Anne-Kristine Oen, CEO of Salmon Group, a company owned by mainly family-owned salmon and trout producers along the coast of Norway, spent years working in other industries before joining the seafood industry, and brought her perspective on the broader landscape of the workplace, and where the seafood sector needs to go at IntraFish's Women in Seafood Leadership Summit last month.
"It's too bad that so few women are in interested in jobs in our industry, because we don't want them to miss out on the fun," Oen said. "It's fun, it's global -- it's pretty 'rock and rollish.'"
To get those women interested requires cultural change -- and that takes time, she noted. Salmon farming culture in particular is still somewhat macho, but that's changing, Oen said.
"The business is, I would say, is where shipping was 10 or 15 years ago," Oen said. "I'm not strictly talking about women in leading positions, because I think diversity is a topic which is closely related to ethics, attitudes and sustainability. At the end of the day, all of this is culture."
Oen quoted Peter Drucker: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast."
Establishing a strong, diverse, welcoming and exciting culture is critical not just for retention, but for attracting new talent that can further shape a company's future in a positive way.
"I'm happy to see so many young ladies in the audience today: the future," Oen said. "They're clever, highly educated, they're versatile... and they represent new values. They can change cultures. They are the masters of technology, and will be the ones that digitalize the industry for us and with us. With a bit of luck they can drag old people with white hair into the new digitalized future."