Anna Kozlowska, Myway Enterprises

Logistics is a great career for women

Founder | Myway Enterprises

Logistics: a male dominated, old-fashioned industry based around pain-in-the-backside, slowing-us-down-on-the-way-to-work, dirty trucks.  That's probably the idea of the logistics and parcels delivery industry held by most people in the UK.  In terms of a career many woman would think ‘absolute nightmare’; but not me.

To me the logistics and transport industry is exciting, challenging, rewarding and fun!  If you look closely enough, you even get to see a glamorous side to it all with state-of-art vehicles, mind-blowing technology and fantastic people who really do make this world turn.

It’s all too easy to stereotype not just people but an entire industry.  However the truth is, if you are prepared to work hard and are determined to succeed, you can do anything you want in life; and a career in logistics can be especially rewarding.

Even though as a little girl with pink bows in my platted hair I never dreamt of spending half of my life in warehouses and hubs, I've never looked back since I fell into this industry in 2008 by taking a job in the Membership Services department of The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT).  All I knew of this industry was what I learnt in my previous recruitment job, placing fork lift drivers and pickers in to warehouses.

CILT opened a whole new world to me and being in touch with people and companies in this mysterious field was rather exciting. I love learning new things and, since I didn't know much about it, very quickly I've decided I wanted to know everything about it!

Luckily someone noticed that enthusiasm, and developed me all the way up: Steve Agg, CEO at CILT was the first ever boss who really knew how to get the best out of me.  He kept challenging me with new projects, and I kept delivering: hence three promotions in two years!  Steve always said he believed I had the ability to meet new challenges.  He saw I thrived on them, he knew that challenge was my alarm clock every morning. I learned a lot at CILT.

Then I got an opportunity to do it all for a logistics giant, Geodis (and its subsidiary Fortec Distribution Network), as UK Marketing Manager.  Once again surrounded by a team of Directors who believed in me.

Now, running my own marketing agency for logistics businesses, I get to do it all not for just one or two companies but for many more, including DB Schenker Logistics UK, Abbey Logistics, Gwynedd Shipping, M&H Logistics and more.  Imagine the feeling of driving on a motorway and passing one of the trucks that carries your design; or planning a campaign which delivers £250k to the bottom line within its first month, or launching a project with a customer who wins a prestigious award for it... The best feeling in the whole wide world!!

It’s true that the majority of my customers are still males but all of them are very supportive and completely appreciate a woman's point of view in their boardroom.  Men and women work differently, manage people in different ways and look at things from a completely different perspective: but that is exactly that why we need more females in this industry.

There's a massive gender imbalance in the logistics industry and you'd be forgiven for questioning why a woman would want to work in such a male-dominated industry?  I always remember what superwoman Karren Brady was told just before taking over West Ham football club: "You've got to be twice as good as the men to be even thought half as good."  A line that just sets me straight into "I'll show you how it's done" mode.

It's similar in logistics and parcel shipping, and that's why organisations like everywoman and Women in Logistics really do matter.  I always thought of them as just groups of feminists (I really did!) until the first time I attended the very glamorous FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards at the Savoy in 2013.

Hearing the stories of each of the winners made me feel extremely proud for women that were just strangers to me.  I literally had goose bumps and clapped my hands off every time somebody got on and off the stage.  I've always been very determined but experiencing it motivated me even more.
Surprise, surprise, 12 months on I was one of them.  Nominated in secret by some of my largest customers, I actually won. I remember it like it was yesterday... getting on that stage, seeing the room filled with industry giants.  Deep inside I was hoping that, just like me in the audience one year earlier, there were other women who felt the same pride in other women’s achievements I had done.

I'm on a continuous mission to change people's perception of what is still seen as old-fashioned and pain-in-the-backside industry and make them realise it’s an exciting career and that every single one of us relies on its effective operation in our everyday lives.

Note: In 2014 Anna Kozlowska was named as the FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics ‘Rising Star’. For further information visit: www.mywayenterprises.co.uk 

This story is courtesy of international couriers ParcelHero.  For Anna’s full blog see https://www.parcelhero.com/blog/general/parcelhero-guest-blog-anna-kozlowska