Mentoring For Women in Trucking

Women in Trucking Award Winner Stresses Importance of Mentoring

Only 5.8 percent of truck drivers working in the United States in 2014 were women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s lower than the percentage of female construction managers or mechanical engineers.

In addition, women only comprise a little over 18 percent of the management roles in transportation, a segment that includes other transportation modes such as railroad and air cargo. That means less than 1 out of every 5 managers in all transportation industries, including trucking, are women even though they make up nearly half of the nation’s labor force, more than half of graduates receiving bachelor’s degrees and more than 50 percent of management roles on average outside the transportation industries.

We think these statistics only reinforce the importance of this recent interview – conducted by Heavy Duty Trucking editor Deborah Lockridge with J.B. Hunt executive vice president and chief marketing officer Shelley Simpson.

The statistics also demonstrate just how important it is for groups like the Women in Trucking Association, of which Drivewyze is a proud member and sponsor, to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry. Earlier this year, Simpson received the 2016 Distinguished Woman in Logistics Award from the Women in Trucking Association.

It’s clear from her own personal experience just how important she sees the role of mentorship in helping people to realize their career goals.

“I think it’s so important for so many people that great mentors come along in their career. Sometime that summer (after graduating from college in marketing and taking a “temporary” summer job in the marketing department of J.B. Hunt as she studied to become an insurance agent) the VP called me in and asked me about my career ambitions and said he thought I could have a good career in sales. That’s the first time I thought, there’s something more to this company. I had seen the corporate environment and loved the family atmosphere here inside J.B. Hunt.

So often when we’re young in your career, we lack vision. The sooner our leaders can help connect them to the vision, [the sooner] it can help connect them to a long-term career.”

Simpson also stressed the importance of finding a company that recognizes the importance of work-life balance:

“As I’ve gotten older I realize we all go through seasons in life where those competing priorities make it difficult, that’s men and women, and any time you can be in an organization that realizes you’re more than just what the company needs, that the company wants you in the company long term and wants you happy long term.”

Simpson’s responses to these questions offer all persons, male or female, in the trucking industry some great career advice, regardless whether they’re truck drivers or trucking company execs.

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