“For me it’s always been important not to be one of the guys and try to do things their way”
Line Lund Clausen originally wanted to study law to become a lawyer, but her love of travel drew her to a career in shipping instead. Since then her job has taken around the world – from Denmark, to the US, Asia and back – with a lot of places in between. Today she’s one of the few female senior leaders in the industry, in charge of chartering in the Continent/Mediterranean and Black Sea.
What drew you to a career in shipping?
I always wanted to work abroad. I love the international scene, being able to travel and see a lot of the world. During my career I’ve spent three years living in the US and seven years in Singapore.
I was also drawn to the variety of different paths you can take. There are so many different aspects to a career in shipping and you need a wide variety of skills, you could be the best technical person but it doesn’t help if you cant talk to people.
What have been your stand-out experiences?
So many! I’ve found myself in some quite obscure places during my career. I have sailed on a bulkcarrier through the Panama Canal, I’ve visited power plants on small, isolated islands in the Caribbean, I’ve even found myself 600m underground in a mine in Belarus. Looking back I would never have had the experiences I did if not in shipping.
You are today one of the few senior female leaders in shipping. What does it take to succeed in this male-dominated industry?
This has never been an issue for me, or something I have focused on. Right from the beginning of my career I’ve always been more focused on competencies than on gender. There’s such a wide variety of personalities in the shipping industry that I don’t believe you do stand out for being a woman.
For me it’s always been important not to be one of the guys and try to do things their way. We shouldn’t be asking women to adapt to be in a man’s world – I can only be myself, focus on the work and doing it my way.
How can we attract more women to the industry?
There needs to be a recognition from the management that they want diversity in the team, and that there’s not one prototype profile that will succeed in this career. More women means you have a much greater pool of talent to choose from.
It sounds simple but once the industry starts to hire more women, the more women it will attract as it’s encouraging to see others already doing the job. When I joined NORDEN one thing that I like about it was that there were already a few women in commercial positions. It’s important to show that women can thrive and that everyone can achieve their goals in different ways.
What’s your advice to young women considering a career in shipping today?
I would absolutely recommend it. If you come into a junior position there are so many directions your career can take you depending on if you are more drawn to the technical or commercial side. If you have that urge to experience the world it’s a very interesting career.
Also, don’t be put off by a perception that you have to sacrifice family life for your career. I have two kids, and it’s absolutely possible to have a normal family life and have a career in shipping. It is a demanding job with a lot of travel, but you can choose the degree to which you want to pursue that side of it. I think that might be comforting for young people entering the industry to know.