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Raising the bar for women in shipping

By Janice Ruffle
Yvonne Tsanos (AFNI) is the general manager of Limassol-based ÖL Shipping Group – and she sees herself as a champion for women in the shipping industry.

OL shipping was established in Cyprus 22 years ago and has a long  181-year history.

Tsanos was awarded in December 2016 in recognition of her charitable support, she also scooped the main title in the 2017 Cyprus (National) Business Woman of the Year Award.

In an interview with The Cyprus Weekly, Tsanos, referring to women in business, said: “Female leaders are somewhat more persuasive, assertive and willing to take more risks than their male counterparts.”

She firmly believes women are more incline to fight harder against the status quo, requiring focus and determination.

“I guess in shipping, an industry considered tough and once primarily a male orientated one, women leaders are multi-tasking, multi-talented and highly capable,” Tsanos said.

Qualities she believes aids in the creation of specific leadership styles of inclusion, openness and collaboration.

“The combination of these traits empowers women to express a unique approach to dealing with disappointment, or situations that may not work in their favour.”

“If a woman has the talent and ambition to progress, despite subtle or overt signals, this can essentially fuel the ambition to succeed more.”
Her admiration for women spurs from their inspirational and approachability instincts.

“Females intuitively identify and acknowledge the human element as key to any operation,” she claims.

Leadership roles
As a passionate advocate of Cyprus, the shipping industry, and in particular women in shipping, Tsanos promotes WISTA (Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association) Cyprus, in the capacity of General Secretary.

WISTA’s prime objective is to attract more women to shipping. Equally important, is to support women in associated management positions within the industry.

“Through networking opportunities, education and mentoring, the association enhances members’ competence and empowerment for career success,” said Tsanos.

She argues women have a greater role to play in today’s society.

“Women are instinctively more empathetic and flexible, possessing stronger interpersonal skills.”

“Beside the multitude of daunting roles women play in any 24-hours, I believe women also exercise the wonderful ability to elegantly evoke themselves as ladies.”

Tsanos also serves as vice chairwoman of the PR committee of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber.

“I am involved with the Chamber’s business and social functions, supporting the secretariat with the planning and organising of events,” Tsanos explained.

Another strategic position she holds is Vice Chair of the Nautical Institute, Cyprus Branch.  An association dedicated to improving standards of those involved in the control of seagoing craft.

She is also Secretary General for the Cyprus Marine Club – a growing association that plays a significant role in Cyprus shipping.

Cyprus Marine Club (CMC)
CMC was incorporated 18 years ago by Michael G. Ioannides and re-established in 2016, March 30.

Tsanos said about the club: “It is a non-profit organisation that encourages the complete array of maritime industry professionals for friendly membership.”

On May 16 an AGM was hosted at the club’s home ‘Epsilon’, Limassol Marina.

During the meeting, Ioannides retired as the President of the club and his successor was announced: Capt. Eberhard Koch, Chairman, CEO and partner of ÖL Shipping Group.

Together with Marios Nicolaou, CEO of Carob Mill Restaurants, Tsanos was appointed to the Board of Governors.

“It was a particular delight to have welcomed at the meeting George C. Xiradakis, President of the International Propeller Club of USA – Port of Piraeus, Greece,” said Tsanos.

“Also to welcome Dr. Konstantinos Rokkos, Regional Vice President of the International Propeller Club of USA for Southern Europe and North Africa, who, with Capt. Koch, is also a ship-owner.”

During the AGM’s open session, Xiradakis announced the intention for the affiliation of the Cyprus Marine Club with the International Propeller Club of the Port of Piraeus.

They aim to strengthen the relationship between the clubs of both countries.

As for the future of CMC, there will be a greater focus on increasing membership.

Further intentions include the welcoming of students from the Cyprus Maritime Academy. An initiative endorsed during the AGM.
Thus, allowing students direct access to maritime industry stakeholders on a more social platform.

Interested parties can contact: Yvonne Tsanos ÖL Shipping Limassol on 25 662555.

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