Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 19

Christian said. "As a strategic and collaborative manager, I draw on my background
in quality management every day. Before
I make decisions, I think about the facts
surrounding an issue, and then incorporate
different points of view."

An Abrupt Change

Julianna Marler, CEO, Port of Vancouver.

"I would start
planning sooner so
that the executive
team has the skills
in place so that any
one of them could
step into the role if
needed."
-Julianna Marler, CEO, Port
of Vancouver
Succession planning, however, can go a long
way in ensuring that key leadership roles can
be filled, even if only as an interim when an
abrupt change occurs.
For Christian, the transition offered an
opportunity to get up to speed on the "political landscape" since she was new to New
Orleans. "The board and port team worked
proactively to help me assimilate," she said.
It also offered her the opportunity to
reorganize "in a manner suited to my management style and structured to increase
training and promotion opportunities across
the organization," she said. "The need for
succession planning at the port has not been
limited to the CEO; a significant portion of
the organization is eligible for retirement."
The reorganization was more about playing to her strengths and personal qualities,

While Christian was relatively new to
New Orleans, Julianna Marler was new to
ports when she was recruited to the Port of
Vancouver in Washington in 2008. Marler
had worked for the city in procurement.
Those skills made her a great addition when
the port undertook a massive expansion project. She moved into the role of chief financial
and administrative officer, serving as one of
five senior leaders under the CEO. When
the CEO did not renew his contract, the
port had about a month to find a successor
before he left.
"It was rather abrupt," said Brian Wolfe,
the Port of Vancouver's commission president. "He told us that any one of his executive
team could run the port. But we didn't have
a succession plan in place."
The port had long relied on a fairly
straightforward succession plan: the deputy
CEO was a natural for the CEO job should it
open up. But the port CEO had restructured
top leadership, eliminating the deputy CEO
position in favor of a leadership team.
The commission opted to do a national
search and Marler was named interim CEO,
a role which she held for nearly a year before
being named to the position permanently in
February. Before the CEO left, Marler said
that job was "not in my sights."
She stepped into the interim CEO role
with a "broad understanding of how we make
good decisions, how we can be efficient and
how we provide great service."
While that may have been easy given her
experience as CFAO, the political side of port
CEO was not. "I needed more time to get up
to speed on the sales and marketing side of
things and the political dynamics," she said.
"The CEO role is much more engaged in the
community. My previous role had been very
internally focused."
Wolfe said that was not a significant gap,
though. Marler's work for the city had provided strong connections.
Still, the commission wanted to do a
national search for a CEO. It was something

Brandy Christian, CEO at Port of New
Orleans, and retired CEO Gary LaGrange.

"Promoting from
within can contribute
to greater stability in
the organization and
less turmoil during
leadership transitions."
-Brandy Christian, President &
CEO, Port of New Orleans
they had intended to do at the last CEO
turnover, when a recruiter suggested simply
elevating the deputy CEO.
This time, the process would be much
longer - especially given the national
search. The HR director and a recruiter
interviewed 75 candidates before presenting 15 semi-finalists to a staff committee,
which narrowed the list down to three.
Those three were interviewed by a community committee, which provided feedback to the commission as they made their
final decision.
Marler was interim for nearly a year -
a timeframe in which she also continued
the CFAO duties. "That's a challenge when
you're doing the two roles. It can be tough
to give either role 100 percent."
The interim role brought another challenge. Because she was a candidate for the

SUMMER 2017 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM

19


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Stakeholders: A Seaport’s Secret Resource
Why Ports Need Allies: Maintaining a Working Waterfront Takes a Network of Supporters
The Next Generation of Leaders — Succession Planning Provides Security, Guidance for Future
Port Security — An Exercise in Partnerships
Lessons From the Past: A Renewed Commentary on Port Security
Cyber Security: What Port Authorities Need to Know
Tomorrow’s Leaders Need More Than On-the-Job Training
Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - Intro
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - bellyband1
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - bellyband2
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - cover1
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - cover2
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 3
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 4
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 5
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - AAPA Headquarters
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 7
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - From the President’s Desk
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 9
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - Stakeholders: A Seaport’s Secret Resource
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 11
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 12
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 13
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - Why Ports Need Allies: Maintaining a Working Waterfront Takes a Network of Supporters
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 15
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 16
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 17
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - The Next Generation of Leaders — Succession Planning Provides Security, Guidance for Future
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 19
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 20
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 21
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - Port Security — An Exercise in Partnerships
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 23
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 24
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 25
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - Lessons From the Past: A Renewed Commentary on Port Security
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 27
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - Cyber Security: What Port Authorities Need to Know
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 29
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 30
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 31
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - Tomorrow’s Leaders Need More Than On-the-Job Training
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 33
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - cover3
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - cover4
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - divider1
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - divider2
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 41
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 42
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 43
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 44
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 45
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - 46
Seaports Magazine - Summer 2017 - outsert1
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