Getting to know… Gertrude Adwoa Ohene-Asienim FICS

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2022

Gertrude Adwoa Ohene-Asienim FICS

In this interview, we meet Gertrude Adwoa Ohene-Asienim (FICS), currently Chair of the Membership Committee of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS). She is also the Executive Director of Whitestone Shipbrokers, a new company she has established. She has been the Country Manager for PGS Ghana, Yinson Gazania Operations and  OMA Labour & Procurement Solutions. Her goal is to encourage us all to make the most of the chances available to us within this sector and to use the ICS to guide the way. Gertrude, a native Ghanaian is at the top of her game and she shares with us her passion and advice for success within the maritime sector and the Institute.

What does your current job entail?

As a Shipbroker, Lecturer, Maritime Consultant and top business executive I lead a multifaceted life. I have been involved in project planning and management, handling meetings with regulators and clients, attending board meetings, chartering offshore support vessels, the drafting and reviewing of contracts, among many other responsibilities. Every day is different as each day presents a new challenge. But sharing knowledge is by far the best part of what I do. I love maritime education and training.

What do you enjoy about this job?

A lot goes on when you work in a versatile company within the shipping and oil & gas segment. From operations and office management, chartering of support vessels to hosting kick-off meetings aboard vessels to commence a project, it really doesn't get much better than that, I think. Having worked in an environment that has diverse sectors from Marine Geophysics, Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) operations and maintenance, Subsea Engineering, Shipping Agency and Logistics. Combining my industry experience with teaching is a great asset, one made possible by the solid foundation of the courses offered by our Institute.

How does what you do fit into the overall shipping picture?

I am in a privileged position knowing the ins and outs of both the energy sector and the shipping segment.  From interaction with fishing communities to dealing with regulators and stakeholders, I can appreciate the diversity of the industry as a whole.

How has the ICS experience helped you get to where you are today?

The ICS experience has definitely broadened my horizon. Being involved with the Institute and all its diverse aspects have given me much more insight into the world of shipping. I wrote my ICS exams when I was pursuing my post-graduate degree and that additional knowledge guaranteed, I was ahead of the game. In my work environment, I appreciate the dimensions of the industry and can comprehend the issues I have to deal with. Being a member of the Institute gives you a holistic view of the industry and makes you deeply rooted in shipping.

What advice would you give to those thinking about studying with the ICS?

You can compare working in the maritime industry without an ICS qualification to being in the middle of the ocean without a life jacket. I encourage all our students to continue their association with ICS after passing their exams. They need to participate in the wider Institute activities by applying for membership and getting involved to make sure they see the full picture of the enormous benefits available to them. And there are many, from working as a volunteer in branch committees, tutoring and mentorship to speaker opportunities, contributing to articles in shipping network, serving on Institute committees and so on.

What is the best thing about the maritime industry, in your opinion?

It is a global industry and there are many possibilities when it comes to working within the different sectors. You can choose an area, specialise in it and be the best you can be in that field.

Does this industry have a special place in your heart?  And why?

When I was young, I wanted to be a newscaster or a flight attendant. I love how fashionable they are. I ventured into the world of shipping by accident. It made me realise that our very lives depend on shipping. I couldn't have made a better choice.

How do you contribute to the Institute?

I have been involved in the Institute's affairs since 2013 when I got my fellowship. I started as an Administrator for my branch, a fun experience. I went on to become the Education and Training Coordinator and was later asked by the Chairman at the time to attend the Controlling Council meeting on his behalf. That experience and the realisation that the ICS comprises all "nations", made me want more.

I served as the West Africa Branch Chairman, and am currently the Membership Committee Chairman, having functioned as a member of the committee and subsequently the Vice Chairman. I am also part of the Executive Council at the moment. In the field of education, I am an Assistant Examiner and Assessor. I have never known another Institute that has this many opportunities.

I am humbled by all these experiences that have shaped my life for the better. The Institute is a melting pot of cultural diversity and holds many chances to learn from others.

What new developments are in the pipeline for students or members of the ICS to enjoy?

We want our members to appreciate the Institute's global outreach and to clearly see the opportunities that are available to them. The membership committee conducted a survey for Members of the Institute last year and we received positive feedback. We have analysed this data and are currently creating initiatives based on these results.

The Institute offers a world of knowledge through its many webinars that are open to members and registered students.

Going forward the Institute Membership Committee will continue to address the most pressing topics in shipping. We are looking at enhanced global membership benefits and are also encouraging our members to be part of our online community by joining our social media groups, like, click and share our stories and highlight their own stories. Mentorship is in the pipeline for mentors and mentees. But above all, we would love for every member to be an ambassador of the Institute.

Last words…

I am honoured to have joined the ICS family and even more pleased to be your Membership Committee Chairman. Our Institute is truly global and holds many untapped opportunities. So, make sure you are next, and take that advantage to grow within the Institute.


If you are inspired by Gertrude and would like to embark on a shipping study programme with the Institute, don't hesitateto contact us today: T +44 (0)20 7357 9722 | E education@ics.org.uk | W www.ics.org.uk