It all began over a glass of rosé, as all good stories do, says former stewardess Cherise Reedman. Cherise is married to Tim Reedman of Reedman Wealth Management, who has been working to help crew keep their finances on track for more than a decade. He wanted to write about why Reedman ignored the professional financial advice she had received during her time in yachting.
So Reedman gathered six women who were or had been in the industry and asked them about their financial knowledge and experience — where they got their finance information from, what mistakes they made while in the industry and after leaving, and what they wished they had known or done differently.
The result of the conversation was supposed to go into an article for Reedman Wealth Management, but Reedman’s idea snowballed. She realized that all women needed to know the pitfalls, especially considering that women usually leave yachting to start a family. “You need to have your ducks in a row because [leaving is] going to be hard and fast,” she says. Her idea ultimately expanded to become Yacht Pearls of Wisdom, a network of women from the yachting industry “pooling resources to help optimize your career on board and on shore.”
“Leaving is really tough,” Reedman says. “There’s no advice on what happens to women when they leave — these women step off yachts and they disappear into the ether. … And that’s where Pearls of Wisdom came from because I feel — and after talking to so many women now — we [were just] following each other off a cliff.” Once these women leave yachting, they’re gone, and all that knowledge is wasted. “And that’s where it started. I was going to develop my own website; it wasn’t just going to be an article on my husband’s. It needed to be a set of advice … and just letting these women talk to each other.”
Reedman had the idea, but as a self-professed “technical dinosaur,” she didn’t quite know where to begin to start creating her vision. She eventually decided to channel Steve Jobs and just go for it.
“I’m going to sell the dream and work out the technical stuff later. And that’s what I did,” she says. Just a few days later, the tech she never knew she needed landed in her lap. “Obviously I’m on this train and I am not getting off whether I like it or not.”
The community aspect was central to her idea, so that was important in her platform, which she describes as a “supercharged community page on Facebook.” She also needed a place for video content, which includes a range of topics from training to women’s personal stories. She wanted a safe space for women to talk to each other, which means the site requires membership to access, just £40 per year. It also includes information on finance, health — both mental and physical — plus career advice. A toolkit, as Reedman explains.
Memberships provides access to their library of resources, monthly Q&A livestreams with industry experts, pre-release access to events, both live and on demand, plus a place to share your wisdom, and more. Pearls of Wisdom is also working with ISWAN to help ensure they have the right support available and to learn what women are calling about.
“What I’m doing is urgent, [because] these women are making a big decision to go into the industry, but the decision to leave is even bigger and more complex,” she says. “You change where you’re living, who you’re socializing with. You might be pregnant, your relationship with your partner might go from 24/7 to long distance. You might get a dog, do a house renovation, and you do all of that at the same time. The only other people who do that is the military.” As she points out, “So when you’re changing that many facets of your personality all in one go, you’re going to struggle.
“I know how hard it was for me to leave and I can’t make it easy, but just by actually creating these spaces and opportunities for women to talk to each other, we can make it a little bit easier.”