Woman with a Mission to Improve the Trucking Industry
Ellen Voie is an internationally acclaimed speaker and authority on gender diversity. She is passionate about increasing the ranks of women working in non-traditional sectors, such as transportation. The Women In Trucking Association was founded in 2007 to increase the employment for women in the trucking industry, to address the obstacles that prevent them from succeeding and celebrating the accomplishments of its members.
Since her childhood, Ellen was encouraged to reach beyond gender barriers and challenge herself in traditionally male areas, such as welding, woodworking, drafting, and auto maintenance. Her parents supported a desire to pursue a career in transportation. She was working at a steel fabricating plant in the drafting department when she was offered a position in the shipping department as Assistant Traffic Manager. After earning her diploma in Traffic and Transportation Management, she was then promoted to the role of Traffic Manager.
A Bold Step Packed with Fascination
After leaving the steel fabricating plant she and her (then) husband, a professional driver, owned a small fleet of trucks, which she managed when her husband was on the road. This experience gave her great insight into the challenges drivers face on the road on a daily basis and, more importantly, the struggles faced by their families while they are away from home.
After starting a family, Ellen completed her undergraduate and graduate (MA) degrees in communication. She wrote her Master’s thesis on “The Complex Identities of Women Married to Professional Drivers,” and she later published a book called “Marriage In The Long Run.”
Once Ellen completed her Master’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, she was hired by Trucker Buddy International, where she spent six years as the Executive Director of the non-profit group, which pairs professional drivers with elementary classrooms. It was during that time that she earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) credentials, which relate to managing a non-profit organization.
In 2006 Ellen was recruited by Schneider National to serve as their Manager of Retention and Recruiting Programs. One of her directives was to determine how to attract and retain underrepresented groups of drivers, such as seniors, Hispanics, veterans, and women. It was during this time Ellen was working on her private pilot’s license and belonged to a female pilot’s organization when she decided to create a similar organization for the trucking industry.
Achieving Success through Constant Learning
In 2012 Ellen was acknowledged by the White House as a “Transportation Innovator Champion of Change” for empowering women in a non-traditional sector. In 2015 Ellen was recognized as the “Distinguished Alumna of the Year” award from her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Division of Communication. Voie was named one of Supply & Demand Chain Executives magazine’s “2016 Pros to Know.” In May 2016, she was named one of Fleet Owner Magazine’s Dozen Outstanding Women In Trucking. In 2017 Voie was named to Insight Success Magazine’s “The 30 Most Inspirational Leaders in Business” and “The 30 Most Innovative CEOs to Watch.” In 2018, Voie was named by “Beyond Exclamation Magazine” as one of the “Top 10 Shepreneurs through the Glass Ceiling and Beyond,” Aspioneer Magazine’s “2018 Flying High Women Leaders,” as well as was named the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) “Transportation Person of the Year.” In 2019, Voie was named the inaugural Cinderella to CEO of the Year, which recognizes women who have overcome obstacles to change businesses, communities, and industries for the better. She is the Leader’s Globe “One of the Ten Most Successful Business Women Leaders,” and CIO Magazine’s “Women Leaders Making a Difference” and one of Insight Success Magazine’s “Companies with Most Disruptive Innovation.” Her blog was named Fronetics’ Top Three Logistics and Supply Chain Blogs.
She considers some of her most significant achievements to include her CAE credentials, her Commercial Driver License (CDL), and her private pilot’s license earned in 2008.
Ellen feels her most significant challenge is in maintaining constant growth in the right direction. She surrounds herself with a team who all share her mission, including an association management firm that supports the organization. Ellen relies on sharing her vision of ‘credible, achievable, and believable future’ among her staff and team members to accomplish the preferred outcomes.
Creating Opportunities to Accelerate the Profession
Ellen believes in supporting her program by providing necessary data and factual information to the organization’s members. Numerous groups that gather data about gender issues within the transportation industry give information on female drivers to better understand the challenges and obstacles that might keep women from entering or advancing in the trucking industry. Some of the organizations are well-known, such as the American Transportation Research Institute, which found that female drivers are statistically less likely to be involved in a crash than men. Freightwaves partnered with Women In Trucking Association to conduct surveys to determine the percentage of women as drivers, mechanics, safety directors, dispatchers, and managers. Other groups offer diversity-related data on drivers concerning retention, recruitment, and advancement.
Accelerate! Conference and Expo
The annual Accelerate! Conference and Expo have been an overwhelming success. The event provides an opportunity for anyone supporting the gender balance network by meeting peers, providers, and other key transportation stakeholders and to find solutions in attracting women into their industry. The Women In Trucking Association conducted its fifth conference in 2018, which was attended by over 1,100 registered attendees.
Tech Trends for a Futuristic Approach
Ellen is tech-savvy. She is a keen researcher for the latest gadgets and cutting edge devices. She strives to understand the trends and technologies better support the industry. Ellen is a visionary, so being an entrepreneur was a natural way to create a revolution within trucking through constant hard work and resilience.
Ellen’s vision for the future includes finding her successor. She has recently hired a Vice President who may eventually take her responsibilities when she retires.
A Mission to Build Gender Equality
Through the Women In Trucking Association, Ellen encourages all women to consider a career in the trucking industry, and her reach extends beyond the borders of the United States to include members in ten countries. Her goal is to create a worldwide network of members with the same mission, to increase the ranks of women employed in the trucking industry.
“The voice of gender diversity in the trucking industry.”