Charting My Own Path

Ashley Loke

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As a young girl, Ashley’s love for ships was evident. Unlike many of her peers, she fancied toy ship models over female-typical dolls. By the time she entered university, she was certain she wanted to pursue an offshore career.

Ashley’s job hunt, however, wasn’t exactly smooth-sailing. The economy was doing badly, making it difficult for her to pursue her ideal job. Rather than shying away, Ashley hardened her resolve and continued to learn about freight and shipping on her own.

Eventually, the opportunity to work in the maritime industry arose and needless to say—Ashley jumped on it.

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Even after landing her dream job, being a woman in the maritime industry came with its own challenges. For starters, Ashley had to fight off the long-standing myth that it was bad luck for women to be in engine rooms. Then came the time she was assigned a project and was told her scope included vessel inspection and management. There was only one problem—she didn’t know anything about it.

Turning this overwhelming feeling into a learning opportunity, she took it upon herself to learn from the seasoned Masters and Captains of the seas, while picking up knowledge from books. Through this experience, Ashley realised there are no challenges too great.

"Everything can be resolved. If you put your mind to it, you can do it. Even if it takes more hours than you think you should be putting in, just do it. When you finally understand and learn, hard work would have paid off."

Even after completing two master degrees, Ashley continues to look for opportunities to grow. In the near future, she would like to pursue a project management and risk management certificates to widen her repertoire of skills.

Ashley wants to inspire others by showing how learning can unlock worlds of potential, and how one should never limit his/her potential, because learning not only helps in career advancement, but also personal growth.

"I think as we go into adulthood, we stop asking why and we start taking things as they are. I think this impedes a person’s development, creativity, and their desire to want to know more…there are a lot of possibilities out there – you just have to continue to ask why."

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