Captain Sandy on Being Chased by Pirates

Captain Sandy Yawn shares the story of her run in with "thieves at sea." What’s it like being a female captain in this industry?
Sandy Yawn: Being a female captain in this industry is challenging and inspiring because I thrive on problem solving. Being a woman in the male dominated yachting world is an advantage due to my ability to multi task while managing the emotions of the crew. I choose not to come from a place of power and control and it really, really works. I like to empower my crew to be the best they can be. I cultivate, educate, and teach my crew to reach their capabilities and have goals without shaming or demeaning them. When the meltdowns start to come, I take my crew for ice cream and I show them that it’s not the end of the world, but at the same time let them know what I expect from them. This is where my energy as a woman helps me with leading people. I have worked for bosses before, and a boss sits at a desk or at the helm and tells people what to do -- I prefer to be hands-on, firm, and compassionate. That’s how I navigate my leadership. Tell us the story of how you were chased by pirates?
SY: Let’s remember pirates are thieves at sea. It takes place in the Red Sea! Not a fun place for one to be drifting. My training kicked in and I wondered if I would make it out of there alive. What’s your management style?
SY: I lead by showing the crew what I expect not telling them what to do. When I am pushed, I don’t push back, I navigate. Were you surprised that crew questioned your methods at first?
SY: Yes, when you are an original, people always question at first. What were your first impressions of the crew?
SY: Oh boy, I didn’t know them and I have less than 24 hours before our first charter of the season arrives? Time to go to work!

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