Author Archives: Ellen Voie

About Ellen Voie

Ellen Voie founded Women In Trucking with the goal to promote the employment of women in this industry, remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and celebrate the successes of its members.

Women In Trucking advances its mission with a Girl Scout Transportation Patch

In October of 2014, eighty four young girls gathered at Olive Harvey School in Chicago, Illinois for the first Girl Scout Transportation event.  These girls heard from a (female) Navistar Engineer who talked about designing trucks to better accommodate women.  They also were given the opportunity to meet two female professional drivers and to climb into the cab of the trucks.

This was the very first Girl Scout event initiated by Women In Trucking Association. Since then at least fourteen more event have been held in the United States and Canada (where they are called Girl Guides.)

The purpose of the Transportation Patch is to expose young girls to careers in the supply chain.  From trucks, to boats and airplanes and pipelines, nearly 800 young girls have now earned the Women In Trucking Transportation Patch.  Inquiries continue to come in from all over the world.  Many are initiated by carriers, some are from truck driving schools, others are from dealers, but many are from Girl Scout (Guide) Troops themselves.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the University of Wisconsin Superior’s Girl Scout Transportation Day.  We started the morning with 21 young girls eager to learn about transportation.  We talked about how their Girl Scout cookies actually start out as grain in a farmer’s field.  The grain is transported, by a truck, to the bakery.  Then, from the bakery to the packaging center the cookies are moved by a truck.  The next step is to send them (via truck) to the distribution center.  After the cookies are transported to the regional Girl Scout office, the delivery is made by the Girl Scout to the customer.  The girls related to the supply chain lesson and will now identify trucks as potentially hauling their cookies.

We took a tour of the S. S. Meteor, the world’s last Whaleback Ship.  The girls were fascinated by the massive cargo holds, but took a special interest in the Captain and Crew’s sleeping and eating quarters.  The tour guide allowed each group to tug on the air horn!

The next stop was a ride on the North Shore scenic railroad.  The ride included a pizza lunch after a visit to the museum. The girls learned about trains and how steam locomotives transported workers to various locations in northing Minnesota.

After returning to the University, the girls were separated into three groups.  Each group had the opportunity to move between learning stations.  As one group of girls learned about airplanes and how lift and trust affect the way the airplane flows through the atmosphere, another group made a pipeline and watched it “erupt” like a volcano.  The last group met a female professional driver, Terri, who showed them her truck and let them pull the air horn.

By the end of the day, the girls had learned about all modes of transportation, but more importantly, they were exposed to people who operated these engines and what the job entails.

The Women In Trucking Association developed the curriculum and the patches with the Greater Chicago/Northern Indiana regional office.  The curriculum is free to corporate members of the association, and the patches can be purchased at cost for $1 each.

This project will also be supplemented by an activity guide depicting the supply chain path of the cookies from the field to the final mile, which is the Girl Scout.  This activity guide is currently being produced by the Women In Trucking Association and will be available for our members later this year.

For more information about the Women In Trucking’s Girl Scout (Guide) Transportation Patch and curriculum, please contact Char@womenintrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.

This project supports the organization’s mission to encourage more women to look at careers in transportation and supply chain and by reaching young girls through the Transportation Patch this mission is being accomplished.

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Being recognized by Todd the TSA agent.

The reports about airline incidents have been numerous lately and don’t seem to be stopping.  Maneuvering through a busy airport, like Atlanta or Chicago, is not fun. In fact, it’s frustrating and challenging, even for frequent flyers who know what to expect.

As President of the Women In Trucking Association, I spend a lot of time flying to meetings, conferences and speaking engagements. I stick with Delta, as there aren’t a lot of choices at my home airport in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Continue reading

JumpStart Auto Repair, a Garage for Good

While the trucking industry seeks more women to fill the roles of driver, technician and leader, the automotive industry has some of the same challenges. It’s still not common to see female mechanics working on your car.  Even less common is a shop run by women for women.

That’s the goal of JumpStart Auto Repair in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Their mission is to provide honest, reliable service to women, who reportedly make up 65 percent of all car repair decisions.

Their focus is even more targeted, as their partners are two domestic abuse shelters in the area, the Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.  The number one reason someone will return to an abusive relationship. So, JumpStart LLC, a garage for good, was created. Continue reading

A decade of steering toward diversity

In 2007 a group of influential, successful women met in Las Vegas to create a mission statement for a new organization called “Women In Trucking (WIT).” These women knew what it was like to be outnumbered at every industry event where they would search the room for another female to make a connection.  Their goal was simple, to increase the number of women employed in trucking, from driver to board member, diversity was the challenge.

Although women are still a minority in trucking, the Women In Trucking Association is moving the needle. In the past ten years, we’ve made great strides in increasing the ranks of women through numerous initiatives.  To name a few….WIT-logo-10-year

The Girl Scout (Girl Guide) Transportation Patch was created in cooperation with the Greater Chicago/Northern Indiana Girl Scouts. The curriculum guide is available only from the Women In Trucking Association. Numerous troops across North America have learned been able to see a truck close up and learn about careers as drivers, managers and other roles in transportation. Continue reading

WIT Image Team Member Donates Kidney

Plover, WI (March 1, 2017)— Women In Trucking Association (WIT) announces Carol Nixon as its March Member of the Month. Carol is a WIT Image Team member and professional driver for Walmart Private Fleet.

Carol is being recognized for giving a kidney to a total stranger.

Carol and a fellow Walmart driver, Deb Pollard both attended the first annual WIT Accelerate! Conference & Expo in 2015, where Carol learned Deb’s husband, Craig, was on dialysis and in need of a kidney. Carol immediately offered to help.

After a series of tests to find out if they were a match, Carol made the decision to donate a kidney, even if Craig couldn’t be the recipient. That way, Craig might make it to the top of the list sooner.  However, after three long weeks of waiting, they learned they were a match and could proceed.  Continue reading

You can influence the regulations that affect you!

Compliance, Rules, Regulations and GuidelinesImagine you wake up at 3 am. to a fire alarm in your hotel room on the 15th floor. The announcement from the loudspeaker instructs everyone to exit the building immediately, without using the elevator. What do you do?

This recently happened to me, and after trudging down the flights of stairs and being guided to a parking lot across the street, I was not in a good mood. At least I had pulled on my jeans and grabbed a jacket, as some people were still in their pajamas and were shivering in the chilly morning air.

As you can imagine, we were all relieved, but irritated to learn it was a false alarm. The waiting line for the (very slow) elevators was long, so I decided to walk back up the stairs to my room.  Later, I asked a companion how  many stairs he had to maneuver and he told me he had just gotten into the shower and decided to take a chance that there was no fire and it was only a false alarm. Continue reading

Nominate a Distinguished Woman in Logistics!

WIT and Truckstop.com are seeking nominations for the 2017 Distinguished Woman in Logistics Award (DWLA). The award recognizes the achievements and leadership of outstanding individuals involved in logistics in North America.

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As a director on our board, I encourage you to submit a nomination by completing the form at http://www.womenintrucking.org/DWLA by January 13, 2017.

As you know, our mission includes celebrating the success of women who are pioneers in the industry. The DWLA program is open to high-performing women in any field related to logistics, including warehousing, traffic and shipping, supply chain management, third-party logistics, trucking, rail, and maritime cargo. Continue reading

Are you a risk taker? Ellen’s blog for January

Imagine you wake up at 3 am. to a fire alarm in your hotel room on the 15th floor. The announcement from the loudspeaker instructs everyone to exit the building immediately, without using the elevator. What do you do?

This recently happened to me, and after trudging down the flights of stairs and being guided to a parking lot across the street, I was not in a good mood. At least I had pulled on my jeans and grabbed a jacket, as some people were still in their pajamas and were shivering in the chilly morning air.

As you can imagine, we were all relieved, but irritated to learn it was a false alarm. The waiting line for the (very slow) elevators was long, so I decided to walk back up the stairs to my room.  Later, I asked a companion how  many stairs he had to maneuver and he told me he had just gotten into the shower and decided to take a chance that there was no fire and it was only a false alarm. Continue reading

Never drive alone – WIT App

The trucking industry is a close-knit community, especially for professional drivers. However, sometimes a familiar face may be hard to find when you’re out on the road.

Now you can know where your friends are through the new Women In Trucking (WIT) app by Trucker Sam. Currently available in Android version (IOS coming soon!), this app allows you to connect with your friends in real time. When you stop for the night at your favorite truck stop, you’ll be able to open the app and see which of your friends are in the area.

You determine who can see your location, so you can have family members track you as well. Your kids (or grandkids) can see where you are and your spouse will know when to expect you for dinner. Continue reading

Does your recruiting ad attract women?

What makes a word relate better to a male or a female? According to Kat Matfield, who created a gender decoder for job ads (http://gender-decoder.katmatfield.com), “we all use language that is subtly “gender-coded” and this affects job advertising as well.

Matfield based her web-based tool on a study by professors from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Her goal is to remove gender bias in hiring, starting with the recruiting ads.

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Before Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, many job ads were grouped under headings signifying the specific gender of the applicant. For example, stewardesses looked under the job listings for women and truck drivers could find carriers hiring under the listings for men. Continue reading