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.

Frequently asked Questions about the Women In Trucking Association

Although the Women In Trucking (WIT) Association was formed over fourteen years ago, there are still many people who don’t understand our mission and who we represent.  This article will answer the top frequently asked questions we receive.

First, let me remind you of our mission.  The Women In Trucking Association is a nonprofit organization that was formed to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. 

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Have we increased the presence of women in trucking?

March is Women’s History Month and the Women In Trucking Association was formed in March of 2007.  Now, fourteen years later, how have we advanced our mission to “encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, address obstacles, and promote accomplishments?”

The first question we are usually asked by the media or potential members is in regard to the percentage of women employed in the trucking industry.  After all, according to W. Edwards Deming, a statistician and quality control expert, You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

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Membership has its privileges……

In the late eighties American Express trademarked the slogan, “membership has its privileges.”  In those days you had to pay a fee to carry their card, so they wanted you to feel as if you were a part of a preferred group.  This adage applies to trade and professional organizations as well, as the focus is on acquiring and keeping members.

People often ask us how we “make money” as a nonprofit association.  We are supported by our members who pay dues and in exchange, they expect something of value in return. What they value might vary from one person or company to the next.

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Truck stops and Tarmacs

“Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.”  Anthony J. D’Angelo, author

We’ve all heard the adage about reinventing the wheel.  Why spend a great deal of time and effort on working through something that someone has already explored?  When Women In Trucking Association was formed, we looked at other trade and professional organizations and determined what parts worked for us and what didn’t.

In fact, we took a lot of ideas from an organization called Women In Aviation International (WAI).  At the time, I was working on my private pilot’s license and joined the WAI because I wanted to meet other women who fly.  The airline industry isn’t all that different from the trucking industry, and both have a very small percentage of women behind in the cab or the cockpit.   Many of our challenges are similar, so why not cooperate on our efforts?

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For Sale By Owner

Have you ever questioned how some terms or phrases are either outdated or don’t even make any sense?  For example, when was the last time you actually “dialed” the phone?  Except for your great aunt Edna, rotary dial phones are no longer in existence.  We don’t dial anything; we just tap it or touch it.

What about taping a video?  We don’t use tape anymore.  We’re not using VCRs to record anything, we record it with bytes, not footage. Footage implies the film is measured in feet, but there aren’t any length measurements when it comes to recording a video.

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What I learned from my “wearable”

I never thought I could be friends with a piece of technology that is exceptionally nosey.  I’m a pretty private person, and the thought of sharing my physical data makes me pretty uncomfortable.

Sharing my sleeping patterns, my eating habits, and how often my heart rate was elevated isn’t my idea of privacy.  However, we recently partnered with Rolling Strong to do a wellness competition, and I donned a Fitbit Versa for the challenge.

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HERoes of the Highway

Do you remember when you were a child and someone would ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up?  The typical elementary school response was firefighter, police officer, teacher, doctor, pilot, or even astronaut cited by children.

For many of you reading this blog, perhaps you already knew you wanted to drive a truck or work in supply chain when you were older.  I’m guessing you were in the minority.  Most of the occupations children mentioned had high profiles and were considered more glamorous than working in the trucking industry.

Professional drivers have often been the “invisible” ones on the road.  When you do your job well and are operating in a safe and efficient manner, no one seems to notice you.  It’s only when a motorist thinks you are going too fast, too slow, or driving erratically when they seem to pay attention to the eighteen wheelers alongside them.

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Supporting Drivers During Tough Times

The trucking industry has long been a male-dominated environment, and although things are changing, it’s still predominantly men behind the wheel, in the corner office, and the shop.  As women are drawn to the industry, they are often unprepared to deal with some of the issues they may face, specifically when it comes to coping with diversity challenges.

Many of the women who are seeking tuition funding from the Women In Trucking Scholarship Foundation cite negative reasons for getting a CDL.  Often, they are survivors of domestic abuse, spousal harassment, or worse.  Yet, when we offer them a scholarship, education doesn’t include topics to include needed coping skills.

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Women In Trucking Facebook group celebrates ten years!

Ten years ago, Facebook was emerging as one of the top social media websites and Women In Trucking member, Sandy Long, recognized its potential.  She reached out and asked if she could start a WIT group on the site.  She wanted a place for female drivers to be able to ask questions, network and find new friends.  She saw the value in connecting drivers with technology.

Although Sandy passed away a few years ago, her legacy remains in the WIT Facebook group, which now includes nearly 11,000 individuals in the trucking industry.  Both men and women visit the group to talk about things that affect their roles as professional drivers. While the majority are truck drivers, there are others who are on the site to learn or to network.

You may be surprised to learn that the page is moderated by professional drivers.  They take turns watching the site for compliance.  In fact, while WIT staff check in on the site, the admins are vigilant in ensuring the posters follow the rules, which they must agree to before approval is granted into the closed group.

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We’re listening to our members

The Women In Trucking Association board of directors has a goal to be a resource to the industry.  Whether that means trucking companies, drivers, the government or our members, we want to provide you with the best information (tools) to reach your objectives in creating a more gender diverse workforce.

In 2017 we teamed with Sawgrass Logistics to learn about best practices in hiring female drivers. We learned a lot and have changed our programs to reflect these challenges. However, we continue to survey our members to find out what they want from us, their association.

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