Claudia Kattan: Leadership That Inspires
A profile of Claudia Kattan-Jordan by Maribel Arriaza from CROMOS Magazine, translated into English by Crowley.
How did you get into a traditionally male-oriented field?
It has been one of the biggest challenges in my career. My confidence, experience, knowledge of the market, courage, and strength, in the different competencies, allowed me to earn the respect and admiration of my work colleagues, strategic partners, and customers very quickly.
I also continuously develop good interpersonal relationships with all the people with whom I interact, since communication is key. I always go further, and I have learned to listen and empathize. Sometimes listening is more powerful than speaking.
What was the biggest obstacle to overcome at the start?
To get to my current position, the path has been full of learning and improvement; I’ve been working for Crowley for 31 years, I started at a very young age. One of my greatest personal satisfactions has been professional growth. I started in an administrative position and have grown as opportunities have presented themselves.
I thank the company for always taking me into account for this. One of my biggest challenges to overcome at the beginning within this position was to maintain an adequate balance in my life and to be able to dedicate time to my family, which has always been my highest priority.
I strive to eat a healthy diet, exercise and fulfill my professional responsibilities all at the same time. It is knowing how to learn to be a good juggler, all balls are important, and none should fall.
If you look at the beginning of your career, how do you evaluate that beginning?
I started from a young age in a Customer Service position, and due to my dedication, commitment, and high performance, I grew-and because of that, new opportunities were opened as a Sales Executive, Sales Manager, among others. In 2003, I was appointed the first female General Manager for a Central American country within the corporation, which until then had been occupied primarily by men.
Then in 2005, I received The Thomas Crowley Award, the highest honor given by the company.
This award not only serves as a tribute to the founder of the company, but also to those Crowley employees who have closely aligned themselves with the values of the company, through their high performance, dedication, leadership, and outstanding initiatives. The Thomas Crowley Award is given only once a year. Of the 6,000 employees that the company has, through the Business Units, only 65 have received this award.
In 2010, I was appointed Vice President of Crowley Logistics for the North Zone of Central America; and at the beginning of 2019, as Vice President for all Central America, Mexico, and Panama. Apart from managing the Vice-Presidency of the shipping line, I was promoted to also manage the logistics division.
So, within my responsibility, it is not only the shipping part but the area of land transportation in Central America, warehouses, customs, cargo consolidation, among other services.
What is your challenge now?
I love what I do, I am passionate about challenges. Among my greatest challenges have been to achieve profitability in markets where we did not have services, a challenge that was assigned to me with the expectation that it would give different results that other leaders had not been able to achieve.
Another challenge has been to be able to manage a successful logistics operation, even with many issues that are beyond my control such as the regional political crisis, hurricanes, and the impact of the pandemic.
Which professional successes are you most proud of?
- Development of new services, market growth, and creating a platform to increase the performance of the customers’ supply chain and turn it into a competitive advantage.
- Leading one of the regions that consistently exceeds corporate goals and outperforms financial results.
- Active promotion of the empowerment of women in the maritime industry and logistics transport through constant participation in forums that promote the professional advancement of women.
- Recognized as a leader in the business world of women maritime executives and as an expert in the Central American region and the United States. I recently participated in the 6th Latin American Ports Forum in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, as a guest speaker on growing and enabling the supply chains that connect the U.S. to Central America.
- Recently named by the American Marine Log magazine as “Top Women in Maritime” for leadership and contribution to the maritime industry.
- President of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Honduras. AmCham represents the private sector that includes members from the U.S., Honduras, and other countries, with the main objective of promoting trade and investment between Honduras and the U.S.
- Thomas Crowley Award recipient. This is the company’s highest honor. It’s been given to a very select, small number of employees in recognition of their commitment to quality performance, the development of new markets and customers and continuous organizational performance improvement.