MRAA Educational Foundation names Michele Goldsmith the 2023 Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year

Michele Goldsmith

Dec 12, 2023

Michele Goldsmith, Vice President and General Manager of the Soundings Trade Only group, has been named the 2023 Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year, announced the MRAA Educational Foundation. The award was presented to Goldsmith, the 37th recipient, as part of the Dealer Week Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Dealer Week in Tampa, Fla.

Michele Goldsmith
Goldsmith started her marine industry journey in the summer of 1991, working alongside her father at Todd Enterprises, eventually assuming the role of leading sales and marketing, helping the company flourish and expand. She joined Charles Industries in 2000, as the Director of Sales and Marketing for the marine division and earned an American Boat & Yacht Council electrical certification.

After successful stints in sales, marketing and product development leadership roles for marine industry component companies Paneltronics, Mastervolt, Power Products, and Lippert, Goldsmith joined Active Interest Media (AIM) in 2018 as the publisher of Soundings Trade Only. In 2023, she was named Vice President and General Manager, responsible for developing and providing tools to the marine industry to enhance their marketing and business growth.

Five years ago, Goldsmith spearheaded the Most Innovative Marine Company Awards to recognize companies that contribute significantly to the industry’s progress through initiatives such as product innovation, workforce development, sustainability and philanthropy. Among the many industry events she creates and manages are the quarterly Women in the Industry series for female boating professionals. In 2021, she hired Balaji Krishnamurthy, Chairman of Think Shift, to lead a workshop on servant leadership within the industry. Starting in 2022 she took Women in the Industry series global, partnering with British Marine, Marine Industry News and METSTRADE to create an annual in-person panel event at the METSTRADE show in Amsterdam. 

“My enduring motivation lies in serving the industry, contributing to its growth and facilitating opportunities for the next generation of leaders, particularly women,” said Goldsmith. “I am committed to creating empowering spaces for them to connect, network, learn and build a supportive community.”

Two years ago, Goldsmith established a 1+1 mentoring program to connect new industry professionals with industry leaders through 30-minute virtual conversations. To date, the program has hosted nearly 200 1+1 sessions, with the next edition scheduled for June 2024. And survey data indicates that about 90 percent of mentors/mentees have remained in contact with each other.

Michele has served on or chaired numerous boards and associations and has accrued more than
15 years on the National Marine Manufacturers Association Board of Directors and was one of the first women named chair of the Marine Accessories & Components Division board of directors for NMMA. She was also the first woman on the ABYC technical board of directors, serving two consecutive 5-year terms.

“Michele has been a groundbreaker and a change agent since she first entered the industry,” stated William Sisson of Soundings Trade Only in a letter of recommendation. “After 32 years, her series of Women in the Industry events may well be her tour de force. In the last two years, Michele has developed and hosted 11 Women in the Industry events. She hosted the first large-scale, in-person leadership event for women at IBEX this year, creating the first all-female industry leadership panel and had more than 150 attendees. Michele thrives on forming new connections between individuals and associations, helping to unify our marine ecosystem and works tirelessly to make the marine industry stronger, more diverse and welcoming.”

Goldsmith, a former competitive athlete, has an inner drive to always be the best which fuels her motivation to seek personal excellence and a sense of purpose. In April, she accomplished a nine-day trek through the Himalayas to reach Mount Everest Base Camp. “While I continue to strive for excellence in achieving corporate milestones and fostering robust growth, what truly ignites my enthusiasm is pioneering uncharted territory and presenting the industry with groundbreaking initiatives,” she added. “A prime example is an upcoming 2024 research study, the first of its kind, focusing on women working in the marine industry — dedicated to attracting, retaining and developing female talent.”

Named after the late Darlene Briggs of Wayzata, Minn., who was admired for her tireless dedication to elevating women and the marine industry. Jointly, the MRAA and Boating Industry magazine present the award to honor her memory. The annual award recognizes an outstanding woman who is actively involved in the boating industry, recognizing dedicated service, persistent commitment and the advancement of women in the marine business. Darlene’s granddaughter, Taylor Briggs, leads the MRAA Educational Foundation’s selection committee for the award, and helped present the award.

“This award is so important to our family because it continues the legacy of my grandma, Darlene Briggs,” Taylor said. “She was truly an inspiring woman who would be so proud of the hard work that Michele has done to mentor and support other women in the marine industry.”

Related Posts

See Taiga’s Orca Performance electric watercraft in action at the Toronto Boat Show


Taiga Motors, the Canadian leader in the electrification of powersports, will showcase its latest personal watercraft at the Toronto International Boat Show January 19-28, 2024 at booth 136, Heritage Court.

If you’d like more information about Taiga and would like to see the Orca Performance, a 100% electric personal watercraft in action at the Toronto International Boat Show’s indoor lake, Taiga Experts will be available for interviews and demos.

Read More

Need to Catch up on News This Week?

Every Tuesday we publish a fresh Digest with informative articles pertaining to the Canadian boating and marine industry. Stay up to date with the latest products, research and industry developments.

Missed an Issue of Boating Industry Canada News Week? If you’re looking for a specific issue, or simply want to catch up on previous issues, check out our Boating Industry Canada News Week Archives.

Not signed up for News Week? Subscribe here.

Boston Whaler launches the 210 Vantage

Boston Whaler just introduced the newest model in the Vantage lineup – the 210 Vantage, an all-new, keel-up dual console model designed with premium features core to the Boston Whaler brand, as well as intuitive technology to attract the next generation of boaters.

“Building on the success of the Vantage series, we’re thrilled to officially introduce the all-new 210 Vantage into the marketplace and offer consumers a truly differentiated experience,” said Dennis Tilden, Senior Director of Sales & Customer Service. “The 210 Vantage embodies the core values that define Boston Whaler’s legacy – quality, innovation, unsinkability, reliability and simplicity – and was designed to cater to young families and empty nesters with its manageable size, thoughtful design, weather protection and spacious seating. We’re confident that our newest model will be well-received in the market and set the standard for its category.​”

Read More

JL Audio unveils MediaMaster® Wireless Remote with Zone Control for Marine Audio Systems

Hubbell-Marine Stainless steel outlet covers
Hubbell-Marine Stainless steel outlet covers

Keep it cradled, or take it with you to conveniently control your JL Audio marine source unit and audiozones from anywhere on deck.

JL Audio, a Garmin brand and manufacturer of high-performance marine audio systems, announced the addition of the MMR-25W wireless remote controller to its growing portfolio of MediaMaster® source unit control solutions. Equipped with Bluetooth® Low Energy technology, this compact, handheld controller connects directly to the latest MediaMaster® source units, including the MM105 and MM105-HR, and allows for robust, multi-zone system control from anywhere on deck.

Read More