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.
Barbara Dawson is a senior charter broker for Camper & Nicholsons (CNI) and has been a charter broker for more than two decades. She joined CNI almost 25 years ago from her own successful company, New Horizon Charters. Barbara was on the board of the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) for eight years and is still active on the Charter Committee. She also was on the board of the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) and is an associate member of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association.
Featuring Barbara Dawsonm Senior Charter Broker for Camper & Nicholsons (CNI)
What drew you to the yachting world?
I was on the water quite a bit when I was younger, mainly sportfishing and diving. I loved the water and I spent most of my time at the beach.
How did you get your start in yachting?
It was a gradual progression for me. My significant other (who was a boat captain) and I took over an existing company that dealt with convention groups, which were very popular at the time for companies to give as incentives. We would organize sportfishing, sailing, and commercial yachts for large groups coming into South Florida. I had the company for five years or so before starting with Camper & Nicholsons in the early 1990s. When they moved to the US and opened an office in Palm Beach, Diana Brody approached me to join the team.
It was a gradual progression for me. [I used to] organize sportfishing, sailing, and commercial yachts for large groups coming into South Florida. I had the company for five years or so before starting with Camper & Nicholsons in the early 1990s.
Who are some influential people in your life that you look up to?
There are many people in my life that I look up to and that have helped me grow.
One was my significant other who I was with for 23 years and who just passed a few years ago; his guidance and help in the early years was immeasurable to me and I would not be where I am if not for him.
There were so many strong women in yachting that helped me along the way. Sarah Balls and Neil Hornsby were my managers when I was first hired, Diana Brody who brought me into CNI, and of course Rikki Davis and Jan Henry were influential too.
What are some challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
I have faced many challenges over the years, but most recently it has been COVID. It is vital to know all the protocols for the various countries, negotiate for postponements or cancellations, organize addendums to the contracts, and much more.
What are you currently working on and how do you stay inspired?
All sorts of charters for the summer, a few potential sales, as well as some challenging itineraries in areas off the beaten path. For example Octopus is chartering in Antarctica next winter with heliskiing and cold-water diving – the only saving grace is that I did have the opportunity to sail there on Legend a few years back. I have all seven continents in my passport!
Inspiration comes to me from various aspects of the yachting world, but one of the most important factors is making someone’s trip of a lifetime or just their sheer happiness after a holiday – especially after these trying times.
Inspiration comes to me from various aspects of the yachting world, but one of the most important factors is making someone’s trip of a lifetime or just their sheer happiness after a holiday.