Karen O. OgidigbenDirector, Crew Management and Training at Hapag-Lloyd
Prior to the start of my career, I had no relationship with the industry asides from growing up in a port city. I had the enthusiasm to learn so I accepted a starting role in business development and crewing with a rather modest salary. It was an opportunity to learn about the maritime industry and my employer recognized my passion and the fact that I was a quick study and entrusted me with more responsibilities than my job title really entailed.
Nigeria is one of the most challenging countries and maritime environments in the world and there I was, a young woman dealing with both seafarers and vessel owners who basically had decades of experience in the industry and they all thought I was great at it. 18 months later, a client whom I had dealt with thought I could do much more for them on a global scale than I could in Nigeria and recruited me to work for them in Dubai.
Dubai was an entirely different environment being at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia and it added to my repertoire in the maritime sector gaining international experience and working with a rather diverse set of clients, colleagues and crewing teams. I have an MBA in Ship Management and currently studying Maritime Law with my eyes on a leadership training at Harvard.