American Trucking Associations
ATA relaunches Women in Motion as advocacy group for the women in the trucking industry.

Women in Motion: Advocating for the women behind the wheel and beyond

Feb. 26, 2024
ATA recently relaunched Women in Motion, offering opportunities for women in the industry to network, learn, and bring change.

The American Trucking Associations recently relaunched Women in Motion, an advocacy group specifically for women in the trucking industry. First introduced in June 2022 as an assembly of female ATA members that saw the need for a women-focused organization in the industry, the relaunched group now seeks to make an impact on the women in the industry. 

It was a goal of ATA to have WIM affect change and meet the needs of its female members, said Nikki Thomas, ATA’s VP of industry affairs and spokesperson for WIM, but at the time of its inception, WIM didn’t have the “concentrated effort” needed to realize its potential and help increase the awareness fully—and the need—of women in trucking.

“But now it’s a top priority for ATA to get (WIM) off of the ground and to get those partnerships going because it is so talked about—we do need more women in the industry,” Thomas told FleetOwner.

See also: Women in Transportation 2023

Thomas has worked with ATA since March 2023, and with the help of Sarah Rajtik, ATA COO, the pair has successfully brought WIM from “the ‘talking phase’ to the actual ‘doing phase,’” Thomas said. They accomplished this by growing the WIM advisory council and meeting regularly to establish the group’s goals.

Bringing positive change for women in the industry

Women in Motion seeks to bring change to impact women in the trucking industry positively—from those who are behind the wheel to those who work in the corner office and every woman in between—through education, networking, and advocacy efforts.

“The goal of Women in Motion is for programs to flank our advocacy efforts,” Thomas told FleetOwner. “We feel like that’s where we can actually affect and create actual, lasting change for future generations.”

ATA’s director of legislative affairs, Alexandra Rosen, has worked to create a “narrative” and a “voice” for WIM, addressing congressional bills and issues when speaking to members of Congress, which Thomas said shows that WIM is “here and open to the dialogue in the conversation.”

The group is preparing for its first Call on Washington in April when WIM members will meet with government members on both sides of the aisle to “let them know our agenda and introduce ourselves to them,” Thomas said.

The group also hopes to bring more women to the industry by showing them that trucking can be and, in some places, is an industry where every woman not only has a seat at the table, Thomas explained, but also where their contributions, ideas, and voices are heard.

One way WIM hopes to accomplish this is through its mentorship program. The program welcomes WIM mentors who work as drivers, dispatchers, managers, technicians, executives, trainers, and more to give back to the industry by mentoring others. Mentors and their mentees can expect to attend ATA conferences together, have quarterly one-on-one meetings, and establish mentee expectations. Essentially, the mentor will act as a role model for her mentee.  

Current mentors include drivers, executives, C-suite personnel, and directors of companies such as Hirschback, XPO, Inc., Boyle Transportation, Kansas Motor Carriers Association, and more.

Along with this active program—WIM currently has 11 pairings and 22 individuals in the inaugural class of its mentorship program—the group also offers multiple networking opportunities for members to meet others with similar experiences in a male-dominated industry. WIM holds exclusive networking events for its members at ATA conferences such as the Management Conference and Exhibition and its Safety, Security & Human Resources National Conference & Exhibition.  

See also: Transportation management: A great career for women

These networking opportunities are meaningful because “when you see another woman in the room, whether it’s at TMC or SSHR, or you’re familiar with them, you’ve seen them before (because) you attended the Women in Motion happy hour,” Thomas said. You can find community that way.”

Educational opportunities through WIM

Part of affecting change for women in the industry is education. WIM offers a series of webinars that will take place once a quarter in 2024. The next webinar is in May, with the others coming in August and November.  

The first webinar was completed on Feb. 21 with a topic on empowering women and leadership strategies for success. It featured two industry leaders from Warner and FedEx and two leaders from outside the industry who offered insight into what their respective sectors have done to bring change and spur growth in diversity and inclusion. Thomas said the webinar gave “listeners ideas on where they can start when they’re trying to provide women with attractive workplaces.”

The group polled its members on topics they’d like to see covered before setting the webinar schedule. This ensures that WIM members get the most from their membership and that WIM covers top-of-mind issues for the women in the industry. Thomas said WIM plans to continue scheduling its webinars and panels based on member feedback.

Get involved with WIM

Thomas encouraged women and men in the industry to get involved with Women in Motion to support the women who help make the industry great further through advocacy, educational opportunities for women, and to bring awareness to the needs of the industry’s women. An example of women-specific needs includes safe truck parking, which WIM helped address by partnering with TruckerPath, allowing women to rate their perceived safety of truck stops within the app.  

Being involved with WIM will also help trucking companies from an HR perspective, Thomas told FleetOwner, because it can help trucking leaders discover ways to retain women drivers by learning about their needs and “the policies that matter the most to them.” 

“When we all come together and have conversations,” Thomas said, “that makes for a better industry overall. 

About the Author

Jade Brasher

Senior Editor Jade Brasher has covered vocational trucking and fleets for the past five years. A graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in journalism, Jade enjoys telling stories about the people behind the wheel and the intricate processes of the ever-evolving trucking industry.    

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