Ellen Voie – A Trailblazer in Empowering Women in the Trucking Industry

Ellen Voie is a visionary leader and the founder of the Women In Trucking Association, Inc. Her career journey began in 2007 when she held the position of Manager of Recruiting and Retention programs at a major trucking company. Focused on attracting and retaining nontraditional groups as professional drivers, Ellen identified women as a key demographic worth accommodating. Drawing inspiration from her involvement in a women’s aviation group as a private pilot, she made the decision to establish an organization for women in the trucking industry.

Ellen assembled a board of powerful and influential women, and together, they defined their mission: to attract women to trucking careers, address obstacles, and celebrate the successes of women in the industry. Their efforts bore fruit, as the Women In Trucking Association quickly gained momentum, attracting 500 members in its first year. Over the years, the association has grown exponentially, with over 8,000 members in ten countries, including men who support their mission.

To become a leader in her field, Ellen recognized the importance of providing information and resources to the industry. The Women In Trucking Association became a beacon of knowledge, tirelessly gathering data, facts, and information about women in trucking. Their goal was to be the best and most credible resource for those working in transportation.

For Ellen, leadership is the ability to convince people to believe in and support a shared mission. In her case, she had to establish the need to attract more women into the industry and offer ways to promote and retain them in transportation careers. Her passion for this mission resonated with the association’s members, who saw joining as a way to be part of a movement that made sense and advanced women in trucking.

As a woman in a leadership position, Ellen faced the challenge of establishing credibility. She understood that credibility is built on knowledge and following through on promises. It takes time to earn someone’s confidence but only one instance to shatter it. Ellen emphasizes the importance of following through and over-delivering on commitments to maintain credibility.

Balancing work and personal life is crucial, and Ellen found strategies that worked for her. When her children were young, she worked as a consultant, allowing her to be present for them. Her children would accompany her to clients’ locations and learned to be patient and respectful when she was working. Now that her children are grown, Ellen prioritizes her family while also making time for her health and personal needs. Prioritization and effective time management are key to striking a balance.

Making difficult decisions is an inevitable part of leadership. Ellen recounts a time when she had to decide to pass the leadership role of the Women In Trucking Association to someone else. As the founder, she had the entrepreneurial vision and passion for the mission but found that the management responsibilities were not fulfilling. Through a succession plan, a new CEO was appointed, and Ellen transitioned out of the leadership position while remaining involved as the organization’s founder.

In fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, Ellen has been dedicated to promoting equity in the workplace. The Women In Trucking Association focuses on initiatives that support gender equality and empower women in the industry. They provide webinars, white papers at their conference to equip women with tools for career advancement. Ellen believes in offering resources that are valuable to their members, listening to their needs, and delivering on the promises made.

To stay up-to-date with industry trends and innovations, Ellen actively participates in conferences, both as a speaker and attendee. She immerses herself in daily e-newsletters, print publications from other associations, and relevant industry groups. Additionally, she continuously pursues professional development through diplomas and certifications applicable to her roles as an association executive and a trucking industry professional.

Ellen takes great pride in the initiative of creating a mobile learning center to promote careers in transportation to women. Equipped with a donated trailer and a simulator, the mobile unit offers a hands-on learning environment. The eye-catching graphics featuring a female superhero with her hand on a steering wheel attract visitors at trade shows and industry events, providing valuable information about trucking.

For aspiring women leaders in business, Ellen’s advice would be to be passionate about their mission and provide a clear need for their endeavors. She encourages women to seize opportunities for professional growth and to leverage their communication skills to relate to others effectively.

As a leader, Ellen approaches risk-taking by carefully considering the factors at play and evaluates potential risks and weighs them against the potential rewards and benefits to the mission of the Women In Trucking Association.

Strong relationships with clients and customers are vital, and Ellen attributes her success in building and maintaining them to her strong communication skills. With a Master’s Degree in Communication, she emphasizes the ability to relate to others and understand their needs. Providing value through effective communication and offering resources that support their success are essential to foster strong relationships.

The Women In Trucking Association has taken extensive initiatives to support gender equality and empower women in the workplace. From webinars and white papers to a powerful speaker lineup at their conference, they offer women various tools and opportunities for career advancement.

To measure the success of the Women In Trucking Association, membership growth serves as a significant metric. However, they also monitor the success of their annual conference, which saw an impressive increase of over 110 percent in registered attendees from 2021 to 2022, with nearly 1,800 participants.

Ellen Voie’s journey and achievements in empowering women in the trucking industry serve as an inspiration to aspiring leaders. Her unwavering dedication, strategic vision, and commitment to diversity and inclusion have made a lasting impact on the industry. Ellen’s story is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and effective leadership in driving meaningful change.