In our special column this month, we are pleased to host an interview with Mrs. Fabiana Martins, Manager Partner, SMA (Brazil), who would like to see more diversity in the decision making positions and cross industries projects. This is the way to achieve sustainable growth and overcome the challenges, she explains.
Furthermore, Mrs Martins shares daily routine activities that have helped her to improve her health and mind strength and she advises us never to give up and always be present no matter the circumstances.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Fabiana Martins: At the Law school I had the opportunity to enroll for extracurricular activities on maritime and ports law. While I was part of such activities I met the shipping community including a former seafarer who was also finishing the law school and wanted to start a Law Firm, after graduation in 1997 he invited all members of that group to his project but I was the only one who accepted and then moved from Vitória to Rio. We started first a training and consultancy company called Dolphin and after some years, in 2002, we launched SMA that today is ranked by Chambers & Partners as Tier 1 law firm for shipping in Brazil. We are often called upon to handle complex litigation mandates related to maritime accidents, involving collision between vessels and cargo damages. Deep bench also advises clients on multi-jurisdictional financing cases and sector-related environmental issues.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
F.M.: Today I am the manager partner at SMA and I am also involved in more strategic cases and I have to say that management and multiculturalism are what I like the most in my job. I am also passionate about the shipping industry and the way we manage to keep vessels sailing and world spinning despite of anything. The sense of commitment of our industry is fascinating.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
F.M.: Steve Jobs for sure. The way he disrupted his industry and built a global community of not only consumers but real fans who would be identified just for holding his products amazes me. People wanted to work in apple and be part of his vision what I believe is one of the biggest dreams of entrepreneurs.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why ?
F.M.: I cannot say that there was one person or mentor who most influenced me but I have always tried to learn as much as possible from people in the industry who I have the pleasure to work with. I learned a lot from each of them, how to handle difficult conversation, behave under stress, never give up, be resilient. Books from people of other industries have also played an important role in my formation.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
F.M.: The best was not to desperate when facing many problems in the horizon but instead deal with it one by one. A seafarer told me that problems are like the lights of the city when the vessel is approaching, when you are far from the city you cannot see the route, only the shining lights and it seems there is no whey to pass trough it but when you are closer you see the lights are far from each other and the routes appear. The worst was to give up of the idea of starting my own Firm as there was few chances to succeed. Thankfully I did not follow it.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
F.M.: Leaving my home town family and friends and moving to Rio to start my Firm.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?
F.M.: You are good enough, everything is going to be fine! You need to be more commercial, you are too shy for the job.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
F.M.: Waking up at 05:00 am and lift weights at 06:00 am. I started doing it 2 years ago and it improved my focus, healthy and of course physical and mind strength.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
F.M.: I would like to see more diversity in the decision making positions and cross industries projects because I believe that it is the way to achieve the sustainable growth that our society wants and needs. The last crises have proved that we are all interdependent and that excluding half of the population – due to its gender – from the decision making process will not allow us to overcome the challenges behind us.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
F.M.: No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up.
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.
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