Women at the Helm: How Women in Leadership Shape Better Outcomes During Times of Crisis


Women at the Helm: How Women in Leadership Shape Better Outcomes During Times of Crisis

A recent Harvard Business Review study shows that women in leadership tend to shape better outcomes during times of crisis. Trinity Logistics recently participated in the Women in Trucking Webinar to discuss how women in leadership have paved the way for positive results during the pandemic. In this webinar we heard from the Vice President of Operations at Trinity’s Kansas City office, Jennifer Braun, the President of Trinity Logistics, Sarah Ruffcorn, and the President of Transportation Intermediary Association, Anne Reinke.  

These women share their thoughts and opinions on leadership and key values that have helped them excel during these times. We’ve gathered key information from this webinar that we believe will be valuable to you.  

Question: What are the top words you would use to describe leading during a pandemic? 

Sarah: Authenticity. Being authentic enough to say, “here’s what we know”, and “here’s what we don’t know yet”. Leaders need to let their guard down and say more than we’ve ever heard before.  

Anne: Plan B. Plan A wasn’t going to work so what can we do instead? What can we do to get people working so that it makes sense? 

Jennifer: Preparation. It’s comforting to know that you have some preparation to fall back on and there’s still steps you can take to servicing customers. 

Question: One of the higher ranking traits for women in leadership was “takes initiative.” Can you share what “takes initiative” means to you? 

Sarah: Taking initiatives isn’t necessarily about taking it on by yourself. It can be involving others that know more than you do about the subject. Sometimes it means stepping out of your comfort zone when you don’t know the answers. 

Anne: There’s people in life where, when they see an issue, they’re on it. Taking initiative means feeling like you have an immediate responsibility whether it be because of your title or because that’s naturally the person that you are. What gets you to be a great leader is to take on those initiatives.  

Jennifer: “Takes initiative” can align with empowering others. Take initiative can be raising an awareness, asking questions, or challenging yourself and other people. 

Question: How do you incorporate “inspires” and “develops” others in your role? 

Sarah: This links up to our company culture at Trinity. You’re truly working to remove obstacles for other people and get them to where they want to go. Encourage and offer your employees to get into other projects and educate themselves so that they can increase their skill set.  

Anne: Empowering the team so that they feel a shared sense of responsibility and mission. Listen to them and bring transparency into processes, emphasizing their critical role. Be a mindful cheerleader. Knowing that there’s mutual trust within your team. 

Jennifer: When we’re providing feedback, be specific. What specifically are you wishing to have this person know about their performance or leadership? Be mindful of the words that you’re saying to your team. 

Question: Collaboration & teamwork: why is it important to work together?

Sarah: We’re in a relationship-driven business. We all depend on relationships with our shippers, carriers, warehouse workers. Those relationships are necessary to make things happen in the supply chain. If we’re not pulling in the same direction, it all falls apart. 

Anne: I can’t know everything. It’s a win-win that we work together and give assignments to people who know more, have the experience, or relationships. It makes for a stronger organization. 

Question: High integrity & honesty: Why is that so important in what we do in the transportation industry? 

Sarah: At the foundation of every relationship is trust. If you don’t have that level of integrity and honesty, then trust goes out the window. Everything that Trinity does is based off of our words and so little is based off of contracts. It all ends and starts with our word and backing it up. 

Anne: This industry is based on relationships so you’re only as good as your word. If you want people to continue that relationship with you, you have to live by that. 

Jennifer: All the people we have doing business for us at any minute of any day are the faces of Trinity. Everything is visible and transparent every time we’re talking with people. High integrity and honesty  needs to be something that people live by each day. 

Question: What words of wisdom would you offer other women in the transportation industry? 

Sarah: Even when you don’t feel prepared, say yes. A lot of us hold back until we feel like we’re ready for something but always say yes. 

Anne: Go for it. What do you have to lose? Someone says no to you, that’s fine. Let people say no to you rather than saying no to yourself. 

Jennifer: One of my favorite words is “yet”. If you don’t have something or if you’re not good at something, I always say “yet”. You can achieve pretty much anything you put your mind to. 

Our Director of Marketing at Trinity Logistics, Brittany Seigel, recently interviewed Ava Pearson. Ava is a driver that has built a strong relationship with Trinity. We asked her some questions on how the pandemic has affected her life as a driver.   

Question: As an essential worker during this very difficult time in this past year, what was your experience like? 

Ava: Difficult in a way where we were not able to interact with other people. It was like us drivers were shut off from the world. 

Question: What were you faced with during the pandemic?  

Ava: Not knowing how to handle the situation. Am I going to be safe or protected? Why do I have to be out here when others are with their family? It was rough not knowing the unknown. 

Question: Do you see a lot of this carrying over to the next year or do you think things will start to improve? 

Ava: I think things are improving and they will continue to improve. It’s great that everyone is participating and doing their part of being clean, wearing masks, and keeping your distance. Doing your part really helped out. Now that the vaccine is out, it will probably help with future of normalcy. 

Question: Any advice for other women in this profession? 

Ava: Ask as many questions as you can, don’t be afraid to ask. Do your research. Help anyone else that you can along the way.  

This past year has earned the title of “unprecedented times”. We are appreciative of all the women in trucking and the leaders in our supply chain that persevered through the challenges we’ve had to face in the past year and a half. We couldn’t do it without you. 

Want to hear more about these women in leadership? 

Check out our WIT webinar