Q&A With 2021 Top Woman to Watch Carmen Anderson
by America's Service Line | Sponsored Content, on Apr 7, 2021 6:15:00 AM
Carmen Anderson, company driver for America’s Service Line, was recently named to WIT's premier 2021 'Top Women to Watch in Transportation' list. In this Q&A, we get her take on what it's like to be a professional female driver, industry improvements, how to be successful, and more.
Q. What are some of the things you think about when it comes to improving the lives of women on the road?
A. First is always safety. But also getting better designed trucks for the women, such as seat height.
Q. You’ve worked on several projects to promote women in the transportation industry. While all bring value, which one really stands out?
A. I love connecting with younger kids on the road team and introducing the career of professional truck driving to them as most don't consider it for 'what they want to be when they grow up.' As well as teaching the public on how to be safe around big trucks.
Q. What improvements can be made to bring more women into the transportation industry?
A. There needs to be more empathy about the needs of women. Whether that's focused on what women experience out on the road, or what women are looking for in a career. An example is that women tend to highly prioritize quality of home time, so trucking companies need to take that into consideration when recruiting females.
Q. If you could create a program to help women navigate the challenges of being a truck driver what would that look like?
A. I have found that mentorship is very valuable, especially as a minority in this industry. So giving women who are new to the industry a female mentor to provide advice, answer questions, and help them be successful.
Q. What are the most important skills a Driver should focus on improving?
A. Backing is super important and a great skill to master as a professional driver. As well as always making sure you're aware of your surroundings, whether that's driving on the road or at a rest stop.
Q. Driving can be stressful. How do you keep a positive mindset while traveling over the road?
A. Studies have actually shown that animals decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure, along with other benefits such as reducing loneliness. Having a furry friend in this profession helps with stressful days!
Q. Most of a driver’s time is spent alone while on the road. Do you have any tips on how someone can feel safe and secure while traveling our highways or parking at night?
A. I have found that learning time management is key to planning safe places to park.
Q. An endless supply of fast food restaurants exists along our highways. What’s the best way to save money and stay healthy while away from home?
A. I do alot of cooking in the truck. I make it a point to plan ahead by stopping at store where I can buy healthy products beforehand. Although, some truck stops are starting to offer healthier options, so I always try to be on the lookout.
Q. What short-term and long-term improvements would you make to our industry to support Women in Trucking?
A. In the short-term, I would love to see more support for new female drivers, at the company and industry level. Joining an association like Women In Trucking is great to be able to find valuable resources and a sense of community. In the long-term, I would like to see the training for women be improved.
Q. If you had to create a program or course specifically geared towards women what would be the most important component to that training?
A. Given there are not a lot of female trainers in this industry, having more female trainers would be important for a program or course specifically geared toward women.
Q. What does it take to be successful in the trucking industry?
A. To be a successful professional truck driver you have to self-motivation and good time management.
Q. How has the industry changed since you’ve started?
A. I have been driving since the 80's, and the technology has improved tenfold which is a positive. On the flip side, I feel at times like we've lost a sense of comradery to help other drivers while out on the road.
Q. What is the most important piece of advice you can offer a woman thinking about driving a truck for a living?
A. While there are many rewarding aspects of being a professional truck driver, an important and realistic piece of advice I give to women considering this career path is to be ready to be away from your family and know that lonliness is part of the job.
Q. What did you do before entering the transportation industry and why did you make the decision to drive over the road?
A. Driving has been a major part of my life. I wanted to see the country and get paid for it!
Q. What’s your favorite part about being in the transportation industry?
A. I love being able to meet such unique people out on the road and seeing the behind the scenes manufactoring process.
Q. How does it make you feel to represent our industry and receive recognition for those efforts?
A. It means a great deal to me. I am very humbled and honored to be able to represent the women in trucking!
To view the list of Top Women to Watch in Transportation, check out our press release.