Inspired by Janet Norteye´s career journey and learnings, Janet´s story was nominated via her colleague at Maersk.
If you are wondering is this role suitable for a woman? I want to persuade you that Maersk gives the same opportunities for both men and women, all you need is to be determined and humble to learn while mastering your own fears and vulnerabilities. The things we see as a bias are merely steppingstones placed in one’s way to make you stronger to climb higher.
Despite her application for the Graduate Program in 2000 being unsuccessful, her potential and talent were clearly seen, and she was offered several possible positions within Maersk and Janet felt she could contribute most through being a Customer Service Agent. Joining the male dominated office as a young graduate, Janet was mentored and encouraged by her colleagues and she was able to learn quickly and gained confidence to keep testing new methods to improve the import manifest process with the goal of sustainably attaining zero-defect manifest submissions to avoid unnecessary costs and negative impact to our customers cargo.
The success of this was noted by Customs and the Port Authority in Ghana which requested Maersk’s knowledge sharing on timeous and accurate documentation. This would not have been achieved without being part of an inclusive and diverse organisation that enabled employees to grow and challenge themselves irrespective of their gender or background.
Personal development journey
In the past, the notion that you could either have a thriving career or be a nurturing mother was yet another bias that Janet was able to break. Not all companies offered a conducive environment with the flexibility and support of colleagues to do both. Maersk however provided the inclusive environment that made Janet able to continue contributing to her customers throughout her pregnancy and after delivery upon her return to work after maternity leave. With the support from her team and managers Janet was able to achieve balance and success in both her role as a mother and a career mother. Becoming a mother did not mean career stagnation; quite the opposite as Janet through her personal development plan, peer support as well as Leadership sponsorship was able to challenge herself once more and took a position with the Care Team to serve our premium customers.
Outside of work, to further excel, Janet acquired a Freight Forwarding diploma as well as a master’s degree in marketing. This is where the passion of truly getting to understand our customers and their needs arose. Shortly after, Janet became an NPS ambassador promoting the Customer satisfaction and loyalty surveys to our customers to see the CSLS as a credible avenue Maersk uses to get relevant and critical input from her customers. Using the insights gained from CSLS follow up calls, Janet learnt about co-creating solutions with our customers which led to the introduction of the Customer Interaction Forum, fondly known as CIF (a quarterly forum to meet the customers/Freight forwarders). These interactive sessions onboarded customers onto our self-service solutions and allowed for an open forum for them to raise their pain points so that we could resolve. A continuous two-way Customer/employee engagement increased through these sessions.
Janet continued to drive her personal development and gained valuable learnings through various trainings that were available at Maersk, such as Crucial conversations, Strategies for Success and ALDP to name a few. The inclusive environment at Maersk and the quest of leaders to identify talents and nurture them to grow, enabled Janet to learn and grow. To pay it forward Janet coached others to develop the skills needed for a successful career, just as many of her mentors had done with her, whilst continuing to serve as an example to prove that shipping is an opportunity where both men and women can thrive.
The only constant is change
As we all know, a constant in life, and at Maersk, is that change is inevitable. Embracing this and learning to accept change can be tough but the opportunities created along the way are worth it.
Janet experienced this when at very short notice she needed to move to Nigeria for a short-term assignment to cover for a colleague on maternity leave, pushing her out of her comfort zone. On returning to Ghana, she joined the ALDP class of 2019 and once graduated fresh with the learnings gained, she was once again ready for a new challenge this time a permanent position in Nigeria. Alas COVID added another obstacle which meant relocating back to Ghana to join as the Multi Carrier Team lead offering end to end services to our customers to satisfy their logistics and service’s needs.
A year later, and yet another challenge is now ahead as Janet takes on the Customer Implementation manager for the Central West Africa Area. This project management role ensures we execute the supply chain management needs of our customers in the most efficient and cost-effective way as sold to our customers. We are sure to see more successes in the future.
I want to thank all the gallant women and men who believed in me and kept cheering me on. Thanks for creating such an inclusive environment for us to thrive in Maersk and give off our best.