Supply chain and logistics is traditionally seen as a male-driven industry. While women make up 47% of the entire U.S. workforce, only 5.8% of truck drivers—roughly 200,000—are women1. And within supply chain organizations as a whole, only 37% of the workforce is female and that number drops as you look at leadership roles2. However, those statistics are only one part of the story.
Companies that embrace women in leadership roles recognize that they are a driving force across the entire supply chain. From drivers to trucking company owners to executives at 3PLs and heads of supply chain at major companies, women play a vital role in the success of businesses across the entire logistics industry.
To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we sat down with different women in leadership roles to hear about their supply chain experience. Here’s what they had to say.
Why do you like working in logistics?
"There are so many opportunities in the logistics industry. Initially, I started my logistics career in sales for a 3PL and worked my way up to Logistics Manager for a seafood importer that has been in business for over 60 years.”
- Debbie, Logistics Manager for a major seafood importer
"It's an exciting time to be in logistics, a target rich industry for technology and innovation. We’re well into the digital transformation and users have expectations for consumer like experiences with products. Coupled with insights derived from the huge amount of data in supply chain, these products can deliver even more value."
- Wendy Dilliard, Director, Product Management at Coyote
"It’s been fascinating to watch consumer behavior and expectations evolve in ways we could never have imagined. And the reality is that smarter logistics solutions are the real enablers in meeting many of those new expectations. As a marketer in this industry, nothing is more exciting than being at the heart of how B2C and B2B consumers make buying decisions.”
- Christina Bottis, Head of Marketing at Coyote
"I am fascinated by the idea that everything we touch is available as a result of the logistics industry. It's an industry championing rapidly evolving solutions to root challenges that have existed since well before the term logistics was ever used. Advances in logistics technology have provided economic and environmental efficiencies beyond what I ever could have imagined when I first joined this industry decades ago and it's exciting to be a part of the pack leading this charge!
- Heidi Serwer, Senior Manager, Business Analyst at Coyote
What’s it like being a woman in a primarily male-driven industry?
"Honestly, I’ve been doing it so long that I don’t really notice it—transportation is just second nature. I know it’s there, but I don’t really think about it. Though it isn’t always obvious, occasionally I hear things that really surprise me. For instance, some drivers don’t want to work with me because I’m ‘just a woman.’ That said, I’ve had a lot of men really defend me, telling other drivers that I’ll hustle for them, get them a loaner truck, take care of them.”
- Monica Byers, Owner and President of Sugar Creek Transportation
"My work, focus and drive is what I want to be the differentiator – not my gender. But for every promotion I’ve received, I can count on a handful of emails from others who are sharing in my success. People who are happy to see another female leader developing and paving a path for others. Those are the moments where I’m humbled and realize I may not be conscious of working in a male-driven industry every day, but every day that I’m working I’m earning that next step not only for myself, but for others as well.”
- J-Ann Tio, VP of Carrier Sales & Operations at Coyote
"Technology and logistics have traditionally been male dominated industries, but strong, capable women have had a tremendous impact on the industry and this company in particular. A great example is CoyoteGO®, a product that was not only driven by our shippers and carriers, but also heavily influenced by the women on the team. Technology itself doesn’t have bias towards gender, it can be improved and evolved by collaboration and input from anyone. While I think it’s important to recognize the imbalance in these historically male dominated industries, it’s more important not to dwell on it. I’m a firm believer that if you continue to challenge yourself by getting out of your comfort zone and you put in the work, the rest will fall into place!
- Jenny Suick, Director, IT PMO at Coyote
Why is the logistics industry great for women?
"Hard work pays off especially well in logistics—with bountiful career opportunities and earning potential and the chance to have fun while working—regardless of gender. Historically, generations of women have been pegged as the matriarch of families, and the majority of those skills are transferable to logistics. Organization, communication, work ethic, time management and multi-tasking – to name a few – are all vital skills to being successful in our industry.”
- Maggie Neill, Sales Director at Coyote
"For women who have leadership career goals, I think there is so much opportunity in the logistics industry. The logistics industry requires attention, drive, mental toughness and nearly perfect communication skills. I’ve seen so many women succeed in this industry because they’ve been able to navigate the difficulties the job brings by remaining focused on those requirements.”
- Sara McQuilkin, Director of Sales at Coyote
"The logistics industry is rapidly changing, presenting new and exciting challenges, and a women’s intuitive instinct is shifting the conversation, making a positive impact."
- Sophia Leopardi, Director, Network Solutions at Coyote
What would you say to younger women interested in pursuing a career in logistics?
"Look for a company and culture that you feel passionate about, use your voice and unique perspective whenever possible and never lose your desire to learn.”
- Tricia Dell, VP, Customer Operations at Coyote
"Lean in and speak up! In logistics you have the opportunity to wear multiple hats every day, impact a wide net of people and grow both personally and professionally.”
- Kate Van Dyke, VP of Customer Operations at Coyote
We see logistics as a growing and changing industry with unlimited potential and opportunity for anyone and everyone who wants to work hard and forge their own path.
"The logistics industry has historically been dominated by men, and I’m happy to see more and more women in client meetings and at Coyote."
- Nikki Ouellette, Senior Manager of CTM Operations at Coyote
"What I’ve found throughout my career is women in logistics need to be assertive. In order to be assertive you have to have confidence and confidence comes from educating yourself. Make sure you’re asking questions and leaning in.
- Jayme Clarke, Director Carrier Network Solutions at Coyote
“Whether you’re pursuing a career in logistics or another industry, my advice to younger women remains the same: find your voice. It’s not about speaking for the sake of speaking, but if you have something to say and opinions to add, never be afraid to share them. All industries progress because of forward-thinkers and people who aren’t afraid to share their ideas. The best way to advance your career is the let yourself be known, and have the confidence in yourself to know that your ideas are just as good (if not better) as any man.”
– Casey Bright, Director of Demand Generation at Coyote
Thank you to all the women who shared their stories and experiences for this piece. Across all departments and in our diverse network of customers and carriers, we are very fortunate to have many women as leaders of the Coyote Pack.
Interested in joining the Pack?