This month, Thome Group takes the opportunity to show appreciation to all women, most especially to the female workforce of the Group, who embody excellence and passion in their careers and personal lives.
International Women’s Day was created over a century ago to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and the day also acts as a call to action for further improvements with regards to gender parity. Every year, a specific theme is chosen and this year, it is: “Choose to Challenge” where women of the world are being asked to make a difference by taking up the challenge to call out gender bias and inequality, while at the same time celebrating women’s achievements to help create an inclusive world.
Although great strides have been taken since the first meeting in 1911, there is still a lot more work to do especially in traditionally male-dominated industries like shipping.
The Thome Group has always aimed to create an inclusive atmosphere and break down gender stereotypes by employing women in what have been traditionally thought of as masculine roles. The company has sought to promote women based purely on their ability to do the job. This was demonstrated by exemplary seafarers such as 2/O Ellaine Apostol of Golden Cirrus, 3/O Maribel Singian of MT Bluebird, 3/O Janine Ellican of KSL Santos, and 3/O Anggi Mawarsari of Navigator Global.
3rd Officer Singian recalled, “Not a day did I feel like quitting because I’ve always wanted to prove that gender isn’t something that will tell you what you can and can’t do. There’s no such thing as a world only for men.”
She added, “Now that I’m Third Officer onboard an International Sea Going Tanker Vessel, I’ve mastered the courage enough to say that I’m ready to take on whatever stands in between me, and the stripes of responsibility that my shoulders have long sought for! To all the women and to all aspiring female seafarers I say: Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and don’t ever give up.”
Over the years, Thome has continued to increase the gender diversity in its roles both ashore and at sea.
Promoting fair opportunities to women is also being practiced in Thome’s global offices. The company employs women in the workforce in various fields from engineering, information technology, human resources, safety, communications, and more. They are treated as key workers that help daily operations run smoothly.
Thome female staff were also behind some of the company’s successful campaigns in health, wellbeing, charity, and environment.
Balancing and managing work during the pandemic has been a challenge for all workers. Thome’s Senior Human Resources and Administration Manager in Manila, Liza Vinoya said, “I am very hands-on with everything. I try to be in control of our operations and provide support to our employees as much as I can, no matter the limited resources. The show must go on! We are working as a team like no pandemic has happened, as if we are all in the office. I try to encourage, more so influence others as I acquire energy from them – and this is what keeps me going. #ChooseToChallenge”
“You never know until you try. There will be challenges and barriers along the way. Whenever you’re discouraged, focus on the things that matter, i.e. family. Life is never a bed of roses but as you fall, you learn and get better.” Madelyn Tan, Assistant HSSEQ Manager, added.
Here are some comments from some of the female members of staff outlining their thoughts on what it is like to be a woman working for the Thome Group and their inspiring message to women:
Rose Ann Abando, Business Systems Analyst, Thome ROHQ
“Choose to love yourself every day. Embracing your flaws, knowing, and loving yourself will make you go extra mile. Never doubt your capability. You may find others ahead of you, may find others better than you but remember your value is more than jewels and your worth is far above rubies or pearls. Challenges will mould you in the best version of who you are. When you fall, get up! When you discover you are in the wrong road, turn back!”
3rd Officer Maribel Villar Singian, MT Bluebird
“I am deeply grateful to my company, Thome Ship Management Pte. Ltd., to our Ship-owners, Larine Tankers Pte. Ltd for giving me the opportunity to realize my dreams and aspirations in life. To all the women and to all aspiring female seafarers I would encourage you to follow your dreams, believe in yourself and don’t ever give up.”
Marija Valecic, Senior Executive, Thome Croatia
“Investing in your own development always pays off, because it brings you independence and freedom to make choices. You determine the direction of your life. Choose an area that expands you and that feels right, even if it is a bit scary, and invest time, money, attention to it. You don’t have to fit the expectations set by other people or society, be authentic and whoever loves you, will support you and follow you.”
Namrata Joshi, Assistant Crewing Manager, Thome India
“The most important lesson I learned is to keep an open mind and never give up no matter what life throws at you, just take it as challenge and try to give your best shot. The best part about Thome was that we had the opportunity to express our views and had the liberty to take decisions of course being responsible for same, but always knew that there is an entire team to support me.”
Bernice Mecha, Finance and HR Manager, Thome Nigeria
“I have been with Thome for two years, and I learned that Teamwork always work. I have also learned that despite our cultural diversities, we can always come together and achieve every set goal if we always work together and put in our best. If you dream it, you can achieve it. Keep dreaming and work hard to be better. Someday soon, you will be surprised to see that you have surpassed even your own expectations. The world awaits you!”
Saroja Karkera, Assistant Marine HR Manager, Thome India
“Always believe in yourself, even in the darkest moments. Be an independent woman so you can achieve your dreams & goals!”
Sanja Bjelanovic, Marine HR Executive, Thome Croatia
“I would just like to share my support to all women, whether they work in corporate, in a small town, or traveling across the world or being moms – I believe women should be allowed to decide for her own and what she wants and not be pressured to fill mould of others expectations. This should be referred to all gender – to everyone, as we all are under pressure and expectations, and we are thorn either to comply with expectations or do what we feel is the best for oneself.”
3rd Officer Anggi Mawarsari, Navigator Global
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because you’ll learn how to be better from it. Don’t be afraid to hear rejections because it will made you become mature and stronger than before. We grow by learning something new. We grow by letting going with the flow and nature has its own way to heal us. Don’t give up and just focus on what you do and aiming for.”
Abiola Abidemi Odeyemi, Technical Coordinator, Thome Nigeria
“I would like to encourage an aspiring female not to allow family or gender make her loose dreams of becoming who she wants to be. All you must do is always set your limits and have open communication with your colleagues and line managers for support.”