This is how Nina is sailing to the top in shipping
Nina M. Hanevold-Sandvik(35) originally wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and become a diplomat. But after studying admiralty during studies abroad, she chose a career in maritime law instead. At Wikborg Rein she works in the cross-section between shipping and law – two traditionally male-dominated industries, and last year she was listed as one of "10 Women to Watch" by YoungShip. In this article, Nina shares her best tips on how to succeed.
At first I specialised in public international law and international relations with an aim to enter the diplomatic service, but I realised that maritime law was a very interesting alternative. Maritime law is largely based on international conventions, but it becomes a lot more practical, says Nina.
Shipping is the road to take if you want to work internationally as a lawyer, she adds.
- The legal practice is normally very national, but shipping and maritime law gives you a range of opportunities for an international career. In addition, Norway is one of the major players within shipping internationally, making us very relevant indeed.
How to succeed
- Many have high ambitions and are promised a number of opportunities when recruited, but end up feeling somewhat invisible. Being young you have to take responsibility for your own career and one way to do this is to be outspoken about what you want. Don't expect someone entering your office asking if you want to work in London for a year. Once you're a bit firmer about what you want, you may often find that there are many experienced colleagues willing to help you along the way.
Seek out possibilities – and be flexible
- Find out if there are any courses or programs you can attend that will add something to you as a lawyer. I do not have a background in shipping, and therefore took the Deck Officer Class 5 course and exams at the initiative of one of the partners I work with. This gave me a broader understanding of the navigational aspects of shipping, and has made me better at my job. Obviously it is necessary to make an effort, and opportunities do not always arise at the most appropriate times. I sacrificed two nights a week for a year in order to take that exam, and the opportunity to go to London coincided with my boyfriend proposing to me.
Build a network early on
- Always say yes to speaking at a seminars or conferences even though it may be tough at first. You get better after a few times, and it is an excellent opportunity to get in contact with new people. It is also of important to participate in various associations or more informal gatherings where you meet other people from the industry. For example, I participated in the Maritime Trainee program, which is the Norwegian Shipowners' Association's two-year management trainee program. Through this program I met a lot of talented young people from various parts of the industry. We still meet regularly and it has given me a unique network which I find useful in my work.
Hear more about Nina's story and more tips on how to succeed in the Shipping industry at Shippingpodcasten.