The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) recently launched a Driver Ambassador program and named Kellylynn McLaughlin, a truck driver and trainer with Schneider National, the first WIT Driver Ambassador.
The goal of the program is to raise awareness of the non-profit association’s mission, promote the career opportunities women have in trucking, celebrate their accomplishments, remove obstacles female truck drivers face, and increase membership for the organization.
“Trucking is an incredibly rewarding career, and there is so much opportunity, especially for women,” McLaughlin said. “As the Women In Trucking Driver Ambassador, it is my mission to effect change in this industry in a positive way for women and for men—for every driver.”
Debbie Sparks, vice president of WIT who worked closely with Schneider in developing the program, will serve as program manager.
“We want to encourage the employment of women in the industry,” Sparks said. “Women don’t think of themselves as professional drivers, so when they see Kellylynn they think, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ She is sophisticated, articulate, passionate and perfect for this role.”
As ambassador, McLaughlin will focus on spreading WIT’s message and giving visibility to the association’s efforts to bring more women into the industry by attending and speaking at non-industry trade shows, driving schools, associations and other industry events. She also will share her stories of life on the road through a blog and give rides to legislators and regulators.
The next phase of the program will introduce a WIT-branded trailer, which will include a brand video promoting trucking as a viable career option for women and showcase success stories of women in the industry.
“This program gives a voice to the women behind the wheel and the opportunity to share their stories of how they were called to drive,” Sparks said. “Amplifying their voices will allow us to further the WIT mission and attract more women to our great industry.”
Rob Reich, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Schneider, is dedicated to growing the number of women drivers through company initiatives and with the support of WIT. The company says it currently has “hundreds” of women driving Schneider trucks.
McLaughlin stood out from other applicants because of her experience in working with new drivers, her understanding of the transportation industry and her passion for educating women about the career opportunities available in trucking, according to Schneider.
“This role tugs at my heart because I’ve always tried to help others see how fulfilling work in this industry can be,” said McLaughlin, who also has volunteered in the Peace Corps, Truckers Against Trafficking and other driving-related groups throughout the last decade. “I’m looking forward to elevating the shared goals of Women In Trucking and Schneider, promoting and highlighting the achievements of women in transportation.”