member, she used the platform to network and increase visibility. She is one of WISTA India's most enthusiastic members.
Loretta Fernandes, Assistant Manager at Mercator Limited
Shipping has always been part of my life and I cannot imagine working in any other industry. I believe that hard work, driven by a passion for my work, a quest for learning and equipping myself with the necessary skills through doing post-graduate courses in shipping and a commitment to do my best has helped me to accomplish some of my goals and move on in my career.
WISTA is the added bonus of being a part of the shipping industry.
I remember a few years ago the President of my Company suggested I join WISTA as I would be able to network with other professionals in the shipping industry. I was excited to join this association as it was something unique – imagine having an association for professional women in the shipping industry in India. What I learnt over a period of time is that WISTA India is a very proactive association always involved in organizing programs for the members and also providing assistance and guidance when required. This association is headed by a very capable, talented and vibrant lady Sanjam Gupta and well assisted by a very efficient Executive Committee who all put in a lot of efforts to conduct various events in India and overseas, workshops, field trips etc. for its members all over India.
Liji Nowal, Managing Director at ODeX India Solutions Ltd
I’ve been a “working woman” for almost 22 years now. And during most of my career, merit has been the only consideration for progress. And nowhere have I faced any discrimination because I am a woman. But when I founded E&A (our software solutions firm) and then ODeX - suddenly gender seemed to be a more important topic of discussion, rather than my ability to run a business.
In Shipping especially, I see a definite challenge of gender diversity in senior roles. There are probably more women employees in Shipping – in the documentation, Customer Service – than in any other industry. But when it comes to senior leadership roles – there is a handful that we can count.
It is important for organisations like WISTA to provide support, education and the mentorship to young women to excel in their field – and aim to grow into senior leadership roles. I came across WISTA through a friend who mentioned that there is an exclusive networking group for Women in Shipping. It came as a pleasant surprise – because I’ve not yet seen one in Consulting or Technology – both industries that are seen as ‘forward-looking’. WISTA has created a great platform for women in the industry to network and collaborate and has always been there as a shoulder to lean on for any woman who has needed it.
ODeX has tied up with WISTA to capture the narratives of the women in this industry – and we can help by reaching out a very vast audience. By continuously highlighting success stories – we hope to inspire the next generation of women leaders in this industry to step up and take charge.