Skin in the game

Article from MT issue five 2019

Hande Ari talks to MT about her career, the future of the industry and why it is important to be passionate about what you do.

You can never truly hope to master anything without passion, and in the case of Hande Ari – Commercial Manager at Seven Seas – passion has been the guiding force, the lightning rod that ignites the hard work and discipline she has for all that she does.

She is, it has to be said, a formidable talent for whom the numbers stack up. Her list of achievements – three degrees, five black belts and seven languages – is impressive, and made all the more so by the humility with which she greeted her latest achievement, a nomination as one of 10 Women to Watch in Shipping.

“I am truly honoured to get the recognition of being one of the top 10 Women to Watch in the maritime industry. Being a part of the maritime industry has always been my childhood dream, so I feel very honoured to be one of the inspiring women in maritime industry after working in the maritime industry for six years. I feel this award is a recognition of my long and hard journey from Turkey to Norway through China.”

The nomination marks a remarkable ascent. As a child growing up near the Turkish city of Izmir, she was intrigued by the ebb and flow of the ships as they entered and left the Port. Later she was captivated by the dynamism of international trade, which set her on a course for what she describes as the ‘natural choice of career’ for her. 

Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Administration and Logistics Management were followed by a full scholarship from the Chinese Government to study for a Master’s Degree in Logistics Engineering and Management at Dalian Maritime University. It was in China where she made the first steps in her career at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), almost six years ago.

Clearly the industry is in good hands, and Hande would agree. She is part of a new breed of shipping professionals – affable, intelligent, confident and above all passionate – that are changing the face of the industry.

“I have been in the industry for six years and the industry has been very volatile for these entire six years like sailing in the rough seas. Despite this, here I am – working every day with passion. 

“I see the same passion in my peers. We love shipping with its ups and downs and are passionate about the industry. As a generation embracing the ups and downs of the industry, I am very confident that shipping will be in right hands in the future.”

Ari’s assertion is hard to argue against. You get the sense from talking to her that she is part of a new era for the industry, driving its change through intelligence, hard work and determination. What is notable too is the change in skillset. Dynamic, analytical and personable Hande, along with her peers, are a far cry from the executives of even as little as a decade ago. Is she aware of that?

“Just knowing that over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea helps us understand the complexity of the industry,” she says. “This naturally shapes the skillset of people working in the shipping industry. It certainly requires really good social skills, a good understanding of culture and language, as we need to bring many stakeholders in the supply chain together who can locate miles away from each other. 

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