Nikeel Idnani, PPG’s Key Account Manager and Honorary Secretary of IMarEST UAE, articulates the essence of success in fostering a positive impact—a journey requiring unwavering dedication to service and personal growth. Nikeel recounts pivotal career milestones, underscoring the profound influence of his family. Born into a family of Indian seafarers, he immersed himself in marine life from infancy, drawing inspiration from his family values.
ith regards to the evolving maritime landscape, Nikeel underscores the importance of cultivating a culture of trust and embracing technological advancements. He highlights stakeholder collaboration as a linchpin for industry resilience, advocating for it through active participation in conferences. In his capacity as Honorary Secretary of IMarEST UAE, Nikeel actively champions collaboration, striving to ensure a sustainable and attractive maritime sector for the future generation.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined the shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Nikeel Idnani: Born into a family of Indian seafarers, I embraced marine life from infancy. Sailing as a supernumerary and a Sea Cadet Corps stint in school, I ventured into a 4-year marine engineering apprenticeship. Climbing the ranks, I proudly reached the rank of Chief Engineer. In 2004, I traded oil-stained overalls to a suit. I’ve held regional responsibilities of sales, business development and marketing for multinational corporations in Dubai, working successively for Service companies, Ship Repair/Building and Ship designers.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
N.I.: As PPG’s Key Account Manager, I protect vessels and cut operational costs with avant-garde coatings. Since 2012, as Honorary Secretary of IMarEST UAE, I steer knowledge at technical meetings, uniting 200 eager MARINE professionals. Beyond partnerships, I shape an extraordinary marine community, a passion ingrained in my seafaring DNA. Aligning IMarEST values with my ethos, I tirelessly forge a maritime realm where excellence and benevolence converge, charting a course for brilliance and compassion.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
N.I.: Success, to me, transcends personal triumphs—centered on contributing value to others. Inspired by my family’s humility and social work legacy, success finds meaning in Leroy Dias and Deshbir Bhandari, pragmatic mentors shaping my growth. For me, success isn’t personal accolades but creating a positive impact, echoing the dedication to service that guides my journey.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
N.I.: Best advice: My father’s—”Experience is a good teacher but an expensive one.” Embracing diverse opinions, I make decisions, learning even from bad ones. In the sea of choices, I navigate with a steady helm, driven by experience and readiness to face waves of decisions, good or bad.
S4S: What do you consider as your most noteworthy achievements?
N.I: Achievement, for me, lies in the work I do and not so much the applause that follows. Nonetheless, honored with the IMarEST Global Outstanding Contribution to Marine Education Award, the ceremony at London Guildhall in March 2022 marked a career milestone. Further, the IMarEST President’s Commendation Award in 2017 and ‘Marine Ambassador’ title in 2016 underscore my commitment to elevating the Middle East maritime cluster onto higher levels of excellence.
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?
N.I: Dear 18-Year-Old Self,
In this imperfect world, credit isn’t always given where due. Remember, it’s not just what you know but who you know. Stay true to your principles, even in adversity, as goodness prevails eventually. However, don’t let kindness be mistaken for weakness. Be politely firm; not everyone plays fair in the jungle.
Ambition is commendable, but steer clear of greed. Your goals may shift, and that’s okay. Adjust your sails with the wind’s direction. Not everyone shares your ideals, like the illustrious Nikeel Idnani. Empathy is your superpower; treat everyone with respect. There will be several who only sweet-talk the boss.
Acknowledge that diplomacy has its merits. While patience may not be your forte, honesty and authenticity are your allies. A bit of diplomacy fosters understanding, cooperation & conflict prevention.
Listen to all advice, but discern what to do & equally crucial, what NOT to do. Life is your canvas, so paint it with principles, ambition & empathy. And always remember, it’s okay not to know everything; just stay authentic, adaptable & resilient.
Your Future Self.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
N.I: In the last 5 years, my business life has thrived due to key beliefs, behaviors & habits:
- Embracing Continuous Learning: Staying ahead by learning about trends and technologies ensures adaptability.
- Effective Communication: Honed through global experiences, clarity and active listening are paramount.
- Prioritizing Time Management: Distinguishing urgent from important tasks maximizes efficiency.
- Building a Professional Network: Actively engaging in networking opens doors to opportunities and insights.
- Adaptability & Resilience: Embracing change and bouncing back from setbacks is crucial in a volatile business world.
- Customer-Centric Approach: Prioritizing customer satisfaction fosters repeat business and positive advocacy.
- Ethical Conduct: Operating with high ethical standards builds and maintains trust.
- Goal Setting & Progress Assessment: Breaking down goals and assessing progress ensures focus and alignment.
- Team Collaboration: Encouraging teamwork and valuing diverse perspectives enhances productivity and innovation. This well-rounded and adaptive approach contributes to both personal and organizational success.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
N.I: In the evolving maritime landscape, crew welfare, technology integration, and collaboration are focal points. Prioritizing seafarers’ well-being, establishing a culture of trust, and embracing new technologies are crucial. Regulatory compliance can drive green initiatives, incentivizing alternative fuels. Digitalization and automation offer efficiency and safety improvements. Stakeholder collaboration, facilitated through conferences, is key for industry resilience. As Honorary Secretary of IMarEST UAE, I actively promote collaboration, ensuring a sustainable and attractive maritime sector for the future workforce.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
N.I: My personal motto which expressed my values and aspirations is expressed as – Resilience in Adversity, Grace in Success.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA, PPG or IMarEST, and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.