Person Behind The Face – Karen Underwood

Karen Underwood is joint MD of Spirit Yachts

Industry Database

How I got into this industry…I was away on holiday and my mum saved the job pages from the local paper as she had spotted an advert for a production assistant and PA to the managing director at Oyster Yachts. I joined Oyster over 20 years’ ago and I haven’t looked back since.

Best advice I’ve ever received…My first boss at a local construction firm told me ‘do not assume as it makes an ass out of you and me’ and it’s always stayed with me. In our industry in particular, assumptions can lead to expensive mistakes.

One thing the industry needs less of is…Abandoned GRP hulls. As an industry we must look seriously at what to do with yachts when they reach end of life.

Most hated buzzword or workplace expression…’no offence, but…’ is always followed by something offensive. Don’t hide behind a criticism, just say it how it is.

Best place I’ve been…I love Thailand; the people, the food and the opportunity to recharge.

Don’t worry about…The small things that go wrong or don’t turn out as you expected. Life is too short and as Covid has shown us, we all need to be adaptable.

Favourite meal…Salmon with some fresh vegetables or salad. You also can’t beat a good slice of banana cake.

One thing I couldn’t live without…La Roche-Posay sunscreen face spray is an essential for boat show season. 

How I cope with stress…I run, practice yoga and generally keep fit. You need a lot of energy in this business. It’s important to switch off and have time for yourself.

Something about you that people might be surprised by…I have eight rescue chickens.

Karen Underwood is joint MD of Spirit Yachts

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