Before starting at PAL I had very little understanding of what car shipping was. As a young girl, I remember seeing cars on huge 18 wheelers wondering who’s family would have the chance to go on road trips in that vehicle. I always played this game in the backseat of my mother’s car – how many cars can I spot on the road that are the same ones as some of my family members? And sometimes I would find two or three on one car carrier and win the game, for that drive, haha. I always knew I would work for the automotive industry; I just didn’t know it would be in car shipping.
When I was hired by PAL three months ago, I came in with a passion for creating content but knew, like with any new journey, that there was much I needed to discover. Since then, I’ve learned more about the industry of automotive transportation than you could imagine. I didn’t know that there are that many people who travel south for the winter. I also didn’t know that there was such a thing as open or enclosed carriers, I just thought they were all open.
My work is most powerful and resonant when I bring my unique experience to the creative process. As the in’s and out’s of auto shipping come into focus, I must also develop and better understand my distinct voice within the automotive world. In an industry historically dominated by men, and with International Women’s Day here (March 8th), the question lingered in my mind; how have women shaped PAL? So I talked to some of them.
I first sat down with Kerri Harris, a Senior Account Manager for PAL consumer customers. She’s the type of person that will see a picture frame at HomeGoods, think of you and buy it for that lonely picture hanging in your office. Kerri started working here during the pandemic and has been a total rockstar. When I asked her how she ended up at PAL, the first thing that came out of her mouth was community. She enjoys the way people put their heads down and get the job done, but also enjoys the conversations within the office. She is a hard worker, so the fast paced environment is up her alley, “I like the grind of it and deciding how good you wanna be.” Later in the conversation, I asked her about confidence and where it comes from because she is self-assured. Kerri said, “It really comes within yourself… you are in control of your emotions and the effort you put into what is in your path. To be a leader you have to be confident in your role and have thick skin so you can lead.” Towards the end of our conversation, I asked her one final question, How do you support women’s empowerment? She answered this question without missing a beat. She said it all centered around her daughter. She never really thought about it much until becoming a mother. Having a daughter taught her to lead by example and to be sure to set a good one for her and the women around her. She continues to empower herself and women of PAL.
I then had the privilege to talk to Tanya Gianino. She is the mother of PAL. She is someone that says good morning and goodnight to everybody in the office. She has been a light at the company since she started here in 2009. Tanya is the HR Manager, recently helping PAL bring on more employees through her recruiting skills and diligent work. In our conversation I had to pause the recorder sometimes because we would just start talking about life. However, the meat of the interview was about confidence. She said, “Being a girl, you lack it. It’s just a part of life. It starts at a young age…While lack of confidence has always been something in my life, this job has made me more confident.” Confidence comes in time and Tanya found her confidence through her role here at PAL. One of the last things we touched on was powerful women and the traits that they often have. “Being loyal is powerful,” she said. “I need to work with women who lift each other up and people who are strong.” That is one of the reasons why Tanya loves working at PAL – the loyalty each woman has and the way we root for one another here at PAL.
Lastly, I met with Anita. She is one of the most confident women I’ve ever come in contact with. She says it how it is. She orders us Ginger Ale and birthday cupcakes, but also has a powerful voice within the office. When Anita first started working at PAL in 2007, she was an Account Manager for Seasonal Transportation customers. After years wearing multiple important hats, she is now the Director of Accounting. Hearing about her journey and how she got into a leadership role was empowering in itself. She learned leadership skills from her upbringing – always have thick skin, treat others how you would want to be treated, and most importantly, “Don’t take opinions* from anybody.” To get where you want to be there’s always going to be challenges that end up on your path. She said, “You have to be willing to take them on, big or small.” As the interview was coming to an end, we started discussing why she supports women empowerment. And just like Kerri and Tanya, she supports it because of her daughter and how she really has the opportunity to become anyone that she wants to be. We started talking about International Women’s Day and what it meant to her. Anita said that she believes it is about the change and acknowledging the balance between both men and women.
All three women are mothers, daughters, coworkers, friends, and confident, powerful leaders. Sitting with all of them gave me a deeper understanding of women in the working world and how they find their confidence and leadership skills in different ways. I am just at the beginning of my career and I still have a lot to look forward to. However, day by day I am seeing how women are reshaping the automotive industry with their confidence. They are strong and empowering women who chose to work in the automotive industry. They bring a sense of warmth and determination to PAL, and to an industry where these attributes are needed to move things forward.
International Women’s Day (March 8th) as well as the entire month of March 2022 is an important time to celebrate the achievements of women. We see the way women have shaped and impacted the entire automotive industry over the years. Although there are more men in the industry (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021) we are influential through our confident voices and eyes. This year’s theme is about breaking the bias and having a gender equal world. The automotive industry has come a long way and we still have some work to do; however, seeing the women at the company I belong to be powerful in their roles is the definition of breaking the bias.
Happy Women’s Month & International Women’s Day 2022!
& Thank you to Kerri, Tanya & Anita for their time.
Written By Kate Childers