Industry News

Shared stories a highlight of two-day conference

Successful women who’ve built careers in the transport industry provided plenty of inspiration for the 160 people who attended the Living the Dream conference in Victoria last weekend.

The biennial conference, organised by Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL), featured a comprehensive two-day program including a keynote session with Women in Trucking USA founder Ellen Voie that attracted plenty of positive feedback.

TWAL chairwoman Jacquelene Brotherton said Voie spoke for an hour and a half about the organisation she started in 2007 and the progress made over the past 17 years as women became more and more involved in the US trucking scene.

“I don’t think she stopped for breath that whole time, and the crowd could have listened for another hour,” Brotherton said.

Women in Trucking USA finished 2023 with 8398 members. It also reported that going into 2024, 12.1 per cent of all professional truck drivers holding CDL licenses, allowing them to drive trucks across state lines, in the USA were female. It also found 31.6 per cent of C-Suite executives in the industry are women.

Brotherton said there were plenty of other highlights from the two-day line-up, including the opening address by Cindy Parker, director of operations for Americold Logistics LLC.

Parker’s session, “It’s not just a job, it’s a dream job”, included the screening of a video capturing a driver backing onto a dock in an ice cave which became a talking point among attendees for the rest of the conference.

Brotherton said the Trish Pickering Memorial Award recipient panel session on Friday was another stand out.

The session featured past recipients Phyllis Jones (OAM), Hazel Whitmore, Merry Manton and Sharon Middleton (AM), sharing their stories about lives spent working in the transport industry.

“There was more than 200 years’ of experience on that stage,” she said. “It was one of the most popular sessions, hearing directly from these women”.

Talking to the success of the conference Brotherton said it was heartening to hear from Wodonga TAFE on Sunday that they were already fielding calls about new leadership programs they had presented to the conference crowd on Friday afternoon.

Frances Ross witih her 2024 Trish Pickering Memorial Award. Image: TWAL

The Living the Dream conference, held at Hyatt Place in Essendon, closed with an awards dinner sponsored by Paccar and Cummins where Ross Transport’s Frances Ross was named as the recipient of the 2024 Trish Pickering Memorial Award.

Sharing the announcement on social media, TWAL paid tribute to Ross’s service.

This prestigious honour recognises Ross for her exceptional strength, leadership, role modelling, and unwavering encouragement of others.

“Her years of dedication have truly elevated our industry. Thank you, Frances, for your inspiring contributions!”

The Young Gunnette Award, being presented for the first time in 2024 to celebrate the achievements of up-and-coming women aged 30 years or under, went to Ainsleigh Thomas.

Thomas has spent the past nine years working for Australia Post and took on the role as StarTrack’s NSW/ACT Linehaul Manager when she was 25, managing about 12 contractors and 102 linehaul movements every night.

Over and above doing well in her role, Thomas has acted as a mentor in Australia Post’s internal ProjectME self-awareness and development program and coached 28 women over three years of eight-week programs.

Brotherton said the TWAL team was already looking ahead to 2026 conference.


The post Shared stories a highlight of two-day conference appeared first on Big Rigs.

  1. Australian Truck Radio Listen Live
Send this to a friend