Wanda Kenton Smith of Freedom Boat Club has picked up the 31st Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award. The scholarship was presented to Kenton Smith on Sunday, December 10, during the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) opening night awards celebration at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
Kenton Smith is chief marketing officer of Freedom Boat Club, president of Kenton Smith Marketing, marketing columnist for Soundings Trade Only, president of Marine Marketers of America, chair of RBLC New Market Task Force, and member of Boating Writers International. During her career, she has been an editor of WaterSki Magazine (formally World Waterskiing), WaterSki Business, and WindSurf Magazine.
In terms of her contributions to the advancement of women in the marine industry, Kenton Smith founded Marine Marketing to Women, an educational firm that provided training on the impact of women on buying decisions for consumer products, including boats.
Kenton Smith also created an organisation called International Women in Boating, reaching a membership of 350 before it was taken over by NMMA. Her most recent contribution was the launch of Freedom Boating Divas, an educational and networking program for female members of the Freedom Boat Club.
The Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award is presented annually to an outstanding woman who is actively involved in the marine industry at any level. It recognises long and devoted service, untiring commitment, and the advancement of women in the marine business. The recipient receives an award and a cheque for US$500 to be used for her professional development.