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.
Featuring Lisa Parkhomchuk, Managing Director of Super Yacht Agent (SYA)
What drew you to the yachting world?
Many years ago, in 2010, I was fortunate enough to be invited for a week’s holiday in the South of France on 42m (138ft) M/Y CALLIOPE an exceptional 2010 Dutch trideck yacht, built by Holland Jachtbouw shipyard, and designed by Bill Langan Naval Architects and Rhodes Young Ltd. interior designers.
Design is my background, and as a previous teacher of 3D design, Sculpture and Architecture, I was excited to go onboard to explore the interior architectural layout, the use of space and spent many hours quizzing the captain to understand how weight distribution and hull design affects performance. It was an amazing experience, the level of service, the quality of the food was exceptional. We cancelled dinners ashore due to the pure culinary delights onboard. I also gained an insight into the service side of a working yacht charter through conversations with the Chef and Chief Stewardess both from my local area, I could clearly see the dedication of the crew in every department was above all expectations.
I knew at this time this was an area that I would like to explore further, after further charters, my husband and I decided to take up sailing ourselves gaining our skipper license and continuing to enjoy our passion for the seas.
How did you get your start in yachting?
By accident really – my husband works within business aviation and his clients were requesting yachts for charter; this was an area that was growing, and I started supporting the arrangements of charters and destination itineraries.
I worked as a Senior Leader within the education sector at the time and wanted a change in career so started training in yacht management, sales and charter then decided to leave to start our company, Super Yacht Agent.
Who are some influential people in your life that you look up to?
I am lucky to be able to link strong qualities and values to specific people who have influenced me at different stages throughout my career. I have always admired resilience, being true to oneself and valuing your worth especially as a woman.
For inspiration, I avidly follow Kelly Gordon who changed her career to become a yacht captain – she gives a great insight into the life of a superyacht captain and is a true advocate for supporting and inspiring yacht crew and mental health in yachting. I also admire Rose Damen who is shining a spotlight of Women in Yachting by bringing women together to share experiences and most importantly, support one another.
What are some challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
The unforeseen, especially as a company owner and ensuring all the separate parts work in unison with each other.
So, identifying where things can go wrong and ensuring plans are in place, being pro-active, innovative, and most importantly, reflective.
What advice would you give you someone who is starting in the yachting industry?
Investing in your knowledge and understanding of the industry and especially your clients is essential and improves your confidence and credibility.
My father always said, “you can never have enough strings on your bow,” so learning, especially from others has always been my mantra.
What is the most rewarding/enjoyable element of your job?
Finding the perfect yacht for a client and getting great feedback from the clients, captain, and CA’s, and also connecting with new colleagues and expanding my network and knowledge.
What is your favorite thing about working in the yacht industry?
Apart from visiting amazing locations, viewing yachts and attending amazing yacht shows, I think the people make the industry; I have met some really lovely people who have been generous with their time and always ready to make things happen.
What are you currently working on and what keeps you motivated?
I’m currently selling a 30m (98ft) yacht and also looking for yachts for a couple of clients, so the hunt to get the perfect yacht keeps me motivated, keeping up to date with the market patterns, trends in pricing and how external factors influence current sales is extremely interesting.
I’m also a strong believer of upskilling my knowledge, so currently undertaking a Diploma in Superyacht Surveying from the Maritime Training Academy in order to carry out more informed yacht viewings and surveys to better support clients in making important decisions whether buying or managing a yacht.