In honour of International Women’s Day, in this blog, we want to highlight and celebrate women in the logistics industry.
For centuries, women have been making their mark and shining in their management roles and beyond. According to the Postal Museum, the postal industry in the UK has been a pioneering employer of women since the 19th Century, and in the US, women have been employed since the 1800s.
We spoke with Stamp Free Commercial Director Michelle De Pasquale to learn more about her journey and career in the e-commerce logistics industry. Michelle has had a varied and insightful career with over 25 years of senior supply chain, retail-led logistics and technology-based solutions experience for companies like Hermes, Yodel, the Post Office, Uniserve and now with Stamp Free.
Beginning her career as an apprenticeship managing cosmetics sales agents, she moved into the Grattan Home Shopping network, which would become the joint Next Directory ‘Direct Line’, evolving into the Parcelnet Network and the well-known Hermes organisation. Over the years, she has seen a lot of changes in the industry.
“I am of a generation that has seen so many changes to e-commerce, starting with shopping catalogues, like Grattan, Littlewoods, and Freemans. We have lived through a massive acceleration of tech and innovation. I have loved and lived it for three decades and remain energised by the sheer innovation that continues to influence the way we shop, ship orders and evolve the expectation along with the delivery experience that drives our smartphone communications. That’s the power of people,” Michelle says.
And the best part of this journey, she says, is the people. Both men and women have shaped her career and inspired and challenged her in equal measure.
“This business takes passionate people to run it smoothly. It doesn’t matter where you are; you have to have like-minded individuals around and constructively challenge for it to develop. You may leave a job, but you take your friends with you throughout your life, in every role, and helping each other is a crucial ingredient,” Michelle says.
Michelle says, in particular, the women who have inspired her daily are Elaine Boyle, previously at Yodel, formerly the Home Delivery Network, and Carole Walker of Hermes.
“Elaine epitomises somebody who supports everyone around her, whilst delivering the business strategy. Her impact on client and customer services has been immeasurable over decades and has made a real difference to operational and commercial customer-focused principles,” Michelle added.
“Carole has been an admired, dominant force of change within the wider e-commerce, logistics and distribution environment, for a major part of her career. Carole championed strategies to grow the organisation to become the successful operation is it today. I would refer any young woman starting out in our sector, to really look at how she built her team, created stability and delivered on her challenging objectives, leaving her company in a position of financial health for the next generation to carry it forward. What’s not to admire?” Michelle says.
Hazel King, editor of Parcel and Postal Technology International and Passenger Terminal World magazines, echoes Michelle’s words from within the communications industry and advocates for collaboration in the industry, from both men and women.
“Working in supportive, collaborative environments is the best way to produce the best, most informative content,” Hazel says.
She studied English literature and journalism at Kingston University and then started at a publishing company as an editorial assistant straight after university. She has been at her current company for over a decade, working on various publications covering aviation and postal technology.
Hazel says she is inspired every day by hard-working mothers and independent women, like herself, in a “usually male-led industry.”
“We have plenty to give, and I enjoy how male and female perspectives on the same topics can differ and complement each other,” she added.
Michelle says within the industry, there is still a way to go for a wider perspective of women, but the time has never been better to pursue an abundance of careers in the retail e-commerce, technology and logistics supply chains.
“Supporting the journey that allows people to find their next role or dream career is almost incumbent on those of us who have gone before or alongside them. It is a privilege to help and make a small difference along the way. Any person starting in this industry needs to be passionate about what they want to do. And that passion should extend to learning from others. Pick really great mentors and trust your gut,” Michelle adds.
From the warehouses, editorial offices, front counters, delivery vans and the Board Room, women in the industry are here to stay and here to inspire.
Read more about Michelle: https://stampfree.co.uk/about/
Read more about Stamp Free products: https://stampfree.co.uk/products/