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Now is a great time for professional women

“It’s time for women to have a platform to tell their stories.”

This was Michelle Obama’s message to an audience in Winnipeg earlier this week, where she used her platform as a former U.S. first lady to inspire thousands of people.

We are seeing it more and more that females are empowered to rise up, strive for greatness and make a difference in the world. We are invited and expected to provide opinions. Women are getting more opportunities both personally and professionally and I am thrilled by it.

Historically, trucking was a man’s world. Let’s face it, many industries were a man’s world. But the tide is changing. It’s almost a revolution, of sorts. When you listen to Michelle – she wants people to call her that, and not Mrs. Obama or first lady – you can’t help but realize that for as far as we’ve come, there’s still work to do.

During her hour-long fireside chat, Michelle noted the importance of influencing children and encouraging them to break down barriers to succeed.

“If you are a girl and a person of colour, people will tell you what you can’t do and not what you can do,” she said. “All kids have potential. We owe kids an equal investment. Think of the assets we’re wasting by picking and choosing which kids are worth the investment.”

As a mother myself, I couldn’t agree more. Kids are easy to mould into what we want them to be. But who do they want to be? It’s important to ask ourselves, “What am I doing to shape the future of these impressionable children?”

As an HR professional, I also see how our adult lives are worth just as much focused investment.

“We’re constantly in a period of growth and evolution,” said Michelle. “I want us all to revel in the fact that our journeys never end.”

At Bison, we put an emphasis on lifelong learning. We encourage our team to challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zone – to try new things, to learn, to grow. It is why we have Bison U, that offers courses for professional and personal development. As Mrs. Obama, I mean Michelle, said, “Education means opportunity.”

She noted that she is optimistic where things are headed, as am I. Progress feels slow but I am confident that the pace is picking up and our young female leaders will shape society to be the best it has ever been.

With Bison sponsoring the Sport Manitoba LeadHERship Conference in Gimli, Man. next month, I am reminded that there is strength in numbers. Knowing that women from all backgrounds are coming together with shared interests to inspire each other is powerful, almost magical.

I have been with Bison for many years. I have had the privilege of seeing so many women work their way into leadership roles. It makes me proud to know this company is committed to fostering the futures of talented individuals. Amazing things are on the horizon for the trucking industry, and more importantly, the women making them happen.

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