Celebrating International Women’s Day
By: Louise Philbin
Since 1911, International Women’s Day has been celebrated. In 1975, the United Nations set March 8th as the day to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have changed their community.
Events are held around the world to mark these contributions and achievements. Every year, the United Nations sets a theme for the day and INSPIRING CHANGE is this year’s focus.
I’m proud to live in a community that makes the effort to organize an activity to highlight the achievements of local women. Therefore, when Enterprise Temiskaming asked me to share my story of being part of a team that built 5th Wheel Training Institute, I immediately accepted. There were three other women who also shared their inspiring message: Voula Zafiris, Maria Zafiris-Overton and Jennifer Fournier. Presentations were testimonies that will inspire change in all those who attended
As I prepared for this evening I reflected on my journey to leave the comforts of a teaching profession to venture into the risky, unknown and unpredictable world of business. Yet, this is where I found my life’s work. My story is filled with inspiring stories of people who came to our school without a hope and then left with the skills, the qualifications and the confidence to get back to work. This is what has given meaning to what I do.
I shared this message with the crowd and felt privileged to be able to share it. But the best part of the story is what happened at the end of the evening. When it was all over; a women came to see me and asked, “Do you remember me? I’m Donna, I took your course many years ago and you told me that one day I would be back in our community to work”. Of course I remembered her. In 1999, there were very few women who decided to drive a truck for a living. We were so proud to see them succeed in this non-traditional career and joining the ranks of the ever-growing number of women in trucking.
Women in Trucking
Donna’s story is one of hard work, determination and continuous learning. She started this career in her mid-life years and for the past 15 years she has been a Truck Driver, Recruiter, Driver Manager, Safety and Compliance Officer and Operation’s Director. She also found the time to upgrade her skills: Trucking Operations Specialist Training, Leadership development, Health and Safety, Computer courses, Train-the-Trainer and many various operations related courses.
Today, she is Safety Manager and Coordinator for Grant’s Transport Ltd,/GRW Transport Inc. in New Liskeard, ON here she is responsible for driver qualification and education, licensing and permits, and compliance. She is a strong example of an adult learner who has made a commitment to Lifelong Learning.
Thank you Donna for inspiring all of us and for demonstrating that making a change will change us.