Women in Trucking
Jennifer H Wit Ellen V Background 646f788d85895

WIT’s new leader to build on legacy successes

July 12, 2023
Jennifer Hedrick brings 17 years of leadership experience to Women In Trucking following the retirement of founder Ellen Voie.

Jennifer Hedrick has led trade associations in some capacity for the last 17 years. This March, she added another feather to her association leadership cap when she officially took over as the new president and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT). Hedrick was appointed earlier this year, making her the first new leader since Ellen Voie founded the nonprofit 16 years ago. After growing the WIT organization from 500 members in 2007 to 8,000 members today, Voie has retired.

Hedrick officially started at WIT in January but officially took over the duties of president and CEO on March 16, while Voie stayed on through the transition process.

“I started on Monday, and on Tuesday I boarded a plane and headed to Dallas to meet with Ellen’s board and staff,” Hedrick said. “It was really a terrific opportunity for me to jump right in and meet the team and be part of that strategic planning for the year ahead.”

Although Voie is retired, she will continue doing speaking engagements on behalf of WIT, Hedrick noted.

“It truly benefits us as an association because we get Ellen’s leadership and visibility and knowledge on such a range of topics on gender diversity, and we can continue to utilize her in that way,” Hedrick said. “Ellen will always be our founder.”

See also: Pre-Trip: Voie looks back on 16 years of WIT and toward the future

Hedrick is an accredited executive by the American Society of Association Executives, and for five years she led the National Industrial Transportation League (NIT League), focusing on issues across highway, rail, and ocean freight transportation. At NIT League, Hedrick did a lot of advocacy work on Capitol Hill, making sure shippers had a level playing field and representation before Congress and agencies, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

During her time at NTI League, Hedrick gained a key understanding of the transportation sector.

“When this job with Women In Trucking became open, I thought this would be a terrific opportunity for me to use some of that expertise that I had gained and also use my association leadership skills to grow Women In Trucking even further than what Ellen has established,” Hedrick said. “Let’s face it, this is just a really solidly built organization grown through Ellen’s elbow grease and her expertise and passion in moving Women In Trucking ahead in the association world and as quite a leader in the transportation arena.”

Hedrick and her team at WIT are finalizing the association’s strategic plan for the next year and beyond. One of WIT’s main goals moving forward is to continue growing its membership base in a way that is meaningful, “so we can provide our resources through education, different events, and data to make sure that people within the industry have the resources that they need,” Hedrick noted.

See also: Women in Transportation 2023

When it comes to the role WIT will continue to play under new leadership, one of the questions that Hedrick is asked often is whether WIT will change at large.

“The answer to that is no,” she said. “Women In Trucking has a very solid mission and a committed board of leadership. If we were to change anything in a significant manner, that would be foolish on our part because we are serving and meeting the needs of our members and growing membership, and I feel excited about that.”

When it comes to meeting WIT members’ needs, Hedrick said many carriers are committed to encouraging gender diversity and taking diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives seriously.

“We have a number of companies that do that so well through internal training, incentive programs, or just being involved in trucking and understanding the need for gender diversity and the desire for it,” Hedrick said, adding that there is a strong desire as well among the many women who are interested in this profession whether as a driver or growing their career on the corporate side.

Hedrick and her team at WIT are taking a lot of those member concerns around DE&I to heart and building on opportunities and programs and the chance to create more engagement for WIT’s upcoming Accelerate!  Conference & Expo in November.

“We have such a dedicated and accomplished committed group of driver members who are part of Women In Trucking, and they help us understand the day to day of being out on the road,” Hedrick said.

“Trucking is a terrific profession, no matter what that skill set you have looks like,” she added. “There are opportunities for women across this entire industry, and that makes it exciting to me.” 

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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