WISTA UK awards outstanding Woman and Man of the Year 2023

Press Release: Celebrating the incredible feats and dedication to diversity and inclusivity in the maritime sector, WISTA UK held their second Annual IMO Summer Reception in London. On the night, they bestowed two awards to recognise the outstanding contributions of their honourees. The Woman of the Year Award went to Petra Wilkinson CBE, and Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, was named Man of the Year.


Petra Wilkinson, CBE, Director of Maritime at the Department for Transport, who is an exemplar for her extraordinary dedication to advancing diversity and inclusion within the maritime sector. With 33 years of experience, she has been an invaluable leader in operations, strategy and programs – particularly at LISW (London International Shipping Week) 19 and in augmenting port connectivity. Her efforts have been pivotal in spurring the maritime industry to recognise and take action to boost diversity within the sector.


Mr Kitack Lim, the ninth Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Throughout his term, he has shown a strong commitment to improving diversity within the industry. His dedication to helping and promoting diversity organisations, including WISTA International and WISTA UK, has played a crucial role in driving progress and promoting diversity and inclusion. The efforts made under Mr Lim’s leadership have been instrumental in advancing the industry’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.


The evening’s proceedings also featured inspiring speeches from female senior officers of the Royal Navy, who shared their experiences, and the Head of the Royal Navy Reserves, emphasising the importance of gender equality and inclusivity within the maritime domain.


In line with their commitment to empowering the next generation, WISTA UK has dedicated their fundraising in 2023 to support the Maritime London Officer Cadet Scholarship (MLOCS). This initiative aims to raise £30,000 to fund a female Sea Cadet Scholarship, enabling young individuals to undertake comprehensive training to become Merchant Navy deck, engine, or electro-technical officers (ETO).


Monica Kohli, President of WISTA UK, expressed her pride in the accomplishments of the Woman and Man of the Year, stating, “Their unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion has been an inspiration to us all. Through their efforts, they have contributed significantly to fostering an inclusive maritime industry where everyone has equal opportunities.”


Baroness Vere, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (Aviation, Maritime and Security) It’s fantastic to see all the hard work being done, and to acknowledge the contributions that so many have made and continue to make, to ensure we have a more diverse and inclusive maritime industry.


This creates countless opportunities every year, encourages new talent and helps to cement the UK as a global leader with an incredible workforce that I’m proud to represent.”

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