By Ellen Voie
The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has announced Amanda McLaurin as its July 2021 Member of the Month. She is a student currently attending truck driving school in Pennsylvania. McLaurin has several years of courier and delivery experience that she hopes to draw on as she finishes school and begins her career. Since 2019, she has wanted to earn her CDL. The maintenance and upkeep of a delivery vehicle can add up fast, so she began looking for a way to do what she loved – delivery, customer service, and an independent work environment, in a financially sustainable way. McLaurin’s overall experience in CDL school has been a positive one. “If anything, I think being the only female in a class of eight has helped me adjust to the gender disproportion that still exists in the industry (even though it’s getting better). Just as important, I think it has helped my classmates learn to be more considerate, respectful, and sensitive. I believe that I have gained their trust and respect, and they have gained mine too,” she said. McLaurin joined WIT because she was searching for a welcoming, female-driven environment where she could ask all her questions as a newcomer. She wanted to connect with experienced drivers, and other women in the field, who could help guide her and encourage her in her steps toward becoming a trucker. “Having a mentor is incredibly important,” says McLaurin. “I am fortunate to have found a mentor in a supportive male driver. He is a great resource and gives me sound advice when I need it. Beyond that, having his support has helped keep me going after my goal many times when I felt like giving up. I wouldn’t have made it this far without him.” McLaurin offers this advice for others considering a career in trucking, but who feel intimidated about giving it a try: “Don’t let anything distract you from pursuing your dreams. All you are responsible for is learning to drive safely, carrying yourself professionally, and maintaining healthy boundaries. Do what you need to in order to achieve those things. Your journey is your own. Travel it at your own pace, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And no matter what, never give up!” It is the stories of mentorship like McLaurin’s that has inspired WIT to partner with LeadHER Alliance to develop a new program to connect recent female truck driving school graduates to experienced professional female drivers. The 10-month mentorship program, launching mid-July, supports new drivers during the most transitional period of their truck driving career. Women In Trucking, Inc. is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission. Follow WIT on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. For more information, visit www.womenintrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.