In our special column for this month, we are glad to host an interview with Mrs. Philippa Charlton, Chief Marketing Officer, Lloyd’s Register, who is particularly excited about the role digitalisation has in enabling decarbonisation in maritime. Throughout the pandemic, technology enabled organisations like LR continued to provide services remotely and support the supply chain as it navigated COVID-19.
urthermore, Philippa highlights the power of investing in leadership development and coaching and she advises us to focus on our strengths and weaknesses and understanding ourselves; this is an effective method to become better leaders and coach others.
SAFETY4EA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Philippa Charlton: I was appointed Chief Marketing Officer by LR CEO, Nick Brown in January 2021. My background was in business to business marketing with a number of international companies in different industries, including waste management, cyber security and paper. I was really excited to move into the executive team so I could support Lloyd’s Register’s drive to be the go-to partner and trusted advisor to clients in the maritime industry. My late Father worked in shipping and another close relative, so it felt like serendipity.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
Ph.Ch.: The most exciting part of my role is client engagement – truly understanding the needs and wants of our clients as the industry navigates monumental change. By doing this, we can identify the true value and difference LR can offer organisations within maritime. LR is a prestigious brand with more than 260-years of legacy and as CMO, I am responsible for shaping how the brand evolves to meet client and industry needs, an exciting prospect as we move towards a zero-carbon world.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
Ph.Ch.: Sheryl Sandberg springs to mind when I think of success. Sheryl, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, has been a beacon of success for women around the world. She also authored an inspiring book entitled ‘Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead’ on how women can encourage others to progress as leaders – to ‘lean-in’ to conversations and surroundings. Despite her devastating personal loss, she has continued in her drive to bring about lasting change in leadership behaviours.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?
Ph.Ch.: I have been lucky to have had a number of great mentors in my career. The most influential is my amazing mum who despite being in her eighties is still a formidable force. From a work perspective, the most influential business mentor I’ve had was a previous boss. They have helped me develop my leadership skills by motivating and encouraging me through some challenging parts of my career working in volatile and complex environments. One great piece of learning I had when faced with tough work scenarios was ‘easy choices, difficult life, difficult choices, easy life’.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
Ph.Ch.: The best piece of advice I received was to ‘inhale’. Before starting a new role, a challenging scenario or difficult situation – you should stop and inhale. This gives you a chance to understand and listen to your surroundings, albeit business, environment or social, before moving forward. Early on in my career, I was advised that ‘it’s better to stay quiet than to make mistakes’. This was terrible advice as it discouraged colleagues from sharing their thoughts and ideas, which meant new ways of working and approaches were not considered. We shouldn’t be afraid of sharing ideas or failing, this is how we learn and evolve.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
Ph.Ch.: Investing in leadership development and coaching has been hugely worthwhile. This has helped me understand what motivates me and how I behave under pressure. By determining my strengths and weaknesses, and understanding myself, I have become a better leader. This in turn helps me coach others more effectively.
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?
Ph.Ch.: There was a lack of diversity and inclusion thinking or understanding in the early part of my career which sometimes made life as a business woman pretty tough, so I would say to my younger self: ‘keep pushing through’. The hurdles will be there but you’re going to jump over them and sometimes knock them down entirely. I would ignore advice or behaviour that dampens the ambitions of another. People should be encouraged and supported in pursuing their ambitions, whatever they might be.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
Ph.Ch.: We have seen a digital transformation over the last few years. In terms of how we use this technology but also, more importantly, how technology has enabled change. I’m particularly excited about the role digitalisation has in enabling decarbonisation in maritime. Throughout the pandemic, technology enabled organisations like LR continued to provide services remotely and support the supply chain as it navigated COVID-19. We hope to continue to expand our remote offering, as digitalisation is a key enabler of decarbonisation.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
Ph.Ch.: We need more collaboration across the industry, not just among shipowners and shipyards but with financiers, insurers, governments, NGOs and regulators. If we don’t work together effectively and harmoniously, we could stall our decarbonisation ambitions.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
Ph.Ch.: ‘We need to be the change we want to be’. It’s easy to give the challenge or problem to someone else or to another industry, but it’s on us to change. In other words, if we want things to change, we need to be that change.
The views presented are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.