EDMONTON, Alta. — Inclusion, diversity, and equality were the overwhelming themes at this year’s Western Women With Drive event, which for the first time was held in Edmonton, Alta.
Kimberley Burfoot, director of finance and administration for the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA), which, along with Trucking HR Canada, hosts the annual event, said she left with a strong conviction that it is mandatory for the trucking industry, as well as society as a whole, to embrace these themes.
“It appeared that everyone who attended the event had an extreme passion and excitement about making our industry a career home for everyone in all walks of life,” said Burfoot.
“The transportation industry is doing a lot to bridge this gap with working groups and recruitment, focus on modernizing, and transforming the industry, while leading in changing how diverse we can be.”
The event also touched upon two other key efforts the industry must continue to address, the first being recruitment and retention, which remains a challenge for carriers.
“While the industry is heavily focused on recruiting into challenging economic times and driver shortages,” Burfoot explained, “members seem very passionate about creating new opportunities and programs in order to really retain their employees.”
Closely related to recruitment, the conversation on how to attract a new generation of workers, such as millennials, was another focus during Western Women With Drive.
Keynote speaker Tina Varughese talked about the importance of placing more emphasis on work-life balance, and Burfoot said it became clear that the idea of needing more time in the day was nothing more than a fallacy.
“We all have the same number of hours to work with, and having more time does not lead to having more balance in life,” she said. “We need to choose to have balance and learn to say no, and design a happy life around the 168 hours a week that we all have to use.”
The AMTA held the western version of Women With Drive in Calgary for two years prior to moving it to Edmonton for 2019. Though there was a smaller crowd this year with the change of venue, Burfoot said they plan to continue growing the event in the west.