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The CEO of Celebrity Cruises is great with email, which can be a curse

“If you haven’t responded in 10 minutes, people wonder what happened to you.”

The CEO of Celebrity Cruises is great with email, which can be a curse
[Illustration: Aistė Stancikaitė]

I try to handle my email myself. I’ve found that I am a victim of my own efficiency. When you’re [known for responding] really fast, if you haven’t responded in 10 minutes, people wonder what happened to you.

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I’m going from meeting to meeting, either every 30 minutes or every hour—all day long. And that’s when I’m not traveling to the ships, or around the world. Because we’re such a complicated business, I’m resetting every 30 minutes to focus on a new topic.

And there is a whole other dimension to what we do. We were fortunate here in South Florida that we were spared the storm that wreaked havoc in the Bahamas. We needed to mobilize and help, because they were helpless. They’re our friends, our neighbors. We canceled our guests’ last port of call [in Nassau] in favor of going to Freeport, and they were so understanding. In three days, we served 50,000 meals. Our dining room was full of all of our guests helping our crew pack the meals that the kitchen had prepared, and there was this big assembly line. One great part of my business is the humanity that we see and the people we get to know because of what we do.

Time she gets up: Between 4:30 and 5 a.m.

First thing she does in the morning: “I have three four-legged children. All those things that some parents do for their kids, I do for my dogs.”

Productivity tools: “I always know what I need to be doing. I really don’t want to construct a to-do list, so I just do it, and that’s part of the reason I’m working all the time. I don’t want to save [it] until later.”

What she does while commuting: “If people are calling me from different time zones—like the West Coast—I’ll take that call on the commute home. That gives me a whole hour to have another meeting that I can start at 6 p.m. In the morning, I have a lot of conversations with people in Europe. But my favorite thing that happens every day on my commute is that my baby sister calls, and we have our daily chat, somewhere between 7:37 and 7:40 a.m.”

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How she handles social media: “I’m on Twitter communicating all the time, and I have lots of wonderful conversations with people through LinkedIn. I try to manage how many communities I’m in, because it’s time-consuming. If I’m going to engage, I really want to engage.”

Best habit: “I try to respect people’s weekends. All of us have such little time [with our families]. I’m traveling somewhere between 30% and 40% of my time. So whenever I can be home, I choose to be there. My husband is retired, and he’s home often. So I always want to stay home, and he always wants to not stay home.”

Worst habit: “I text and email in the wee hours. I know it’s terrible. I don’t expect a response. Because I’m terrible at making lists, I just do it in the moment—and sometimes the moment is not the best moment for those who are receiving it.”

Last thing she does at night: “I’m a big football fan, so if it’s Monday or Thursday night, I might put the game on—or just rewatch my own team’s game.”

Time she goes to bed: 9 p.m.

A version of this article appeared in the Winter 2019/2020 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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