YATCO’s broker of the month series examines the unique life experiences that brought these brokers into the world of yachting, who influenced them, and what they seek to change in the industry.
Featuring Michela Villa, Yacht Broker & Founder of Villa Yachting
How did you get your start in yachting?
I grew up in beautiful Genoa with a strong maritime tradition. Living so close to the Mediterranean Sea and seeing the amazing yachts heading for Portofino always made me very curious about what exciting world was behind that.
My father, who was a very experienced Admiral in the Italian Coastguard, and the Harbour Authorities of Genoa, taught me all there is to know about the legislation, the yachts and their crews.
After his retirement, he could not let go of working and assisted my sister and me when we started our Yachting Agency, Villa Yachting. One of the nicest things in my career in yachting is dealing with so many great people from so many different nationalities. The fun thing for me is that you get so many questions through the years and those questions did not stop at agency matters. I’ve been a licensed yacht broker since 2010 and since then I started to get more and more involved in the chartering of yachts and sale and purchase projects.
Is there anyone in particular who influences you – someone in the industry that you look up to, and why?
It’s not just one person that influences me. I deal with so many successful and interesting people. By watching how they deal with situations, I learn.
Every day is a school day, I always say.
What do you enjoy most about the yachting industry and what do you wish you could change?
Every time we win something – whether it is getting a problem solved or we are making a deal and I see people being happy how we got there, that’s something I truly enjoy.
That puts a huge smile on my face. No day is the same when you work with yachts and crews; It can be long days, but when you approach things positively it is all very worth it!
I don’t really have things that I feel need changing – maybe bureaucracy.
Do you have any advice for someone wishing to join the yachting industry?
Work hard, be smart and be eager to learn. Don’t forget that the yachting industry is very competitive and service levels are extremely high.
When you are professional because you know what you are talking about and think outside the box, you will do just fine. But the biggest advice is to work on your people skills! Work on your network and make sure people remember you by putting the right stamp on things.
What are some of the challenges you come across at work, and how do you approach them?
Yachting requires solid skills from both a technical and commercial point of view. We live in a world that has been developing at an impressive pace over the past 20 years. An operator in the sector therefore finds himself having to “run” after novelties, both from an industrial point of view of the product handled and from a marketing point of view. I try to renew myself every day, never forgetting where I came from but with the desire to get involved with the right humility, setting myself short and long-term goals.
Tell us about your greatest accomplishment.
My job sometimes looks like a rollercoaster – one day you feel very successful and the day after things are moving very slowly, and then they pick up again in the most unexpected way.
So, if I have to pinpoint something positive, I will say that I am learning how to keep up with this constant change of direction, but I feel that my biggest achievement is yet to come!
What is your favorite yacht currently for sale and why?
My favorite yacht currently for sale is S/Y Latitude, because she is my first Sale Central Agency.
The 40m/131’3″ sailing yacht LATITUDE (ex. MIRABELLA I) was built by Concorde Yachts at their Chonburi shipyard. Her yacht interior is styled by design house Peter Sijm and she was completed in 1991. This luxury vessel’s exterior design is the work of Farr Yacht Design and she was last refitted in 2017. LATITUDE was the first of the highly successful series of three Concorde Yachts. Currently located in Genoa (Italy) and the asking price is €1,400,000.00 VAT PAID.