| Freight Waves
August 28, 2021
Leading Ladies of Logistix empower industry professionals through mentorship
South Carolinian Tristen Simmons has held multiple roles within logistics from arranging freight as a government contractor to her more recent role as founder and CEO of the freight brokerage Lady Logistix, LLC.
With over a decade of experience, Simmons told FreightWaves that scaling her businesses has never been easy.
“We were founded in 2009 and by the beginning of 2012, we were shutting down,” she said. “There were a lot of things we didn’t know and made a lot of mistakes. We operated strictly off cash and never opened a line of credit and weren’t financially prepared [to grow].”
Simmons started brokering freight until the company was financially stable enough to continue working with assets. During that time, she realized there were very few resources accessible to women trying to grow logistics businesses.
“You don’t want to jump into this industry without being educated,” she said. “People will tell you that trucking and logistics can create a flashy lifestyle and say trucking is sexy. But where are those people to tell you how to build business credit or how to handle cash flow.”
This led Simmons, along with industry veterans Samantha Smith, Tawana Randall and Vanessa Gant, to found the Leading Ladies of Logistix mentorship organization. Its goal is to empower females in the industry to come together, share experiences and help grow successful supply chain businesses.
Together, these women have experience in multiple verticals of the industry including transportation, finance, real estate, compliance and technology. They offer a strong network of influencers to provide skills training, including instruction on scaling their businesses.
Diversity of mentors is important because the trucking industry offers a multitude of careers besides driving and brokerage, Simmons said.
“A lot of our clients will come to us because they Googled how to become a freight broker and got stuck along the way,” she said. “Maybe brokering was not even for you in the first place. Maybe you don’t need to be a dispatcher. Maybe you could be strong in compliance, safety or accounting.
“Everyone just hears trucking and they buy a truck or become a broker. We want to help find the right path for them,” she said.
Helping minorities take advantage of available supply chain opportunities is also extremely important, according to Simmons.
“You can leverage your minority status,” she said. “Once you are certified, you can now win government and corporate contracts that are not open to the majority. I never let being a black woman stop me from building a business, and now I have been able to put other black women in the position to do the same for themselves.”
Simmons has mentored more than 500 people throughout her career. With the networking capabilities of her co-founders, the group has enlisted around 20 other mentors and has partnered with companies such as factoring company OTR Capital to provide opportunities for mentees in their organizations.
“OTR is proud to have been aligned with the Leading Ladies of Logistix for years now,” said Grace Maher, OTR vice president and director. “Watching their success has been inspirational. We share the same commitment to empowering owner-operators, dispatchers and brokers by providing education they can trust and benefit from.”
The organization has also partnered with digital freight brokerage Transfix to create a business starter kit including a laptop, licensing solutions, a dispatch education course and free consultation for businesses.
“We’re so thrilled to partner with Leading Ladies of Logistix as a sponsor of their ‘Business in a Box’ program,” said chief commercial officer of Transfix Sophie Dabbs.
“The organization’s incredible work to empower and support women in the transportation and logistics industries is truly impressive and this unique program provides much-needed career and mentorship resources. On a personal note, I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors throughout my career, so it’s a great pleasure to support this initiative,” said Dabbs.
Convoy Technologies offers free tacos to drivers in Indiana
In April 2020, telematics solutions provider Convoy Technologies started hearing from clients about the scarcity of restaurant food on the road during pandemic shutdowns.
“We were hearing a lot of stories from drivers about not being able to find a place to eat,” Ron Harker, president of Convoy Technologies, told FreightWaves.
“They were out there having trouble just getting the necessities of life. We were seeing the stress that was being put on drivers and, as a staff, started talking about what we could do to help them in our own way.”
The company partnered with food truck operation Flora & Lily’s Mexican Kitchen to offer 300 free meals to drivers at the Auburn Rest Stop in Indiana.
Convoy Technologies plans to hold “Tacos for Truckers 2” during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week next month.
On Thursday, Sept. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT, Flora & Lily’s Mexican Kitchen food truck will be giving out 400 more meals at the Auburn rest stop at mile marker 325 on northbound Interstate 69.
“It is important to us to make this an ongoing event,” said Harker. “Truck driving is never an easy job, and we just want to be able to greet them with a friendly face and a warm meal to show our appreciation for what they do.”
Transfix partners with Jason Cameron for cabin makeover sweepstakes
The digital freight brokerage Transfix Inc. said Friday its TransFIX My Rig sweepstakes in celebration of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week from Sept. 12-18.
Until Monday, Aug. 30, drivers can enter the sweepstakes for a chance for a cab renovation by Jason Cameron, the host of CBS’ Secret Celebrity Renovation. Cash prizes also will be awarded.
To enter, drivers must be at least 21, be currently employed as an interstate driver with their own authority and own a truck with a sleeper berth.
Winners will be revealed in September, prior to National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.