“Without diversity, we stand still”

Shipping or banking? Marit Ulferts was interested in both sectors after completing her A-levels. However, she didn’t have to choose one, as the dual study program she then completed at Ostfriesische Volksbank covered both.

How long have you been involved with shipping and how did you get into it?
Marit Ulferts: After graduating from high school in 2011, I took a year off. During this time, I went to London, among other places. As my father works in the shipping industry, I also wanted to gain experience in shipping, so I worked as an intern in the Sale & Purchase department at Clarksons. From then on, it was clear to me that shipping was a very exciting industry. As I also found banking interesting, the path to Ostfriesische Volksbank was very obvious. When OVB offered me a dual study program in 2012, I accepted, also knowing that there was a special area for shipping here, which other banks in the region could not offer. I’ve been loyal to shipping ever since.

Marit Ulferts
Marit Ulferts

What does your daily work routine look like?
Ulferts: My daily routine essentially consists of looking after my maritime clients. The focus of our bank is on holistic support – we therefore offer everything from credit cards, investment products and foreign exchange trading to classic ship mortgage loans.

We also want to be a reliable partner to the shipping industry. This refers both to the good availability of specific employees in our company and to the predictability of our decisions and processing times. Communication within our shipping team is also crucial here. In addition, I have been part of our CultureLab for several years to promote our corporate culture.

How did you get to WISTA?
Ulferts: In 2015, a WISTA event was held at a shipping company in Leer. At the time, I was asked by the shipping company whether I would like to take part as an interested party. It was an exciting exchange with informative presentations. I then quickly became a member and regularly attended events in both Leer and Hamburg.

When you’re not working, what keeps you busy?
Ulferts: I like to travel, read a lot and do sport. In the coming year, I will also dedicate myself to new tasks before I start working again…

What does “diversity in the world of work” mean to you?
Ulferts: For me, diversity in the world of work means that everyone has the same opportunities, possibilities and appreciation regardless of gender, origin, religion or sexual orientation. Different opinions and points of view are tolerated in the diverse working environment and people always treat each other with respect.

What is your contribution to diversity?
Ulferts: Our association was founded in an industry that was clearly dominated by men at the time, and as a unit we are already helping to attract a certain amount of attention. That makes me very happy. Of course, it is also important to raise awareness of diversity in our own (both private and professional) environment and to set an example for others on how to deal with this issue better. It is essential to stay informed on this topic at all times.

What else could companies in the maritime industry do to achieve more diversity?
Ulferts: Our world, our country and our industry thrive on social, cultural and ethnic diversity and if everyone’s potential can be fully developed, everyone wins. I think that every company should take a strategic approach aimed at recognising, valuing and promoting the diversity of its employees.

Managers, in particular, need to be informed and trained accordingly in order to recognise/avoid unconscious bias and to set an example for their employees. This is a lengthy process and we are nowhere near the end of it. But without diversity, we stand still.


About Marit Ulferts
  • Born in 1993, married, lives in Emden
  • After leaving school, internship at Clarkson PLC
  • Studied economics in Oldenburg and Hanover
  • With Ostfriesische Volksbank eG (OVB) since 2012
  • Shipping advisor since 2015

About OVB

  • Founded in 1869, the cooperative has grown steadily since then and merged with several Volksbanks
  • Balance sheet total €3.4bn
  • Approx. 320 employees and almost 28,000 members
  • A total of 17 locations in East Frisia, Emsland, Kehdinger Land, Hanover and Duisburg


WISTA GermanyHANSA and WISTA empower women in the maritime industry
As part of an exclusive partnership with the German Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association, HANSA regularly profiles a member of WISTA Germany e.V.

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Caption: Marit Ulferts