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Not just ‘elderly men with gray hair’

Lena Gothberg uses her podcast to spotlight diversity in the maritime industry.

Lena Gothberg is the producer and host of “The Shipping Podcast.” (Photo: WISTA International)

One could call Lena Gothberg the voice of change.

“I started ‘The Shipping Podcast’ four years ago as a result of me getting a little bit tired of perhaps being viewed from the outside as a boring industry with only elderly men with gray hair leading us,” Gothberg said at the 2019 WISTA International Annual General Meeting & Conference last week.

Gothberg was one of hundreds of women from the maritime industry around the world who met in the Cayman Islands for the annual meeting of the Women’s International Shipping & Trade Association. She serves as both producer and host of the podcast and as the communication and support officer for WISTA International.

“I know so many women who are competent who never get the opportunity to speak to the world,” she said. “There was no one giving a platform for voices in the maritime industry.”

Gothberg announced to applause that her 123rd episode was being released Nov. 1 and to another round of applause that women make up 47% of her guests.

“It’s not the usual suspects of women that we see from time to time in the maritime press. It’s the other ones. You know so much and you have so much to contribute to this industry. That is what I wanted the world to see and hear about,” she said.

Six thousand people in 165 countries download the podcast each month, said Gothberg, who usually broadcasts from Gothenburg, Sweden, where she lives and formerly served as secretary-general of the Institute of Shipping Analysis.

Gothberg suggested an internet search of seafaring to understand how the maritime industry is perceived. “How would someone who is young today who wants to find a career go into that career? Do the Googling and you will see what we look like from the outside,” she said.

Gothberg said she has found support from WISTA.

“I do the little boys’ network, but it’s the big women’s network that is supporting me,” she said. “We need to support each other.”

Still, men need to be part of the discussion, she said.

Gothberg said she is tired of being “on a panel with only women speaking to women in the room. We need to speak to the men or we need to be on diverse panels. I would rather have diverse panels than panels on diversity from now on.”

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Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.