Boating Industry

October 2016

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36 | Boating Industry | October 2016 WOMEN making WAVES LISA ALMEIDA DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING, FREEDOM BOAT CLUB Education: B.A. from Flagler College Years in the marine industry: 7 If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? My most memorable achievement was opening a Freedom Boat Club franchise in California. It had long been a dream for the president of Free- dom Boat Club. It was a milestone to be coast to coast. It was a very rewarding accomplishment. How do you hope to inspire other women in the marine industry? It is one of my greatest joys to encourage women and lead by example. "You can do this, all you need to do is try and prac- tice." I hold semi-annual "Ladies Take the Helm" on-the-water training for my members. I have taught countless numbers of women to drive boats. I have mentored other women franchise employees. I have sponsored single women to join the club. I am currently mentoring one of my female employees to purchase a franchise after she graduates from college. What advice do you have for women starting their careers in the marine industry? Be true to yourself and use your natural gifts and talents. It doesn't matter that you are a woman in a predominantly male-centered industry. I never think about the fact that I am a woman in this industry except for when I dock my boat effortlessly and I get applause from the men standing around. What are some of your favorite non-boating hob- bies? Dancing, and attending Jacksonville Jag- uar games, (albeit by boat, so I don't know if this counts). Are there any other hobbies other than boating? What is your favorite place to go boating? Fort George Island, "My Happy Place." Also the name of my 32 Monterey, by the way. ANN BALDREE SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CHAPARRAL AND ROBALO BOATS Education: Valdosta State University majoring in Speech Years in the marine industry: 35 Was it diffi cult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not? I found that when I became pas- sionate about my company, I began to seek ways to learn and grow. I raised my hand and asked to do more, learn more and therefore honed my skills and my true interests began to unfold. I had complete support from my mentors, Jim Lane and Buck Pegg. They never held me back. I never felt less valued because I was a female. I brought unique skills and talents to my team and they rewarded me. In fact, I believe their belief in me gave me the added confi dence to push my own boundaries. If you had to choose one memorable achievement in the marine industry, what would it be and why? Winning the Darlene Briggs Award. It was an incredible honor. It was also personal. Wayzata Marine has been a Chaparral dealer for decades and although I never had the pleasure of meeting Darlene Briggs, I have known and admired Dave Briggs and his dad. It was humbling to be recog- nized among a group of successful and accom- plished women. Also, I have to mention that in 2005 when Marine Products became publically traded on the New York Stock Exchange; I was part of our small group that rang the opening bell on the 24th day of June 2005. It was a very unique and exciting experience. How do you hope to inspire other women in the ma- rine industry? I hope to inspire both men and women by my actions and passion for the ma- rine industry and the dedication to my company. I believe you should be a mentor in your own company fi rst and then be available to outreach and volunteer within your chosen industry. I am a mentor for Ellen Bradley of the NMMA and it has been a wonderful experience. I often think I have learned more from Ellen than I have taught her. It is invigorating to surround yourself with people who offer a different perspective based on their age and experiences. I pride myself in being a good listener. I am genuinely interested in people. A good mentor and leader wants ev- eryone to achieve their highest potential. JULIE BALZANO EXPORT DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL MARINE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION Education: Bachelor's Degree – Marketing – Rut- gers University. A few short years after gradu- ating, I joined the U.S. Peace Corps, which is where I became bilingual and bicultural. Years in the marine industry: 15 Companies you have worked for in the marine in- dustry and titles you held within those companies: Export Development Director, National Marine Manufacturers Association; Director for Mexico & Marine Industry Sector for Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) – the economic development organi- zation for the State of Florida. What fi rst drew you to the marine industry? The fi nancial crisis of 2008! Before focusing on the marine industry specifi cally, my role at EFI was to help Florida companies export their products and services, regardless of the industry. However, when the crisis hit, I noticed that the recreational boating industry was impacted especially hard. Up until that time, the U.S. market offered more than enough sales opportunities and pursuing international markets wasn't a priority for most. That all changed, however, once the fi nancial crisis hit. There was little help at the time spe- cifi cally targeted for the marine industry so I was thrilled to be able to step up to the challenge. Was it diffi cult to navigate a career in this industry? Why or why not? It was very diffi cult at fi rst as I was an outsider and the industry in Florida was

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