In our special column, we are glad to host an interview with Mr. Jacob Damgaard, Associate Director – Loss Prevention, Britannia P&I, who highlights the importance of understanding and respecting other cultures towards achieving success. Mr. Damgaard had the chance to work at sea with many different nationalities that taught him a lot about foreign cultures and customs.
iting his personal experience, Mr. Damgaard advises us to always embrace change, ; at first, it was difficult to leave his home town when he was nineteen to join the Navy, but then moving to London, and later Singapore, and travelling to many different countries on business, added value to his cultural awareness and skills and proved to be a valuable life experience.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Jacob Damgaard: As long as I can remember I have always been fascinated by ships of all kinds. Doing my national service in the Danish Navy confirmed this fascination, and so it was natural progression for me to pursue a maritime career as a dual qualified officer. This later enabled me to follow many exiting career opportunities ashore within the shipping world.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
J.D.: Working within Loss Prevention at a P&I Club insurer means that you have close contact with a wide variety of shipowners and other shipping professionals. Here, You don’t just deal with one segment of the industry but with a wide variety of ships, cargos and also incidents. From this you learn a lot and it is never boring.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
J.D.: Being Danish, the person who comes to mind is the late Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the former CEO and Chairman of A.P Moller-Maersk. A humble man who inherited a prosperous shipping company from his father and then grew it into a worldwide conglomerate. His innovative thinking also ensured that they were one of the pioneers when it came to the containerized transportation of goods.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why ?
J.D.: I can’t really mention one. I have been so lucky to work with many experienced and highly qualified colleagues from whom I learned a lot. However, though it may sound a bit of a cliché, when pursuing a career abroad the support of your family is important, and I have always had that.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
J.D.: In my mid-thirties I felt a bit stuck career-wise. I then got contacted about a job in London. I did not really know London nor did I know any people there. However, eventually I decided to go for it and sell my flat in Copenhagen in order to move to London. It turned to be a great decision both personally and professionally.
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?
J.D.: To be less afraid of change. It was difficult to leave my home town when I was nineteen to join the Navy, as this was my ”whole world”. However, you find out that your real friends will always be there no matter where you live, and then you make new friends as well. Do not ignore critical advise but form your own opinion.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
J.D.: At sea I worked together with many different nationalities which taught me a lot about foreign cultures and customs. By moving to London, and later Singapore, and travelling to many different countries on business, I believe I added to my cultural awareness and skills. Being able to understand and respect other cultures and their business’ customs are essential to achieving success.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
J.D.: With the current Covid-19 pandemic we see a lot of seafarers stuck onboard their ship with no immediate prospect of going home. Along with other personal consequences, this may also have a significant mental impact on a seafarer, which in turn may have an impact on the safe operation of the entire ship. It is a very sad situation which I hope will be resolved soon.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.