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    This Cruise Line Is Making History With The First Women-Led Cruise


    When it comes to the cruise industry, women are very much in the minority, accounting for just 2% of the world’s mariners. But Celebrity Cruise Line’s president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo is on a mission to transform gender equality in cruising. In 2015, she appointed the first American woman captain of a cruise ship; Celebrity now has an unprecedented three female captains. Celebrity also has some of the cruise industry’s most impressive numbers for employing women, with 22% of qualified women on the line’s navigational bridges—up from 3% in 2015.

    Now, Lutoff-Perlo has just announced that in honor of the upcoming International Women’s Day—on March 8, 2020—Celebrity will make history and break barriers again with the first-ever cruise-ship sailing to have an entirely female bridge and officer team, numbering 27 women. The historic sailing will take place on the new, $1 billion Celebrity Edge cruise ship with Captain Kate McCue at the helm.

    “When I was appointed to this role five years ago, I felt like I had an opportunity and an obligation and a responsibility to do something about balancing the gender in our industry,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “I thought, ‘This is my chance to really make a difference.’”

    And what a difference Lutoff-Perlo has made. “The lovely thing for us is that we're the only [cruise line] that can do this because we've been focused on this for almost five years now,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “We have enough women across our entire brand where we can completely ‘man’ the bridge with women and we have women leaders in every aspect of our operation—even our chief of security is a woman, an Israeli woman.”

    Captain Kate McCue

    Captain McCue says she is looking forward to meeting all of the women on this historic cruise. “I've worked with a few of them before, but to have all of us in one place at one time—and in such a commanding presence—is going to be an overwhelming experience, not only for each other, but for the guests as well,” says McCue. “It’ll be like Ocean’s 27,” she says in reference to the 27 women who will be in charge of the ship.

    During the cruise, Celebrity will be running a cinema series featuring iconic and impactful female directors, leads and inspirational narratives (including girl-power films like Wonder Women and Captain Marvel) and hosting gallery exhibitions and art auctions featuring female artists. There will also be women of the world-themed trivia challenges, a pool volleyball tournament with “fearless female officers” vs. guests, a Q&A panel with the ship’s inspiring female leadership team and unique networking opportunities.

    Celebrity Cruise Line women crew members

    “I really hope dads and mothers of daughters—and young women themselves—see this and think, ‘Wow, I could do this’ because the reality is that in order for us to keep making progress, we need more women to want these roles,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “I'm hoping it inspires a whole next generation.”

    Speaking of inspiring the next generation, we also got Lutoff-Perlo to share her best career tips for getting ahead.

    Don't sell yourself short: Dream big. “Whether you're in travel or any field, I think there's a perception that if you don't start at the top, you don't get to the top or close to the top,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “Dreaming big is really important but a lot of people—women especially—hold themselves back because they don't see themselves in certain roles.”

    Be patient. “Things come with time,” says Lutoff-Perlo.

    Understand that paths aren't linear. “I think people shortchange themselves because they have these linear paths and then they're inflexible about doing other things. I would never be in the role that I'm in if I didn't have a lot of different positions in our company,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “I truly believe that my path—while I didn't know it at the time—led me here, but it wasn't something I wanted to do. I only wanted to be the head of sales. That was my only ambition, and I thought that was a pretty lofty one. But I've never been the head of sales because that plan was changed for me, and it was outside of my control.”

    Find an advocate, not a mentor. “Find an advocate—somebody who’s going to help fight for you and help you get where you want to go. An advocate is someone who actually makes things happen, while a mentor is somebody you have a safe place with and can give you advice. But I believe advocacy is the thing that has been the most beneficial in my career,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “You have to latch yourself to the right wagons.”

    Phone a friend. “When I went into a lot of different roles, I didn't know a lot about the thing that I was now leading. I was chosen for reasons other than being a subject matter expert,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “But I find that when you ask someone for help, it's a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.”

    If you want something, ask for it. Captain McCue says that this is something she learned from Lutoff-Perlo. “Every time I think to myself, ‘Can I ask?’ I think of those words from Lisa,” says McCue. “And then I think, ‘You know what? What have I got to lose? I'm just going to ask.’”

    Find your voice, and don't be afraid to use it. “A lot of my jobs have been about putting ideas forth and just having the courage to throw it out there,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “Even though people might think it's silly, if you have an idea, put it out there. It builds your confidence.”

    Pay it forward. “The thing that gives me the most satisfaction in my job is helping people achieve their dreams,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “So when Captain Kate tells me, ‘How do you thank someone who's made all your dreams come true?’ I say, ‘Pay it forward—that's how you can thank me. Do the same thing for other people.’”

    By Laura Begley Bloom, Forbes
    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
    For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com

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