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Bennett's Marcia Taylor named 2014 most influential woman in trucking

Bennett International Group President and CEO Marcia Taylor accepts Women In Trucking's Influential Woman award. (The Trucker: CLIFF ABBOTT)

By CLIFF ABBOTT
The Trucker Staff

3/25/2014

GRAPEVILE, Texas — Bennett International Group President and Chief Executive Officer Marcia Taylor is Women In Trucking’s Influential Woman of the year for 2014.

Selected from a field of four finalists, Taylor was presented the award Tuesday following at a WIT gathering at the Truckload Carriers Association convention in Grapevine, Texas.

Taylor was lauded for her leadership roles at Bennett, as well as her service on the board of the Piedmont Hendry Medical Center and as CEO of the Taylor Family Foundation.

After the presentation, Taylor spoke with The Trucker about being recognized.

“I’m very proud to be recognized as a woman making a difference in our industry,” she said. “I’m also proud to say that 83 women hold positions of leadership at Bennett.”

Asked what steps are taken at Bennett to put women in leadership roles, Taylor responded, “I tell them that when they see an opportunity in another department that they think they can fill, go for it.

“I tell them to learn as much as they can so they add as much value to the company as possible,” she said.

The other three finalists were Amy Boerger, general manager of Field Sales and Service for Cummins, Inc.; Kim Kaplan, president and CEO of K-Limited Carrier; and Stephanie Klang, a professional driver with Con-way Truckload.

Prior to the award presentation, Taylor was a panelist in a discussion that addressed opportunities for women in the trucking industry.

Moderated by TCA President Chris Burris, the panel consisted of Taylor, Freightliner Director of Product Marketing Mary Aufdemburg, President and CEO of the American Transportation Research Institute Rebecca Brewster and Hyundai Translead National Account Sales Manager for the Southeast Region Laura Roan.

One question presented to the panel was how to make the trucking industry a great place to work for women.

“We have to champion each other,” said Aufdemburg. “Then, we must be confident. If we can have a confident voice that’s different, we can go a long way.”

To the question, “does the industry have a hyper-sensitivity to a mixture of genders at work?” Brewster replied, “Yes, and we have to get over that.” She continued, “We as women have to do our part. When we see, for example, a man and a woman having lunch together, we shouldn’t assume there’s something other than a business relationship.”

Roan explained that she had “two wonderful mentors, both men” to help her become successful in trailer sales. Taylor had a similar story. “Taking over Bennett when my husband died in 1981, I was surrounded by men,” she explained. “They had to be thinking, ‘is she going to be able to do it?’ I found them to be tremendously supportive,” she continued, “and they gave me a lot of help.”

Later, Aufdemburg pointed out that some women end up in trucking without intending to. “Many women join the industry by accident,” she said. “They find jobs in accounting or another field that happen to be at a trucking company, and then learn what a great industry it is. We can do more to educate them about the opportunities available in trucking”

Women in Trucking is working hard to provide that education.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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