Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

64 INTERVIEW Success and diversity go hand in hand Lisa Lutoff-Perlo gives Susan Parker an insight into why Celebrity Cruises is focused on improving diversity and the gender balance The history of diversity onboard Celebrity Cruises’ ships is something president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo loves about the brand she oversees. However, there is one area where the wider cruise industry needs to become stronger and that is gender diversity. While women can now be found in many top roles shoreside, such as in security and engineering, there is room for improvement onboard the ships, mostly on the marine side but also in some leadership roles in hotel operations. Having joined Celebrity on the operational side, Lutoff-Perlo is delighted that one-third of the bridge teams onboard the brand’s ships are now women. In addition, there has been a significant increase in the number of women in the engine room – from one to 15 – in the past 18 months. “The moral of the story is that the amazing men I have worked with over the past nine years have helped me improve our gender balance,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “It requires intention and teamwork, and they have worked side by side with me to achieve the progress we’ve made.” Captain Kate McCue, who is probably Celebrity’s most famous woman, has also done much to heighten awareness of the onboard roles. “She has a significant social media following and is one of our best recruiters,” says Lutoff-Perlo. “There are a lot of women in the maritime industry at large who are coming to Celebrity because of Captain Kate being such a great storyteller, role model and advocate for our brand.” In addition, the human resources and shoreside marine team work very closely with all the maritime academies across the world to hire young women (as well as men). The women are particularly interested in the cruise industry upon graduation. “That’s how we’re building levels on the bridge,” explains LutoffPerlo. “They’re working their way up and the brand is growing so there are a lot of opportunities for everyone.” Although Celebrity had no set goal in terms of a percentage of women on the bridge, it will continue striving to employ women into marine roles. However, Lutoff-Perlo is keen to point out that: “The reality is that there are many, many more men interested in these careers than women. I’m extremely proud that we are at one-third, and we’ll continue to find great women who want to be part of the great journey Celebrity is on.” Lutoff-Perlo believes that more balance and more diversity contribute to Celebrity’s success. “It produces better outcomes, whether business or engagement. I look at both guest and crew satisfaction scores and they’re both very high. Our financial performance is better. That takes everybody contributing. “ We’ll continue to find great women who want to be part of the great journey Celebrity is on”