Lyrah Veona L. Maxwell
Lyrah started her career with us as a HSEQ Environmental Assistant and today she is a Sustainability Assistant. Read more about her perspective on sustainability in Solstad and how this make the company even more resilient.
Title: Sustainability Assistant
Joined Solstad: 2018
What is your background (education and experience from other companies)?
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Transportation. I started as a deck cadet and had a short stint as a junior officer onboard general cargo vessels. I believe that qualifications and experience gained at sea are readily transferable to other areas, so I was open to trying new things and seeking for career opportunities onshore. I pursued the academe as an instructor and course developer while attending graduate studies, both in the same university. When I finished Master of Public Administration (MPA), I initially wanted to work in a government office but then I had the opportunity to start a career in HSEQ as HSEQ Coordinator for shuttle tankers. Glad that I chose it. There I became well-versed with the ISO, ISM, OCIMF and other HSEQ-related requirements assisting vessels, vessel managers and the HSEQ team in different locations worldwide. Working in the office and seeing things from shore-based point of view, I realized I wanted to be in this career path.
When and how did your story with Solstad start?
A friend from college who is a Solstad employee informed me about the job opening and encouraged me to apply for the HSEQ Environmental Assistant position. I checked the job details and thought that although it was an HSEQ job, it was different from what I was doing back then. I also liked the idea of being a pioneer as it was a new position. Since Solstad has had a good reputation in giving equal opportunities, I did not hesitate to proceed with the hiring process and fortunately, I got the job offer. April 4, 2018 was my 1st day with Solstad.
Can you explain what your currently do in your role as Sustainability Assistant?
I am the go-to person for concerns related to Unisea 14001, Emission, the Environmental Ship Index, and Maress (Maritime Efficiency Supervisory Software).
I am happily supporting the vessels and the shore personnel in fulfilling environmental and energy requirements and at the same time, working with the Sustainability team (Chief Sustainability Officer, the Sustainability Adviser, and the Sustainability Engineer) in matters related to various programs such as decarbonization and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).
How do you perceive career opportunities in the Company?
Career opportunities are not limited both for onshore and offshore. I have known personnel working onboard who have also started to work in the office and vice versa. Solstad also prioritizes internal applicants so you get to know the vacancies beforehand and have a chance to work in another department or in other offices within Solstad. Depending on what a person wants as a career path, the SIFO culture and the established processes such as appraisal talks and training plans make it easy to have a conversation with the manager/superior regarding career plans and progression.
What do you want to highlight from your current position?
I am enthusiastic that from being the HSEQ Environmental Assistant, I am now part of the Sustainability department as the Sustainability Assistant. Ours is a new and small department but a very important one as our company’s focus is on Sustainability. I have roles to play to ensure we are on track with our goals and that we are “getting greener while sustaining ethical growth and opportunities”.
In Solstad we now have 50 nationalities and we encourage diversity. Can you relate to a situation where diversity has improved the results in your daily work?
Supporting the vessels and the offices give me the chance to work with people from different backgrounds. Although most encounters are in emails or calls, I can say that diversity has positive impact such as learning from each other, seeing each other’s perspectives and solving problems better.
Sustainability department is a diverse team and I like the inclusive culture that we have. We consider each other’s ideas and contribution. This increases my confidence and engagement knowing that I feel equally involved in and valued. If I may point out, I am the only female in the team (for now) and I am the only one based in Manila but these were never an issue at all.
Shipping is traditionally a male industry but Solstad believe in equal opportunities. Would you recommend women to start a career in Solstad? Please explain.
We have had successful stories of women seafarers and managers in Solstad. With the launching of Women in Solstad (WIS), participation of women is highlighted, and this would help keep female employees engaged to build a more gender diverse leadership. Now is the perfect time for women to join Solstad.
Would you recommend young people to start a career in Solstad? Please explain.
Given the dynamic operations and the company’s long-term plans, one can build a rewarding and sustainable career within Solstad. Working for a good company with great mentors and engaging colleagues worldwide, I would recommend young people to starting a career in Solstad.