Maritime's Hidden Gems
Today, we met Buki Hough — crew management extraordinaire! She is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), speaking about what it means to be a minority in the maritime industry and what kinds of opportunities are available (guess: there are a lot!).
Buki's path to the maritime industry was not a straight line. She first majored in communications at the university she attended and eventually landed herself in a teaching job. After many twists and turns, she finally landed her current job, where she works directly with the mariners themselves.
In her current job, she is responsible for crew scheduling, training, promotion, assisting with investigations, personnel issues, contract interpretation, settling grievances, and issuing disciplinary actions. While speaking to her, we learned that she has built an in-depth knowledge of the marine certification requirements and helps mariners meet the certification requirements that move them forward in their seafaring careers. She has merged HR management, sales, marketing, and business development skills to become successful at her job -- regarded as a person who is knowledgeable on the in’s and out’s of the Maritime industry -- for example, translating government language into speech mariners can easily understand. While she does stay onshore, there are many opportunities to go out to sea, such as recreational boating, becoming a captain, etc.
After her introduction and speech, we were able to ask some questions, focusing on what it meant to be a minority as a black woman in a field where representation is limited. We learned that she does a lot of recruiting, especially with minorities, and is enthusiastic about helping others with their careers. Additionally, she talked about when you might find yourself feeling imposter syndrome. To solve this, recognize that you belong there. Your expertise, experience, and voice are valuable. You have the skills and role management experience to take on whatever happens in your job.
Currently, there is a shortage of people in the Maritime industry, and this is where you come in. There are many ways to get involved in the Maritime industry because any degree, certification, or education can be utilized.
If you are interested in higher education, there are also numerous programs offered by colleges. Colleges can merge academic interests with Maritime, like international transportation, marine engineering, etc. However, other fields apply too, like computer science and engineering.
People in the field of computer science/engineering in the maritime industry are coding vessels — vessels themselves are being more technologically advanced -- but other professions can be applied to maritime too, like business and marketing. Ultimately, look into what kinds of careers you could pursue in the Maritime industry, taking advantage of what the Maritime industry has to offer.
Connect with Buki Hough!
Instagram: @melanatedmariners #maritimemovement