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In our latest Women in Yachting interview, we speak to a lady who stands out from the crowd on the yachting scene in Mexico.
Brenda Manzanilla is the friendly and welcoming face that greets superyachts visiting Marina V&V in the north of Quintana Roo estate. Such is the disproportionate ratio of men to women within the industry, visitors are always surprised to see a woman in position to welcome them to the marina - but they never leave disappointed, such is her professionalism and efficiency.
Manzanilla outlines how she has stamped her authority on the role and dispelled the preconceived ideas that many visitors have when visiting Marina V&V.
I'm the Harbour Master in Marina V&V Group in the North of Quintana Roo estate.
Well, I was young a long time ago! To be honest, never. I didn´t have any interest in maths. I never thought that I would end up working in the nautical world. I always saw myself in front of a group, managing people, but not being in front of yachts or anything related to the nautical world.
I was always focused in the hotel sector. I worked around 10 years in customer service, bookings, etc. I decided to make a U-turn and change paths because work was very demanding. My first job after that was within a company that provided aquatic sports – I was making bookings and reservations of fishing boats. I believe this was the first stage outside of the hotel management sector and into the nautical sector. It was completely new to me. It was a great experience, I learned a lot – particularly about fishing boats and their needs.
I have the habit of arriving early wherever I’m going, so even though my work schedule doesn´t start until 8:00am, I arrive to work at around 7:30am and this is with the aim of checking emails that have arrived during the night and answer them all within the 24 hours. I normally do this from 7:30am to 9:00am.
I then go out to the marina and walk the docks to see how the yachts are, check that they are well located, if they need something else or if there is any request that the captain wants me to deal with personally. I like to get involved and make sure the yachts receive the best service; sometimes I can´t solve their needs personally – for example if they have an electrical problem – but I like to be the canal so their requests reach the most appropriate department and they get a good and quick solution. This is something I like to do every morning and just before ending my day.
I like to be in constant contact with the captains and even the owners to make them feel at home. I’m committed to running the marina in the most efficient way and this is projected not only with the local industry, but also internationally. We are constantly being recommended by captains and when they mention me in particular, I feel honoured. We receive many superyachts coming from abroad so I like to offer the best and show the clients that there is a lot to do in Mexico in this area that has been preserved and remains undiscovered by many. I treat the clients as if they were mine!
It’s simply being in this position. For me it has been very gratifying since I started because we know this is a very male-orientated industry; there weren´t many opportunities for women before and it’s very satisfying for me to see a yacht arriving, assuming a man will be welcoming into the port. Even though I´m always the first point of contact before the yacht arrives to the marina (by message, by email or phone call), I always try to receive them personally when they arrive to the dock. I think this is something very cool because the captains always expect to see a masculine face and that is not the case here. Captains are always smiling and frequently comment how gladly surprised they are to see me waiting for them.
I think it’s also very important that I always have the support from all the people who work at the docks. They are always supportive of whatever I need for my yachts.
Well, I haven’t found too many limitations or restrictions in the nautical world to be honest. I´ve learned a lot since I joined Marina V&V; it has already been sveven years in this position and it has opened many doors for me and I´ve received many benefits by working where I am.
For me, the most important is for a client to leave Marina V&V with a good taste in their mouth. I always try to work in a dynamic way, always friendly and I believe I haven´t had any restrictions. I´m very happy with the position I hold and with everything I have developed over the years. I´m happy!
Sometimes things don´t turn out the way you want and then sometimes things turn out better than we expect. Reality sometimes overcomes our expectations.
From the bottom of my heart I just want to say how thankful I am to Marina V&V for all their support and for believing in me that I could do this job, because I´m capable without paying attention to my gender.
Marina V&V is a modern and fully equipped superyacht marina in Cancun, Mexico, that boasts a comprehensive range of amenities for visitors and crew. Accommodating superyachts spanning more than 61 metres (200 feet), Marina V&V also offers extensive repair facilities for yachts requiring minor fixes or significant refits.
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