Personality of the Year 2009 - PAMELA C. CONOVER

President and Chief Executive, Pamela Conover was born in Thailand. She had her first exposure to the maritime industry while she was a young child – her father worked for a British trading company. Pam was later raised and educated outside London, and worked for a year as a cashier in a London bank. At that year’s end, her plans to study geography and anthropology no longer held any interest – and her stellar ascension in the maritime world began. Conover slowly started working her way up the financial ladder at Wells Fargo Bank. After that, Conover joined United States Lines as Assistant Treasurer.

She then joined Citicorp’s ship financing division and rose to managing director of Citibank's North American ship financing division, with Carnival Corporation as one of her largest clients. In 1994, Conover became President of Epirotiki Cruises, a joint venture between Carnival and Epirotiki.

A short while later, Conover became head of Strategic Planning for Carnival, and worked on various acquisitions, including the acquisition of Cunard Line, Ltd. in 1998. Conover became Chief Operating Officer, and ultimately, President of Cunard.

In 2006, Conover became President of The Yachts of Seabourn – the 3rd time she had been selected as president of a major cruise line.

Seabourn, Carnival Corporation’s luxury cruise brand, currently operates four luxury yachts with two more on order scheduled for delivery in 2010 and 2011. Conover’s hands-on approach has given her a perspective and depth of knowledge not always seen in high-level executives.
– long hours planning corporate strategy and keeping abreast of day-to-day operations;
– cruising at least one full cruise every year;
– sailing additional days when time permits; and
– visiting her ships when they are in port in order to interact with the staff and guests.

Of being a woman in the male-dominated shipping industry, she has said, “My experience has been that any gender bias has overstayed its welcome and the smart operators have long since taken to recruiting talent wherever they find it.”

Her advice to young women entering this or any other industry is to:

  • prepare to work hard;
  • persevere;
  • have confidence in yourself and your abilities; and
  • push yourself to learn and try new things, even if it scares or makes you nervous

"As a woman I relate well to other women in business and understand the issues they face. While my job as CEO requires me to help others be successful regardless of their gender, I am commonly approached by women who seek out my guidance and I am happy to be able to play that role."

Her own words and actions demonstrate how she embodies WISTA’s core values of being Professional, Dynamic, Open-minded, and Committed.
“For me, the key is to do something that matters to you, that you enjoy. Then the effort and persistence required for success won’t be counted as a sacrifice, but as part of the fun of doing what you want to do.”

"WISTA USA was proud to propose Pam Conover for WISTA Personality of the Year, as we recognized her unique accomplishments and strengths as a maritime professional." stated WISTA USA President Jeanne Grasso, Partner at Blank Rome LLP. "Pam is an inspiration to women in the maritime industry and a powerful example of excellence in our industry, which has now been affirmed by the international association in selecting her as WISTA Personality of the Year."