Give Equal Opportunity to both Male and Female- Diversity and Inclusion in the Logistics Industry

 Interview/ Ismaila BADJIE

Born in Bullenghate, The #Gambia ????????, Ismaila BADJIE, 43, is married and has 5 lovely children. He is a man of strong convictions and vision in addition to being a reference in the shipping and logistics industry in Africa.


Ismaila has been working for A.P Moller- Maersk and APM Terminals for more than 20 years. He has had the privilege of working in leadership positions in all of these organizations.


In 2002, he opened Maersk's office in #Guinea_Bissau and more recently in 2019, at an important turning point for the shipping giant, he led the commercial workstream for the integration of Inland Services into Maersk.


In this exclusive interview, this inspiring leader talks about his experiences and approach to diversity and inclusion in the shipping and logistics industry; then shares 3 powerful tips.


 1- How did you end up working in the logistics and transportation industry?

Maersk MD (Mr Bimal Kanal) in Gambia was busy looking for a MISE candidate, he had tested many candidates but could not get a candidate with the right profile while passing the aptitude exams. I got the news about this and got the opportunity to sit for the LI and PI tests to which I passed both. I got offered the job as a trainee and the rest as we say is history!


2- Many reports reveal a very low representation of women in the logistics industry (in the supply chain sector in general)- In your opinion, what could be the reasons for the low representation of women in this sector?

The logistics industry – #supply #chain sector which is linked to the shipping industry has been male dominant. The roles have been seen as skill sets fit for me, physical, moving around and covering/working in ports. This thought process and ideas in my view inhibit.


“ Its more about perception but if there is anyone who can multi-task, its women and for the logistics industry, this skill is key not to mention innovation, creativity and customer centricity.”

3- At Maersk, you celebrate Diversity and Inclusion. So, what are the benefits for a company like yours to have a more active gender diversity policy?

#Diversity and #inclusion is an important subject globally more so to the shipping industry and for a company as huge and a market leader as Maersk – the adoption and implementation of workplace diversity and inclusiveness of employees in explored (Cano, 2020; and Inyang, 2007) to understand and establish its influence on the activities of the firm.


When we talk about diversity, we should not limit it physical attributes of gender, geography etc but to inherent such as diversity of thought, mindset, ability, training, experience, expertise and even sexual orientation.


Due to focus of D&I, Maersk has been at the forefront of innovation, creativity and an ever improved performance while increasing staff engagement and productivity.


4- What do you think about women's leadership in Africa and more specifically in your field of logistics and transport?

Maersk has got a few great women leaders across Africa, some at very senior levels and many more at middle management. The only way is upwards in terms of women in this field as they have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that they are equal if not better than men in so many aspects in the logistics arena.


The society has also now accepted that a woman can lead a logistics company to success, its also accepted that we can have a stay home husband taking care of the children or moving abroad to join wife in her job once expatriated. This is a huge paradigm shift!


5- As a seasoned leader in your industry, are there specific actions that you take to create gender parity in the workplace and promote women in decision making positions? What are they?

I would not have a magic formula to use for gender parity in this industry, what I can do is to give equal opportunity to both male and females, training and motivate both the female and male colleagues that with the right attitude, education and mindset, the women will blast through glass ceilings and we have seen lots of women leaders in the industry as is with politics and banking industry.

We are only limited by our believes – we are a product of our believe. Women constitute about half of the world’s population, for any industry to make headways – its absolutely required to have women in key decision making positions but let me hasten to add – we must not put women in position as an equation balance act – its has to be capability, capacity and performance based else its prejudicial to the other gender while also promoting to a level of incompetence (Peters’s principle).


6- Is there a particular person you admire for (his/her) leadership? Why or why not?

When I look around, there are so many women I am proud of their achievements in life. I do due to their perseverance, hardwork, going against the odds and believing that the logistics industry is there for us all. I celebrate women who may not be in formal jobs but so creative with personal products and making a difference in life


“ There are so many women I am proud of their achievements in life!”

7- How do you manage to balance your professional and personal life?

I dedicate time for family, self and work. With the knowledge that I need to be at my best self. I recharge my batteries by doing what I like most.


I have a daily/weekly/monthly task list, prioritized and see what can be done, impact , timing and what someone else can do it. I delegate, follow up and trust the process. I also take my vacations, switch off from work after 6pm and dedicate it to family.


8- Your final word, if you had 3 pieces of advice to give to women who would like to reach decision making positions in this industry, what would they be?

Women make about half the population, capable, strong and great multi-taskers, nothing can stop you from reaching your full potentials. My advise would be yourselves, be confident, no task too great, no detail too small mentality, you are not competing with men but complimenting them and go out there and make the world proud.


“You are God’s master piece on earth – enjoy the journey of life.”