Skip to content

Teresa Peacock: Get to know our MD and her career.

In Women’s History Month, we have been taking the time to hear and share the stories of women in the industry and initiatives companies have put in place to assist women in their career. Today we hear from Spinnaker Managing Director, Teresa Peacock as she shares her career story. Take a read to hear how she got to where she is today and what it is like being a woman in the maritime industry.

How did you find setting up your own company? What made you realise it was the right time to start a company on your own? What challenges did you face as a female CEO?

I was very fortunate because I did a management buy out with three other directors of the business we worked in. We had to raise funds to purchase the business and we found a very supportive VC company along with an encouraging bank. I learned so much through the process!

There was always that nagging doubt at the back of my mind; am I good enough to do this, am I taking too much of a risk, what if it goes wrong – I suppose the normal doubts one has when venturing into a new opportunity. Imposter Syndrome was almost overpowering at that point, but you have to speak to yourself in an encouraging and kind way, to believe in yourself you have to remind yourself of what you have achieved and what you can go on to achieve. Positive thoughts only, get rid of those negative doubts that hold you back.

The MBO was a great move for me, we ran the business, grew it and expanded it from around 30 people to 180 people, and we sold it some years later with a very successful exit.

How did you find starting a family, parenting and childcare while working? Have you ever felt uncomfortable asking employers for flexible work or part-time work in this regard?

When my husband and I felt it was the right time to have children, we decided one of us would remain at home full time. I was incredibly busy with the business, so my husband gave up his job to care for them which meant I could dedicate more time to the expansion. Notwithstanding that I was there for the important dates! Flexibility for the staff was always high on my agenda, and demonstrating that to the people in the business by leading by example is important. You have to show that putting family first doesn’t have to have a negative impact on the company, you set the tone in your business!

Did you ever have a mentor throughout your career?

I have been fortunate enough to work with some great people that I have respected very much. We also had a number of non-executives which bought in some excellent expertise – they can look at the business from an independent viewpoint which was of great help. I would recommend bringing in external experts to advise.

How did you join the maritime industry? What changes have you seen within the industry over the years?

I was introduced to the founders of Spinnaker back in 2008, and I was absolutely fascinated with the maritime sector. I joined them and never looked back, I love working in the industry.

One of the main changes I have seen is how HR has evolved and developed. We are working with highly professional and qualified HR people who are impacting the businesses they are working in. This is such a positive thing for the sector. Attracting and developing talent to a company – bringing in great people results in a great company.

How have you seen female initiatives such as WISTA change the industry? What impact do you think they are having and how do you see them impacting the future of the maritime industry?

WISTA is fabulous, I have been a member since 2008 and on the board of WISTA UK since 2012. The International organisation now has over 4000 members, we have around 400 members in the UK alone. Our network is substantial, I can reach out to people for help, advice and to pull on their expertise.

IMO & WISTA joined to conduct a “Women in Maritime” survey, which highlights the current gender diversity across the sector and sets a benchmark for progress. You can read more about this on the website.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Work which I am involved in, has created some excellent toolkits on attracting and retaining female talent. This year we will look at a variety of issues that impact women’s earning potential, including maternity costs, pension inequality, post-maternity pay freeze and the need for better gender pay reporting and pay transparency to assess and quantify, where possible, what “the cost of being a woman at work” is.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.