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INSPIRING PEOPLE, INSPIRING THE WORLD

 Interview Caroline AUBERT-ADEWUYI

Caroline Aubert-Adewuyi, 38, is an energetic and passionate leader, born in Lisieux (France). She is married and has two lovely children, all of which are currently living in Côte d'Ivoire.

 

Caroline has been working for 15 years at A.P. Moller-Maersk, both in shipping and logistics. Moreover, she has lived and worked in 8 countries in Europe and Africa.

 

Previously, she was Head of Product for the South West Africa trade, Head of Marketing for Angola, and Head of Trade & Marketing for DRC and Congo (all Maersk).

 

Since 2020, Caroline has been occupying the position of Agri commodities Manager for Africa.

 

Recently, she had the honor of sharing her experience as a woman and as a woman at Maersk around the Choosetochallenge theme with wonderful and very committed colleagues, both male and female from Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo. She is also committed to taking #diversity and #inclusion to the next level in all aspects of her life.

 

Today she has given us a very insightful and inspiring interview about her journey as a woman in the transportation and logistics industry.

 

1- Tell us how you came to work in the transportation and logistics industry?

 When I was about to graduate (masters in Management and International Commerce), I found out about a development program for future leaders in Maersk, the number 1 shipping company in the world. I tried my luck and got chosen amongst 4000 applicants. That’s how my journey in Maersk started.

 

2- Women are rarely found in this sector, what do you think are the reasons for this?

 I’m not sure I have a correct answer but maybe it is not advertised well enough to women- but believe me, once you have started, it is addictive!

 

So up to women in shipping and logistics to share their experience and by doing so, attract female talents. It’s not a male industry!

3- You have several experiences in different countries on the continent. Is there a specificity (or specificities) to be a woman in Africa in the logistics industry, which has long been known as a male environment?

“ To me, it’s all about open mindedness.”

You need to be ready to learn every day: learn from people, from the environment you are in and finally, learn from your mistakes!

 

4- Tell us about the specific challenges you faced during your career because of your gender in this industry? How did you manage to overcome them?

 I am lucky to be part of an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion at all levels so challenges have been very limited so far in my career. What I can think of is perhaps the limited freedom to travel for business for long period of times, while being a mother of young children. I tend not to travel for more than 7 days in a row. But then again, it’s a matter of being open about it from the beginning and people are usually quite understanding.

 

 5- Several studies have revealed the poor presence of women on boards and in management (-25% according to the Deloitte- Gender Diversity Barometer)? What does this invoke in you?

The reality! There is still a long way to go before we can see more gender balanced boards and management teams, while the benefits of having more women in those groups have been clearly identified. My hope is that when my daughter (who is one) starts working, this is no longer a challenge.

 

6- What do you think of the female leadership, does it exist?

 I believe this is a myth. I have seen some women leaders behaving like moms as much as I have seen some women leaders with a higher level of testosterone that some male leaders, and vice versa! Let’s not put people in boxes.

 

7- On a professional level, is there someone who inspires you, mentors you?

I am lucky enough to get easily inspired and I am grateful for having several mentors and coaches who all help me be a better me. I got recently inspired by Kristi Hedges and her book "The Power of Presence". A must read for all professionals if you ask me!

 

8- Is there a particular person you admire for their leadership? Why or why not?

I admire Christine Lagarde, who despite her impressive CV, smartness and international exposure, remains a down to earth female leader and is very approachable.

 

9- You probably have a lot of family obligations, how do you manage to balance your professional and personal life?

Working from home due to the pandemic has been a blessing in disguised as it has allowed me spend more quality time with my family (no more time wasted in traffic or in sometimes irrelevant meetings) while I am also much more efficient working at home than at the office, so I feel that the recent months have been beneficial to better balance professional and personal life.

 

That being said, I don’t think there is anything like work life balance as such- sometimes work requires that you spend less time with your family, and sometimes it’s the opposite.

 

“ It’s all about finding what works for you and your family, and about having a good “support system” in place.”

10- What advice would you give to all those women who aspire to be in the decision-making levels of companies, in any sector of activity?

“ Sky is the limit!”

To believe in themselves first and foremost, as there is no school that will teach you how to make decisions or how to lead people. The most important is to give it a try, be ready to learn from others every day and to give the best of yourself.

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