For International Women’s Day 2020, DB Schenker shines a spotlight on some of the women who make up its global workforce.
A day when people around the world celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements, International Women’s Day (IWD) also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. Celebrated for more than a century, IWD’s theme for 2020 is
“an equal world is an enabled world.”
“The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation,” the IWD website states.
“Many from a younger generation may feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy,” it continues. “With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality.”
Here at DB Schenker, we celebrate all of the powerful, talented women that have joined our family over the years and that help drive our organization to higher and higher levels of success. Here are some of their stories.
Fighting the Fight
As Thessa Tozzi surveys DB Schenker’s office in Brazil, she sees that about 60% of its employees are female. Responsible for setting sales strategies and interacting with IT, finance, human resources, and other departments, this Chief Commercial Officer-Brazil works to identify the best business opportunities for DB Schenker.
According to Tozzi, there’s a lot of fairness in DB Schenker – Brazil’s recruitment process. “There’s no cherry-picking by gender or salary,” says Tozzi. This approach translates into a majority representation for women in operational supervisory and management positions.
“Three out of five branch managers and three out of nine board members here are women,” says Tozzi, who would personally like to see more women on the company’s warehouse operational staff and serving as global board members.
“Although I am glad to work in a non-discriminative environment, we know every day a lot of women suffer and fight against discrimination,” says Tozzi, who believes strongly in the self-empowerment of women in Brazil to believe their rights and to shamelessly fight for them.
This topic is very special for Tozzi, who has two 5-year-old daughters and one more on the way (due in March). “I’m sure they will carry this fight,” she says. “They may eventually suffer discrimination, but hopefully in a different or easier environment that I did.”
Employer of Choice
An employee of the DB Schenker family since Deutsche Bahn acquired BAX Global in 2006, Vicki Hassman, General Counsel, Labor and Employment at DB US Holding (a DB Schenker affiliate), has been focusing exclusively on labor and employment issues for the last 10 years. In 2019, she was promoted to General Counsel, Labor and Employment. “In September, I will celebrate my 20th anniversary with the organization!” she says.
With experience in regulatory compliance, contract and transaction management, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, real estate, and transportation and aviation law, Hassman says DB Schenker places the very highest value on equity, gender equality in the workplace, and the advancement of women.
“It’s illustrated in our policies, our code of conduct, and our six core values,” she says. “More importantly, our leaders ‘walk the talk,’ promoting and exemplifying the importance of equality, fairness, and consistency in every interaction with the employees.” This is all done in an effort to help DB Schenker become PRIMUS and reach its goal of being an employer of choice. Being PRIMUS in our industry is about transforming our company from good to excellent.
According to Hassman, International Women’s Day is an important time to recognize and celebrate the women who have pioneered equality and parity measures. “It also is an important day to mentor and uplift the women coming up in the working world,” she says. “It is an honor and a privilege to live, and leave, a legacy of women’s social, educational, economic, cultural, and political achievements.”
Women Teaming Up
After 28 years of experience in the forwarding business, Cecilia Mesones was hired by DB Schenker Peru as Managing Director in 2018. Since then, she’s leading the organization towards the fulfillment of the country’s goals. “As Managing Director, I am fully responsible for managing and defining objectives and goals for the year,” says Mesones, “and ensuring the success of the company’s management in terms of profitability and market leadership.”
According to Mesones, DB Schenker emphasizes gender equality regarding leadership functions or positions. “A team of women with representatives of each region has been created by our airfreight global department,” says Mesones, “and I had the privilege to represent the Americas Region in the first forum in June 2019 in Singapore.”
At the meeting, one key discussion point was how to increase female representation in airfreight leadership positions. “The conclusions have already been submitted to the Global Air Freight Manager and are reviewed on a regular basis,” says Mesones. “It was a great professional experience to share with these leading women of DB Schenker from around the world.”
International Women’s Day is important to Cecilia Mesones, who sees it as a time to celebrate the great achievements of women around the world in different sectors and leadership positions. “Women are not only to be mothers or wives,” she says, “but to also work hard and be responsible for the most important roles in the business world.
Creating a Work-Family Balance
Since joining DB Schenker four years ago, Fabiola Villafranco has been working her way up the logistics provider’s corporate ladder. Starting as the coordinator of the key account management (KAM) team, she was handling administrative activities and also supporting the company’s customers.
“After two years, my boss offered me a promotion taking the responsibility of the industrial and chemical vertical market as Key Account Manager,” says Villafranco, Key Account Manager Industrial & Chemicals VM – DB Schenker Mexico. “It represented a big opportunity with big challenges, both professional and personal, and I am absolutely sure that was the result of the commitment and the hard work done.”
In her current role, Villafranco handles sales development and growth for both new and existing customers in the industrial and chemicals segments. She says DB Schenker shows continued interest in promoting women who have demonstrated capacity and skill in specific areas. “We currently have women supervisors, managers, and directors, all with great talent and handling their duties with amazing success,” she says. “Moreover, DB Schenker is a flexible company that has provided me a balance between my activities and my family—something that’s not always easy to attain.”
Villafranco says International Women’s Day is about recognizing the effort and work that many women have done throughout history while improving their roles in society, fighting inequality, and standing up against abuse. “In recent decades there has been a breakthrough and now women are more recognized and have more opportunities to study careers or take positions that were previously more for men,” she adds. “However, there are countries where women cannot make decisions even about their lives and now more than ever it is important to raise their voices and make a big change in society.”
Making Things Happen
As director of national sales for DB Schenker Canada, Tanya Geley manages a broad range of responsibilities that vary from developing sales strategies to growing the company’s national pipeline to motivating and inspiring her team to perform at its personal best. “I support each of them individually to contribute to our team’s success and achieve our national sales target,” says Geley, “and all while being authentic and staying true to my values.”
Geley started with DB Schenker in 2001 and held various operational roles within the organization before leaving in 2014 to pursue other opportunities. She returned to DB Schenker in 2017 and has been in her current role for the past 7 months. “The role I hold speaks for itself,” she says, “and is a great example of how DB Schenker supports gender equality in the workplace and the advancement of women.”
For Geley, International Women’s Day not only represents a global focus on equality and celebration of women, but also a progression towards a better future. “It’s about recognizing women’s achievements and continuing to call for action for greater gender parity within our progressive world,” she says. “It’s about actions, not words, and genuinely supporting one another without the need for recognition or validation.”
A Long Road Ahead
Americas Schenker Control Tower for a major client in Argentina, Anabella Santangelo has worked for DB Schenker since 2015. As the regional point of contact for this large-scale client’s implementation of global initiatives and the escalation contact for operations teams, she works with DB Schenker’s customer regional teams and contractors. She updates processes as needed and also organizes and leads the quarter business review presentations.
Citing visibility and attention to women’s issues as a “step in the right direction,” Santangelo believes there’s still a long road to achieving gender equality. “DB Schenker is committed to working hard to ensure that women hold positions of leadership.”
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to honor the women who have been at the forefront of fighting against gender inequality, Santangelo says, but it’s not necessarily a day of celebration. “It’s a day to reflect on the work that still remains, and to continue to protest against discrimination and inequities in education, economics, and legal rights in society,” she says. “We should all be committed to ways to make daily, future progress in this direction.”
Loving What She Does
Londy Perez is one DB Schenker Customer Service Representative who isn’t afraid to talk about how passionate she is about her job, nor does she hold back when asked about her employer. “I know it’s easy to become addicted to our jobs,” says Perez, who is based in Guatemala, “but I’ve been working for DB Schenker for nearly six years now and it’s been an amazing experience.”
Embracing her strengths has helped Perez create even better relationships with customers and naturally helped her better “sell” herself. “My position in Schenker continues to grow now more than ever because I love what I do,” says Perez.
“As human beings we all love affirmations, we love to be told that we matter, to know our voice is heard, and that we are liked and seen as talented,” Perez continued, “but the truth is, you don’t have to be the best or biggest in the world to still have an extremely successful career. Being a Customer Service Representative has led me to love my customers and give the extra mile every day!” Perez wishes everyone a happy International Women’s Day!
Recognizing Leadership Potential
When Corina Soriano joined DB Schenker 3-1/2 years ago, she started out working for the Region Americas Team’s employment conditions area, overseeing compensation, benefits, and mobility. About 18 months ago she was promoted to global role as VP of Global CoE Employment Conditions.
Today, Soriano oversees DB Schenker’s compensation, mobility, benefits, organizational fundamentals, and labor law. From her vantage point as a global VP, she says DB Schenker has effectively brought women into the organization and valued their work experience, knowledge, and skills. “Also, Schenker has trusted and given me the opportunity to demonstrate my capabilities in a higher-level position with global scope,” she adds.
For Soriano, International Women’s Day is a reminder of how the world has evolved. “As women around the globe with different opinions, backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs, we’re impacting the world, challenging norms, making improvements, and bringing new ideas,” says Soriano, “all the way being valued as who we are—women.”
Balancing the Ship
Being the CFO of a global logistics company’s operations in Panama and Guatemala brings new, daily challenges for Angelica Zuniga, who has worked with the company since 2016. Responsible for keeping the business growing and profitable, Zuniga says she’s proud to work for DB Schenker due to its gender equality, among other things.
“In Panama, 58% of the company are women, and in Guatemala, 50% are women,” Zuniga explains. “This percentage is critical for ‘balancing the ship.’” In her department, she says her team supports all women, especially those single mothers and those who are managing difficult and sensitive health issues. “We help to show them the value of not giving up and always having the strength to manage adversity,” she says.
Hopeful that the corporate world will continue to break down the inequality paradigm and learn to respect every person’s individual skills, experience, and passion—regardless of gender—Zuniga sees International Women’s Day as a time to recognize women who have paved the way for a more positive, inclusive, equal world.
“We have female presidents, astronauts, and executives—all of which are guiding lights for women who don’t have a voice,” says Zuniga. “Happy International Women’s Day to all of the intelligent, beautiful, and talented women at DB Schenker!”
Paulina Caro Orellana joined DB Schenker about 3-1/2 years ago and has already witnessed many different changes at the organization, including new positions being created, new faces joining the team, new products being introduced, and a new office location.
“I have adapted myself in a positive way, taking these changes as an opportunity to develop my career,” says Caro, Route Development Manager for LATAM. This level of flexibility not only helped her move up the ladder at DB Schenker, but it also exposed her to exciting opportunities in both Miami and Santiago, Chile.
In her new role, Caro is responsible for developing new business opportunities; interacting and supporting the U.S. and LATAM sales teams; and helping them develop solutions for both airfreight and ocean freight customers. She’s also promoting DB Schenker’s contract logistics, land, and insurance offerings.
Caro sees International Women’s Day as very important for women all over the world because it represents all the efforts that have been around fair consideration in the labor force.
During her time at DB Schenker, Caro says she’s seen women are employed at all levels of the organizations and in all positions. “This new role I’m assuming is proof of that,” she says, “since if there were gender issues, maybe I wouldn’t have been considered for it.”
International Women’s Day is March 8, 2020. Learn more at www.internationalwomensday.com.