WISTA International (Women's International Shipping and Trading Association) elected their new President, Elpi Petraki, from WISTA Hellas, at its Annual General Meeting, on 26 October, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The nominees for the position of President were Elpi Petraki, WISTA Hellas, and Alexandra Anagnostis-Irons, WISTA USA.
WISTA International consists of 56 National WISTA Association (NWA) and each one is represented by the President or a delegate at AGM and casts their vote for their country's choice for the President.
Newly elected President of WISTA International, Elpi Petraki, Operations, Chartering & Business Development Manager at ENEA Management, declared: "I am truly honoured to have been elected as President of WISTA International. Diversity and inclusion in maritime have never been in the spotlight like today and whilst much has been achieved in recent times, there is still a great deal to be done. WISTA International has a powerful voice that must be heard, continuing to raise awareness for the incredible contribution women make to the industry. I look forward to working with the WISTA NWA's and other international bodies to address how our organisation can support evolving objectives - such as decarbonisation, digitalisation and attracting new talent – and provide equal and equitable opportunities for all."
The former President of WISTA International, Despina Theodosiou, with a five-year term and two consecutive mandates between 2017-2022, had a standing ovation at the AGM meeting. Following the new president's announcement, she addressed the WISTA members and spoke about some of the highlights during her time as president.
"After five years, the time has come for me to hang up my hat as President of WISTA International. First, I'd like to say a huge thank you to the other members of the WISTA International Executive Committee, who have provided a tremendous amount of support over the years. Secondly, I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to the Presidents of the 56 National WISTA Associations for entrusting me to continue to deliver WISTA's mission. It has been a pleasure to work with you all.
WISTA is committed to creating change. Looking back at the work we have achieved within WISTA International, we have made every opportunity to encourage that change and level the playing field for everyone. As President, I had the privilege of working with many organisations to help identify solutions and promote the benefits diversity can deliver, including the International Maritime Organization, APEC SEN, Maritime SheEO and the International Chamber of Shipping.
WISTA was one of the founding partners of the European Commission's Platform for Change and in 2018, we secured Consultative Status with the IMO. This was a significant moment for WISTA International, allowing us to formally contribute to discussions related to increasing capacity within the maritime industry by showcasing the incredible work women are undertaking and providing the opportunity to discuss diversity, inclusion and the empowerment of women with the administrations responsible for shaping global maritime regulations.
WISTA has been working closely with the IMO to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the maritime industry, which has seen the two organisations collaborate on several initiatives, including the first Women in Maritime Survey. Furthermore, over the last five years, WISTA membership has continued to grow. The number of NWAs has increased from 39 to 56, with new representation established in parts of the world that are more challenging for women. This is down to the incredible amount of work and energy NWAs all around the world have put into addressing industry challenges, supporting others in the sector and being advocates for change. We should all be immensely proud of what we have achieved over the years, especially in light of the challenges faced during covid. WISTA and the drive to create a more diverse and sustainable maritime sector will continue to be a key focus for me moving forward, but for now, it's time to pass on the baton to the next President of WISTA International Elpi Petraki and I wish her every success in her Presidency."
The Nominations Committee also announced the new Secretary of WISTA International at the AGM. The candidates for this position were Yasmina Rauber from WISTA Switzerland and Jemilat Mahamah from WISTA Ghana, who was elected.
For the position of ExCo Member, there were three nominees: Dafne Anghelidis representing WISTA Argentina, Raimah Chowdhury (WISTA Bangladesh) and Ify Akerele, WISTA Nigeria. Dafne Anghelides and Raimah Chowdhury were elected as WISTA International ExCo members.