In this series of Belizean Women in Lead, we sit down with Patricia Ramirez of Splash Dive Center. As the founder and co-owner, Patricia recounts going from banking to tourism, and being the first woman in Belize to achieve PADI Course Director.
Our Interview with Patricia
Did you always want to work in hospitality and tourism? How did you get to where you are today?
When I went to university in Honduras, I graduated with a Banking and Finance degree. Those days I never imagined that I was going to end in the tourism industry. But after moving to Belize more than 30 years ago, little by little, I learned about tourism and now, tourism is a daily big part of my life. I started in Placencia being the smallest tour operator, with the tiniest office and my “never-give-up” mentality took me to the next level. However, 10 years ago, my husband decided to invest in the business taking Splash Dive Center to an even higher level. Splash is now the largest dive operator in Southern Belize.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have always been passionate about helping others, so I enjoyed very much being able to help local guides to become dive professionals until they become dive instructors. By doing this, when I go from this world, I know that the new generation will continue my love for the ocean by taking people scuba diving, teaching the locals and tourists about the beautiful sport of scuba diving, and to love and respect our beautiful Belize Barrier Reef.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of a woman in your industry?
Thankfully, things have changed for the better [for women in tourism] since I started Splash 22 years ago. Now, are appreciated for our perspectives, knowledge, and are far more welcomed in the industry.
How do you choose to challenge this?
I took the challenge to become a PADI Course Director – the highest level in the dive industry. That level gave me the opportunity to teach Divemasters to become dive instructors and garner respect from others in the dive industry, establishing myself as an expert in the field. I encourage other women to become involved in the field, too.
What advice would you share with women who are at the start of their careers and aspire to reach a senior position?
Never give up on your dreams. It is not easy, but it is possible if you dedicate your time to learn and become an expert in your field, regardless of your industry. However, humility is the new smart: never forget where and how you started.
And finally, tell us how you manage to achieve a work/life balance? What do you do for fun/ to relax?
To achieve everything I want to achieve for the day, my day starts at 2 am! It’s non-stop from one activity to the next until 6:30 pm when I get home to relax with my husband. Then, I can decompress as we do in scuba, and end my day relaxing with my husband by watching a bit of international news or a good movie.
More About Patricia & Splash Dive Center
In 2012, Patty was also recognized as a Sea Hero by Scuba Diving Magazine. This magazine honors individuals in diving who give back to their communities and the local marine environment. For more on how Patty and Splash Dive Center are making an impact on the Belize community, check out our article here. From the CC+L team, we say a big thank you Patty for all you do for our ocean, people and country. To book a tour with Splash Dive or find out more about what they offer, visit their website here.
Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle’s Belizean Women in Lead Series’ celebrates International Women’s Day 2021. The day, marked annually on March 8th, is witnessed worldwide and celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. At CC+L, we are going a step further and dedicating the entire month of March to the women of Belize. The series features some of the industry’s most innovative and successful female leaders in the Belizean hospitality and travel industry. We chat with them about their career path, including their passions and challenges faced. In addition, we share their best tips, tricks, and advice to other women in the industry.
We ask you to join us in celebrating the women around us this month and look forward to sharing this series with you. Finally, we encourage you to share any inspirational stories of those women making a change in our community with us.