"YES to SEApping Forum 2023" targeted to inform young people about the evolving Blue Economy, covering both the spectrum of Shipping and Sea Tourism, two sectors of crucial importance for the economy and development of our country.
YES Forum’s participation in the Posidonia exhibition is well established since 2016 as "The Day of Youth". This year’s engagement welcomed in particularly, a total of 300 students and graduates, mainly from Thessaloniki, but from other parts of Greece as well, who were given a tour at the exhibition stands, engaged in conversations with their representatives and attended shipping and sea tourism panels of discussion.
Danae Bezantakou, Concept Founder of YES Forum, initiated the opening of the event, reviewed the actions of the open dialogue platform of YES Forum, which is almost 10 years old and aims to support the new generation of executives and/or future entrepreneurs in the sectors of Shipping and Marine Tourism, expanding the channels of communication with the shipping market and presenting the prospects of both sectors to students and the broader young generation.
YES Forum’s activities are under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the Ministries of Shipping and Tourism, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, important maritime organizations, and most of the country’s Academic Institutions.
Numerically speaking, since April 2020 they have organized 70 open & online dialogues, events and visits to shipping companies lasting over 150 hours with more than 2,000 questions. Through their social networks, shares, and posts about YES Forum, more than 2,000,000 people have seen, learned, or heard about their story.
There is an average of 70 volunteers who join the group annually. YES Forum’s advisory board members have exceeded 150 and students who have been educated about shipping are over 100,000. Finally, 50 youth volunteer organizations support them at home and abroad.
A reference was made to the approved program by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs entitled "YES TOUR TO SCHOOLS", which concerns the organization and implementation of educational visits to schools to inform Primary and Secondary Education students at all school units in the country, for the school year 2022-2023, with the young audience exceeding 100,000, the interest and significance of informing the young people of the capital was highlighted, along with the extension of the leadership in the world, to provide and work for the next generation.
Remarks were addressed by the Commander of Hellenic Coast Guard and Academy Directory of Merchant Marine Academy of Macedonia, Georgios Makris, who welcomed the audience where 60% of it encompassed of Merchant Marine Academy of Macedonia students and graduates. Mr. Makris called attention to the gravity and value of the personnel and the primacy of Greek shipping.
YES Forum volunteers presented the team structure, talked about the value of volunteering and the ways in which the YES Forum has helped them develop and start their careers in shipping before they even graduate.
The first part of the event, moderated by Danae Bezantakou, consisted of Costis Frangoulis, Founder & CEO, FRANMAN & President of the International Propeller Club Port of Piraeus, Panagiotis Mallios, Managing Director, Seabright & Vice President, HEMEXPO, Nikolaos Mavrikos, President & Managing Director, Mavrikos Imports SA, and Elpi Petraki, Chartering/ Operations/ Business Development Manager, ENEA Management INC & President, WISTA International.
The speakers advised the young generation on how to tackle a shipping related career, reassuring that shipping background / family connections are non-essential to find a job in the market. They stressed upon having a professional character, soft skills, hard skills, fluency in English, and the determination to chase one’s dreams.
Following this, a presentation was delivered on "Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers: Bridging the Gap?" by Xenia Kourtoglou, MSc. Founder, Focus Bari, Resilience Expert, Author, who talked about the varied ways in which different generations value work and the parameters they consider whilst searching for a job.
The second part of the event, also moderated by Danae Bezantakou, focused on sea tourism and the yachting industry, with keynote speakers who showed guidance to the young students and graduates with their own personal stories.
More specifically, Christina Bezantakou, CEO, KEFI SA, & General Curator of the BoD of the Hellenic Association of Tourism & Travel Agencies (HATTA), Maria Deligianni, National Director - Eastern Mediterranean, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Gina Polemi, Office Manager - Business Development Director, BWA Yachting, BoD Member, Piraeus Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Vice President, HCPY & President, Greek Private Yacht’s Representatives Association, Theodora Riga, Chief Commercial Officer & Director of Strategic Communications, ThPA SA - Port of Thessaloniki, and Lyssandros Tsilidis, President, Federation of Associations of Tourist & Travel Agencies of Greece (FedHATTA), were present and elaborated on their individual experience. Characteristically, they underlined the various opportunities that exist in the field, and the extensive prospects that are available for any young person to pursue.
Final remarks and thank you note were given by Danae Bezantakou, who emphasized the need of such open dialogues, to continue and support Greece’s two strongest industries, shipping, and tourism, promoting stimulation and encouraging young people to learn and love the history and in turn create the next achievements that will make our country proud and continue the Greek Shipping Miracle.