As we pass through International Women’s Day it is important go take a look at the changes women have brought to the forefront in transportation. We all know how well women do as drivers in the industry and many of them have become life long veterans and well respected in the industry. I find the women bring another layer to the industry that men don’t always think of and that is the social side. Women like to have a cause and a goal to make something better based on their own experiences. Men can get around certain issues and life with them, but to women that same issue is twice the problem, washrooms come to mind here. When I look at the different convoys and deep issues that trucking has been a part of it is women that are usually leading the pack. Now to be fair there are plenty of men doing good in the industry but when I look at social causes the women are out front. Let’s look at a few cases here.
Most of you probably know Shelley Walker. Shelley has been a veteran driver in the industry with over 25 years of driving experience. She ran team with her former husband who passed away due to a vehicle incident and is the President of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC). Over the years Shelley has become a conduit to helping women have successful careers in the industry as professional truck drivers. She has created scholarship programs for women with partnered training schools, and is now leading the fight here in Ontario on human trafficking. She works with Governing Bodies to implement changes in our industry for women and all of us for the better. Visit her websites at WTFC and Know Human Trafficking for more information.
Joanne Millen Mackenzie is another veteran driver that has been behind the wheel for decades. Throughout her career she has been helping women in the industry prove they have a voice and a place to call home. She is well respected and has been a leader in the battle against breast cancer when she formed Trucking for a Cure a convoy bringing awareness and raising funds for cancer research. When she started the convoy The Cancer Society didn’t even know what a truck convoy was but they sure learned fast as Joanne and her team raised over $70,000 year after year winning the top fund raising spots behind CIBC’s Run For the Cure. The convoy has been going on for over a decade. You can learn more about the convoy at www.Truckingforacure.com
Tammy Blackwell has been an industry veteran, not behind the wheel but working with truck manufacturers. Tammy works for a Kenworth Dealership in Kitchener Ontario and has deep connections in the trucking industry. She has been part of the industry for decades but has taken things a step further by leading the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics. She has been the convoy leader for over 15 years and helped them raise over $1,000,000 for special needs athletes. The convoy has reached 150 trucks and is an event that is so important to athletes she has made a difference not only in trucking but in the lives of special needs athletes and their families. You can learn more about the event at www.truckconvoy.ca
The women mentioned here are leaders in these causes but also have the support and respect of many of the men in our industry. They have helped the industry earn respect from those that don’t know what the trucking industry has to offer and helped many women create successful careers in transportation. We can use more women so if you are looking at this industry and wondering if you should get involved then I would suggest you talk to either a certified school or carrier with the TTSAO. You may be the next leading force making great changes for all of us.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a veteran in the transportation industry with over 40 years in the industry in a variety of roles from driver to fleet supervisor and more. Today he is a media specialist in the industry producing a number of programs for the trucking industry such as his trucking podcast The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com or his radio station Lead Pedal Radio at www.leadpedalradio.com
Disclaimer: This article is written and based on the opinion of the author and is for general information only