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Hear first-hand from professional drivers with private and for-hire fleets who share their stories, what makes them love their jobs, and the obstacles and challenges they face on the road (and in life). In particular, panelists will cover recruitment, retention, safety, work/life balance, and driver compensation – and how companies can make the job more attractive to new female recruits.

The panelists represent the following modes of business: intermodal, owner/operators, company, refrigerated, movers, team, dry van, and driver trainers. This is a particularly critical session to attend given the COVID pandemic has exacerbated challenges in driver recruiting and retention in recent months.

Professional drivers on this panel include Ingrid Brown (Operations Manager Refrigerated Division and Professional Driver for Fleenor Bros Enterprises), Jodi Edwards (Professional Driver for J.B. Hunt Transport), and Carol Nixon (Company Driver for Walmart Transportation). This discussion will be led by Kellylynn McLaughlin, Driver Ambassador for the Women In Trucking Association and OTR Training Engineer and Driver for Schneider National.

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Kellylynn McLaughlin is a professional driver and training engineer with Schneider National. She has been in the industry for almost 5 years and operates dry van trailers. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma and in 2019 was named the Women In Trucking Driver Ambassador. In this role, she travels the country, speaking at truck school and military and high school career fairs, to share the joys and advantages of being a professional truck driver. Before she got in the driver’s seat, served in the Peace Corps, and was a professional instructor  in passenger safety. It was as the director of logistics for her kids’ marching band that she discovered she loved everything about driving a truck and the problem solving it entailed. Kellylynn has a degree from the Oklahoma State University in interior design. 

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Carol Nixon calls Missouri home and has been driving for Walmart for the last 8 years. Prior to Walmart, she worked for FedEx Freight and Banta Foods. She is NATMI certified and has completed the Smith System. Carol’s recognitions include: Most Inspirational – Walmart Award; Safety Awards from Walmart, FedEx and Banta; Women in Trucking Member of the Month (March 2017); and Living Organ Donor. As an Image Team member for WIT, she performs ride alongs for the association and feels confident speaking on the following topics: Safety, Driver Training, Life Style on the Road, Customer Service and Healthy Eating. 

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Jodi Edwards is a company driver and has worked for JB Hunt Intermodal for 22 years. Prior to that, she worked for Owens and Minor for 5 years and JB Hunt OTR for 2 years. She is a certified driver trainer and is a Smith Systems Instructor. Some of her proudest career accomplishments include beging recognized for a million safe miles and being the driver of the year for the northeast region in 2013 and 2018 with JB Hunt. As an Image Team member for WIT, she is confident speaking on driver training, collision Avoidance and Intermodal. In her spare time, she enjoys, Geocaching, cooking, reading and bicycling, and resides in Pennsylvania.

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Ingrid Brown has over 41 years of diversity and experience in the transportation and trucking industry, as both a Driver and Business owner, and has extended into many areas of the trucking community. She is a successful solely operated woman-owned business, Rollin' B LLC. In August 2020, she stepped out of my truck full-time and joined Fleenor Bros as an Operations Manager, Refrigerated freight division. She is the feature and cover of USA TODAY MONEY with an article and video representing a positive insight of the trucking industry and Women In Trucking. In December 2018, she was chosen by FMCSA to represent the CMV Industry, 2019-2021, as a Driver in the #FMCSAOurRoadsOurSafety campaign, a CMV Voice of Safety. She continues to share her passion of the trucking industry in many articles over the past 21 years - advocating for positive outreach and results for safety and growth. She is a Fighter and Survivor of Melanom cancer. "Always know that within every Professional Driver, there is so much more than "JUST" a driver!"