SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Kjersti Kleven: I have a strong family-background in shipbuilding and I literally grew up at the Kleven shipyard in Norway. I did not plan a career in shipbuilding, but at a time it was natural for me to act on the responsibility of being a major co-owner. I joined the Board of the Kleven-group in 2000. I became chair of the Board of Kleven in 2003 and held that position until the financial restructuring of the company one year ago.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
Kj.Kl: Over the last 15 years I have been involved in networks and associations of the maritime technology industry on both local, national and European level. Being chair of SEA Europe gives me a very close view into the policy-making processes for our industry and a position to influence these. I learn a lot and get to meet and work with very qualified and interesting people. That is exciting. We need to fight for the position of our industry and SEA Europe work hard every day to show the importance of the maritime technology industry for Europe.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who's the first person who comes to mind and why?
Kj.Kl:I am privileged to meet and get to know many of the main figures and leaders of our industry through SEA Europe. A shipbuilder I have come to respect very highly is Bernard Meyer. His success is not only the impressing development of Meyer Werft, but also the personal way he involves himself for the benefit of the industry.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
Kj.Kl:To be involved in NGO’s since I was a teenager, has given me a valuable platform also for my career and my personal life. I spent two years with the German YMCA before I started my studies and that is the best investment I have ever made.
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?
Kj.Kl:I would have said to myself; “All the others are just as nervous as you. Listen to the feedback you get from people you trust and use them as mentors”. As a young adult I spent too much energy wondering if what I did was good enough.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
Kj.Kl:The rapid technological changes and the new possibilities they give, have changed the focus of my business life strongly over the last five years and will probably do even more so in the five years to come.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
Kj.Kl:From a European perspective, I would like to see a closer cooperation between the shipowners and the maritime technology sector, working for the deserved position of the sector. The maritime transports and logistics in Europe are big and important, but the total landscape is so much more. We need to cooperate to meet the big challenges of the environment, make right use of new technology, face global competition and finally keep the world leading maritime competence in Europe.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
Kj.Kl:Be yourself – everybody else is occupied.
About Kjersti Kleven, Chairwoman, SEA Europe
Kjersti Kleven is co-owner and Chair of the Board of the Norwegian shipbuilding group Kleven Maritime AS (KLEVEN). She has served as a board-member and Chair of the Norwegian Association of Maritime Industries for a total of seven years, and was one of the Vice Chairmen of SEA Europe until she takes over as chair. She is a board-member of various companies, and is also a member of the standing Advisory Committee on Maritime Strategy, hosted by the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry.