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. Get to know Karen Martensen, Yachting Relationship and Operations Manager at Engel and Volkers.

Karen Martensen, Yachting Relationship and Operations Manager at Engel and Volkers

What drew you to the yachting world and how did you get your start in yachting?

I was drawn into yachting by accident in 1995 after I moved from Paris to Cannes. Dahm International was looking for someone who was adventurous enough to open up the Antibes Office from scratch. I was hired for this mission, a “greeny” in yachting, in my baggage, language skills and experience in working in an international environment. I literally felt like a fish thrown into cold water, but loved this pioneering experience and building up the process of something new. And I learned how to swim and still do.

Who are some influential people in your life that you look up to?

Influential people in yachting I look up to are certainly Herbert Dahm, as he introduced me to yachting, then Adelheid Chirco, Espen Oenio, Jonathan Beckett and Richard Lambert. Besides, there is Tina Turner: I am impressed with her life story. She was brutally hurt and had many obstacles in her life, but never gave up!

What are some challenges you face and how do you overcome them?

The challenges I face are probably the same women generally speaking are confronted with in business. We all have to manage our family and business lives.

Besides, yachting is still a very “men ruled” field. Women in yachting are somewhat obliged to almost act and react like men, at the same time we are expected to be sexy and feminine. Challenges can only be overcome with positivity and authenticity, being 100% yourself in everything you do is the key.

Challenges are part of life and they bring us forward.

What are you currently working on and how do you stay inspired?

For one year I have now been working for Engel & Völkers. I share with them the experience I have gained over the years in yachting and assist in growing the yachting side of this successful and global brand.

I never stop being curious and hungry for life and new things and I love to exercise. This is how I stay inspired and get new creativity.

All Women in our Women in Yachting Series:

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