Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front - No asterisk

ShannonNewtonShannon Newton
President, ATA


Those who know me well, know that highlighting the differences associated with being a woman in the workplace is not a subject that excites me. I long for the day when it isn’t noteworthy, and we can just accolade the individual. No need to asterisk her success: She’s smart/talented/accomplished for a woman.

But we’re not there yet, so continuing to talk about it is important. Highlighting the successes of women in our industry makes it easier for others to imagine their own. Emulating the path of others seems more achievable than blazing a new one—not only for young girls imagining what they want to be when they grow up but also for young ladies contemplating college courses and career decisions. Our industry needs both. 

On Oct. 23, I had the honor of moderating a panel at the American Trucking Associations’ annual Management Conference & Exhibition, the largest event of the year for trucking industry leaders.

I shared the stage with four impressive panelists—Cari Baylor, Baylor Trucking; Tamara Jalving, Yellow; Tina Peterson, an America’s Road Team Captain; and Angela Tillery, FedEx Freight.

I enjoyed getting to know them as we prepared. They are all succeeding in business and invested in recruiting and empowering more talented women into the trucking industry. Each has her own unique experiences that have shaped her journey and how she views her role in making it easier for those who will follow. 

The reality that five women were charged to present a forum about women at a trucking conference to an audience of mostly men was not lost on any of us. 

It is the men who run companies and lead our industry that want to know how to better recruit women—whether it’s to drive a truck or lead a department. They want to understand how the experience of climbing the career ladder in this industry is different for women than it is for men.

They call it a career ladder, but climbing a ladder is a solitary act. And in business, we don’t get to promote ourselves, hire ourselves or choose to do business with ourselves. Someone has to see our work, value, potential and the obstacles in our way to allow us to step into responsibility.

Succeeding for many women, myself included, involved male allies who could recognize our contributions, advocate for us and notice when we weren’t being invited to the tables where decisions are made, whether they be board tables or cocktail tables.

I count many of you, readers, as my allies, and I know there are others who don’t want to leave talent on the table. I hope you’ll make plans now to continue this conversation at the 2023 Arkansas Trucking Association conference in May. We’ve invited Arkansas Aerospace & Defense Alliance President Gina Radke to tell her story about finding advocates and share real, tangible ways everyone can learn to recognize, capture and elevate talent in your workforce.

Someday it won’t be noteworthy when men invite women to the table, and there’ll be no need to asterisk their support: he’s a good ally and advocate for a man.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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