Jane Jazrawy

Jazrawy calls for more diversity in trucking

Aug. 26, 2021
CarriersEdge co-founder and CEO Jane Jazrawy encourages more women in the industry to speak up.

Teaching is in Jane Jazrawy’s blood. Before co-founding CarriersEdge with Mark Murrell in 2005, she kickstarted her career as a middle school teacher. However, Jazrawy knew right away that type of teaching wasn’t her cup of tea.

In 2005, when Jazrawy and Murrell started in the industry in Canada, they had no idea what trucking was about, though they saw an industry that had a lot of training needs but few good options for meeting those needs. Today, CarriersEdge helps train thousands of fleets across North America.

“At the time, we were doing some custom e-learning,” Jazrawy explained. “What we quickly realized was that everyone wanted to have everyone in the classroom, and they were not interested in online options. We realized we had to change what we were doing.”

In the beginning, CarriersEdge struggled to find its footing. Commercial trucking stakeholders at the time were skeptical that Jazrawy and Murrell could provide training without being in the industry. Jazrawy also had concerns that there weren’t many women amid trucking’s ranks.

“I didn’t feel like I could be the face of the company,” she said. “I was the silent partner. I was writing the courses, and we didn’t think that trucking would be all that interested in courses by the likes of me. I had no trucking experience, but I had teaching experience. I thought that was fine, but we felt that it wouldn’t be fine in the industry. We started to figure out who we were, which was a really important part of it.”

For the last 20 years, Jazrawy has been figuring it out by reading, researching, and learning the ins and outs of commercial trucking. The company started out offering courses on hauling hazmat materials. From there, they took on defensive driving and figuring out what truck fleets and drivers really needed to know at the end of the day.       

Things really started to pick up after CarriersEdge, in partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association, launched the Best Fleets to Drive For program in 2008. The program uncovers the best workplaces in the North American trucking industry every year by interviewing hundreds of nominated fleets and collecting thousands of professional driver surveys.

Earlier on in her career in the technology sector, Jazrawy learned the hard way that questioning the way people work doesn’t typically end well. So, one of the biggest takeaways that she carried over to Best Fleets was asking people what works for them instead of telling them what they should do.

“They want to hear the best practices from other people,” Jazrawy said of the fleets she works with. “We started with this practice of asking people what has worked, what are the good things that have happened, and what are the things that you would recommend. That has been so much more of a positive and such a change since I came into trucking.”

Since she found her footing in trucking, Jazrawy has enjoyed developing and growing Best Fleets and helping the industry put its best foot forward.

“I love the process of building and creating things,” she said. “Best Fleets has really been a chance for me to talk about the good.”

Encouraging diversity

Through her role at CarriersEdge, Jazrawy has teamed up with the Women in Trucking Association to develop the Diversity & Inclusion Index, a program available to for-hire or private fleets operating 10 or more trucks in the U.S. or Canada that evaluates the efforts being made to diversify the industry.

When working on Best Fleets each year, CarriersEdge makes it a point to add a diversity and inclusion question and tries to promote the idea that more women should be speaking as experts during trucking conferences and events.

“I want to speak to everyone at the table,” Jazrawy said. “I want to see more diversity—not just gender but for everyone. I want to see that more at conferences, for the people who speak at conferences, and for the people who are pictured in magazines. There are a lot of drivers getting attention. I think that’s absolutely fabulous, but what about all the other positions and the women leaders?

“In general, at most conferences, it’s men,” she continued. “There are some cases when I am on stage, and I am the only woman. I think people have to encourage women and people of color in the industry to speak whether they think are ready or not. I am trying to encourage anyone who has something to say to speak up. I would encourage every single person at the leadership table to do exactly the same thing.”

Moving forward, Jazrawy expects to see more diversity entering trucking. And the success of the industry depends on it.

“The traditional employee of the industry isn’t really available anymore,” she explained. “There is no other choice. I do think every single industry is in this boat, and there will be competition for those workers.” 

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

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