My name is Cynthia Rasch and my role as General Manager is to oversee all of Port Denarau Marina’s assets including capital projects, budget coordination, technology, redesign and development, internal audit, HR and the Marina’s capacity building and training development program. My responsibilities are for the development and implementation of business and financial strategies and any other plans that have been agreed by the Board to effect the maximisation of profitability, efficiency and growth.
I have been integrally involved in shaping the company’s strategic direction for many years and get along well with our customers, stakeholders and nonprofit partners in community development. I am a member of Women in Maritime and Nadi Chamber of Commerce.
I love my job because my team shares the same vision and goals and we work together as a family. I love my work-life balance, having flexibility in what I do and the trust from my Board who know that my work is of high quality and I produce results. I love that my Board gives me autonomy over my responsibilities. I get to select my team, tasks, times and strategies and they set the goals, it’s a perfect match!
How does this role play to your strength, Cynthia?
I am highly focused, inquisitive and love a challenge. When the opportunity was presented to me to take up the lead role at Port Denarau Marina, I hesitated because I doubted myself, but my ability to take up the challenge overcame my fear of failure. I am glad I did this, because I wouldn’t have known my capabilities if I had not. I was too focused on worrying about what I did not know rather than drawing on my strengths, I have a great team backing me, the support of my family and the skills and knowledge I have learnt overtime being in the maritime industry.
What are five things that you have learned to be a success in your role?
5. Attitude .. having the right attitude!
Where do you go for inspiration in your role and career path? Where do you go to learn more to progress in your work?
I love Richard Branson and his words of wisdom; I have found inspiration and encouragement in his quotes. I am thankful for the ‘Women in Maritime’ sisters who encourage and motivate women in this industry. I am thankful to my husband and mother-in-law who continue to encourage and support me to be a better version of myself daily.
If I am not familiar with a topic, I tend to research, I love to read and this passion helps me to expand my knowledge. Education and learning never stops.
Cynthia, if someone wanted to pursue this career what the advice would you give them?
There are multiple career paths in maritime, they are not just reserved for being a seafarer, you can be on a ship or shore side. In today’s world, there is no field that women have not shown their worth and women continue to shoulder all types of responsibilities with great success.
The maritime industry is often seen as a man’s world and many women fear to join this industry as a profession. However, I believe fear is nothing but a fragment of our imagination. If you believe in yourself and if you have a strong determination, trust me, nothing is unachievable.
To quote Richard Branson, “the best way of learning about anything is by doing”, people say the sky is your limit but if you stop and think about that statement, you will realize, the sky is limitless … your possibilities are endless.
So tell us a bit more about your journey and where do you see yourself in ten years?
From an early age, I had exposure to the work environment, always gaining some form of employment during my school holidays to help with expenses at home. It was natural therefore for me to take up the next opportunity as an Administrator after completing my foundation studies. I had gained administration and some secretarial experience from my holiday jobs and was determined to succeed in all that I set my mind to do. I was extremely focused in having a degree as I worked towards supporting my family. With an internal locus of control, it was intrinsic for me to set clear goals for myself and I was determined to achieve these irrespective of the obstacles I had to face.
I have previously worked in secretarial and administrative roles for 3 years in a photocopy sales and repair, a car sales and pest control company. I was challenged to take up a sales role because of my confident nature and so joined Vodafone and spent 12 years of my life in telecommunications, rising within ranks to hold Regional Manager role at Digicel Fiji.
My overachieving attitude is driven by my unrelenting pursuit of excellence and a need to prove that success is a result of hard work and determination. This has been the catalyst for an industry leap to maritime from telecommunications.
Ironically, despite living on an island surrounded by water, we barely had experiences around the ocean and there were no swimming lessons in public schools. A chance in life exposed me to the wonder of the ocean and I found myself more drawn to it, trying every form of water sports despite not knowing how to swim. It was then that I yearned to spend my time learning how to swim and I have now become an avid snorkeler, I own a little launcher and am constantly seeking ways to get in the water.
My track record from my successful career was making waves in the corporate sector and it was no surprise that I was offered a job by the CEO of Port Denarau Marina to join his team as the Business Manager. My initial role was to find ways to generate revenue, however once I settled into the maritime environment and learnt more about the industry, I took up extra tasks required of a General Manager. I was officially offered this position in June 2017.
I have worked hard in this industry to be taken seriously and have pursued my Intermediate and Advanced Marina Manager accreditation from Marina Industries Association in Australia and am proud to be the first woman, not just in Fiji, but in the Pacific Islands, to be a globally certified Marina Manager. I hope that this achievement will inspire not just women but young people in our island nation to aspire to be the best in what they do.
I am currently purusing my Masters in Business Administration at the University of Fiji and I continuously strive to be a better version of myself and to encourage and inspire my children to work hard towards their goals and to achieve what they set their minds to do.
In the next 10 years I hope to find multiple new passions to chase, I’d love to explore new hobbies like learning to dive … who knows maybe with sharks! I would love to join a few Boards and also be able to inspire others. Most of all, I would love to rid myself of fear .. to be unapologetically me. Regret is a nasty thing to live with. I’m fortunate to be able to say I don’t have many. I hope to look back one day and be satisfied with the person I’ve become and the things that I’ve done in my life.