Emilie Christiansen, Senior Shipping Lawyer in the Norwegian law firm Thommessen, highlights that more women in management positions not only enhance diversity in shipping but also provide good roles models to attract and retain the younger generation. Shipping lawyers specifically need to take an active part in the sustainable development of the maritime industry as they have a unique insight into their clients’ businesses, she explains.
s Emilie informs, she has been given some excellent advice, including to never repeat the same mistake and to always remember the lessons learnt in order to go forward, be optimistic, and be trustworthy. Furthermore, a child and the clean inbox policy, which ensures that no email is overlooked, have increased her efficiency over the past five years on both a personal and professional level.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Emilie Christiansen: I joined a shipping company after upper secondary school as a receptionist and loved the international flavour of shipping so I started taking some shipping courses to learn more. I moved to London to study law and started working for a Norwegian law firm in their shipping department which was a great match.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
E.Chr.: The opportunity to be a trusted advisor for our clients within so many different aspects of the industry we work in – it is never a dull day in the office and you get to connect with people all over the world! My job is fast, fun and rewarding!
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?
E.Chr.: I do not have one person who has been a mentor to me but I have asked (and still ask) a number of people for their advice depending on the topic – that means that I get a lot of different perspectives on the same topic which for me has assisted a lot in navigating my career path.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
E.Chr.: Never do the same mistake twice is a very good advice I have received, there is always room to make mistakes but make sure you learn from them and do not repeat the same one. I cannot recall any really bad advice but some people have said that I should lower my career ambitions when starting a family which I disagree with.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
E.Chr.: Moving to London to study law having to find my own path. I have also spent a lot of my personal time on organisational work (I previously headed YoungShip International and YoungShip Oslo and now sit as Vice President of WISTA Norway) which has given me a big network and the chance to get to know people in all various sectors of our industry.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why?
E.Chr.: What piece of advice should you ignore? Do not stress with starting your studies, it is better to spend some time on finding out what you want to do before launching into something – working life is long and starting your studies one or two years later will have no long-term impact on your career.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
E.Chr.: Clean inbox policy which makes sure that no email is missed and having a child which I have to say has made me even more efficient.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
E.Chr.: We need more women in management positions, not just to ensure diversity on the top level but also to make sure that we have good role models so that we attract, retain and elevate women to and in our industry. Shipping lawyers specifically need to take an active part in the sustainable development of our industry as we have a unique insight into our clients’ businesses.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
E.Chr.: Always be positive, never do the same mistake twice and be reliable (show up and deliver on time).
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.