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One to One – Jenny Matthews

Jenny Matthews, Co-founder of She of the Sea, speaks with Operations Editor Jack Hogan about diversity in the superyacht industry…

In the latest instalment of the digital dialogue series Jenny Matthews discusses the social impact initiatives of She of the Sea and LEGASEA with Operations Editor Jack Hogan. In this 30-minute-long candid conversation the pair analyse the results of the She of the Sea annual report which reveals the first-ever statistical insights into the current D&I state of the industry ashore and at sea.

Jenny Matthews and partner Natasha Ambrose established the two teams in 2018, their roles as Chief Officers brings an intimate understanding of the superyacht landscape to the overarching vision of seeing the industry at its very best. Their work centres around people and collaborative efforts with key industry stakeholders to understand, address and improve yachting's social impact.

Backed up by concrete data, Matthews offers a ‘warts and all’ reflection of the current state of diversity and inclusion in the industry,

“If we cannot hand on heart say that we are hiring for competency and performance instead of what someone looks like, how can we say we are looking after the client’s best interest?”

The launch of the diversity and inclusion pledge in 2020 saw over 27 Signatories commit to embedding DEI into their policies and practices, as well as contributing to the many industry programs such as data collection, mentoring, and community outreach. 2020 also saw Matthews study Sustainability Leadership and Corporate responsibility through The London Business School as well as becoming appointed as the Chair of the Maritime UK Pledge and Charter Group.

Matthews argues that the lack of progression and affirmative action has already led to employees and stakeholders in the industry being put off by its inability to shake off traditionalist and out-dated ideologies. Matthews also argues that the next generation of both owners and workers will not stand for the current state of prejudice in the industry unless more is done.

With that being said, Matthews isn’t planning on bringing out the big guns just yet. As a firm believer in long-term strategies, Matthews recognises that the scale of the issue will take years if not decades to be corrected. Rather than ticking off boxes, The She of the Sea foundation prefers to adopt a different approach,

“One of my favourite quotes is from Einstein, if you've got an hour to solve a problem, it's better to spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and then allowing five minutes to formulate the solution. So, I really value the personal stories, the anecdotes. These are the things that people connect with on an emotional level. They add the human element, that human side to the conversation.”

To gain further insight watch the video below. Alternatively, you can access the full library of our digital One to One series by clicking here.  If you would like to take part or contribute your thoughts, please contact Eleanor Shepherd.

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