Tag Archives: trucking

Trucks ARE for girls!

Ten years ago, when I would stand in front of trucking company executives to talk about Women In Trucking (WIT), their comments were typically dispassionate.  “We don’t care if the driver is male or female,” was the usual response.   “We just want good drivers.”

I would try to make them understand that women wanted different things in a carrier as well as the industry as a whole.  Women often had the same challenges but would prioritize their significance differently.

Safety was always an issue.  Women looked for a carrier that was concerned about their personal safety on the road as well as how well they maintained the tractor and trailer.  We knew that women are more risk averse than men.  Even the World Health Organization called “masculinity” hazardous to health due to risky driving.


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A letter to our Facebook friends – Ellen Voie

Dear Facebook friends who post, like or lurk on the Women In Trucking (WIT) Association Facebook page.   Our admins are professional drivers who are just like you.  They all have full time jobs driving a truck for a living, however, they have volunteered (no, they do not get paid) to spend their time, energy and passion to keep this page as a resource, a place to network and a safe place to learn….for YOU.  Yes, you.

They spend countless hours removing profanity, attacks on other people, recruiting ads and negative comments that are not meant to be helpful.

How about giving them a day off?  What if everyone on our Facebook page actually abided by the rules that YOU agreed to when you were accepted into the group?  Let’s allow them ONE day to sit back and have some relief from the negativity and spitefulness. Continue reading

Should we promote same-gender training policies?

Imagine you are a 24-year-old female who decides to become a professional driver.  You attend a truck driving school during the day for three to six weeks.  You proudly display your newly earned commercial driver’s license to the recruiter, who promises you a great job with new equipment and a friendly dispatcher.

You then learn that you need to go out on the road with a trainer, a 58-year-old man with whom you will be sharing the cab of a truck, including the bunk area, for the coming weeks. Regardless of his clean record, his paternal demeanor or his soft smile, the thought of sharing a small space with a stranger of the opposite sex could be terrifying. Continue reading

Can we just get along?

I recently attended a conference for warehouse professionals.  I was intrigued by one of the sessions titled, “Managing Carrier Friendly Warehouses” and decided to attend.  The facilitator asked the audience how many were from the warehouse industry and how many were from the carrier side.

Apparently, I was the only person in the room interested in how these executives were working on becoming more “carrier friendly.”  I was asked to give them some ideas on how they could better accommodate drivers.

My list included a nice lounge with fresh fruit and snacks, comfortable chairs to sit in and showers and rest rooms for both men and women.  I suggested they include free wi-fi and make available a “courtesy car” if the driver wants to leave the facility while he or she is waiting for a load. Continue reading

Showing appreciation…

“Those who have the ability to be grateful are the ones who have the ability to achieve greatness,” Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free.

When was the last time you received a hand written thank you note, or a card just to let you know someone was thinking of you?  If you’re like most people, it’s probably been too long.  When was the last time you wrote a thank you note?

If you know me personally, you’ll know that I am a firm believer in writing thank you notes.  Apparently, I instilled that same conviction in my children, as the thank you notes from both my son and daughter are sure to follow a gift, party or act of kindness.  I keep them to remind myself of the good times we shared.

Most people use the excuse that they either don’t have the materials handy or they don’t have the time to write out and mail a thank you note.  Both excuses are just a reflection of your priorities.  Keep notes, pens and stamps in plain sight so you can take a moment to send your thoughts without much effort. Continue reading

What is the Women In Trucking Image Team?

In an effort to give more visibility to female professional drivers, the Women In Trucking (WIT) Association created an Image Team in 2015.  The Image Team was designed to allow the organization a way to use female drivers for media events, trade show representation and for ride-alongs with influential people.

The competition was friends, and more than 25 women applied to serve on the team.  Five of them were selected, based on an essay, background check, and review of their professional history and driving record.  If they were a company driver, their carrier was expected to support their involvement.

The five women were Stephanie Klang, (then) Con-way Truckload (now CFI, Inc.), Allyson Hay and Carol Nixon of Walmart Transportation, Wyzeena Heeny, Covenant Transport, and Ingrid Brown, owner-operator of Rollin’ B, LLC. Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving from ThinkTrade Inc.

We gather on this day to be thankful for what we have, for the family we love, the friends we cherish, and for the blessings that will come. Happy Thanksgiving!

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As a token of appreciation we offer a flat 15% off on 2290 eFile fee to save for the Thanksgiving Treat… Apply code “GIVETHANKS” to save.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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.

woman-truck-driver

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

How can you attract and engage your female drivers

If you are a typical trucking company, you have one female driver for every 19 males. This is the national average (around five percent). There are some carriers who enjoy a much higher female driver pool. What are they doing differently?

First, they have a culture that values and appreciates women. Years ago you could walk into a terminal and see more women in the mechanic’s calendars than you did in trucks. There were only men’s restrooms and showers and the few female drivers who entered the lounge were teased mercilessly.

Fortunately, that has changed, but not everywhere. There are some places that haven’t changed the environment and those are the carriers that have a hard time attracting women to the workforce.

Look at the company’s recruiting ads. Do they always show a male driver with his mind on the “wife and kids at home?” One recruiting ad said the company was looking for “a few good mustaches.” Another ad read “take your wife to the big island.” Do they really think women feel included in these recruiting efforts?

Are there women visible in management roles at the carrier? If so, women will feel welcomed and valued by the company when they see more women in leadership roles.

Another thing to think about is your pet policy. For many women, a pet is not only a companion, but a safety feature. A barking dog has scared away more than one predator in a parking lot and many women require a pet friendly company policy.

Following are ways some carriers that have joined Women In Trucking Association as corporate members are engaging their female drivers.

  • 1.     Find a way to bring them together. Host an event or give them all t-shirts that identify them as drivers for your company.
  • 2.     Sign them up as members of Women In Trucking so they can enjoy the benefits as well. They’ll receive invitations to networking events, opportunities for mentoring, a weekly e-newsletter, a lapel pin and membership card and more, for only $10 under the corporate membership.
  • 3.     Send them to the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel held each March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. They’ll receive a red t-shirt and a bag filled with goodies from the sponsors while they enjoy the chocolate fountains and entertainment. Visit salute2women.com for information about the event.
  • 4.     Direct them to the Women In Trucking Association Facebook page where over 5,000 drivers share tips, trials, and successes with one another. The site is monitored by drivers for drivers and the information is current and relevant.
  • 5.     Encourage your current drivers to mentor a newcomer. You can direct them to the Women In Trucking website, or just ask your own drivers to offer support and encouragement to those new to the company.

There are carriers that are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to recruit female drivers because of the benefits women bring. Not just as drivers filling a need, but as well qualified employees who bring a different perspective to the job.

As drivers, women take fewer risks according to Ron Kipling, author of “Safety for the Long Haul.” Kipling credits this trait as being related to differences in the level of testosterone between men and women.

Trucking company executives often tell me that women are better at completing their paperwork and often treat their equipment better than their male counterparts. Regarding communication, women are often viewed as being better with customers as well.

As trucks become more driver friendly and the freight is no longer being “fingerprinted” by drivers, the opportunity to become a professional driver extends beyond those who are big, muscular, and mechanically minded. The length of haul is getting shorter and time at home is viewed as crucial in attracting and retaining drivers.

Adding women to the driver pool is not just something we should do to fill a need; it’s something we should be doing because we have an opportunity to utilize under-represented potential.

As carriers, you can attract and retain more women and you should WANT to be increasing your percentage of female drivers. Use these suggestions and maybe you can enjoy more safe and conscientious drivers in your fleet.