Cynthia’s Exciting Challenge

Port Denarau Marina General Manager, Cynthia Rasch. Photo: ANA SOVA. 

By ANA SOVA

The Port Denarau Marina is Fiji’s premier marina facility and one of the best in the South Pacific.

Imagine being appointed as the general manager of this fast developing marina complex.

Despite juggling commitments between being a wife, tending to two young children and studying her Post Graduate Certificate in Business Management at the University of Fiji, this was a new role Cynthia Rasch accepted with ease.

She was officially appointed to the role on the 1st of June this year, taking over from the Managing Director, Nigel Skeggs who has resigned. Skeggs remains as an advisor and director of Port Denarau Marina Limited.

Although she is neither the first female nor the first local to take up the position, the 38 year old says it’s an exciting challenge.

“It’s a very challenging time but with my family’s support and the support from my Board of Directors and my team, I’ve been able to come through,”

“It’s been hard, there have been some sleepless nights but I know if I’m determined I can do it,” Cynthia said.

She adds the marina industry is highly male dominated so it’s really exciting for her to be part of it and to be accepted within the industry.

Cynthia joined the marina in 2011 as the Business Manager after spending many years in the telecommunications industry in sales, corporate care and as a regional manager for Digicel Fiji. She has also worked for Vodafone Fiji.

She has completed Intermediate and Advanced Marina Management Courses in Australia as well as Fiji’s Leadership Development Program.

The former Indian College (now Jai Narayan College) and St. Joseph Secondary School student said over the past six years working at the marina, she has learnt a lot across the board.

Cynthia speaks with obvious pride about the marina as she gave me a tour around the complex. She delightedly revealed there would be an extension of the marina’s passenger terminal expected to commence soon.

This she adds, will have a tensile canopy design which is unique and has been inspired by the theme of rigging and sails of large sailing yachts.

“We have a very prestigious marina, we’ve got one of the best in the South Pacific and to see it grow from strength to strength and to take it to the next level, I’m just excited about it,” she said.

The support from her staff has been tremendous she revealed.

“The transition has been easy for them because I’ve already been part of the team all this while and have been working in management and operations as it was, the Board of Directors has been very phenomenal. My former Managing Director, Nigel Skeggs has been very helpful and accommodating and have been a mentor to me as well,” Cynthia said.

She said the transition has also been very smooth for their tenants and customers also, “because they know me and they know how I operate”.

Cynthia said she was delighted with the opportunity and faith put in by her Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors to appoint her as General Manager.

“Being in the marina since the past six years has taught me a lot and I am ready for the challenge ahead to improve and grow in this position, to move the business forward and to see our team improve in the process. As the saying goes ‘A rising tide raises all the ships in the harbour’”, she said.

Skeggs said he has full confidence in his successor.

“After nine years as the Managing Director of Port Denarau Marina the time has come for me to pursue some new endeavors. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the company and am extremely proud of all the accomplishments we have made over the years; both in terms of development but also best practice,”

“I leave with full confidence in Cynthia and look forward to witnessing the many great contributions to the company’s future that she will bring,” he said.

Cynthia shared an advice for all young girls and women.

“Do whatever your heart wants you to do. You can achieve anything, I come from a very simple background and I never thought I’d be here but I’ve worked hard for it and I know with perseverance and endurance and with that passion to be the best version of myself, I can be anything,” she said.

Cynthia adds women should never think about their limitations instead should think of what they can achieve.

“Be the best version of you. You may not be the top level person but if you are best at what you do and you know it in your heart that you can achieve it then the sky is your limit,” Cynthia said.