Inside Out: Love of writing, desire to educate drives TCA’s director of education to succeed

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Inside Out: Love of writing, desire to educate drives TCA’s director of education to succeed

When Shana Gipson stepped into her new role as director of education for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) in December 2021, she knew she had found her home.

“The people here are very welcoming,” Gipson said with a smile. “It’s the first thing I noticed. They make it easy for you to transition into a new environment — which can be a little tricky at times. People took their time to show me the organizational processes. They were super welcoming, and that’s one of the main things I want people to know.”

A graduate of Norfolk State University, the Virginia native had her eyes on a career in journalism or public relations, but along the way found that her true passion was a combination of educational outreach and event planning. While still in school, Gipson worked with the American Red Cross to recruit blood donations. She continued in that role after graduation before moving on to work with Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization.

With an eye on a job more in line with her career field, Gipson moved to the Washington, D.C., area, where she began working in the communications department for the American Society of Civil Engineers, with a focus on K-12 education outreach and diversity.

It was Gipson’s experience in this role that opened her eyes to outreach and event planning as a career path.

“I loved creative writing, and I thought that journalism would be a great career for me,” she shared. “I was able to do a lot of K-12 outreach, and that’s what started my path to educational planning.”

One of Gipson’s favorite things about her role as TCA’s director of education is the opportunity to work with different speakers who are featured at the association’s various events and webinars.

“I love working with the speakers, making sure the event flows really well and that it’s a great experience for them, as well as a great experience for the audience,” noted Gipson. “It’s a nice challenge, and I enjoy it.”

Before joining TCA, she gained extensive experience in working with a number of different organizations, including the National Automobile Dealers Association, which allowed her to bring a myriad of skills to the position.

“This role is something that I was looking for for quite a while,” added Gipson. “This was a career goal of mine — to have a leadership presence. With all of my years of experience, I thought I could have a really great impact in the organization.”

Gipson works directly in the planning of TCA events, coordinating the workshop speakers and making sure that the content is valuable for those attending. It is her goal to build upon the great work that has been done in the past and to also bring new ideas to enhance educational content for the association.

“I am here to bring my ideas and think about what we can do differently,” she said. “I really want to create a program that attracts new members. We want to expand membership and keep our members happy. One of the main reasons that people attend our events is because of the educational content. By creating new programs and expanding some of the things we are doing right now, this will ultimately expand the value of TCA.”

Gipson added that she is profoundly grateful to her co-workers for helping her adapt quickly to her position, noting that they have jumped in to aid when needed.

“Everyone pitches in,” she shared. “What’s different for me is that, in past roles, everyone had individual roles and stayed in their lanes. At TCA’s annual conference, for example, my colleagues combined and pitched in in different areas. That was new for me, and I hadn’t experienced that before. I think that is good, because people get to learn different roles.”

Gipson also praises the fact that she has been able to get to know so many of her co-workers, and said TCA makes that process easy.

“They are open to new ideas,” she added. “It’s a very open environment.”

In addition to speaker management and event planning, Gipson also gets to flex her journalism muscles, writing and editing copy.

“It’s a strong background for me, and I try to use that whenever I can,” she explained. “I still enjoy writing.”

Gipson believes that she has found a home at TCA. She is looking forward to making a difference and helping the association build upon its standards of excellence.

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