2020 Accelerate! Virtual Conference Highlights

by Women In Trucking Staff, on Nov 16, 2020 5:32:01 PM


More than 600+ transportation and logistics professionals registered to attend the sixth annual Accelerate! Conference & Expo Nov. 12-13. Due to the pandemic, this year's event was completely virtual - a first for the association. However, that didn't stop WIT from providing its attendees with high-caliber content and speakers, ample online networking opportunities, a comprehensive virtual expo and a truck technology tour - all with a particular focus on elevating the issue of gender diversity in the industry and developing women leaders.

Missed this year's conference? With 40+ sessions, here are some of the highlights over the two-day event!

U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Chao

Kicking off the virtual conference, attendees heard from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on the major transportation priorities of focus and accomplishments by the Department of Transportation. 


Dr. Mary Kelly, one of the world’s most valued economists, exposed the true meaning of the current economic structure and what it meant for organizations' futures, especially with COVID-19 bringing on significant changes in business practices, customer demand, interest rates, imports, investments, housing trends, trade, tariffs, and more.

Fireside Chat With Million-Mile Female Drivers

Professional drivers Carol Nixon, Walmart; Jodi Edwards, J.B. Hunt; Ingrid Brown, Rollin' B LLC; and Kellylynn McLaughlin, WIT Driver Ambassador & CMV Driver and Training Engineer for Schneider National, shared their stories, what makes them love their jobs, the obstacles and challenges they face on the road (and in life), and how the COVID pandemic has exacerbated challenges in driver recruiting and retention in recent months.

traci-brownLiar, Liar Pants on Fire

In a dynamic presentation, Traci Brown, fraud-busting body language expert, taught attendees how to read fraudsters like a book and quickly uncover the truth using her 9 tell-tale signs someone is lying system. Her session made quite the buzz among attendees and was one of the most highly-rated in the post-conference evaluation.

Taking Transportation Forward: The WIT Diversity & Inclusion Index

Mark Murrell & Jane Jazrawy of CarriersEdge introduced WIT's new program, the D&I Index, that will take a deep dive into the transportation industry’s efforts to create a more inclusive workplace for both driving and non-driving staff. They covered how the D&I Index will document the programs that fleets currently use, share best practices that have proven successful across the industry, and recognize creative solutions in different areas.


What Women Want and Employers Need to Know

Top talent strategy executives with leading companies in transportation and logistics - who made WIT's 2020 “Top Companies for Women to Work For in Transportation” list - outlined their strategies and approaches to attract, retain, and motivate a workforce that is rich in gender diversity.

melanie-miller2Inclusive Leadership: How to Mitigate Unconscious Bias

Melanie Miller, Senior Inclusion Consultant & Speaker, explored how implicit bias can keep businesses from seeing talent, drive high turnover, initiate disengagement, continue the cycle of mentoring and promoting people “like me” and completely miss emerging markets. She gave attendees tools and techniques that are immediately useable for mitigating and identifying bias both personally and organizationally.

Entertainment Break with Jayne Denham

Known for her trucking songs, Jayne Denham is no stranger to WIT! Attendees could take an entertainment break with Jayne to be entertained and emotionally moved as she introduced three of her amazing music videos.


Interactive Roundtable Discussion Groups

Participants could join interactive roundtable discussion groups with other professionals who have similar roles, responsibilities, opportunities and challenges. They were able to choose different topics relating to HR/Talent Management, Operations, Safety, Professional Drivers, Marketing & Sales, and Leadership.


Unlocking New Business as a Diverse Supplier

A handful of socially conscious businesses have long played a role in addressing racial injustice through supplier diversity programs that promote an inclusive approach to procurement. Jennifer Wong, Head of Sustainability, Convoy and Charmaria Gurley, Owner, Gurley All Freight, talked about what Supplier Diversity is, its importance and how attendees can grow their business as a diverse carrier

Remaining Mentally Strong During a Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon many unexpected changes in the transportation and logistics marketplace. Dr. Kirleen Neely outlined specific tools and strategies business owners can use to thrive through the pandemic.

Women In Trucking Recognition Program

Ellen Voie, WIT President & CEO, and Brian Everett, Group Publisher of Redefining the Road magazine, hosted a recognition awards program and highlighted the companies and individuals who were name to these “Top List” programs: 

Virtual Happy Hour Intro & Photo Contest Celebration

Attendees grabbed their favorite beverage and gave a toast to the winners and participants of the 2020 WIT “I Heart Trucking” Photo Contest featuring this year's theme HERoes of the Highway followed by informal networking. View the video

Virtual Truck & Technology Tour

Throughout each day, attendees could take tours and do “walk arounds” of the latest truck cab and trailer models and see the latest innovations that provide efficiencies, safety, and driver comfort from leading brands like Freightliner, Kenworth, Peterbilt, International, and Volvo.


Becoming a Woman of Influence and Awards Program

In a panel discussion Friday morning, finalists of WIT’s 2020 Influential Women in Trucking award shared career stories and advice for women working in a male-dominated industry. Following the session, Kristy Knichel, CEO of Knichel Logistics, and Jodie Teuton, Vice President of Kenworth of Louisiana/Hino of Baton Rouge and Monroe, were named the 2020 Influential Women in Trucking in a historic tie. 

Beth-PotratzMaking Hiring Personal Again: Understanding What Drivers Really Want

For truck drivers, their job is not just all about the work. They take pride in their profession. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a commitment. Beth Potratz, Co-founder and CEO, Drive My Way shared real data on exactly what drivers want and how companies can change their hiring strategy to meet their needs.


Amazon Transportation: Effective Leadership Skills to Leverage Throughout Your Career

A panel of Amazon Transportation leaders described their experience on what makes up effective leadership from the perspective of emotional intelligence, influence, negotiation, and work/life harmony. They provided practical tips on how they've been successful navigating through their careers in the transportation industry, and the importantance of female role models.

WIT-Trailer-WrapDriver Ambassador Trailer Name Reveal

Closing out the conference, WIT unveiled its Driver Ambassador Trailer and its official nameAttendees voted on the top name contenders: Luella (named after the first female commercial truck driver), Tanya Trucker, Wander Woman, Willa Storm, and WITney – an homage to the association’s abbreviation. With the most votes, WITney was announced the official name.

Like this kind of content? Attend the 2021 Accelerate! Conference & Expo Nov. 7-9 in Dallas, TX. Learn More

Topics:Women In TruckingAccelerate! Conference

About Women In Trucking

The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in articles within the WIT Blog are those of the authors/submitters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Women In Trucking Association.

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