Pamela C. Conover, who has taken leadership roles at three major cruise lines, has been voted Personality of the Year 2009 by the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association. The decision was announced at the 2009 conference of WISTA, taking place at IMO headquarters in London from September 16-18.
Pam Conover is president and chief executive of Seabourn Cruise Line, a luxury cruise subsidiary of the Carnival group. The special WISTA accolade recognises an outstanding personal contribution to the maritime industry. It focuses on WISTA values summarised as “professional, dynamic, open-minded and committed.” These values can be exemplified through working for increased competence, bringing diversity (including gender equality) to the industry, and developing new products and/or business models.
"WISTA-USA was proud to propose Pam Conover for WISTA Personality of the Year, as we recognised her unique accomplishments and strengths as a maritime professional." said WISTA-USA president Jeanne Grasso, a partner at Blank Rome LLP. "Pam is an inspiration to women in the maritime industry and a powerful example of excellence in our industry."
Conover was born in Thailand and raised in England, and worked for a year as a cashier at a London bank. At that that point, her plans to study geography and anthropology ceased to interest her – and her stellar ascent in the maritime world began. She slowly started working her way up the financial ladder at Wells Fargo Bank, after which she 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 Corp as one of her largest clients. In 1994, Ms Conover became president of Epirotiki Cruises, a then joint venture between Carnival and Epirotiki. A short while later, she became head of strategic planning for Carnival, and worked on various acquisitions, including that of Cunard Line in 1998.
She became chief operating officer, and ultimately, president of Cunard. In 2006, she took on her present role as president of Seabourn – the third time she had been selected as president of a major cruise line.