What makes a difference is what you want to achieve in life

Philippos is the Chairman of YoungShip Cyprus and one of its Founders. Tirelessly working at gaining new experiences and improving his skills, he is an inspirational figure among the young Maritime professionals. He shares his thoughts on resilience, motivation and volunteering work, which he enjoys doing.

Muriel: “What is your story and what drives you?”

Philippos: “I am always motivated by the unknown. I look for challenges and I am driven by experience. I identify things I don’t know. I try to spend time with people who are knowledgeable, from whom I can learn. I am turned off by stagnation and when things are too comfortable for me.

Lately, I took the opportunity and the risk to travel to Switzerland and accepted a challenging role, because it is going to be a learning process for me. It allows me to understand the local perspective and take decisions based on macro and micro factors. For me, this is now a great school and I take full responsibility for my learning process.

My father is a self-made man and has started his career from scratch, without having a degree, before climbing the ladder. I look up to him and I strongly believe it is about willingness and passion to succeed. At the end, what makes a difference is not a matter of getting a degree; it is what you want to achieve in life!”

Muriel: “When you don’t manage to reach an important goal, how do you deal with the situation and bounce back?”

Philippos: “When I put targets and goals, it does not always depend on me but also on others. I try to stay positive and look on the bright side of every situation and it is always a lesson. I don’t constantly go through a nice fairytale but I learn something to improve myself. I may find out weaknesses in me that I was not aware of and I will learn a lesson for the future. Therefore, I never regret my choices.”

Muriel: “What was the most significant realization in your professional path and what did you learn from it?”

Philippos: “The world is not perfect and nothing is easy. Through my work experience and involvement in organizations, I have managed to get to know myself better, achieved critical tasks and demonstrated character and leadership.

My advice here is that even if you have a small opportunity, take it and it can open other doors for you, in a bigger world. Of course I acknowledge that for the time being, I feel that working and studying at the same time is difficult, as well as being away from my family. But the satisfaction I get is that I am working in a challenging environment.”

Muriel: “If you just met a teenager and he asked for your advice regarding a career in Shipping, but you only have a couple of minutes to communicate your suggestion, what would it be?”

Philippos: “I will tell him or her ‘just go for it’, because when I was a student, my career advisors did not know anything about Shipping. It is a world of opportunities, challenges and motivation, as well as potential growth and development. A career in Shipping will enable you to work in an international, dynamic environment, with various possibilities to travel and get to know other cultures. Shipping will never make you feel bored or de-motivated because it is a huge industry that is growing.”

Muriel: “If you could start your professional career all over again, what would you do differently?”

Philippos: “For sure, I will try to have good advisors and I will find a mentor. I will also learn more languages such as Chinese, Spanish, German and Russian.
I would study and give particular focus on the digital side, because in the next ten years, Shipping is moving towards the digital world. I would perhaps get a degree in Software Engineering or Analytics, in order to interpret data in the most efficient and reliable way. Furthermore, this will make the industry greener, more sustainable, smarter and more reliable.”

Muriel: “What is your favourite quote or motto?”

Philippos: “I like to explore the unknown and I am motivated by challenges. One of my favourite quotes is the following: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become” – Steve Jobs. I always have it in mind and I generally push my limits.

My motto is the following: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” – Mahatma Gandhi.
I always strive to learn and push my limits and live every moment to the maximum. I try to avoid being around negative people who can pull me down.”

Muriel: “Tell me about your unique volunteering experience.”

Philippos: “I really love volunteering and truly enjoy helping other people. I participate in many charities. All of us can be active citizens and contribute to improve our society.”


Philippos Ioulianou is the Chairman of YoungShip Cyprus and one of the Founders of the organization. Being an active citizen, he has participated in the formation and running of different national and international organizations, holding various positions of responsibility. He believes that volunteering can improve and add value to the society.
He is currently working as Manager at ABB Head Quarters  in Zurich. He has gained international work experience in various industries (shipping, real estate, defence, power and energy).
He studied Engineering (Leicester) in UK and Business studies in France (IUM) and Italy (SDA Bocconi). He has recently completed his studies in Law.

© Muriel Matta 2017 

Muriel Matta (BSc, MSc, MPhil, Cert CTT Practitioner) is an HR Advisor, Coach, Trainer and Facilitator.
She is a multilingual Human Resources Management expert, with 28 years of cross-cultural experience in MENA, Europe and CIS. 
In line with her Vision, she launched Maravilhosa in 2014 to help organizations build high-performing teams.
For more information: http://www.maravilhosa.net/en/about/profile
Muriel can be contacted via email: Muriel@maravilhosa.net