Update from the Women In Trucking Conference
Last month, over 350 executives working in our nation’s transportation industry participated in the first annual Women In Trucking (WIT) Conference and Expo entitled “Accelerate!” at the Hitlon Anatole resort in Dallas, Texas. The conference and exposition was for anyone in the transportation, logistics, and supply chain business who wanted to gain insight on important issues and trends in the sectors, while networking with peers and building business relationships. The conference was host to the perspectives of women in the transportation industry and the positive impact they can bring to their work. The event worked to encouraging the employment of women in the trucking industry and boasted over 60 exhibitors and sponsors.
The chair of the WIT board of directors and director of product marketing at Freightliner Trucks, Mary Aufdemberg, joined the event. “The Women in Trucking inaugural Accelerate! Conference focused on cultivating the talent we already have, and developing ideas on how to draw more diverse talent into trucking careers,” Aufdemberg said. “The uniquely positioned conference – which created dialogue on a wide range of topics from building relationships to leading organizations, from safety skills to recruiting – ensured attendees left inspired with fresh ideas and ready to sign up for next year.”
Jennifer Jo Cobb, a professional race car driver, kicked off the event with a message about the challenges she has faced as NASCAR’s only female owner-driver in the series, as well as the successes she has had. The conference featured an educational series that covered a wide range of topics relating to the transportation industry, from capacity issues to cost management to the driver shortage. Speakers included Debbie Gardner of the Survive Institute with a speech to empower and encourage women as well as Nagin Cox, who spoke on her experience being a member of NASA’s Mars Curiosity mission. “The Dating Doctor,” David Coleman, talked about the role professional and personal relationships play in the transportation jobs. Deputy FMCSA Administrator, Daphne Jefferson brought the closing remarks after the two day event filled with speakers and panel discussions. She shared what it was like participating on a two-day ride-along with female professional drivers that the WIT set up for her to go on.
“We were truly overwhelmed by the energy and passion shared by the women and men who attended our conference,” said Ellen Voie, the president and CEO of WIT. “Our goal was to bring a diverse line up of speakers to a diverse group of attendees who have one thing in common; to increase the percentage of women employed in the trucking industry. I believe we exceeded their expectations for our first event.”
Women In Trucking Association, Inc. was established in 2007 by Ellen Voie as a nonprofit organization to encourage women to join the trucking industry, showcase their accomplishments, and help to clear obstacles from their path. The group doesn’t limit membership to women; about 16% of members are men.