Inbound Logistics | October 2022


by Katerina Jones Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, Fleet Advantage | 954-615-4400

Becoming a Successful Female Mentor in Male-Centric Industries

Countless published articles talk about the importance and value of mentorship, and we heard many of these voices during Women’s History Month in March. Many of these articles strike home at the essence and reasons why mentorship is especially critical for professional women in the workforce.

“one of the guys,” understanding the language and learning their way of communicating with one another. I was passionate about my work and projects, intensely focused on client service, and was certainly becoming more confident within the industries I worked. But along this journey, as I began to grow more confident, I realized the importance of stepping outside this mold and understanding the distinct differences between men and women—particularly in the area of communication. For me, I was fortunate to work in a company environment where these diverse voices were encouraged—even within a male- dominated industry. Other women are not so lucky. Many do not have the fortune I’ve had with supportive senior management. This is where mentorship becomes so critical. I know this because I’ve seen it firsthand, through my involvement with transportation associations and organizations where I’ve had the luxury of meeting hundreds of other professional women. Learning from these women has been instrumental in furthering my own professional career, as well as shaping the type of mentor I’ve now become to other professional

importance of finding opportunities to help other women advance has been clear to me.

However, for professional women in a male-dominated industry such as trucking and transportation, these articles go beyond simple inspiration. They can be the difference between a short-lived career or an enduring one where you can truly leave a lasting impression—not only on women but on the industry as a whole. I immigrated to the United States from the Czech Republic when I was 10 years old, not knowing one word of English. I worked two jobs in high school to help my mother make ends meet and worked three jobs while attending college full time on an academic scholarship. I spent a lot of time in the restaurant industry, working on the weekends and holidays, envious of guests on the other side of the table. It’s true, my sheer determination led me to where I am now: being a wife and a mother and gaining knowledge and experience from many male-dominated industries. But along the way, the


According to an Olivet Nazarene University survey, 56% of American workers have had a professional mentor, while 76% say that mentorship is important. After working in male-dominated industries, including construction and motorcycle equipment, I am passionate about helping other women as they pursue careers in transportation. I have experienced the difference hard work and women can make, not only through mentoring other women, but also by bridging the gap with men in the industry and helping them understand gender differences as well as the various values women can offer their companies. At the start of my career, I felt the right thing to do was to become

32 Inbound Logistics • October 2022

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