… a woman breaking boundaries in the maritime industry
As one of the very first women to have ventured into the Ghanaian maritime sector, Captain Catherine Haizel has made a name for herself in what is regarded as a male-dominated field and keeps leaving her mark in the industry.
The inspiration to many Ghanaian females seeking a career in the maritime industry was born to a family of 11 with nine kids who shared in the undying love of their parents equally. Because of her father’s career with the Public Works Department (PWD), Catherine and her siblings grew up in different parts of the country and experienced their formative years mostly in the northern part of Ghana.
Catherine was shocked when she left her close-knitted family and community to have her secondary education at St Monica’s Senior High School in the Ashanti Region. “Going to St Monica’s was a bit of a shock to me. I had moved from my comfort zone to meet different people I didn’t know about,” she said. However, she managed to settle in and make new friends as the independent woman she has always been.
The school athlete who was a reserved student but still popular amongst her colleagues and it was there she discovered the maritime field from a newspaper advertisement and received the blessings of her parents to charter these unfamiliar waters. Being one of three women to venture into the field in her year group, she and her colleagues overcame the many obstacles in their path and excelled.
After passing out from the Ghana Nautical College, now the Regional Maritime University, Catherine got the chance to serve on the Black Star Line, Ghana, an opportunity she still regards as both challenging and fulfilling.
To her, serving on the ship imbued in her the spirit of integrity, discipline and moral uprightness. Addressing the youth on Y107.9FM’s Myd Morning Radio show, she said, “Everything in life is a challenge but it is up to you to overcome it and build your character.”
As a family woman, Captain Catherine Haizel gave up her career on the Black Star Line to spend time with her family and nurture her kids. But as destiny may have it, she found herself back in the sector in a different capacity, lecturer at the Regional Maritime University, a new career she has found fulfilling.
The Captain, who admitted that her practical experience on ships has made her lecturing career at the Regional Maritime University (RMU) very advantageous to the students, however believes students can be equipped to international professional standards and made into global ‘hotcakes’ if the founding member states of the school continuously invest in it.
Doubling as the Country Inspector for the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), she encouraged more women to venture into the maritime field as it has its own advantages.
The YLeaderBoard Series is a weekly segment on YFM’s ‘Myd Morning’ radio show with an objective to develop and inspire the youth to achieve greatness. Leaders are hosted weekly to share their life story, journey to greatness and lessons for personal/national growth and development.