In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) recognizes the growing number of women who are supporting the trucking industry and working to keep America moving forward.
Heather Paraino serves as the senior corporate counsel for UniGroup C.A., the parent company of moving services such as United Van Lines and Mayflower.
Paraino has worked in the trucking industry since 1997 when, she said, she “jumped at the chance to join the UniGroup team, an iconic St. Louis company, right out of school.”
“As a history-buff, it was so interesting to learn about the background and context of our nearly a century-old industry,” she said.
“Trucking is one of the rare ‘legacy’ industries that not only remain vital to our national economy, but that continues to innovate,” she continued. “There are few other industries with such a rich history and personal family-owned culture that’s also innovating to remain relevant and vital to the U.S. and even world economies.”
In addition to the rich history of moving and trucking, Paraino said she loves the industry because of the amazing people.
“Maybe it’s because there’s such a strong family — often multigenerational — engagement in much of the moving industry, but I have found there to be a real sense of pride among United’s and Mayflower’s network of movers,” she explained. “As a woman, I have found it to be a welcoming and supporting industry to establish my career.”
When asked what advice she would give to other women interested in joining the industry, Paraino encouraged them to join.
“The industry is a great place for talented people to establish and grow their careers,” she noted. “There are also plenty of industry veterans who are willing to be mentors/helpful to someone just beginning their careers. You need only ask.”
Paraino has held several leadership positions within the transportation industry. She was appointed Chair of the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Household Goods Consumer Protection Working Group, and has been invited by the U.S. government to speak at conferences sponsored by the U.S. DOT. In 1997, she was named UniGroup’s Woman of the Year. Before going to work at UniGroup, she was as a legislative assistant for a member of the U.S. Congress.
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