The following 7 nominations for the Personality of the Year 2018 have been received, the winner will be announced at the annual general meeting in Tromso, October 24, 2018.

Christine Cabau Woehrel, CEO Port of Marseille

Christine started her career in maritime transport in 1987 as a secretary after having studied foreign languages when she joined CMA, at the time still a small company based in Marseilles which eventually became the CMA -CGM Group, the 3rd largest shipping company in the world.

In March 2014 she was appointed as CEO of the port of Marseille-Fos, the biggest port in France. Marseille-Fos is the 1st port in France, the 5th largest in Europe for global traffic, and the 4th largest in the Mediterranean for the cruise business.

Christine started an ambitious investment program of 360 M€ for the period 2014 to 2018 to boost the diversification of the port activities. The focus of her strategy between 2019 and 2023 will be on making Marseilles become a truly ‘Blue Economy and Green Port ‘taking in account the need to be actively promoting sustainable port development as well as industrial and logistic activities in a maritime environment.

Christine is fully dedicated to ensuring gender balance in her operations. Half of the members of the executive committee of the port of Marseilles are women. She is also very supportive of initiatives targeted towards the nurturing of young female talents and is fully aware of her role model position.



Captain  Nicole  Langosch, Master MV AIDAsol 

In 2018, Nicole Langosch was appointed as first female Captain/Master of a German cruise ship at the age of 34 years. She is, therefore, the highest ranking woman on a cruise ship in Germany.

Nicole started to sail the seas at the age of 19 on a container ship. She has studied nautical science in Leer and then logistics while working for a container shipping line in Auckland, New Zealand, and the EU parliament in Brussels.

Since 10 years Nicole has been working on AIDA cruise ships, being the staff captain for the last 5 years.


Athina  Vezyri, Chairman/EVP Global maritime Speedcast

Athina is one of the oldest members and supporters of WISTA Hellas and has a total of 40 years experience in the shipping industry. Driven by her love for the sea and determined to follow her vision, she is one of the very few radio officers that has served onboard vessels for 12 years, in times that this sector was entirely occupied by men.

In 1989 she obtained the position of Technical and Electronic Manager at Chartworld shipping corporation, where she stayed until 1993, as SAIT Marine, a member of SAIT Radio Holland Group, appeared in her way and set the path for the rest of her business route.

In April 2018, Athina was appointed as Vice President of CIRM, one of the nine original international bodies accredited in 1961 as a non-governmental organization in consultative status to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This role follows her participation in the Board of Directors since 2013 when during this period she has been dynamically defending and promoting the interests of the companies engaged in maritime electronics.

Athina is a role model for women in shipping and therefore deserves the honour and opportunity bestowed by the Personality of the Year Award.


Hege  Økland,  CEO  of  NCE  Maritime  CleanTech  

Hege Økland has since 2011 been CEO of NCE Maritime CleanTech, which is a world-leading cluster for clean maritime solutions. The cluster encompasses 90 partner companies that cooperate in the development of new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies for the ocean industries.

Hege is authentic, and with a passion and enthusiasm for making our industry green and clean that rubs off on anyone near her. Her dedicated and relentless work in building up the cleantech cluster over many years has laid the fundament for a large number of the cleantech concepts and innovative solutions coming out from Norway. She has been a clear, visible and outspoken frontrunner, never afraid to challenge the government and key stakeholders to act more and quicker.

Hege is also a very important supporter of the young generation and other women. She works with a genuine interest for openness and collaboration across clusters and regions, and in attracting and lifting more women into the senior positions of our industry.

Ilya R. Espino de Marotta, Executive Vice President for Engineering in the Panama Canal Authority

Ilya is an engineer best known for leading the Panama Canal Expansion Project as Executive Vice President for Engineering in the Panama Canal Authority. She was appointed to the role in 2012 and was the first woman in the history of the Panama Canal Authority to hold the role. 

Ilya describes the Panama Canal Expansion project as "a dream job for any engineer". Alongside her responsibility for the physical expansion of the canal, Marotta also oversaw other investment projects including, all the construction contracts, new bridges and purchasing. She played a key role during the negotiations with the company that designed and built the new canal locks, GUPC. 

Her pink safety helmet and vest have become iconic in a historically male occupation. However, it carries the engineering in its DNA; she says she likes action and confesses impatiently, openly, directly and more interested in acting than in speaking. The people who work with her consider her a natural leader.


Frida Wigur, Cook and Student

In autumn 2017 we were all taken aback by a flood of testimonies of sexual harassments from all over the world, encompassing all sectors and every industry. Gender inequality – and its worst consequences – was finally revealed and understood from a structural perspective as opposed to individual mishaps or even lies. The #metoo movement will be known as one of the pivotal movements in our times.

However, in the maritime industry, most put a blind eye to the #metoo debate for days, weeks, and months. Then, at the end of November 2017, one woman deciding enough was enough, acted to defend women’s rights, and started an appeal within the maritime industry. Throughout 2018, her appeal has created non-stoppable waves of change. This one woman is Frida Wigur.

Frida Wigur is a young cook who’s story reflects so many. Frida loves her work at sea but has also been subject to harassments and intimidated by the indifference and even negligence of the industry. She took action and started a closed group on Facebook in order to share and accumulate experiences that could show the extent of the problem. The appeal started a snowball effect and rapidly testimonies poured in, a body of experiences that was overwhelming when finally published. Eventually, 1150 sailing women joined the group and hundreds of anonymised experiences were shared and collected during just a couple of months. This initiative was named #anchorsaweigh.

Kathy Metcalf,  President & CEO, Chamber of Shipping of America

Kathy is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Chamber of Shipping of America and an active WISTA USA Member. She is also a WISTA International Ambassador who spreads the good word of WISTA wherever she travels in the world, which is all over, based on the numerous international obligations she has as leader of the Chamber of Shipping of America.

Kathy has been in the maritime industry for over 40 years (as she often says, since her hair was brown), and she is an inspiration to us all. She took the helm as President and CEO of the Chamber of Shipping of America in January 2015.

Kathy has personally contributed to valuable change in the marine industry as it relates to diversity and the recognition of how women can positively impact organizations at all levels. She generously gives of her time to support WISTA initiatives, events, and our members. 
Kathy is “a no-nonsense person with a great sense of humour who is capable of turning something many see as difficult and challenging into something positive and then sharing it as a learning tool. She paved the way for many women and is a true industry leader!”