Women’s History Month: Five Women Share What Working at HMY Means to Them

Women’s History Month: Five Women Share What Working at HMY Means to Them

By HMY Contributor   March 28, 2024

Women’s History Month: Five Women Share What Working at HMY Means to Them 

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the incredible contributions women have made — and continue to make — in our world. So here at HMY, we’re using this time of celebration and recognition to express our gratitude for the women who have played such an integral part in our company’s ongoing success as they also lead us into the future.  

Female Talent and Experience Contribute to HMY’s Success 

Our company and our industry are blessed with a host of well-connected, knowledgeable, and highly experienced women on the roster. Between five HMY leaders alone, for example — Office Manager Laura Hogle, Events Director Carmela Ferreira, Yacht Charter Director Susan Harris, Marketing Director Katie Flanagan, and Business Development Director Rachel Petersen — we benefit from the expertise of over a century of combined industry experience.  

From these seasoned leaders, on down to even the newest administrators, we’re fortunate to have women in a variety of roles working tirelessly with the entire team to meet our goals. “The majority of sales administrators are female [for example],” says Hogle. “Without them, the deals don’t close. They know all the ins and outs and have always been a huge part of the industry.”  

In addition to the sales administration team, the entire marketing and business development departments include women who are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the industry and who are all integral parts of the company. Katie Flanagan, who recently stepped into the Director of Marketing role last year, has spent her time pushing HMY to reach new limits in the marketing realm and creating a strong team.  

Rachel Petersen, Business Development Director, is leading her team to strive for success, creating better client relationships and promoting more sales. "Before all, we are here to serve our clients," Petersen says. "Our focus is on improving the client experience before a sale and long after." It's why HMY is known for having a very strong client retention rate, so it's no surprise that with this mindset, they have an equally strong employee retention rate. "At the company's most recent annual meeting, we were all excited to congratulate many of our team members on being here for 5, 10, 15 and even 20+ years," Petersen enthused. "It's no secret that when people come to work for HMY, they want to stay. Mr. Moynihan, Mr. Derrico, Mr. Thomas, and every single person on the management team truly care about each individual throughout the company. They want to see everyone succeed and are always asking how they can help. It fosters an environment where you want to make them proud. It's an inspiration to me. We have a really talented group of people, men and women, that are not only passionate about the industry, but passionate about learning and always reaching for higher levels to improve the business for our team members and for our clients. It's an honor to work here and I hope to pass it forward to inspire more women to speak up and let their ideas be heard, because it really can make a difference." 

A People-First Focus Retains and Boosts Female Leadership 

Why do these ambitious, successful women stay with HMY against current trends? Even as recently as 2022 the median employee tenure was 3.8 years for women 

But when asked what drew these leading ladies in to work for us (and stay), they shared a common thread: our emphasis on viewing employees as individuals, and always putting family first. 

“[Owner Steve Moynihan] truly does think about every employee and how any changes they make will affect the people,” Hogle asserts. “Steve knows everyone one-on-one; not just as a number. He thinks about people and expresses his gratitude for everyone’s efforts.”  Harris underscores how HMY cares for the whole individual when she recounts the story of her first interview with Moynihan: “I was very impressed that the owner of a huge yachting company would take the time to drive from Palm Beach to Dania to really get to know me professionally and personally to include my family, my personal goals, and hobbies. Once I left that huge conference room, I knew I had to be part of the HMY team and from then on, my goal was to work hard to exceed HMY’s expectations.” 

Prioritizing the individual also means prioritizing family, something the Moynihans have emphasized for 45 years. To Ferreira, who became a grandmother for the second time in 2023, HMY’s family-friendly focus is “huge” to her: “Family is everything!”  

We are Family — Even in Tough Times 

At HMY, putting people first isn’t just about accommodating schedules or parental leave time. We aim to consistently support everyone every day, no matter what’s being faced. “HMY is a big company,” Harris acknowledges, “[but] we share common values to make the business successful. Even in tough times such as COVID or the stock market crash, Steve will address the entire team and tell us, ‘We will get through this and come out stronger.’ We are one big family, which makes us want to work harder.” 

Fully supporting our team also means providing the resources our female members need to thrive both within the company and in their non-career pursuits year-round. “There’s a great reward system for hard work,” Harris elaborates, “that includes hosting women's retreats at various locations such as the Ocean Reef Club, or weekend getaways. [They’ve] even chartered a 92-foot yacht for the day to reward the hard work of our admins and support ladies.” 

After only six years with us, she concludes, “I plan on retiring with HMY. They’re so good to their people.”  

Evolving Into a Future of Female Leadership  

These five HMY female leaders are just one indication of how women are increasingly contributing their talents across yachting in general. And more are being inspired to follow in their shoes. “When it comes to women in the industry,” Ferreira elaborates, “it’s about building each other up by sharing knowledge and experiences. We need to empower each other.” 

Lucky for all of us, that’s happening. “[The field is] changing, as a lot of administrators have decided to become yacht brokers,” Hogle explains. When she started doing brokerage back in 1983, for example, there were perhaps only three other female brokers she could look up to. “That number has changed substantially over the years,” she says, as well as an increase in professional women in yachting forums, as speakers, and as captains. 

“Back then, there were also only two or so women captains,” she continues. “Now there are more women captains and mates showing up every day. The yacht industry is [also] associated with attorneys who are needed to help close deals. Lots of women attorneys are part of that. The finance side of the business is seeing more and more women, too. We see more women across the field saying, ‘I can do what you’re doing,’ and going for it and being successful.”  “It’s always nice to see women as boat owners and competing in the fishing industry through tournaments and charity events,” Ferreira adds.  

And that representation is making a difference.    

Even the most traditionally male-dominated aspect of the industry — mechanics — is benefitting from this evolution. “A girl from HMY went to work at Seakeeper,” Hogle says. “Right now, there are ladies running the big industry associations (like Super Yacht). And this is going to happen more and more. Women all around are saying, ‘Hey, that looks interesting, and I can do it.’ It’s only going to keep evolving. Women are great thinkers and doers. They’ll make things happen. More will become captains and brokers, keeping this trajectory going.” 

HMY is proud to have been part of this industry-benefiting, evolutionary growth from the beginning, and will continue to be so as we provide the most exceptional service to the yachting community. Explore our listings of yachts for sale, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube for more yachting news. 

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