Mentorship can be a vital tool as you build your superyacht career, but it can be a challenge to find people to help you along the way. LegaSea Mentoring
wants to remove the obstacles and enable those who have vast experience to connect with those who want to learn.
Chief Officer Jenny Matthews, creator of She of the Sea, hopes the service will help eliminate what she says is the luck of the draw in finding a job in the industry. “It seems that there was no shortage of people wanting to pass on knowledge and there was a real recognition that the luck of the draw — you know, what boat do you get placed on [for] your first job, what’s that captain like? With all these things, the luck of the draw was just playing too much of a role in people’s careers and experiences,” she says.
The idea, Matthews explained, was to create a platform where they can remove the “luck” element. “[We want to provide] equal opportunity to connect with the professionals that have the expertise and experience to really stand beside them on their journeys,” she says. The second problem the program hopes to solve is the “leak of talent from sea to shore,” Matthews explains. “It’s very much who you know, so we want to make sure that the people that have the skills can get to the doors that are open, and the whole end game is to bolster the talent pipeline all the way from recruitment to retention progression.”
People can join the LegaSea program and indicate if they want to be a mentor, mentee, or both. (Doing both is encouraged!) At the time we spoke, Matthews had more than 75 people signed up, with more joining all the time. Once you’re registered, you can search for the person who best fits your needs — anything from being mentored on deck or even someone looking to make the move ashore. “[There’s] really a broad spectrum of people involved,” Matthews says. In a COVID world, the online platform works well to connect people from all over the globe, but in person meetings are also possible, although when it’s safe to do so. Currently, there are limited spaces and each individual is vetted to ensure that their values align with the platform’s purpose and to make sure there are appropriate people for them to connect with.
Matthews recommends that those joining stay involved for at least six months for maximum benefit, but people can join and leave the program at any time. “It might be a bit misleading to say that it’s a six-month program because it will continue for longer. …It will continue for as long as we can get funding.”
The platform has been designed so that everyone contributes in some way. Mentors obviously contribute time, and mentees can pay per week, so for the six-month course it works out to be €240. A monthly subscription is also possible. “We really didn’t want money to be a barrier, but we also recognize that people don’t value what they don’t pay for,” Matthews says. “So there is a very small buy-in fee.”
Alongside the mentoring service, Matthews explains that the LegaSea team — Matthews and Natasha Ambrose— provide supplemental services, which include interviews and workshops each month that take in-depth looks into different sectors, like management or training, etc. “So they really get to hear from the experts in their fields as well as their one-on-one mentoring,” Matthews says. The program officially launched on November 1, 2020.