Challenging assumptions about women in transport and logistics

Cheralyn Roden recently won an everywoman award for her work in digital marketing for a transport and logistics firm. She spoke to workingmums.co.uk and her career and passion for her job.

 

Transport and logistics has come to the fore in the wake of Covid, labour shortages and problems with empty supermarket shelves.

While it is traditionally seen as a male-dominated industry, there is a lot of work going on to diversify it. Cheralyn Roden is one of the women in the industry who is leading the charge and has been doing her best to promote her own involvement – in digital marketing – to young girls in her area.

Her work has won her the Freight Award at the recent everywoman in Transport and Logistics Awards. Cheralyn is Digital Marketing Coordinator at Moody Logistics and Storage as well as its sister companies Heathline Commercials and MCR Services.

She says she was in total shock when she was shortlisted for the award as she didn’t even know she had been nominated. In fact, she automatically forwarded the email to her boss as she thought it was for her. At the awards ceremony in London, she met the other women shortlisted in her group and thought they were much more likely to win than her because their job roles were those more typically associated with the industry rather than support ones like marketing. “I was in total shock,” she says. “It was overwhelming and it taught me a lesson about not making assumptions about the importance of all the different roles within the industry.”

Career trajectory

Cheralyn lives in Northumberland and is married with two young children, aged six and two – her son having been born during the Covid lockdown.

She has always been good at adapting to new work environments, but has had a strong interest in marketing from the offset. She started her career in fashion, having earned a degree in fashion design with marketing, manufacture and promotion. Her first job after graduating was as an assistant buyer with The Officers Club, a chain of men and boys fashion stores which had its head office in Cramlington where Cheralyn lives. She stayed in that job for a few years before becoming frustrated at the slow pace of progression.

She then worked in the marketing team of IT company, Technology Services Group, where she stayed for 10 years. She had her daughter there and went down to four days a week after maternity leave. When her daughter was about to start school, however, she realised it would be more complicated to juggle her work pattern around school hours. She couldn’t drop another day and she didn’t have any childcare for her daughter. So she started looking for another job and saw an advert at Moody Logistics & Storage for a sales and marketing role.

Cheralyn had never done sales, but she decided to apply anyway. The group managing director, Caroline Crawford, was so impressed with her and another mum whose strengths were more on the sales side that she hired them both.  Cheralyn works three days a week and finishes early on a Friday. She says the work environment is very supportive and flexible. Caroline is herself a working mum and understands the challenges.

Curiosity

Cheralyn has entered transport and logistics with a huge curiosity and fascination for what it involves. She is often spotted around the company with her phone in hand ready to take a picture when something interesting happens and add it to the company’s social media. Part of this is to do with the fact that she has come from outside the industry and can see it with fresh eyes. “I am still fascinated four years on with how it all works,” she says, describing all the things she finds in pallets waiting to be transported, from a wooden crocodile’s head destined for a children’s park to a mosaic of a man’s head on its way to a memorial hall.

Cheralyn says that, as a woman in transport and logistics, she has been inspired by her boss. Caroline passed her HGV licence in 2018, having sat the training to see what it was like. She now has a new-found appreciation of what it takes to be a driver. That news, when it was announced, brought a lot of press attention because of Caroline being a woman in what is seen as a male preserve.

Challenging assumptions

Caroline also goes to sixth form colleges to give presentations about the business, making the case that Moody Logistics & Transport is very much a family business and showing the diversity of roles within the industry. Cheralyn helped to create the presentations which aim to raise the industry’s profile, particularly for young girls. Recently the company ran a competition with local schools to name its new truck. Children were asked to write a short story about a truck for national literacy week. Not only did the winner get the new truck named after their school, but they got a visit from the truck. The teachers and children were amazed when the monster truck pulled up and two women got out of it – Caroline – the driver – and Cheralyn. The two women then spent an hour and a half talking to the primary school children about what it is like to work in the industry, overturning people’s assumptions about gender in one fell swoop.

Cheralyn says Moody Logistics & Storage is very much a community-based business and works with local charities as well as sponsoring the football kit of a local girls team.

She is very proud of what the company does and of the industry generally. She is also very appreciative of the everywoman award and hopes it helps to promote the range of different roles within the industry. The company has two other firms on its premises that Cheralyn also helps to market. Healthline Commercials do truck maintenance and repairs and MCR Services who do reworking and repackaging and use Moody’s services, for instance, if items come in a large pack they can be repackaged in smaller groups for customers. “It’s a really busy job,” says Cheralyn, but she clearly finds every aspect of it fascinating and her enthusiasm is infectious.



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