This year’s national theme for Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” To honor the women of Royal Caribbean Group, we are introducing a new series called Kick-AftSM Women, to share their stories. This series will feature our people who are inspiring leaders and are all-around Kick-AftSM women.
Associate Vice President, Marine Strategy & Safety at Royal Caribbean International
Closing out Women’s History Month and our Kick-Aft SM video series is Meaghan Gies – United States Coast Guard (USCG) Reserve military officer, champion of women, and a devoted mom.
Gies always had a dream of working near or on the water. She grew up spending a lot of time on boats and ships with her father, who at the time was also in the USCG. Her childhood dream came true when she joined the U.S. Coast Guard and spent time onboard ships in different waters around the world. And within her five years at Royal Caribbean Group, Gies has managed nautical, marine and worldwide port operations. Now, with a driving passion, she leads marine strategy and safety for Royal Caribbean International.
Like most women, Gies says she can’t wait for the day that she will no longer hear “the first woman” in front of the accomplishments of women as a disparity, but as a normality. Looking forward to that day, Gies shared with us what she thinks it takes to be a Kick-Aft SM woman.
Vice President, Finance, Royal Caribbean International
This week Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) is featuring Efy Papagianakis – math wiz, mom and advocate for all women. Papagianakis always loved numbers and knew she wanted to follow her passion to work with equations. She began her career with the company in audit and advisory services and held many roles throughout her 10 years of service at RCG.
Papagianakis graduated with a degree in accounting and finance from The American College of Greece in Athens. She then began working in finance, a field where women are underrepresented, yet Papagianakis continues to chip away at the glass ceiling. Papagianakis mentors the women around her so they can continue the forward momentum of filling gender gaps.
Finally, reaching her ‘North Star’, Papagianakis says she didn’t get there alone. The support of her village contributed to Papagianakis becoming a Kick-Aft SM woman. Find out what she says it takes to be one.
Chief Information Officer, Royal Caribbean Group
Up next for Women’s History Month is Martha Poulter. As a little girl, Martha didn’t think she would be involved in tech space but wanted to live the life that plays out in a fairy tale – like most young girls. Now, she is living out her unexpected dream by leading all things global IT for Royal Caribbean Group. Poulter works to optimize technology used by the company to better the business and overall guest experience.
Prior to joining Royal Caribbean in 2018, Poulter was executive vice president and chief information officer at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Before that, she served as vice president and chief information officer at GE Capital with global responsibility for IT strategy and operations. During her lengthy career she has held several senior information technology leadership positions, including eBusiness vice president, quality leader and regional Americas chief information officer for GE Capital. In these roles, she was responsible for many operational excellence improvements and the completion of key digitization projects, including the company’s first customer mobile apps for commercial businesses.
Women occupy only 28% of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. Kick-Aft SM women like Poulter are pushing the limits of what is possible, to inspire girls and women to enter the tech field with the goal of broadening the number of women involved. Find out how she fell in love with STEM and what advice she has for other women looking to enter this field.
Associate Vice President, Government Relations, Caribbean
Royal Caribbean Group
Wendy McDonald kicked off the series, and she frequently travels the Caribbean and meets with government officials and leaders from around the globe with a powerful presence, and might we add with amazing sense of style. McDonald helps lead Royal Caribbean Group’s government relations efforts and manages partnerships with various governments throughout the Caribbean.
McDonald relocated from her beloved country, Trinidad and Tobago, to the U.S. and obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science degree in telecommunications and information Management from New York University Polytechnic University.
She believes in the inclusivity of women in the maritime industry and looks to inspire young girls and women who are interested in what the industry has to offer. McDonald works closely with our partners in The Bahamas and the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA). BMA enrolls Bahamian high school students into their two-week cadet program where they can all thrive in an industry where women weren’t always welcomed.
While her title and education alone make her a Kick-Aft™ woman, McDonald is inspiring. Get to know her by watching this video, where she talks more about her journey and her personal view on Women’s History Month and what it takes to be a Kick-Aft™ woman.