Celebrating Women’s History Month in the Supply Chain
March is an especially important month as it’s Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is today!
The first Women’s History Day was held in 1909 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the garment workers’ strike when 15,000 women marched through lower Manhattan. The day became Women’s History Week in 1978 because the National Women’s History Alliance wanted to draw attention to the fact that women’s history wasn’t included in K-12 school curriculums. Finally in 1987, activists lobbied Congress to declare March Women’s History Month.
As recently as 50 years ago, a single woman in the U.S. could not get a line of credit, a mortgage or a car loan without the signature of a responsible male or spouse. Fast forward to present day and America has its first female vice-president, every board of directors in the S&P 500 has a woman on the board and women now make up a quarter of all the members of the 117th Congress. Women continue to take on leadership roles in the workforce and challenge notions of tradition!
This time of year is perfect for reflecting on and recognizing the significant contributions powerful women have made to better our personal and professional lives as a whole. To celebrate, we are highlighting the sacrifices and accomplishments women have made in the transportation and supply chain industries.
Women in the Transportation Industry
Spotlight on Female Truck Drivers
The PBS American Portrait series recently shared a feature following a truck driving team of two women, Laura Hathaway and Terry Roberts. Hathaway became a truck driver to provide for her family and while she loves the freedom of the road, she is always thinking of her family back home.
Hathaway and Roberts each work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They are on the road away from home anywhere from three to seven weeks. There’s a bonus for truck drivers who drive over 19,600 miles per month and since teaming up, Hathaway and Roberts have surpassed that number every month.
It’s inspiring to hear stories of the sacrifices that Hathaway, Roberts, and many other female truck drivers make to provide an essential service and support their families.
Ramona Hood Makes FedEx History
President and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical Ramona Hood made company history when she was promoted on January 1, 2020. Hood is the first African American woman to lead a FedEx operating company.
Hood started working as a receptionist for Roberts Express (which later became FedEx Custom Critical) in 1991. She wanted a job with a consistent schedule to support her family while continuing to raise her daughters. Hood’s role as a receptionist evolved into roles in operations, safety and sales, allowing her to offer valuable input and learn more about the critical components of FedEx Custom Critical’s business operation.
One of Hood’s earliest successes in the company was launching a pilot program allowing FedEx Custom Critical employees to work from home in 2002. At the time, it was uncommon for call centers to support employees working remotely. Hood evaluated their processes and technology, realized it was possible and made it happen.
After spending some time heading subsidiary FedEx Truckload Brokerage, Hood moved to an officer position at FedEx Supply Chain in 2016. From there, she returned to FedEx Custom Critical and ultimately became CEO.
Ramona Hood’s success with FedEx is a testament to what hard work and determination can bring women in the transportation industry!
Melonee Wise Makes Waves with Fetch Robotics
Melonee Wise is the founder and CEO of Fetch Robotics, a company producing technologies focused on enhancing efficiency in supply chains and logistics operations. Wise has over 19 years’ experience designing, building and programming robotic hardware.
While truly independent automation still has a ways to go, warehouse robotics are making significant contributions to supply chains. Wise and her team at Warehouse Robotics are creating robots that are able to complete mundane and repetitive or potentially dangerous warehouse tasks. Fetch Robotics is setting itself apart by offering a wide range of robots capable of completing moving tasks that are controlled by a cloud-based coordination service, removing the need for people in the warehouse space.
Women’s History Month is an opportunity to reflect on and recognize the women who have made a significant impact on society. Remembering parts of history that wouldn’t have been possible without them serves as inspiration to everyone.
Women in the transportation and supply chain industries continue to challenge traditional logistics operations and change logistics operations for the better. Their creative thoughts and ideas are pushing the industry forward and making room for seamless communication and collaboration throughout the supply chain in 2021 and beyond!