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International Women's Day

Internationa Womens Day

To celebrate today, International Women’s Day, we asked women in the transport and energy industries what inspires them personally and professionally. While they each come from different backgrounds and work in different roles, they are all leaders in their field and demonstrate that women are an integral part of today’s workplace, even in industries that are traditionally male dominated. So be inspired by what inspires these fantastic mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, colleagues and leaders!

Triple inspiration

There are three women who inspire me every day because they all ask, ‘what can I do?’

My mother, who at the age of 79 is the unpaid President of a St Vinnies Op Shop where she manages over 50 volunteers.

The public figure, Quentin Bryce, who has just handed down her report ‘Not now, Not ever,’ putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland.

And, the mother of Luke and Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, who has found the courage to speak out against domestic violence.

All of these women inspire me to be a better person and to focus on the part that I can play, to make the world a little better, too.’

Kathryn Tomlinson, Consultant, Health and Wellbeing, Organisational Performance and Risk Corporate Operations, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Recognising women in the workplace

‘Despite the maritime industry being male-dominated, women play an ever-growing and vital role within it.

This day is important to recognise how essential women are to all workplaces; whether it be the wharf, the deck, the emergency room, or the truck driver’s seat.’

Mich-Elle Myers, National Women’s Liaison Officer, National EAS Coordinator, Growth and Campaigns Team, Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

Shining a light on our amazing industry

Knowing how vital the road and transport industry is to everyday life inspires me to strive for excellence and professionalism, so our industry is viewed in a positive light in the broader community and the business and government sectors.’

Sharon Middleton, Director, Whiteline Transport; President, South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA); Australian Trucking Association (ATA) National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year 2013; and part of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.

Positive changes add up to a lot

Family and community are my inspiration. Living in a relatively small community, the strength of the community never ceases to amaze me. Every individual has a story and these inspire me, particularly people who achieve a lot in their lifetime. The positive changes and contributions that an individual or group can make to their communities also encourage me.’

Jenny Fellows, Fellows Transport, pictured with her youngest son Tom and her nephew, Will.

Because everyone is an equal

What has inspired me personally and professionally is hard work, honesty, learning from mistakes, learning from others, treating all as equals, empowering colleagues to learn and grow and not being afraid to take chances in my career (something I’ve learnt far too late in life!).’

Kathy Sutherland, VP, HR APAC Cab and Vehicle Assembly, Volvo.

For the good of a great industry

‘I have been inspired by a variety of people over the years and I suppose it is all about having a better industry and lifestyle. Being a small operator, I had wanted to support/mentor other small operators, particularly those women managing their various businesses while their husbands/partners were away driving and earning a living.

In the early 90s Bruce McIver – then the Road Transport Forum (RTF) Chairman – absolutely inspired me to try to do great things, and to know that it WAS possible.

Phyllis Jones is also an inspiration to me, she just gets in and does stuff, no fuss and bother and age is no barrier.

Noelene Watson inspires me with her no-nonsense attitude and the struggle it was for her losing a husband and just getting in and taking over her business and raising a family, and then getting involved in industry organisations for the good of the industry. These people are all selfless and don’t promote themselves for accolades which I believe is an admirable quality in anyone.’

Pam McMillan, DP Haulage, pictured with Sharon Middleton.

Inspired by drivers, inspired by their families

Although I became involved in this industry by default (falling in love with a truck driver), it is one of the most challenging industries I believe exists. I am inspired by the drivers and their families. I believe they do not receive the recognition they deserve. I know there are certain drivers who may taint the industry but there are far more good drivers than not.

It is important that we recognise and encourage women in our industry, as I believe women are very capable of many aspects in the transport sector. I am very proud to say today that my daughter Betina spoke at the annual Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) Women’s International Day Breakfast with two other very inspiring women who all spoke about how to make it happen. I am hoping to continue to look at ways to involve both the youth and more young women in our industry and work on keeping them with us throughout their careers. Transport is not for everyone, but once you become involved, it’s very hard to leave such a great industry.’

Tracie Dickenson, Daryl Dickenson Transport.

Courage, positivity and passion

‘Personally, my late mother’s courage, positive attitude and determination to overcome her battle with cancer inspired and continues to inspire me every day. Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to work with talented and innovative people who have inspired me to stretch beyond what I thought was possible and encouraged my passion for life-long learning. This has inspired me professionally.’

Elaine Felstein, Senior Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator, Energy Skills Queensland.

Inspiration is all around

My professional inspiration is no different from my personal inspiration and it is everywhere, in the strangest places… Thoughts about how to improve a process, create a more cohesive team, add a service offering, entice a member or create a sales opportunity. It may strike at anytime or happen while attending a non-related industry meeting, reading a newspaper or journal, daydreaming, or talking with colleagues about their experience. I would encourage everyone to just be ready for when you may be inspired!’

Katharina Gerstmann, Senior Associate Transport / Market Segment Lead Rail, Beca.

A passion for life

‘My life experience in the transportation industry has been extraordinary! I have Jacquelene Brotherton_resizedtravelled to many countries and visited many transport and associated businesses within the industry and met incredible people who share my passion, which inspires me.  Although not a natural choice for most women, the transport industry has enabled me to fulfil most of my life ambitions.’

Jacquelene Brotherton, Transport Manager, Oxford Cold Storage.

Personal and professional inspiration

‘Personally, my mum inspires me, being a cancer survivor. My kids also inspire me daily to be the best mum that I can be. Professionally I am inspired by aiming to be the best in my role as a driver trainer and to be someone that people can look up to.’

Julie Puttock, Driver and Trainer, Sydney Intercity, NSW TrainLink and RTBU delegate, pictured with her children Jess and Cameron.

Inspiration through life lessons 

‘I have learnt that life can change in an instant and that inspired me to cherish every moment. Living with my foster siblings, who had gone through some terrible times, was inspiring growing up as I saw that people can get through whatever obstacles come their way and they taught me compassion and deep love.


Being in an abusive marriage as a young mother of small girls, I learnt to walk my own road. I made a choice not to be a victim but a survivor and to take charge of my life’s direction. I became a professional truck driver and took my girls on the road. I wanted to share this fabulous career with other women, which lead me to start my own business, Success Transport. In 2014 I co-founded Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls to showcase the incredible achievements of women in the transport sector and to encourage more women into truck driving careers.

In the words of Hillary Clinton, ‘Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world’, so let’s use them!’

Heather Jones, Director, Success Transport.

Professional and personal strength

I have been inspired by a lot of women in the trucking industry. Women like Noelene Watson, who have a ‘just deal with it’ no-nonsense approach to their work and life, have been great to learn from. Watching people like Noelene, who has dealt with some tremendous issues in her life, I have learnt that it simply does not matter whether you’re a woman or a man. Achieving what you need to, efficiently, safely and capably, is what’s important, in business and in life.’

Jodie Broadbent, Manager, Road Freight NSW.

Brought to you by Strategic Business Development Manager, Rebecca Delahaye and Key Account Managers; Alison Weatherill, David Stock and Cassandra Steen from rt health fund.

This blog was posted in energy industry, women and tagged in international women's day, rt health fund, transport industry

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