Honoring Marine Log’s Top Women in Maritime 2021

Written by Heather Ervin
Top Women in Maritime 2021

As the maritime industry continues to increase diversity and bring more women into its ranks, we wrap up 2021 for the second year in a row by bringing to you our list of Top Women in Maritime.

Our editorial team has carefully selected these 20 women of varied backgrounds, ages and locations with nominations given by those in the industry. We asked them to tell us about the successes they’re most proud of in their maritime career—whether it’s in shoreside management, onboard a vessel, or in another field.

This feature story originally ran in our December issue of Marine Log magazine in a shortened form. Here it is in full:

Capt. Alexandra Hagerty

Capt. Alexandra Hagerty, Master with American Maritime Officers Union

Hagerty is a founding member of the Nautical Institute’s Younger Members Council; vice president of international relations with the Council of American Masters; and the U.S. representative with the International Federation of Shipmasters Associations, an NGO at the International Maritime Organization. She maintains notable memberships and fellowships with The Aspen Institute, the Council of American Master Mariners, The Nautical Institute, and the International Propeller Club of the United States.

She holds an M.S. in international transportation management from SUNY Maritime College and an M.A. in cognitive semiotics from Aarhus University of Denmark, with fluency in five languages. She is a maritime expert witness, panelist, mentor and captain on the hospital ship Africa Mercy with Mercy Ships starting this month. She also started a non-profit called Captains Without Borders. 

Marine Log (ML): What successes are you most proud of in terms of your maritime career? 

AH: I am proud to encourage young people across globe into pursuing a career at sea and mentoring them. I realize that a seagoing career opens doors to a plethora of opportunities, including speaking, writing and being involved in professional organizations. I presented a paper with USCG Com. (Retired) Camilla Bosanquet at IFSMA-IMO Biennial AGM on “Recruitment, Retention and Advancement of Women on Ships & Ashore.” I am proud to watch cadets who I mentored pursuing career paths at sea and in the boardroom. 

Alisa Praskovich

Alisa Praskovich, Vice President of Corporate Sustainability at Crowley Maritime

Praskovich leads Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts to implement sustainability strategies to meet emission reduction targets, facilitate responsible growth, provide for supply chain resiliency, and drive ESG performance across Crowley’s extensive and diverse portfolio. Prior to this role, she led Crowley’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) business development efforts in marine markets to provide innovative fueling solutions to vessels using LNG for main propulsion.

Prior to working at Crowley, she retired as a Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, completing her final tour as the Chief of Prevention at Sector Jacksonville. She spent her fist five years in the Coast Guard at sea as a Deck Watch Officer in the Pacific Northwest and spent the remainder of her career in various marine safety assignments. Praskovich also worked as an Ocean Policy Advisor in the White House as part of the Obama Administration’s National Ocean Council staff. Alisa holds a B.S. in biology and M.A. in marine affairs from the University of Washington.

ML: What successes are you most proud of in terms of your maritime career? 

AP: I’m proud of the privilege to play a leading role in several maritime industry firsts to include serving as an Ocean Policy Advisor on the first-ever U.S. National Ocean Council and helping implement the first-ever U.S. National Ocean Policy for the stewardship of our oceans. I also provided oversight and regulatory approval of the world’s first rocket booster recovery barge for SpaceX, oversight and regulatory approval of the world’s first LNG-powered containerships with TOTE and Crowley. I also helped with oversight of the first U.S. LNG marine bunkering. The opportunity to lead sustainability efforts at the largest U.S. maritime and logistics company also ranks high!

Angela Chao

Angela Chao, Chairman and CEO of Foremost Group

Before taking the helm of Foremost Group, Chao worked in the mergers and acquisitions department of Smith Barney, now a part of Morgan Stanley. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude in three years and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She then rejoined Foremost Group, first concentrating on the fundamentals of ship operations and ship management while overseeing the implementation of Foremost’s Safety Management System to comply with the International Safety Management Code and then in later years, the fleet’s Vessel Security Plans in compliance with the IMO’s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. In 2019, she was named chair and CEO of Foremost Group.

Chao serves on numerous public and nonprofit boards. Previously, she served on the boards of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Lincoln Center Global’s China Advisory Council, Museum of Modern Art PS1, the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the Executive Committee of the Baltic International Maritime Council (BIMCO).

ML: What successes are you most proud of in terms of your maritime career? 

AC: I am very proud of the fact that Foremost Group is internationally recognized for its modern, eco-friendly fleet and for our exceptional service, high integrity, and superior performance. 

I am also extremely proud that gender diversity has always been, and will always be, a priority at Foremost. Approximately half of our onshore staff are women, and from that diversity of backgrounds, opinions and perspectives, we are able to deliver the best outcomes for our partners. 

Dating back to my first ship visits as a young girl with my parents, Dr. James Chao and Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, I always knew I wanted to work at Foremost. It is deeply humbling and most gratifying to be able to serve as the second generation carrying on my parents’ legacy and life values.

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