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Julissa Moreta calls ‘time out’ on unsafe work situations in her native Dominican Republic

Saltchuk Safety Award finalist Julissa Moreta was born and raised in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Her father, a regional sales manager, and her mother, a doctor, inspired Moreta to pursue a career in business.

“I was immersed in business from an early age,” she said, “I come from a family of merchants.”

Before her award, Moreta earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s in Corporate Finance. Her first professional job was as a Recruitment Trainee in the Human Resources Department of Ambev, one of the largest beer companies in the region, where her father also worked. She later spent five years at a marketing research company as an Analysis Manager.

“The company eliminated my position, but I soon learned of a new job opportunity in the container shipping industry,” she said. “I started working as an Operations Coordinator for the Dominican Republic and a few other Caribbean Islands at the largest shipping company in the world – Maersk Line.”

After two years with Maersk, Moreta joined Tropical Shipping, where she’s worked for eight years “and counting.”

“The past eight years have been the best of my professional career,” she said. “I started as an entry-level employee in Operations and became Operations Manager a few years ago. The most challenging aspect of my career has been trying to break the paradigm of what it is to be a woman and work in what many people still consider to be a man’s field – especially in a somewhat ‘macho’ country like the Dominican Republic.”

Moreta was nominated for a 2019 Saltchuk Safety Award due in part to her fearlessness in calling “time out” in situations she believes to be unsafe. Recently, a set of containers loaded onto one of Tropical’s vessels were in very bad condition. Containers in poor condition represent a high risk for vessel or ground crew, and even pedestrians on the road should the container fail in transit. Moreta was notified and she stopped the operation, had them discharged, and contacted the shipper, requiring the company in question to hire a surveyor to certify the containers. The containers were quickly transloaded, surveyed, and underwent the process of repair and recertification before being placed back into service.

Moreta also proactively helped arm her coworkers in the Dominican Republic with the necessary equipment and materials for COVID-19 protection, despite all local suppliers running short. They now have gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer for the office through reliable suppliers at a reasonable price.

“When I first saw the list of employees nominated for the Safety Awards, I didn’t even realize my name was on the list,” she said. “When my coworkers started calling me and congratulating me, I was so emotional. I never thought I would be nominated and I am honored. For me, safety is an essential principle of life.”

Moreta poses for a family portrait with her two children.

Moreta said she’s most proud of her family and hopes to continue her professional development in the shipping industry.

“If I had to be or do anything else, I’d have my own business as a landscape designer or CPA,” she laughed. “Those are things I like a lot. In reality, I wouldn’t change anything about my past life because each and every one of my decisions that I made, each and every one of the actions that I took, and each and every one of the situations that I had to face, polished me and made me stronger, braver and more experienced.”

Most surprising about Moreta’s career, she said, is her growing resilience. She expects much will change at Tropical during the coming years, and she knows she’ll be able to adapt.

“We’re working in a very dynamic industry, so we need to continue innovating and investing in superstructures and software that will help us satisfy more specialized clients in the not too distant future.”

In case you missed it: Tropical’s South Florida sales team sends a message of confidence to customers!

Hilary Reeves

Hilary Reeves spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining the Saltchuk family of companies as a consultant. Since People of Saltchuk launched in 2014, Reeves has interviewed more than 200 Saltchuk employees from operating companies all over the world. Born in Tacoma, Washington, Reeves is a former president of both the collegiate and local professional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, a graduate of the Society’s Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, and a Toastmaster. When she’s not writing, she loves to read, ski, and practice the piano. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two young daughters.