Lana Nichols learned early on to put her mind to something and get after it.
“Seeing my mom work long, hard hours while juggling her role as a wife and mother inspired me,” Nichols says as she prepares for Mother’s Day. Nichols worked her way through college, taking shifts at the same factory where her mom worked. Later, she earned an MBA and moved out West.
As Vice President of Women In Trucking, Nichols, and the entire WIT organization, are celebrating Mother’s Day in the best way they know how: by showing support for mom drivers and participating in the Make-A-Wish Mother’s Day Truck Convoy.
As a first-time participant in the annual fundraiser for critically ill children, Women In Trucking will showcase a wrapped educational trailer from its WITney outreach program. It’ll be driven by a mom driver from the Women In Trucking Image Team.
The WITney program
“Our WITney program educates and amplifies how a career in trucking can be rewarding for women, including moms,” Nichols says. “The trailer reads ‘Safe, strong, independent,’ because that’s the kind of confidence we want to inspire in our members and those aspiring to hold careers in the trucking industry.”
The WITney program works to minimize obstacles for women drivers. Advertisements and videos highlighting women can help recruitment efforts just as much as seeing women climb into the cab.
“When they see others like them driving — and driving well — it helps attract more women, including moms, to the industry,” Nichols says. “They’re doing what they love and providing for their families.”
Women and the trucking industry
WIT estimates that 13.7% of drivers are women, 3% more than in 2019. The percentage grows every year, but there’s more work to do. For the moms among them who value and need as much home time as possible, employment options are growing. Regional and local jobs are a good fit, offering regular hours and the chance to be home nights and weekends. For moms who have a hard time being away from their kids, any time spent at home is welcome.
To attract more diverse talent, fleets are working to provide a better work-life balance for moms in their ranks. “I speak to so many women who were struggling single parents or needed to contribute to their family financially and found a really successful truck driving career,” Nichols says. “There is a place for them out here.”
It’s a place where moms can grow, advance, and feel empowered. Women tend to be safe drivers, risk-averse, and dedicated. And carriers are seeing that in their performance.
How can fleets recruit more women?
Fleets looking to recruit women should know that they value a positive work culture, flexibility, and longevity with their employer. All of this is becoming more common as companies diversify their workforce.
Safety continues to be a concern for all drivers on the road, and women should take extra precautions. Nichols suggests parking at well-lit truck stops; being vigilant; and avoiding distraction. She also recommends that drivers use safety technology to their advantage.
In closing, Nichols wants moms to know how much they’re appreciated. “Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, grandmoms, aunts, friends, and supporters out there, working hard and getting it done,” says the mom of four. “We’re behind you and grateful for all you do.”
Moms on the road this Sunday should head to TravelCenters of America for a free dessert. And be sure to tune in on Saturday to Women In Trucking’s Mother’s Day Show on SiriusXM, featuring organizers of the Mother’s Day Truck Convoy. Better yet, head to Manheim, Penn., for the main event on Sunday.
Help attract more women and moms to the trucking industry by celebrating the success of those already here — people like Betty Aragon, Candy Bass, and others who showcase the strength of women drivers and pave the way for future generations.