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Oct 5, 2017
Women have what it takes to be in trucking. This was the message delivered at a recent Smart Trucker Seminar in Grimsby Ontario in September. The seminar focused on careers for women in the industry and how they can have satisfying careers in a male dominated industry.
The seminar kicked off with panel discussion including Shelley Uvanile-Hesch who has been driving for 27 years, Janet Hewitt who works as a driving instructor and former driver with over 12 years of experience, and Vickie deVos owner of Fleet-Tax Services who has been working in the industry with owner operators and trucking companies for decades. The focus of this discussion was on what will attract women to the industry and the different career options available. An important part of the panel discussion was the fact that trucking is one of the few industries that provides equal pay for both men and women.
After a great meal and some sponsor announcements we moved on to the main attraction of the night and the keynote presentation with Shelley Uvanile-Hesch. Shelley is the CEO of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC) which is an organization helping women have successful careers in the transportation industry. Shelley gave an overview of her career of 27 years throughout the presentation along with tips on how to have a successful driving career and information on how to get started to be successful in the industry. You can learn more about the WTFC at www.womenstruckingfederationofcanada.net The company offers mentoring for women in the industry with top professionals and other drivers.
After a short break Manan Gupta of Road Today Media Group offered a presentation on road safety and specifically distracted driving. Manan is a member of many safety groups and has won awards due to his dedication to safety in the industry. The evening was rounded out with raffle draws and closing remarks.
What I found interesting as a moderator of the event is that women are ready to work in the industry. It was mentioned many times over the evening that we need to introduce the industry to girls in high schools or even earlier so they understand the career options available. As we spoke with people in the room from safety personnel, recruiting, driving, administration, and some students it was apparent that women can do the job.
The other message that seemed to run through the evening behind the scenes is that women don’t want to be treated any different than their male counterparts. They want the same duties and opportunities available and given the chance they will succeed. A few times it was mentioned that women may have a hard time working in roles such as flatbed transportation where strength may become an issue. Each time it was mentioned someone was able to come up with an exception and offer an example of another woman driver that works in that role exceptionally well.
My personal take on women in the industry is that they do have what it takes to get the job done. In my days as a driver I worked with many women that in my opinion out drove the men, were dedicated to their job, and could handle any load given to them. I have female friends that are owner operators, drivers, and work in many careers within the industry in other roles and all do a great job. Women can do the jobs in trucking, we just need to get them thinking that it is a viable career opportunity.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Running By The Mile and Driven to Drive, host and producer of The Lead Pedal Podcast, consultant, and speaker in the industry. You can listen to his podcast at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com and learn more about Bruce at www.bruceoutridge.com