Women in Trucking: Inspiration from Those Who’ve Risen to the Top
From Hollywood award shows and demonstrations across the country to best-selling books encouraging women to “lean in,” powerful messages encouraging women to take charge are everywhere. Perhaps the last place you’d expect women to be encouraged to lean in would be the trucking industry. After all, trucking is a male-dominated field, right? Women wouldn’t be welcome or accepted in trucking, right? The physical and mental energy required for trucking is more suited for men anyway, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Don’t take our word for it. We talked to four women who hold key roles at Holland to get their perspectives on what it’s like being a leader in the trucking industry.
Meet Vickie Visser, Director of Claim Prevention
Vickie Visser was working in the boating industry when she heard about an opening in the Claims Department at Holland. That was 32 years ago. Vickie advanced in her career by continuing to look for opportunities to learn and grow. She worked out of the Columbus, Ohio terminal for three years and eventually transferred back to the Corporate Office.
Vickie’s progression at Holland, like any career, hasn’t been without challenges. She explains, “It can be challenging trying to get a job done when you are not all in the same location, but when you’re confident in your position and work together as a team, that stance goes a long way toward overcoming any challenges and being successful in reaching your goals.”
When women ask Vickie about a career in trucking, she has a few words of advice. “Flexibility is key. But once trucking is in your blood, it never leaves. I’ve seen people retire and return to part-time jobs in the field,” she says. Over the years she has seen many women promoted from field Terminal locations to the Corporate Office. “The opportunity is there. You can switch career paths and stay within the company. Your colleagues will help you develop your career into what you want it to be,” Vickie explains.
Meet Stacey VandeVusse, Director of Human Resources
Even though trucking has been male dominated for a long time, Stacey VandeVusse is another prime example of how long Holland has had women in leadership positions. Stacey began her career more than 32 years ago as a member of the Safety and Personnel Department. Holland has provided many opportunities for Stacey, from working as a Safety Administrator, to a Safety Supervisor, to helping create Holland’s Human Resource Department.
“I was the first female Director at the Corporate Office. I went from being part of a 2-person Human Resources team to leading a department. The opportunity for women to lead in trucking is greater than ever and there are many opportunities for women today, from driving to being part of the Executive team. For those who enjoy working in a fast-paced environment with a great team of people, Holland is the place to work.” Stacey went on to say, “there is comfort working for a company founded in 1929, providing tremendous stability for employees and our families. Holland cares about its employees and leadership understands the employees make the company. Holland has many opportunities available to women and is a great organization to work for” explains Stacey.
Meet Cheryl Saxton, Director of Operations Process and Technology
For Cheryl Saxton, the opportunities at Holland drew her to trucking and has kept her here for 30 years. During that time, Cheryl has gone from working in the file room, to the IT department, to leading the Operations Process and Technology group.
Even though Cheryl is the first to tell you that trucking isn’t a very “touchy feely” industry, she knows firsthand that the mentorship is second to none. “I’ve had many opportunities at Holland over the last three decades. The leadership team has continuously encouraged my career development and has always provided an environment where I can learn and grow. Holland has a unique culture where you are entrusted to do your job, and where you are able to make a difference every day. Cheryl thrives in a focused environment and adapts quickly – two traits that help her succeed at Holland.
Cheryl highly recommends women who seek opportunities to make a difference with their work to consider Holland. “Trucking has changed tremendously over the past 30 years thanks to demand and technology. It’s definitely an exciting environment in which to work; trucking is always changing, giving you the chance to learn and contribute.” she explains.
Meet Tamara Jalving, Director of Talent Acquisition
Tamara Jalving knew the stereotypes in trucking before making the leap from the automotive arena in 2017. She credits keeping an overall business perspective as the key to transitioning industries. “Any business has levels of complexity and challenges to overcome – trucking is no different. We have strategies and objectives that require team members to continuously learn and improve, problem solve and work effectively together.” Tamara goes on to say, “Anyone who has a passion to deliver results and is willing to learn and grow, can be successful at Holland.”
So, of all the opportunities available, why did Tamara choose Holland? “It’s a great team that works hard. Holland employees genuinely want to take care of customers and provide outstanding service. Our employees strive to honor Holland’s history and mission, and care about the company’s future success.” says Tamara.
Tamara advises any new employee, “Listen with the intent to understand. As much as possible, go to the source – especially through field operations – to learn the business.” She emphasizes, “We have a team of more than 8,000 employees working hard each and every day to deliver freight on time and safely. It is important to get to know and respect what each team does to keep the legacy of Holland alive.”
Holland has a long reputation for welcoming and building women into its workforce from entry level positions to the Executive teams. If you’re interested in working for a company that works for you, search careers at Holland.