Mrs Dyring notes that a diverse work place is always more productive and efficient and therefore shipping needs more women across all marine roles. The best way to reach this goal is to raise more awareness and address all related issues to female seafarers, she suggests.

SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?

Lena Dyring: It kind of happened by coincidence, I stumbled upon a job opportunity with the Norwegian Seafarers’ Union after a move to Miami. I was always fascinated by the shipping industry and had a background from the hospitality industry, so working for the NSU with cruise line related matters was a perfect mix of the two!

S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?

L.D.: I love both my job as Director of Cruise Operations for the Norwegian Seafarers’ Union and also my role as Women’s Representative of the ITF Seafarers’ Section. No two days are alike and I absolutely love the international aspect of this industry. I am also very grateful that my job gives me an opportunity to make a difference for seafarers in general but also very much for women seafarers in particular.

S4S: When you think of the word successful who's the first person who comes to mind and why?

L.D.: There are so many successful and inspirational people out there but if I have to pick one, I think I have to go with my mom. She has worked tirelessly in her career as a university research professor while also raising me and being a great role model as a strong, self-sufficient woman.

S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?

L.D.: The most influential mentor for me professionally has been and continues to be Johan Øyen. He has worked with the NSU for many years in my current role and he is also the Chair of the ITF Cruise Ship Task Force. He is so generous with his time, advice and is actively using his role to promote other people. I would not have been anywhere near where I am today without Johan.

S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you've ever been given and why?

L.D.: Best advice; probably to trust my own judgement and to not rush to decisions. Sometimes, the best decisions are made when information has had a little bit of time to sink in. Worst advice: not sure, but too much unsolicited advice can be a bit much sometimes.

S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?

L.D.: The best career investment for in terms of time and energy, I think was to have an industry relevant extra job whilst studying and also not to be afraid of putting myself out there and connect with people. Volunteering for relevant events and organizations has worked out very well for me as well.

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?

L.D.: I think the best piece of advice for me would have been to relax a little bit and that someone told me I have more time than I think. Also that there are more than one path to reach your goals. Advice to ignore, I think is the sometimes overwhelming amount of advice you did not really ask for from well-meaning people. Often times, I it is difficult to be receptive of this.

S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?

L.D.: I’ve gotten better at delegating and at trusting my team members’ ability to solve challenges and tasks. When I take a step back, they have more freedom to find the best way forward and often outcomes are much better than they would have been, had I forced my way of doing something on them.

S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?

L.D.: I want to see more women in all roles in the maritime industry and as seafarers in particular. Right now, the number of women in traditional marine roles is still abysmally low. A more diverse work place is a better work place for everyone. I think the best way to reach this goal, is of course increased awareness but we also have to address working terms and conditions for seafarers in order to attract more women to the industry.

S4S: What is your personal motto?

L.D.: Not sure I have a personal motto but I am a genuine optimist with a firm belief that things always tend to get better over time.


About Lena Dyring

Lena Dyring is the women’s representative on the ITF Seafarers’ Section. Through this role, she promotes the rights of women seafarers worldwide. Dyring is also working as Director of Cruise Operations for the Norwegian Seafarers’ Union where she takes part in negotiations and maintains Collective Bargaining Areements for many seafarers in the cruise industry. Lena is based at the NSU head office in Oslo, Norway.