The 1st Young Executive Shipping (YES) Forum was held during the International Shipping Exhibition POSIDONIA 2016, on Friday, 10 June 2016 at the main POSIDONIA Conference Hall.

The YES Forum conceptualized and initiated by Ms Danae Bezantakou, Managing Director of NAVIGATOR SHIPPING CONSULTANTS and Ms Katerina Stathopoulou, Executive Director of Investments & Finance was one of the key events of this year’s exhibition. Organized by OpenMind Group and “The Canvas” think tank, with EQnomics being the coordinator, the conference gathered more than 1,300 delegates among which were 300 shipping company executives, students from 60 Greek and foreign Universities, and cadets from the Maritime Academies of Aspropirgos, Hydra island, Macedonia and Crete.

On that occasion, the organizers stressed the importance to establish a unique platform where the next shipping generation meets and discusses directly with those who are currently the Greek shipping top executives and decision makers.

The official opening of the YES Forum was made by Mr. Pafsanias Papageorgiou, General Secretary for Lifelong Learning and Youth at the Ministry of Education, who stressed the role of the State in promoting the Shipping industry to the younger generation and provide it with essential training in the various related fields.

Keynote speaker of the YES Forum was Ms Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport. The Commissioner, who participated for the first time in a Forum organised in Greece, urged the young generation to chase their dreams, focus on their goals and not be afraid of entrepreneurship. Above all, she underlined the need to appreciate the unique value of the shipping industry and be a part of its further development.

Other panel discussions included topics such as internships opportunities, the need for new and innovative management styles, as well as the role that human resources play in shipping. The parameters which make the Greek shipping industry a leader and how this leading position can be maintained in the future were addressed by all panelists. Moreover, the importance of academic studies for a successful career path, as well the role of chartering brokers and the difficulties faced by women in shipping, were also debated.

Mr. Theodore Dritsas, Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, the Rector of the Piraeus University as well as the Rector of the Aegean University were also present among many other decision-makers from the shipping industry, Ambassadors, and representatives from major shipping Associations and media specialists.

Concluding this very successful first YES Forum, Ms. Danae Bezantakou stressed the importance to continue the gathering of next generation of shipping executives with the current key decision makers, a win-win networking activity that has to be renewed next year, in June 2017.