By Trine Nielsen
Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter – celebrating women’s achievement and taking action for equality. The world of logistics and freight forwarding has its part to play in bringing about this change – not only is it an industry that has a lot to offer, it is also a global industry that enables women all over the world to join us. The industry is however still populated more by men than women, so our hope is that more woman will join us.
A big part of building a more balanced world is about making opportunities available for all. One of the things I love most about logistics is how international it is. I have always wanted to explore the world and this is the reason I started my career as a trainee with Maersk at only 20 years old. I grew up in a small town in Denmark and studied languages, which ignited my passion for exploring the world, and the logistics industry – and Maersk gave me that opportunity.
Over my career so far I’ve had the privilege to live in three very different countries. I had a seven month spell working in Dubai and later spent two and a half years in Mumbai heading up a team of 35 in my first leadership role. I was only 25 when I moved to India and it was certainly a challenge – working in a new country, a different culture, and managing a team for the first time – but I still look at it as one of the best decisions I have made. It was fun and I grew so much as a result.
There is no doubt that I’ve worked hard for these opportunities and while I have faced my share of challenges, I choose not to feel hindered by my gender – I am proud of it and proud of being and thinking differently, because I believe it gives me an advantage. I recently joined Twill as the company’s Head of Sales, implementing strategy across our major markets, and I know I’m here because I’m the most qualified person for the job.
Logistics does have a legacy of being male-dominated and it is far from perfect, yes, but together we have a chance to lead on providing equal opportunities, ultimately building a more balanced world – and this doesn’t stop at the gender discussion.
This year, International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the fantastic and inspiring women in our lives and to raise awareness around bias. The team here at Twill is one of the most diverse I’ve ever been in, with over 15 nationalities sitting around me at the office and 43% of our employees being women – and although I have only been here for a short time, I can already see how this makes Twill different – and in my opinion stronger than our competition. We challenge each other and there are many out of the box ideas.
I think one way we can push for more balance is to celebrate our differences and not be scared of them. We often hear the bad stories about how different we are – whether that’s about gender or other things – but I truly believe that our differences can be our strengths and we can choose how they affect us. We can make our differences the gap between us, or we can choose to make them valuable and drive even better results – both in work and wider society.
The more we embrace our differences and provide opportunities for people regardless of gender, race, background, or thoughts, the more diversity of thought you will see in your team. That means more creative and innovative thinking and ultimately better ideas, solutions and outcomes!
I sometimes get women, especially young women, coming to me for advice on their career. I typically tell them three things; be you, do what you think is fun and exciting (not what others tell you is “the right” step), and remember to help others on their path.
I think one of our mistakes as women – especially in male dominated industries – is often that we think we need to be like the men around us, but being authentic is one of the key enablers to your success. You might not be like anyone else, but be confident that this is your strength! I respect someone like Michelle Obama a lot for this reason – her authenticity and individuality is inspiring.
I also encourage women to support each other and stand together rather than competing – competition is healthy but it is equally important to have each other’s backs and help each other grow. It can feel hard to make a difference on your own, but imagine the impact if every woman decided to help just two people on their path rather than viewing them as potential competition.
Logistics has enabled me to have friends all over the world and to learn about different cultures, backgrounds and languages. It is an industry of opportunity and I’d encourage any woman out there considering logistics as a future career opportunity to go for it! We need your voice, your perfect self and your ideas in our industry.
Find out what career opportunities we have here at Twill on our website – www.twill.net/career.