Education, knowledge, training, mentorship or whatever you think of around these matters, is obviously what Irene Rosberg devoted her life for nearly 12 years, ensuring the quality of these ingredients, all of which comprise this educational umbrella for quality, in creating the real leaders of the maritime world and beyond. In a unique interview to Louise Vogdrup-Schmidt of the Danish daily SHIPPINGWATCH*, Rosberg says it all, vis-a-vis the fact that ” Leaders must possess emotional intelligence”. The newly elected president of WISTA-Denmark** says it all:
What has been your goal with the blue MBA?
The shipping industry has for long been an all-traditional industry. However, in an intensely competitive and fast-changing global environment such as the shipping industry, our goal has been to move beyond traditional leadership development models and become more active in identifying, grooming and recruiting the next generation of leaders and building a vibrant and creative business community. This has been my goal for the Blue MBA and I believe we have achieved it and continue to build on it.
Do you remember a specific situation, that is significant for your work with the blue MBA?
Without a doubt, receiving the prestigious Maritime Prize 2011 which was formally presented by the Minister for Business and Growth, Mr Ole Sohn was very significant. And the citation which read: “ Copenhagen Business School has, with the establishment of the Blue MBA, placed Denmark on the map of the world as a country where efforts are made professionally to further develop shipping at the highest level.” This was a great recognition by the industry for the work that we are doing and for me personally, it was the greatest professional honor. But I must add that every graduation is as significant, it is when we are celebrating one of the life’s major milestones with our graduates and looking at the broad and open road ahead of them and we are confident that they can claim it and use its breadth and its length with the unique professional skills that we have provided them.
What kind of a leader are you?
As a leader you need to be conscientious, intelligent and assertive but also have the ability to adapt to each unique situation as it presents itself. In my opinion to be an effective leader you need to have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Naturally IQ and other skills are also very important and relevant but to qualify as having the entry-level requirement to occupy an executive position emotional intelligence is very important. I also think to be a good leader you need to be inspirational, be able to motivate, to have an underlying vision of something greater which can excite and inspire people around you. It is important to give your team a sense of ownership, purpose and direction and arouse enthusiasm in them; to be future and opportunity oriented; to build on trust and credibility and be loyal to the team and organization. Now these are the qualities I strive to achieve in my work, to what extent am I successful? Others could be a better judge of this.
Why is it important with a network for women in shipping?
I’m a passionate believer in business networking and believe that networking is the backbone of the shipping industry. I am personally a member of many mixed networks. What makes a network of women different is that many women feel more comfortable in an all woman environment and actually get to trust other networking partners much quicker. We need time to get the women out of their isolation and bring them forward. It is not a secret that the maritime industry has been a man’s world. For a great many years the shipping industry has been a very tradition-bound, male-dominated business. However, in an intensively competitive and global environment such as shipping, we cannot afford to be slow to embrace change or to lag behind. Many doors are opening within the maritime industry which fascinate women and encourage them to enter this exciting and challenging world. Many of these women already have a great knowledge of the industry’s different segments, ; they are intelligent and tough-minded, and do not expect to be treated differently because of their gender but to be treated equally because of their professional expertise. These women offer a wealth of experience and potential available to the industry when it is considering talented people for key positions. I believe that a network such as WISTA helps women to prepare better for these positions.
How do you look upon the future development in the shipping industry – what are the major challenges?
As for developments we see a lot happening in the area of green technology. The focus has definitely been put on the importance of sustainable green shipping and the innovations being made in the ship design and shipbuilding are evidence of this focus. To achieve this and to succeed in innovation we have seen the cooperation between industry, research and education centers where the knowledge in each segment will be contributing to achieving a sustainable, green and environment friendly maritime transport.
As for challenges: There are a number of challenges facing the shipping industry at the moment and the fragile economy is putting pressure on this industry. One of these challenges is the imbalance between the supply and demand of vessels. In my opinion, we are now seeing the impact of the over ordering of vessels of all types which happened during 2007-2008. The ship building order books expanded during the peak period and the vessels which were ordered then will hit the market when the supply of ships is exceeding the demand so earnings will be under a pressure. The other challenge we are facing is the one of financing these ships. Most of the established banks in Europe that were supporting ship financing are not very keen to lend. Other challenges are harmonizing the training standard of the crew from emerging economies who will be manning the super-size vessels which are on the horizon. And, of course, another major challenge is the continued threat of piracy.
* Worth also logging on www.shippingwatch.dk
**Please see relevant reporting on her election as WISTA-Denmark’s president dated 17 April and on “Minister presents the MARITIME PRIZE 2011 to the Blue MBA” dated 13 February 2012
Irene Rosberg can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org