It was a first in the Seatrade event's 35-year history, and about time — 'We're all running multibillion-dollar companies,' as Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, pointed out.
Diversity and inclusion
Naturally, the conversation focused on diversity and inclusion.
'It's not as easy as I would like it to be. It's difficult,' Lutoff-Perlo said of breaking down barriers to getting more women into leadership roles, particularly at sea. But she cited progress at her company, where Celebrity Edge was introduced with 30% women crew. The line now has four women captains and five women hotel directors.
This doesn't just happen; diversity needs to be actively engineered, the women leaders said.
'We are role models for women, particularly shipboard,' Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said. She, too, cited growing numbers of women choosing seagoing careers at her own company.
Duffy quoted a saying: 'Diversity is inviting people to the dance. Inclusivity is getting them onto the dance floor.'
Beyond gender diversity
And diversity doesn't just mean gender, Swartz noted. Fostering more diverse views in a business can 'unlock tremendous value.'
Greater diversity is 'good for business, good for the morale of the crew and guests love it,' Lutoff-Perlo said.