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It’s well known that commercial transportation is still male-dominated, despite strides forward in making the sector a more inclusive, gender-equal workplace for women. But what exactly is being done to improve gender quality in this industry in Ontario? And what remains to be done to bridge the gap?

These are some of the important questions and topics explored at the 5th Annual Women with Drive Leadership Summit, which fittingly took place just one day before International Women’s Day.

Women in Transportation: The Landscape in 2019

Female representation may be growing in traditionally male-dominated industries like commercial transportation, but it’s still lagging.

Now more than ever, it’s important that women see the career opportunities available to them in freight transportation, especially as the demand for new drivers continues to grow.

Women in the industry are already taking on more diverse and lucrative roles, including drivers, technicians, mechanics, dispatchers and managerial staff. Although stereotypes suggest otherwise, such roles can be completed by anyone – regardless of gender – with the right training, expertise, and drive.

CHET and Musket Attend the 2019 Summit

Each year, Musket Transport Ltd. sends members of our senior management team to events focused on exploring strategies for attracting women to fulfilling careers in the freight transportation sector.

This year, Product and Project Manager Sophia Sniegowski attended several such events. On Thursday, March 7, 2019, she represented Musket at the annual Women with Drive Leadership Summit. Taking place at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Centre, the Summit is a go-to event for those in the trucking and freight transportation industry who recruit, retain or mentor women. Attendees came with an interest in learning strategies to increase and improve the recruitment, retention, and integration of women in the workforce.

The full-day Summit headed by Trucking HR Canada featured powerful opportunities for learning, networking, and camaraderie. Attendees left the Summit armed with knowledge and tools they can use to empower women to succeed in careers in transportation.

Summit Highlights

After opening remarks by Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada, Summit attendees enjoyed a panel discussion entitled “Women Talking Tech.” Moderated by Angela Payne, Senior Vice President and General Manager in Canada for Monster, the panel featured three dynamic and successful women – Julie Phaneuf, Vice President of Customer Experience at ISAAC Instruments, Cyndi Brandt, Director of Sales Enablement at Omnitracks, and Kary Schaefer, General Manager of Marketing Strategy at Freightliner and Detroit Brands. The Panel…

  • Weighed in on the impacts of technological advancement on in-cab communication capabilities and the ability to solve customer problems in real-time
  • Explored how technology is being used to make freight transportation a more attractive career path
  • Commented on how leading carriers are investing in tech to increase driver retention – like CHET!
  • Discussed the growing emphasis on truck reliability, durability, and ergonomics
  • Looked at the role of video training integration (i.e. used in CHET’s student portal)
  • Talked about how data-driven systems will benefit carriers
  • Demonstrated how technology can be used to enhance customer service
  • Stressed the significance of networking.

The Panel was followed by an interesting keynote address on millennials by CEO of Abacus Data, David Coletto. He discussed how the trucking industry is dealing with generational changes and the impact that is having on effective recruitment approaches.

Millennials are often tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, ethnically diverse, and educated, and respond to different recruitment styles. Generally, they have high self-esteem and want high impact roles that matter to them. They value transparency, control, and the ability to connect and communicate quickly and with ease using technology. To increase recruitment, industry leaders need to learn to better “brand” the transportation industry, tell their story, and address issues that matter to millennials today.

David discussed the importance of having a purpose-driven recruitment strategy, rather than a “millennial strategy.” He touched on the value of mentorship and having sincere intentions to attract millennials to the transportation industry.

The event wrapped up with closing remarks about recruitment and retention by Angelique Magi of The Guarantee.

Empowering Women in Innovation and Business

On Wednesday, March 27th, Sophia served as a representative of Musket Transport Ltd. when attended another event entitled Empowering Women for Innovation and Business. The half-day event held at the SAS Building in Toronto was an initiative of the WE EMPOWER programme of the European Union, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) in partnership with Great Place to Work Institute.

Canada has embarked on an ambitious agenda to become a global leader in innovation. As the innovation economy shapes the workplace in the 21st century, efforts to create inclusive workspaces that empower women in innovative industries like transportation must also develop.

The event showcased best practices and businesses that empower women in the workplace. It featured a Panel Session with insights by Jose Tolovi Neto, Managing Partner at the Great Place to Work Institute in Canada, Stephanie Dei, National Coordinator in Canada for the WE EMPOWER programme, and Rachel Wade, Director of External Equity and Inclusion at ATB Financial. They touched on such topics as the relationship between trust and performance; the impacts of company cultures, innovation and diversity; the importance of research to shape best practices; and the challenges women in particular face in the workplace.

Sophia walked away from both the Women with Drive Leadership Summit and the Empowering Women in Innovation and Business event with practical lessons and strategies that can be utilized to improve efforts at Musket and CHET to support the advancement of women in the transportation industry.