Captain Sandy Yawn runs a tight ship—make that a multi-million dollar mega-yacht.
The Fort Lauderdale resident inspired fans around the world last year on Bravo’s “Below Deck Mediterranean” and now she will take the stage she learned from her trail-blazing career on the “I Believe” Tour, kicking off at the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center on Friday, Feb. 16.
“It hasn’t been easy and women captains are still pretty rare,” the maritime industry veteran admitted. “I want to take this opportunity to share some of the leadership lessons I’ve learned and (especially) inspire women.”
While growing up, Yawn and her family frequently boated in her native Bradenton. She joined the crew on a charter boat before attending the Maritime Professional Training school in Fort Lauderdale in the early 1990s. Yawn then went on to earn a Masters of Oceans All Oceans license from the U.S. Coast Guard and she’s captained charter yachts in New England, the Bahamas, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
And then she was cast on “Below Deck.”
“I’ve had meltdowns. I’ve had fires. I’ve had pirates chase me. Any scenario you can think of has happened in my 27 years in this industry,” she told her crew in the first episode.
Yawn was such a hit with viewers, a second season has already been taped and will be aired late this spring or summer.
But, despite her newfound fame, she is still frequently mistaken for a steward on her charters.
“That happens a lot,” she said in a telephone interview.
Yawn plans to relate many of her experiences and show audiences at the Aventura Center that effective leadership skills can be applied to any situation in life.
Yawn will also be joined by a panel of successful businesspeople and motivational speakers who have conquered adversity or similarly blazed new trails in their industries, including Dr. Jennifer Berman, world-renowned urologist and sexual expert on the Emmy-winning syndicated series “The Doctors;” Randi Gold, former TV executive and expert on vulnerability and overcoming addiction; cancer survivor Kristan Weinstein and heart attack survivor Pam Africk, now educators; Shari Olefson, founder of the Women’s Empowering Network; Michelle Dunham, parent and founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism; and National Geographic Explorer’s Asher Jay.
“We have an incredible line-up with incredible stories to share,” Yawn promised, “that will inspire everyone.”
Captain Sandy Yawn will appear with the “I Believe” Tour on Friday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. A meet-and-greet will be available for VIP ticketholders before the presentation. Tickets start at $32.71 at AventuraCenter.org.
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