Before a woman selects her college major, there’s not many that actually consider the logistics profession as a viable option. However, we’re here to tell you that more women should! Women have steadily advanced within the logistics and supply chain sector over the past few decades. Not to mention, the industry is valued at $1.5 trillion, and there’s always a steady flow of jobs available. To further prove that logistics offers a significant amount of growth opportunities, we recently sat down for a Q&A session with four women who have experienced much success in their leadership roles at Spot. This success is due to their strong work ethic, passion for the industry, and the ability to be comfortable as one of the few, sometimes the only, women in the room.
Answers were recorded in the following order:
- How did you get started in logistics, and what has your career path looked like at Spot?
- What is your favorite part about working in the industry?
- What advice do you have for other women looking to explore a role in logistics?
- What has been a key highlight of your career?
- What skills have been essential to your growth at Spot and within your leadership role?
- Before you accepted a role at Spot, where did you see your career path headed?
- After starting your career in logistics, what is one thing that surprised you the most?
- What is one of your next big goals within your role?
Kelsey Crooks – Sales Manager
1: I started at Spot right after graduating from the University of Indianapolis. At that time, I had minimal work experience and knew nothing about logistics, but I knew that I wanted to be in sales. I started as an Account Manager, and within my first year of working at Spot, I closed our largest auto parts shipper account. After about six years of being in sales, I was looking for more of a work-life balance as my husband and I wanted to start a family, so I approached our Co-Founders (Andrew and Andy) about becoming a Sales Manager. They quickly gave me the opportunity to do so, and I’ve been in my current role for about 3 years where I manage a team of Account Managers who focus on exactly what I was doing when I first started at Spot.
2: Being a woman in logistics has a unique advantage because it’s a predominantly male-focused industry. Therefore, when calling on potential customers, they are sometimes more willing to strike up a conversation with you. As far as my favorite thing about working at Spot, it’s the people! You truly come to work with family. I also enjoy how every day is different, which keeps you on your toes and makes the day go by quicker.
3: Portray confidence and self-awareness. It’s also important to have thick skin because you will be told no a lot but have to remain persistent, specifically if your role is sales-focused. Surround yourself with the “experts” in your company and ask them what has made them successful so you can implement their mentality and ultimately experience the same success that they have.
4: As I mentioned above, this is my first job out of school, and I’m proud of the fact that I’ve stayed loyal to Spot throughout the years and also the growth I’ve experienced during my nine-year tenure. Another key highlight is when I brought on Spot’s first single-source contract, meaning they solely used Spot for their transportation operations. This was a big win for both myself and Spot!
5: An empathetic attitude, grit, determination, and good listening skills have been key to my success. Also, because I was initially an Account Manager, this has helped me immensely as a Sales Manager since I can relate to my team and the shippers/carriers we work with.
6: I knew that I wanted to be in sales, but I had no idea what industry I wanted to work in. Throughout the years, I’ve come to realize that logistics is such a pivotal part of the economy. We wouldn’t be able to survive without truck drivers and what they do on a daily basis, and I think that’s something we need to draw more attention to.
7: How challenging it is to earn people’s trust because the industry is a very fast-paced and high-stress environment, which can sometimes lead to miscommunication or false information.
8: Getting my Account Managers/Sales Reps to commission in less than a year, especially with our large new hire class that recently started.
Tanisha Smith – Carrier Resource Manager
1: I worked for a major insurance company for six years before starting at Spot. I had actually applied for an Accounting role, but upon interviewing, Spot thought I would be a better fit for the Carrier Services department. When I first joined the team, there were just two of us. Within six months, the other individual working with me transferred to another department within Spot. Therefore, I started running the department on my own and hired my first employee within this short timeframe. At the current time, we have grown the department to nine full-time employees and two interns.
2: Because there’s not an abundance of women working in the industry, it’s empowering to be a black woman in a leadership role with the opportunity to grow my own team. Truckers and dispatchers are also so used to speaking with men that I feel like they get a bit more receptive when dealing with women because they treat them like they would their mom or sister! At Spot, I’ve also had the liberty of making my role and the Carrier Services department my own, which you don’t get to experience at a lot of other places. I enjoy seeing my team members succeed and helping them to grow and create their own paths within their professional careers.
3: Do it! The industry is booming and has an immense amount of job security as people will always need things delivered from Point A to Point B. I think another thing to celebrate is that logistics is truly a pandemic-proof industry. We still experienced rapid growth and made a difference during such a trying time in the world.
4: Becoming a Manager within my first six months of working at Spot and growing the team to where we are today.
5: Attention to detail, resilience, and patience. I work with motor carriers on a day-to-day basis, so it’s also been imperative for me to have people skills and to be compassionate about their situations while on the road.
6: When I applied at Spot, I had no idea what logistics was. I actually was looking to be a CPA, and then I just fell into the role at Spot, and it’s worked out well for me.
7: The number of goods that move on a daily basis! Not just what Spot moves, but it’s crazy to think about how all the things we need to survive get to us — from water bottles to medicine and fresh produce to toilet paper. I’ve also grown to have so much respect for truck drivers. It’s certainly not an easy job, and we couldn’t function without them.
8: I’d eventually like to create a Quality Assurance department that focuses on customer service. It’s imperative that our employees work to be as professional and courteous as possible when dealing with our shippers and carriers, and I think this could department could make a large impact on our overall service levels.
Emily Buening – National Account Director
1: A Spot Recruiter had reached out to me on LinkedIn. At that time, I didn’t know much about the logistics industry and being a college athlete myself, I wanted to get into the sports field. However, I liked Spot when I came in for my interview and joined right after graduating. I started as an Account Manager and within five years, I’ve grown into a National Account Director. I now have five people on my team, and we’re all women, which is something to be proud of.
2: The fast-paced environment. Every day brings a new challenge or a fire that needs to be put out, and there truly is never a dull moment.
3: Don’t be intimated by the fact that logistics is a male-dominated industry. There’s also a ton of room for growth in transportation-focused roles, so you can easily come into a company and find career progression very quickly.
4: Receiving the “Master Why Receiver” award in 2020. This award recognizes the employee who received the highest number of compliments from their shipper and carrier partners within the year. Each and every day, I truly do try to provide the “Spot Experience” to my customers, and it was an honor to be recognized for that.
5: Leadership skills are #1. Also, being able to quickly think on my feet and not dwelling on past mistakes because there are so many variables in the industry. Every day is different, and you have to learn to accept the challenges that come with working in transportation.
6: As I mentioned above, I wanted to work in sports and actually had a job offer from the Pacers, but I ended up preferring Spot’s atmosphere and felt like I had more room for growth here.
7: How essential logistics is to the economy – it touches every business sector and it’s honestly what makes the world go round!
8: Continuing to expand my team and growing our book of business. Eventually, I’d love to have about eight people who could manage one customer on their own and focus on continued account penetration.
Alexa Amatulli – Director of Marketing
1: I saw the Director of Marketing role posted on LinkedIn and quickly applied because the job description was a perfect fit for my experience at the time. Accepting the offer to join the Spot team couldn’t have been an easier “yes”. When I started four years ago, it was just myself and a part-time intern. Currently, we now have three full-time employees and two social media interns. We’re a team of five women, and that’s something to celebrate.
2: Every day is different. There isn’t one day that I come into work where I’m not challenged to think both strategically and creatively. The marketing team also has the unique opportunity to work with all of our departments across the company. It’s fun to see the impact we’re able to make when a sales rep closes an account with the help of a direct mail send or when we have a prospective candidate apply for a role because they saw a social media ad.
3: Working in a male-dominated industry isn’t as scary as it seems. It’s important to always portray confidence and also to take risks within your role. I’ve always had the mindset that anything is worth a shot because the outcome could be a great one, and if it’s not, you learn from it and simply put a better strategy together for the next time.
4: I’ve had the opportunity to work on some extremely exciting initiatives during my time here, so it’s difficult to narrow it down to one. I’m proud of the increased level of engagement we’ve seen across our social media accounts since I started. We recently found out that we’re #9 on the list of the nation’s most active logistics professionals on LinkedIn. This showcases that not only are we producing thought-provoking content but that our employees have also bought into our culture enough to share our posts on their own pages. I’m also quite proud of our website that we redesigned a few years ago and the new brand that we recently launched for Red Technologies, our sister company.
5: Flexibility is key because our industry and just marketing, in general, are both ever-changing. For example, when the pandemic hit, we had to quickly veer our sales and marketing strategies to appeal to a remote workforce. Attention to detail also couldn’t be a more important skill to have in marketing. Our goal is to build trust and credibility with our customer base, and if we don’t present our content in a professional way, we can lose that credibility very quickly. Finally, creativity. The logistics industry is a very saturated market, so it’s always crucial for us to think outside of the box and drum up “pattern interrupts” (as we like to call them) to help us stand out from a traditional e-mail or sales call.
6: To be quite honest, I had no idea. Even though I graduated over nine years ago, this is my second job out of school. When I left my previous role to come to Spot, I just knew that I was up for a new challenge and wanted the opportunity to grow my skill set. Spot has provided me with the resources to make the marketing department my own and let my creativity run free.
7: I 100% have more respect for truck drivers now as I definitely took them for granted before I started working in the industry. Getting the goods we need to survive from Point A to B and dealing with things like snowstorms, hurricanes, traffic, and waiting to load/unload at receivers is no easy task, and I think as a community, we need to show more appreciation for drivers. During the pandemic, we organized two events where we passed out boxed lunches to drivers, which was a very gratifying experience. Something as small as a lunch truly meant a lot to the drivers because they often don’t receive this type of recognition.
8: To continue to expand the marketing team. Eventually, I’d love to have one person for each marketing tactic (i.e., social media, digital marketing, content marketing, etc.). We currently have our hands in many different initiatives, which is great, but we’d be able to expand our reach even more if we had a unique focus for each role within the department. I’m also looking forward to helping Spot get to the $1 billion in revenue mark, which we expect to achieve within the next few years!
Choose a Career at Spot
If you or someone you know is looking to join a team where you’re able to create your own path – and enjoy some handsome rewards in the process – we’re currently hiring across various departments. Click here to check out our open roles.