International Women’s Day with Drivers Direct
For International Women’s Day this year, we wanted to take the opportunity to show our appreciation for some of the women that work at a selection of our branches. We talked to them about their careers, the women who inspire them the most and everything in between.
- What is your job title at Drivers Direct and in what region do you work?
Chrissie Lee: Branch Manager in West Yorkshire
Zoe Parks: Regional Operations Director in the South
Jessica Beecham: Branch Manager in Wales
- How did you come to work in the logistics/recruitment industry?
Chrissie: I started working as a Recruitment Consultant in the industrial sector and when I was looking for a new role, my current manager approached me and invited me to meet with him about a new Recruitment Consultant role on the driving desk. I was then offered the job and have never looked back.
Zoe: Purely by accident, I worked in commercial recruitment in London and re-located to the South coast and fell into a job as a Branch Manager for another agency that was opening a new logistics and transport branch in Poole. Before working in commercial recruitment, I was an Account Manager for Clinique in London and fancied a change, so I went and registered with Reed Employment for reception jobs and they offered me a job as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant.
Jessica: I have always had an interest in the transport sector and a good friend of mine was working in driving recruitment at a time where I was hunting for my perfect long term career. The more she discussed her job role, the more I became interested and the passion to take on something new became more and more desirable. Helping others has always been something that I wanted to be involved with and therefore driving recruitment just seemed to be the perfect match for my interests.
- How has your background moulded / influenced your work with Drivers Direct?
Chrissie: Within the driving industry, every day I speak with people from different backgrounds and growing up, I was taught to be respectful of everybody and so this is something I bring in to my working life too.
Zoe: Dealing with people and managing staff previously helped massively.
Jessica: I previously worked as a retail manager before joining Drivers Direct. I believe this gave me the experience and skills required for this job as it was a forever changing environment where daily challenges constantly varied. This taught me how to diplomatically deal with challenging individuals which has become a beneficial and invaluable skill that I generally use day to day. Relationship building has always been a strength of mine and the ones I have with my client have all been built on trust, hard work and honesty. I make the effort to know each individual client’s requirements to ensure longevity between us.
- Do you have any advice to other women who might be looking to venture into the world of logistics and recruitment?
Chrissie: If it’s an industry where a woman would like to work, I’d say go for it, there is absolutely nothing stopping you or any reason to hold back from pursuing a career in the world of logistics and recruitment! I’m speaking with more female Transport Managers now than I was 10 years.
Zoe: Go for it, Transport and Logistics is for everyone and it’s a great environment to work in and is definitely my most preferred sector …
Jessica: Logistics has always been a very male-dominated environment which has made me even more determined to be the best in my field. There is a stigma around women in transport which we all need to abolish by empowering each other to take the plunge and join an industry that you wouldn’t generally feel associated with. There is nothing I would love to see more than more women HGV drivers on the road. Our skills and input in the industry are as of just as much value.
- What woman inspires you the most?
Chrissie: My mum will always be my inspiration but then Emily Pankhurst won women the right to vote in 1918.
Zoe: My mother, she has always been incredibly hardworking, loyal and had the most amazing work ethic.
Jessica: Undoubtedly my mother, she has always been my inspiration to succeed. Growing up in an all-female household with my mother and sister, she has taught us very much how to be independent, strong and to build a future for ourselves. Whenever I do something in life, she will always say ‘you can do better than that’ and push me past boundaries that I don’t know exist half of the time. She will never allow me to just settle unless I have given something 100% and without her pushing me along the way, I wouldn’t be where I am now at such a young age.
- What have you learned / changed on your career journey at Drivers Direct?
Chrissie: When I first started working in the driving recruitment industry, I’d mainly be speaking to men every day and, in all honesty, I was a little nervous as it was very much a male- leading industry and I didn’t always receive the respect/ warmth I deserved. However, over the years I have pushed myself to show people what I know/ can do, and this has changed things for the better.
Zoe: I’ve learnt that if you invest time in good people you will always reap the rewards and sometimes employing people from different backgrounds and with different experience is the way forward, I’m also a great believer in creating opportunities for the right people
Jessica: When I joined Drivers Direct, the vision was to build a career and to step outside of my comfort zone. I soon discovered that I am more ambitious that I originally thought and have learned that I always want to push myself above what is expected of me. As a naturally passionate individual, I have learned how to deal with the frustrations of being unable to change something that is impossible and use those emotions to drive myself further than I thought possible when dealing with the next obstacle of the day.
- How do you see the role of women in logistics in the future?
Chrissie: There are many more females working in the logistics industry and I can only see this increasing.
Zoe: I think there will continue to be more and more
Jessica: I see an increase in the number of women entering the logistics sector and have already noticed a gradual change over the last few years. When I first joined the company five years ago, 100% of both my drivers and client contacts were male. We now have a few female drivers who are amazing and would do anything for us which is really inspiring. The number of women in transport offices have also increased where more and more of our client contact are female, the majority entering high levels of management within the sector, which is incredibly empowering, even for me. It just shows that women really can do anything we set our minds to, we just need to have self-belief and courage.
- Anything else you’d like to add?
Jessica: “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish” – Michelle Obama