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CEO of Grieg Logistics, Michelle Williams shares her thoughts and experiences on the occasion of the annual international women’s day.

What does international women’s day represents to you?

– It represents a day to remember that we cannot take things for granted. A day to remember and celebrate all the brilliant women who stood up and took the fight for equality ages ago. And also to focus on the remaining work we have and continue to put new issues and battles on the agenda. No country in the world can say they are equal, and that’s a fact.

It is no secret that you paved your way in the Royal Norwegian Navy, being one of few women in the marine back then. How has this affected you through your work in the navy, and outside in other businesses?

– One of the things is that hard work and focus on your goal and objectives never fail. Not giving up when things turn against you and also remember to celebrate achievements. I think that sometimes the best confirmation comes from oneself.

– I have so many female role models, but I would like to highlight one of my male role models, Kurt Rune Andreassen, former CEO at Coast Center Base. He was a fantastic leader to me and knew exactly how to motivate me to be the best version of myself as a leader. I am so grateful for his leadership and sharing of knowledge today.

How do you think business leaders today should work with and address equality, diversity, and inclusion?

– We have to challenge ourselves and dare to think outside the traditional box. From a bird’s perspective: what and who compliments the company and will strengthen us in achieving our strategy and our goal. This is not just one person, a specific background, or a definite education. To reach this goal we need different people with different meanings, backgrounds, sex, and education.

How do you do this at Grieg Logistics? 

– Among other things we work according to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and we have goal number 5 – gender equality on our agenda. Combined with this focus and also aiming to get the right competence and personal skills, I do push my management team, at all times to make sure there is a diverse group of applicants for vacant positions.

Although we have come far, we still have a lot of work to do before we reach gender equality between the sexes. This especially applies to the maritime industry. What do you believe we have to do to recruit more women in positions traditionally held by men, and vice versa?

– We need several important focuses on such as better and more information, publicity and proof of concept, enlight the upcoming generation of all the possibilities which lies in different industries and positions, especially those that are traditionally held by men.

Why is this so important? And what does equality mean to you?

– Because a society, both personal and in business driven by a non-diverse principal is a “walking backward” strategy.

Growth, innovation, and sustainability are dependent on building great teams by both men and women with different backgrounds and perspectives.

How are you celebrating this year’s international women’s day?

– The theme for this year’s international women’s day is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world”. So many women are suffering under the Covid-19 pandemic, and if you can you should use this day to raise awareness on behalf of all women who can’t fight for equal rights. In addition, I would also like to cheer for all women who have fought against the pandemic since March 2020 and have been part of the forefront against the virus. I am celebrating by contributing to raising awareness on these topics, and by cheering for all the women who have taken the fight, to all standing up now for equality and diversity, and to all young women and men joining us in the important fight. Happy international women’s day!

This is Michelle:
Michelle Williams is CEO at Grieg Logistics, part of Grieg Group. She is a former officer at the Royal Norwegian Navy and was the first woman to captain a NATO frigate. She is a former managing director at CCB Mongstad and has several years of experience from the Royal Norwegian Armed Forces.