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Kathy Monroe

“I got started in the boating industry because I wanted to get back to work part time. I was a sailor so I applied for jobs at a boatyard. I started sailing when I was 10 or 11. My earliest sailing memory was sailing with my father in a real old rickety boat and everything breaking. Time away from the normal business of life is what boating means to me. A lesson I learned from being a part of a male dominated industry, was to picture every man you see as an old crotchety father, you can’t let it intimate you but encourage and inspire. I also do miss the camaraderie of the people I worked with. I miss being with a bunch of guys and on the same boat. Just everyone trying to get something done and you're never alone. The fact that I was a woman managing a boatyard full of men was a challenge. When I started there were a lot of barriers for women in the industry and when I retired things had opened up quite a bit. I was always in female dominated position from going to an all girls school, nursing school with just girls and being a housewife. The only place where I was with men was boating. It wasn’t so strange for me but it was definitely a challenge. For women that are interested in boating, wait your turn, learn a little bit about everything so that you have the knowledge, and you want to show everyone that just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”

Joan Kelly

“My family has been in the business since 1935 and it's three generations. My sister, Susie, needed someone to help her sell boats and I was like I can’t do that, I don’t know how to sell boats but, I had the background and exposure. My whole life I lived on the water and sailed in my younger years. I really looked at what it means to be a broker. . I believe women can be associated with being more compassionate as far as really listening to the customer and not just selling them a boat, but listening. I always said that selling boats, has a similar psychology like a teacher. You can help someone get their boat matching them instead of just selling what you have on hand. . You have to enjoy what you’re doing and be knowledgeable. There were also many people willing to help share knowledge. The fact that it was a male dominated profession, it was intimidating because I was a woman and there weren't many women in the industry at that time. I had a support system and it was my husband. He was very supportive and told me ``Why do I think that they know more than I could? and could do a better job than me? and would always tell me I was doing a terrific job``. Now, if you're going to get a boat, take a boating course and not only take a bit of boating course, but have some private lessons. If I had my choice, I would get a 40 MJM. It would just be my dream boat of all time.”

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Sue Paul

 My passion for sailing started when my parents had a place in Sanibel marina. I started out as customer service and then sales for they had created a marketing product coordinator position at the time. We were introducing the catamarans and the Tiga sailboard. I felt like it was an advantage being a female entrepreneur. I was mostly selling to men and it opened doors for me. Sometimes you can encounter some obstacles but you just overcome them to become great at what you do. 

“My father taught me how to sail when I was young on a sunfish and you know, we belonged to the Ocean City Club back in those days. If I could choose a boat, it would be a Pursuit Center Console due to its easiness to use and sail with especially if you wanna go on tours and ride with your friends and want to go to a restaurant.

When it comes to telling women any advice,

I think about my nieces who are in their 20s. If they were to get into the boating industry, I would tell them to make it fun, have balance and be serious. I had a business for a number of years and I didn’t have balance and I was just a workaholic. There will always be mistakes but it’s important that you learn from them and can just pass them on.”