2019 Conference Sessions

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Tuesday, October 1 | 8:45-10:00am

How Remarkable Women Unleash Their Leadership Potential

Women in today’s transportation industry have learned that career success is not about adjusting to the male-dominated status quo. It’s about moving past the status quo and embracing what makes diverse perspectives strong and unique, and overcoming the doubts that keep them from reaching their full potential. Jodi Detjen, Managing Partner with Orange Grove Consulting, will highlight common unconscious biases many women hold of themselves and how several successful women in transportation have been able to successfully reframe self-limiting behaviors to accelerate their careers. This executive panel will be comprised of the finalists of the 2019 WIT Influential Woman in Trucking Award. You’ll hear their amazing success stories and gain practical insights on how they rose to the top of their career game. At the session’s conclusion, the recipient of this award will be announced.

Panelists include the finalists of the 2019 WIT Influential Woman in Trucking Award: Niki Bolton, Senior Truck Auditor & Executive Projects Officer, American Truck & Rail, Inc.; Kristy Knichel, CEO, Knichel Logistics; Ruth Lopez, Transportation Management Director, Ryder; Kellylynn McLaughlin, OTR Training Engineer & Professional Driver, Schneider National Inc.; Jodie Teuton, Chairwoman, ATD/Vice President, Kenworth of Louisiana; Lidia Yan, CEO and Co-Founder, NEXT Trucking. Facilitator: Angela Eliacostas, President and Founder of AGT Global Logistics, 2018 WIT Influential Woman in Trucking.

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About the Panelists

Niki Bolton is the senior truck auditor and executive projects officer for American Truck & Rail Audits, Inc. (AMTR).  She has been with the company for 11 years. She began as a data entry clerk, quickly moved to truck audits team manager, received her Certified Transportation Cost Auditor certificate from AMTR, and then transitioned into her current role in early 2019. Prior to working at AMTR, Bolton attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She has also completed Transportation Logistics & The Law and Motor Carrier Operations courses through the Institute of Logistical Management. In her very niche business she has brought up many new auditors and a new female manager to lead the truck audits team.  She is involved in many industry organizations including National Industrial Transportation League, Blockchain in Transport Alliance and Transportation Intermediaries Association.  Outside of the office she volunteers as a leader for a non-profit organization for foster and adoption care.

Kristy Knichelpresident and CEO of Knichel Logistics since 2007, has been the driving force behind the company’s annual growth and reputation as one of the top service providers within the Intermodal Marketing Company (IMC) community. As of 2018, Knichel Logistics has grown to $73 million in revenue. Knichel’s proudest accomplishment is the family atmosphere she has created for her team members. Today, her focus is on expanding the company’s footprint in the logistics industry and offering team members the opportunity for growth and self- improvement. She has achieved many goals during her 20+ years in the transportation industry including being named a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, being the first recipient of the Distinguished Woman in Logistics award, and her recent nomination as Intermodal Logistics Conference Chair on the TIA Board of Directors.

Ruth Lopez has achieved a 20-year career with Ryder Logistics and currently serves as director of transportation management, leading teams in the U.S. and in Mexico. The teams are comprised of transportation planners executing lowest-cost/time-compliant shipments in accordance with the expectations of 56 external clients. Lopez, along with her team, creates specific execution plans with comprehensive strategies for Ryder’s key customer segments and new client implementations. She has served as a co-chair for Ryder’s Women’s Leadership Forum, whose mission is to support the attraction, retention and development of women.  

Kellylyn McLaughlin is an over-the-road professional driver and trainer for Schneider National Inc. Before getting behind the wheel of a CMV, she was a pilot and loves all modes of transportation. She joined the US Peace Corps after university which led to more than a decade of working to support international development in rural communities. She then transitioned to passenger safety after becoming a mother and worked for both National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and SafeKids as a child passenger safety expert. She discovered professional driving quite by accident through accepting a logistics position with a large marching band. She is now focusing her efforts to make a positive difference for drivers by being a professional driver stake holder representative at local, regional, national and international levels, along with mentoring new drivers for SNI and advocating for women in trucking.

Jodie Teuton is the co-founder of Kenworth of Louisiana, a heavy-duty truck dealership group representing both Kenworth and Hino truck brands with eight Louisiana locations. Before devoting her professional career to the retail auto and truck business in 1997, she practiced law locally in South Louisiana. Teuton received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Nicholls State University in 1987 and a J.D. from Loyola University in 1990. She is passionate about business and proud to carry on her family legacy as a dealer. She currently is president of American Truck Dealers – ATD (a division of the National Auto Dealers Association). Tetuon is an advocate for her industry as well as for the rights of the disabled.

Lidia Yan is the CEO and co-founder of NEXT Trucking, the FreightTech company that is reshaping the $800 billion trucking and shipping industry. With a background in logistics and e-commerce in the U.S. and China, Yan recognized a market need for a simpler, technology-enabled marketplace to match freight with capacity. In 2015, she founded NEXT as the first trucker-centric app and marketplace. Since then, she has led the company to 500 percent revenue growth, 250+ employees, and $125 million in funding. She has been a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year, received a Stevie Award for Startup of the Year, and been recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal Women’s Council and Awards. Prior to founding NEXT, Yan was a marketing executive at top 10 e-commerce retailer, Newegg.

Angela Eliacostas, President and Founder of AGT Global Logistics. Angela is the 2018 Freightliner and WIT Influential Woman of the Year. She has more than 25 years of experience in the transportation industry. Angela is a leader in expediting shipments and serves as a liaison between carriers and companies. Her company AGT Global Logistics specializes in the energy and utilities sector.

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