As the yachting industry continues to grow, more and more women are making a significant impact on this traditionally male-dominated space. Here, YATCO takes the time to get to know some of these women – from all areas of the market – and highlight the important work that they contribute to the industry.
Laura Yager is the Marketing Director for Worth Avenue Yachts.
Featuring Laura Yager, Marketing Director of Worth Avenue Yachts
What drew you to the yachting world?
Honestly, it is a lot of things I really enjoy in one package. If you aren’t doing what you enjoy, why do it?
Being around large yachts, you get to see pieces of art you can’t even see in museums; if you are into table settings, hand painted Hermes dinnerware; if food is your thing – the best Michelin Star chefs; if it’s travel, it’s a no-brainer. The idea of having the freedom to go wherever you want, explore where you want, really draws me in. Just listening to some of these captains’ tales of adventure is enough to lure anyone in. Plus, a general obsession with all things water related – travel, adventure, exploration – oh and good wine, that’s an important one.
How did you get your start in yachting?
My neighbors growing up had a small boat with a few cabins and they’d take me on weekend trips – that may have planted a seed. After college, I moved to Palm Beach where opportunity and luck collided, putting me at the birth of Worth Avenue Yachts. I started not knowing very much about the industry and I think that has been beneficial to Worth. Year after year, we grew and grew.
One day, the boss man said to tone down the boat show a bit and simplify; five minutes later I was trying figure out how to land a helicopter on a floating barge in the middle of the Intracoastal, figuring out what time the crane is putting our floating Rolls-Royces on the dock and bumping up the number of yachts in our display from 12 to 20 – tone it down isn’t in my vocabulary.
When other companies are going left, I push to take a hard right. I am not a fan of doing the same thing everyone else is doing – sometimes that works out for me, sometimes it goes horribly wrong. The horribly wrong stories are always more fun to tell.
Who are some influential people in your life that you look up to?
Dolly Parton. She’s just wild on the outside but humble and giving on the inside. I dig the theatrics and that she backs it up with a huge heart. I also like that she keeps part of her life private – have you ever seen her husband? Georgia O’Keeffe is also an all-star. She was controversial for her time, yet her art is timeless and sexy. I am both ladies, one outgoing and wild, the other recluse and creative, but never both at the same time.
I’m really hoping in my eulogy reads something like, “Well, she was out there, slightly off kilter, but she managed to pull off some mind-bending accomplishments in the luxury space, all while working remotely from a goat farm. Remember that time she took up BMX racing or how about that time she almost got kidnapped in Mexico…do we bring up the drag queens? No, no we don’t.” Whoever writes that…godspeed.
What are some challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
This one is easy. We are a small company with only a few people on my team, so we all wear many hats. The challenges are time management and keeping up with all the new and existing projects while still trying to find time to be creative and forward thinking. My unconventional methods for combating this – now that I am writing it down – all have one thing in common, water.
A long swim, a long shower or when I was stationed in the Palm Beach office, a good surf session. That seclusion and silence helps me think.
I don’t think I’d be nearly as successful at Worth without Cassidy, she is my right hand, a sister and a really good friend. You know when you find someone that understands what you mean in pure silence? Those are keepers.
What advice would you give you someone who is starting in the yachting industry?
From the land-based side: You aren’t going to be a broker overnight. It isn’t glamorous all the time. There is actual work involved. Relationships are important. Just try to put a little effort into it, please.
There may be other yachting companies that are more corporately structured, and you can sort of get by doing what is told of you on paper but that isn’t how my team works. You must be self-motivated, positive thinking and a team player.
What is the most rewarding/enjoyable element of your job?
Seeing an idea come together. Seeing someone enjoy their boat, spending quality time with their friends and family onboard. We also get to do little fam trips here and there and I just love getting our team together to enjoy what we sell. Camaraderie is important to me. A huge bonus is when I can get another brokerage to partner with Worth on something. We have done a lot with Hinckley (shout out to Riley who is a superstar) and MacGregor Yachts – it makes my job so much more fun to have friendly competitions with other teams or work together to create a fun flotilla. (By the way, Team Worth has repeatedly defeated the MacGregor Yachts team at shuffleboard, I’d like to memorialize that in ink.) It’s nice to see a side of the brokerage industry that is kind and collaborative because that is the idea that Worth was founded on.
What is your favorite thing about working in the yacht market?
It’s not like anything else. It’s actually very difficult to explain my position to people I meet in my little town. I love the contrast.
What are you currently working on and what keeps you motivated?
We just wrapped the Palm Beach Boat Show, now onto Miami F1, our Summer Launch Party, a website revamp, ads, SEO, our Worth a Look Publication, four of our charter fleet yachts just had great content completed so a whole a slew of things need to be done with that. This list is miles long!
I’m working on saying “no” to things, I have a problem with that as I want to do ALL the things. Overall, I am working on being the best mom, wife, coworker, creative brain, and friend that I can be and that will forever be a work in progress.