career transitioner/ restarter
GERALDINE LORRAINE LOH
Crewing & Admin Manager, Hai Soon Group
(In her 40's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
Geraldine switched careers after being in the jewellery and fashion industry for more than 10 years to a totally new and unrelated industry - shipping and maritime. Overseeing the needs of over 400 seafarers and organized chartered flights for crew repatriation in the face of challenges posed by COVID restrictions to international travel. More than 250 Burmese and Chinese crew returned home successfully due to her efforts.
In her previous career, she was in the Marketing and PR fields, and was a part of organizers and chairman of the Singapore Jewelfest, an International Jewellery Fair. She also ran a fashion business and took the business online when retail and shopping became a pastime for online shoppers. However after 20 years, she made a switch to the maritime industry with the encouragement of her family.
The initial months took a lot of getting used to. After three years in the industry, new challenges surface when COVID struck, making international and crew repatriation really difficult. Crews were working on board vessels for more than a year and needed to go home desperately. Hence her initiative to organise Charter Flights, liaising with the Burmese authorities really helped crews not only from our company but also from other companies as well.
As we celebrate the 'everyday' women, Geraldine’s story is an inspiration. She changed career/industry and joined the company at 44 years old and picked up new skills and knowledge from this industry - an industry predominantly dominated by males. At 48, her fearless pursuit in new boundaries is an inspiration to her younger colleagues. Despite being in a new environment, Geraldine makes an effort to understand crew needs and improve their conditions.
Apart from work, Geraldine is a good mentor in life. She is always bubbly and fun, exemplifying that Age is only a number!
In her words:
Taking the courage to switch from Jewellery/Fashion industry to the male dominated Marine/Shipping Industry, and successfully organized charter flights to help repatriate about 300 crew back to their home country during the covid-19 pandemic where international travel was mostly banned.
Every milestone is an achievement in some sense as I believe courage and perseverance is required to take every little step forward.
Biggest challenge thus far
Adjusting to the new job work flow which can be challenging and daunting with the help of young colleagues and re-learning all that was so unfamiliar to me. Jewellery marketing and Marine Crewing are VASTLY different industries and acquiring this different knowledge has been empowering and satisfying.
what judges say
Very unusual pivot – jewellery/fashion to shipping (very male dominated industry). Had huge impact helping seafarers return home during Covid