Year after year, women in yachting have taken a larger and more significant role in the industry. They are emerging as powerful, effective, and efficient – as much as men in yachting, and have gone beyond the role of charter broker. Here, YATCO takes the time to get to know some of these women – whether they are yacht sales brokers, shipyard coordinators or marketing masters. Below, we get to know Zehra Aksu, Yacht Broker at Wave Yacht Sales.
Featuring Zehra Aksu, Yacht Broker at Wave Yacht Sales
What drew you to the yachting world?
Growing up by the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey, I always had a special connection with water. For almost 11 years I worked as an architect and project manager in the construction industry before I finally fulfilled my dream of working in yachting. My undeniable love of the sea encouraged me to learn a variety of water sports and ultimately, it was scuba diving that was the turning point in my life and led me to my yachting destiny!
How did you get your start in yachting?
I started as a scuba diving instructor and deckhand on a charter yacht in the Caribbean, before achieving my captaincy and marine engineering licenses. I stepped out of my comfort zone and did whatever it took to achieve my dreams.
I could not be more proud of where I am today as a yacht expert, contributing to this incredible industry with years of knowledge and experience and helping people to achieve their dream lifestyle by owning a yacht. I believe yacht ownership is the pinnacle of the travel experience. Many people say that they want a life of beautiful luxury travel yet they are not actually achieving it. I always keep one phrase in my mind: “Those who do not travel have the same disadvantages as those who cannot travel.”
My mission is to help those who have the ability to live this life and make sure they experience this beautiful world on board a luxury yacht.
Who are some influential people in your life that you look up to?
I always admired how Steve Jobs impacted our lives through technology, the innovation he inspired with Apple and how he connected people to their passions. I love Tony Robbins because he helps people to achieve their dreams.
Ultimately, the person I see in the mirror every day inspires me the most. The tenacity, determination and commitment she has to provide the best service for her clients, the way she stands up for this life, her work ethic, values and drives to succeed at whatever she does, and her desire to connect people to their passions and to help them shape the lifestyle they want to create.
All of this inspires me to keep working until I succeed and achieve everything I want.
What are some challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
I often think it is so strange that everyone tries to be perfect, even though all of us have many challenges and a lot of insecurities.
Coming from another country, being raised in a very different culture and having an accent used to be a challenge for me while I was traveling around the world. After spending such a long time on superyachts working as a first officer and engineer (where I was isolated most of the time), my transition to life ashore was not easy. Just like a fish out of the water, human interactions on land became a challenge to adapt to. Working on the engineering systems of a superyacht and studying architecture and construction was a smoother experience than trying to understand the emotions of humans. So, I had to work on learning about behavioral science and communication in order to understand human beings.
Since then, I have changed my relationship with challenges. Now, I face them and in a way, I see them as my superpower.
As a result of this, I ask better questions, I am more patient with people and I help them to overcome their doubts while in the process of buying a yacht.
Anytime you want to be the best at anything there will be challenges and there will be competition. Now, I overcome these challenges by pushing through my comfort zone and learning how to fly rather than fall.
What are you currently working on and how do you stay inspired?
I recently joined the Wave Marine Group, the parent company of Wave Yacht Sales. I am now working on building both a superyacht and charter division from the ground up within Wave and it has been a great experience so far! My heart has always been in the new build and refit yacht construction space as I have a real desire to contribute to the future of yachting. I am also working on several new-build superyacht projects that have sustainable design and innovative engineering solutions.
I live by a simple phrase: “Life isn’t about what you know, it’s about where you go.”
All Women in our Women in Yachting Series:
- Zehra Aksu, Yacht Broker at Wave Yacht Sales
- Raffaella Daino, Head of Communications and Marketing at Baglietto Spa
- Dominique Gapillout, Owner of L’Echo Nautique Yacht Brokerage
- Altea Llakmani, CCO and Partner, FGI Yacht Group
- Daria Tomassetti, Yacht Broker at Daria Tomassetti
- Candice Christiansen, Charter Management & Brokerage at Swisspath Yachting
- Niomi Matysek, Commercial Coordinator at Hill Robinson
- Daniela Backhaus, Head of Engineering Department Mechanical Systems at Lurssen Yachts
- Sara Gioanola, PR and Press Office Manager at Heesen Yachts
- Karen Martensen, Yachting Relationship and Operations Manager at Engel & Volkers
- Marianne Hendriks, Managing Director of Moonen Yachts
- Jenny Caird, CEO and Founder of 212 Yachts
- Rose Damen of Damen Yachting
- Eleonora Pitasso at BURGESS