Working in maritime for over 20 years, Zoe started her career at sea as a purser with Festival Cruises and Louis Cruises. Moving ashore, Zoe spent several years building her experience within maritime businesses before joining KVH.
Zoe was born in Limassol and, after completing her school education, she moved over to France to study foreign languages before returning to Cyprus to gain a diploma in business administration. Her first career step was as an air hostess before she moved into the shipping industry and worked as a purser with Festival Cruises and then Louis Cruises. After 3 years at sea, Zoe moved into the shore-based maritime industry where she held several positions involving dry docking, spare parts, and safety equipment. She has now worked at KVH for 7 years as regional sales manager for the Eastern Med and Balkans. Zoe is divorced with 2 children and, outside of maritime, her passion is cars! She even used to compete in historical car rallies. It’s great to meet Zoe…
Zoe, tell us about KVH and your role in the business?
KVH Industries, Inc., is an innovative market leader in maritime VSAT. We provide connectivity and content services to shipping companies globally.
I have been at KVH for 7 years and I hold the position of Regional Sales Manager, responsible for the Eastern Med and the Balkans regions. I promote KVH’s leisure and commercial maritime products and services in these areas and I deal directly with our customers and partners.
Connectivity has always been a prime requirement for vessel operators needing to communicate with shore but have you seen any changes to how people are using your services since the pandemic?
We saw a big increase in data usage as crew and operations both relied more on satellite communications. We also saw an increased use of remote monitoring and surveys as people had to adapt to restrictions surrounding travel, port entries, and many other situations. I believe that these remote practices will continue as the maritime industry gets ever more digital.
What would you say KVH does differently in comparison to other SATCOM businesses?
KVH provides an end-to-end solution, meaning we design and manufacture the SATCOM antennas and we also manage the global high throughput satellite (HTS) network; everyone else in the industry does one or the other, but we do both. Also, we provide a full suite of content—news, sports, movies, TV shows—called KVH Link. We also are extremely focused on taking care of our customers, whether it is our 24/7/365 tech support group, our field service engineers, or our account managers. We want to be a partner to our customers and help them succeed.
How do you see maritime communications changing over the next 5 to 10 years?
The technology and communications on vessels used to be way behind the technology available on land, but now maritime is quickly moving forward. Everything is going digital in maritime and there are big changes in navigation, crew, and all operations. I believe there will be more and more remote work. The trend is going toward digitalisation.
Why is it important for KVH to have a base in Cyprus?
There are so many major fleets, operators, owners, and decision makers in Cyprus and in Greece and I find it so important to have personal connections to the people in the industry. Nothing can replace a face-to-face conversation and in-person gathering. Even though the pandemic has turned so many meetings into video formats, I look forward to returning to seeing customers in person.
What has been your own biggest achievement at KVH?
Playing a role in getting KVH’s name, products, and services to be well known and respected in the maritime industry has been my goal. I always look for more opportunities to introduce people to KVH and also for KVH to support great maritime organizations, conferences, and other initiatives.
You have been with KVH for 7 years; were you in the maritime industry before then?
I started working in shipping in 1994. It wasn’t an industry that I knew anything about, but I soon found out how exciting it was. In shipping, your job is never boring. There are new challenges every day in a multicultural world. I got curious in learning more about the different sectors of this industry, and I have tried different positions as an accountant on shore as well as a purser on board vessels, and now as a sales manager focused on maritime satellite communications.
What’s the biggest change you have seen in the industry since you started your career?
Women! When I started working in shipping, I was entering rooms that were full of men. I used to get that look of “what is she doing here?” This has changed over the years and we see more women in boardrooms and making the big decisions, but we still need to educate our children and talk more about how exciting the maritime industry is. Explain that men and women can equally do a good job, as long as they love what they are doing.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in maritime for you?
When you start working in the shipping industry, is difficult to leave. It is an exciting and challenging journey within a multicultural world, that rewards you with lots of knowledge.