New Zealand, Germany and Bangladesh—all with women leaders—received global praise for effective handling of the Covid-19 pandemic; Kamala Harris became the first female, Black, and South Asian American vice president of the US; and Scotland became the first country to allow free and universal access to menstrual products.
Even with these great strides, the World Economic Forum estimates that the overall global gender gap won’t close for another 99.5 years, on average, across the 107 countries covered continuously since the first edition of its report.
Recognizing this, International Women’s Day shines a spotlight on the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women while also sending out a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year the event falls on March 8th, a time for groups to come together to celebrate women’s achievements and/or rally for women’s equality.
Here, some of DB Schenker’s women leaders, managers and supervisors share their stories and tell what International Women’s Day means to them.
Connecting People with Operations
Stacey Brown joined DB Schenker in 2020 to lead the human resources team in Region Americas. Today, she leads a team of over 200 human resources professionals and helps connect DB Schenker’s operations with its valued team members.
“We recruit and develop talent and leaders, create a highly functional organization, and ensure a safe and engaging employee experience,” said Brown, CHRO-Americas, who adds that the best part of working for DB Schenker is aligning with “incredibly talented colleagues that challenge me to be a better leader.”
For Brown, International Women’s Day is an opportunity for women to connect, support and recognize their collective strengths. “It’s important that we all feel comfortable to be authentic at work,” she said. “We share the majority of our days with each other, and we should no longer feel the need to hide ourselves to conform with historical expectations to make other people feel comfortable.”
Empowerment in the Workplace
Mary Margarita Leon Landaeta, national operations manager – Venezuela, joined the company in December 2007 as head of customs, and six months later became a branch manager. In her current role, Landaeta is responsible for all of the company operations at the operational level.
Venezuela currently has two operating branches and a 10-person team. “One of the activities that I consider key to staying in the market is customer service,” she said, “which our operations depend on.”
For Landaeta, the best part about working at DB Schenker is the team she gets to work with every day—from the general manager to the maintenance personnel. “We are a great work team, with great experience and most of us have been with DB Schenker for at least 10 years,” Landaeta said. “There’s responsibility, commitment, seriousness, stability and trust, and we all have the same goal.”
Landaeta said International Women’s Day is the presence of women in all their capacity, demonstrating their leadership and tenacity and achieving equality. “It’s about empowerment in the workplace, significant changes in attitude and thoughts in society,” she added, “and moving forward with the new generation every day to be better professionals.”
Breaking the Bias
When Adriana Assunção joined DB Schenker as HR Director 11 years ago, she was on a mission to improve the company’s HR area. “My first challenge was to restructure the HR team, our tasks, responsibilities, create controls, procedures and set up goals and budgets for the area,” said Assunção. “Today, I’m responsible for administration, payroll, labor claims, benefits, health and safety, internal communication, recruitment and training.”
Working together, Assunção’s department has created a strong partnership with all of DB Schenker’s employees in Brazil. They’re provided support for those employees and their families during the pandemic, for example. “When working from home, we did monthly virtual happy hours to stay together and provide a fun time while we were isolated.”
Assunção sees International Women’s Day as a great achievement and said that companies understand that the more they invest in the power of women, the better results they will have. “We can be rational like a man but with a huge heart, like a mother, which is essential,” said Assunção, who adds that Schenker Brazil is successful in breaking the bias: 55% of the total employees are women; 60% of women hold leadership positions, three of five branch managers are women, and 50% of the board members are women.
Taking on New Challenges Daily
Adriana Madeira, São Paulo Branch Manager and head of customs clearance Brazil started her career at DB Schenker in 2006 as an operational manager at Rio de Janeiro’s branch. She assumed management of that branch four years later and recently took on a new challenge as head of customs clearance.
In her new role, Madeira is responsible for DB Schenker’s air, ocean, brokerage, billing, sales and customs clearance activity at the Sao Paulo branch. She said the best aspect of working for the company is its friendly environment and strong values. “It’s an honor to work in a company like DB Schenker,” she said.
Madeira said International Women’s Day is an important date to emphasize, recognize and reinforce the importance of equality of gender. “It’s important to ‘break the bias’ on a daily basis,” she explained. “First, take care of yourself, your body and your brain. Think about your attitudes and behavior with others; avoid making assumptions and be empathetic.”
Dream and Fight Every Day
As ocean director for DB Schenker in Mexico, Marissa Vergara is proud to be part of this DB Schenker family. “Schenker has become my second home,” said Vergara. “I really appreciate being part of an organization that takes its values to the highest level, with the human factor being one of the top priorities in the organization.”
For Vergara, International Women’s Day is a day for remembering the fight for equality, participation, and empowerment of women in all areas of society. “It helps us visualize the difficult challenges that women face around the world on a daily basis,” said Vergara.
She also sees this important annual date as a time for all women to rethink and seek unity and to work as a team to achieve all personal and professional goals, seek empowerment in the day-to-day and never give up fighting for their ideals.
“I am proud to know many women in the organization who are successful and help you reach your own goals,” Vergara added. “There are no limits, you just have to dream and fight every day to make them come true.”
Never a Dull Moment
As trans-border operations manager for DB Schenker in Canada, Katherine Tapales said its extremely rewarding to be a part of an industry that directly impacts its customers’ daily lives. “Being in logistics and working for DB Schenker is exciting and ever-changing,” she said. “There’s never a dull moment.
Managing trans-border freight also keeps Tapales involved in the multifaceted and complex supply chain process. “From vendors to suppliers and importers to carriers, the process is very collaborative,” she said. “When we reach a goal as a team, it’s very fulfilling.” Tapales said the daily challenges she deals with keep her on her toes. “I’m always ready to adapt and adjust to situations as they arise,” she added.
Calling International Women’s Day a “celebration of those achievements,” Tapales said the annual day of celebration is also a reminder that there’s so much more to be accomplished. “We are all different, which is great because our uniqueness is one of the driving forces that inspires us to strive for more and do better as a society,” she explained. “It’s about having common ground based on talent and skills regardless of gender, and having equal opportunity by choice and not by chance, regardless of gender, color or race.”