Satenik Grigorian

Operations Manager, SAL Heavy Lift (Hamburg)

My name is Satenik. In August 2011, I started an apprenticeship and did a dual study programme with Harren & Partner. For many years I was part of the Harren & Partner Crewing Department and joined the SAL Heavy Lift operations team as an operations manager in January 2021. As operations manager I am responsible for smooth port calls, safe transportation of the cargoes, handling of cargo documentation, monitoring of voyage costs and of course active communication with all involved parties (internal departments, vessels, agencies, oversea offices and external parties).

I started in shipping because I knew, I wanted to learn and do something that has global character. So my line of thought was:
Global ⇒ Globe ⇒ 70% of earths surface is covered by water ⇒ ships are on water ⇒ merchant ships ⇒ shipping industry ⇒ job field with global character! This train of thought was the reason why I started in shipping.

For us women it can be challenging to work with business partners from countries, where they are not used to the fact that women give instructions and make decisions in the workplace. I noticed that business partners, who do not know that my name is female or do not know me in person, always assume I am a man. This is because of the historical development in shipping and because shipping is still a male dominated industry. I can imagine that in their heads there are still prejudices like “women are too emotional and not tough and strong enough” or “women cannot make rational decision”. However, when women are being straight, strong and tough in their daily work, the are perceived as rude and uncooperative. I believe this struggle applies to most of my female colleagues as well as to me, but we found a way to keep the balance.

When I applied for a job with Harren & Partner, I was 18 years old. At this age I didn’t think about being a women in shipping could cause problems or difficulties. And luckily I never experienced or faced a problem in my job “because” of being woman.