Women in Business 2012: Maggie McDonogh

Captain, owner and chief executive officer, Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry, Inc., 21 Main St., Tiburon 94920; 415-435-2131; www.angelislandferry.com

Education: B.S. English Writing, Dominican University, San Rafael

Staff: 12-15

Tell us about yourself and your company: As Angel Island Tiburon Ferry's captain and chief executive, I oversee day-to-day management and operations of the last family-owned-and-operated ferryboat company of its kind in California. We provide the public with roundtrip ferry service to Angel Island State Park, as well as offer a bevy of exciting bay cruise experiences such as fireworks cruises, Blue Angels air show cruises, private charters and our famous sunset cruise mid-May through mid-October.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?: Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry is honored to be awarded the American Red Cross 2012 Life Saving Hero Organization for executing two successful life-saving rescues on San Francisco Bay in one year.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?: I am most proud of raising two compassionate and confident children. I am also proud to be following in my father's footsteps and continuously working against all odds to keep our family-owned-and-operated ferryboat company alive in honor of my father's lifelong passion.

What is your biggest challenge today?: One of my challenges today is finding just the right balance between managing my growing family and my evolving company. I am fortunate to have such a fantastic crew, which really helps keep things running smoothly.

Words that best describe you: My 10-year old daughter says I am "compassionate and loving," which is very sweet. As far as a few words to describe me in the business world, my colleagues tell me I am determined and responsible, yet I can also be easygoing and flexible, depending on the situation.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?: The maritime industry is a male-dominated industry, which increases the pressure for a woman to excel. In other words, you cannot "sit upon your laurels," you have to go "above and beyond" to show you've got what it takes to run a ferry boat company as well or better than any man can. It was my father's constant encouragement that kept me motivated to stay with it ... and succeed.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: Over the next 5 years I see Angel Island Tiburon Ferry adapting to new technologies, while keeping our family-owned-and-operated charm. We will also challenge ourselves to find new and innovative ways to keep our costs down in order to continue to service the ever-changing wants and needs of the public.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: Do not let anybody including yourself put limitations on you. Stay focused. Because if you're really want something -- with determination -- you'll get there.

Who was your most important mentor?: My most important mentor was my father, Milton McDonogh. I admire my father for his single-minded devotion to our family and the business. He worked very hard to take care of our family. My dad impressed on me, "No matter what boundaries you place on yourself, or limitations anyone or society places on you, with determination and focus you can succeed."

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Richard Snyder is a former Hasting Law School professor, international law practitioner and a wonderful mentor who taught me patience in navigating today's complicated business climate. I also admire designer Paul Vincent Wiseman for his eye for aesthetics and design elegance and the way he treats his employees. That is how we try to lead here as well.

Current reading: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff and Makioka Sisters by Tanizaki Jun'ichiro

Most want to meet: Stephen Hawking

Stress relievers: Being out on San Francisco Bay every day is in itself a stress-reducer for me. Yet when I'm not working, I enjoy taking walks with the kids and the dog, boogie-boarding at Stinson Beach, horseback-riding, cooking (when I have lots of time to enjoy it) and gardening.

Favorite hobbies: Gardening and fishing.

Is there something we didn't ask that you would like to add?: Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry is very grateful for the community's ongoing patronage and support. We appreciate the ongoing opportunity to be of service to people in our Marin community and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Thanks to the passion and commitment of my father, Captain Milton McDonogh, California has a wonderful piece of living history available 365 days a year for residents and tourists to experience with a ride on he Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry. We truly love what we do, and welcome everyone to experience the rich, Bay Area tradition and cultural learning opportunities Angel Island State Park and Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry provide on San Francisco Bay.

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