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Inspiring women of DB Schenker contribute to our diversity of thought

With a diverse workforce and a high representation of female executives and employees, DB Schenker promotes a culture of inclusion and belonging for all to develop and grow in. 

“Having a diverse workforce is not enough. Creating an inclusive environment for our diverse workforce to thrive in, is the key to unlock greater creativity, innovation, and groundbreaking solutions for our customers. An integral part of building such an inclusive culture is showcasing our talented employees and their personal stories and celebrating both our similarities and our differences.” says Leandri Meyer, Program Manager Diversity and Inclusion. 

Without a doubt, women have come a long way in taking up their rightful place in society as strong, independent and successful entrepreneurs, logistics experts, scientists, engineers, innovators, managers… though this has not come without its unique challenges.  With our #ChooseToChallenge campaign, DB Schenker acknowledges these challenges and showcases how their powerful women overcame specific stereotypes in their careers and carved their own personal journeys to success. We are proud of our people who best represent our diversity of thought. We invite you to read some of their inspiring stories:

Johanny, Senior Director of Operational and Commercial Excellence

Get more insights from Johanny from region Americas. She is the Senior Director of Operational and Commercial Excellence in Florida. Her responsibilities are to drive and lead the end-to-end operational transformation to improve the performance of contract logistics sites across the region through performance management, continuous improvement, and efficiency initiatives.

My motto in life: To improve the spaces that I come into, make them better than how I found them.

Portrait of Johanny

What makes my work in Contract Logistics special?
The impact on people's livelihood. What we do in CL for our customers ultimately is driven by the thousands of associates across the organization that pushes forward daily to get the job done. It is our responsibility to make their lives better, and consequently, we drive success.

What are your areas of interest/ hobbies?
Music, political science, travel

Please share your personal goals with us
My goal is to continuously rise to the top. To drive visibility, diversity, and why not – to be the first female, non-German, LGBTQ+ board member of DB Schenker.

What are your strengths?
My ability to see the bigger picture and connect the solutions to the problems. I can identify people’s talent to help them succeed and help the organization succeed, and I am very empathetic, adaptable, personable, and outspoken.

What is your advice to other women who are planning their careers in CL?
Jump at the opportunities that come your way, be assertive, don’t shy away from the spaces where the decisions are made!

Catherine, Vice President Contract Logistics

Catherine, the woman behind many of our top Contract Logistics clients in Singapore, shares with us some of her exclusive career tips.

People won’t search for your achievements; you have to articulate them.

Vice President Contract Logistics in Singapore

Speak up!

As a woman you should never hesitate to put yourself out there. Men tend to ask for a promotion when they are 80% ready, women usually wait until they are 120% ready. There is absolutely nothing stopping us from asking for a promotion before we feel completely ready. When you want a certain position, say it! Always be transparent and open about your career aspirations and interests.

Be visible!

Showcase what you have done. Work isn’t just about doing a great job. It’s about presenting what you have done and making yourself visible. “People won’t search for your achievements; you have to articulate them. Take the time to write down your elevator pitch. This will ensure that you are never caught off guard, but instead prepared to utilize your one minute and really sell yourself once the opportunity arises – AND IT WILL.”

Ask for feedback

Don’t shy away from asking for feedback – especially if you were not awarded the position you wanted – ask why! This might show you some of your developmental areas that still need a bit of work. Most importantly, no one is 100% fit for the job on day one. Be willing to learn and to remain focused.

Network. Network. Network.

Women spend a lot of time doing their jobs well and too little time on building their networks. Dedicate time to join conferences, seminars, coffee corners, lunch dates and golf sessions. Remember most jobs are given away before they are published on the job market. “Networking isn’t only about getting to know people, but it’s a great way to seek different opinions, consult in others and learn from others’ mistakes and successes.”

Mobility is key

Mobility is important in advancing your career and involves pragmatic discussions with your partner and family – make yourself available for international assignments to grow your expertise and experience. “I relocated many times in my career. The knowledge and expertise I have gained from these foreign assignments have brought me where I am today.” And as a mother of two, time management and keeping the balance between work and family has always been my top priority.

Prabha, Director Vertical Markets and Key Accounts

Prabha’s motto in life is: “Aim high and hit it every time.” To her there is never a dull day working in Logistics and she is passionate about her job. 

When in doubt just go and do it! There is no other way to find out if you will be successful.

With her confidence, ambition, courage, and honesty, she is a true advocate for change. She continually chooses to challenge the status quo. To her, there are no limits to what you can achieve when you are guided by a vision and a true belief in yourself. “When in doubt just go and do it! There is no other way to find out if you will be successful,” she says.

Strong support as a key driver in her career
Prabha calls herself lucky, lucky to have so much support from her male counterparts, especially within DB Schenker - a behavior that should be natural but is not always the case. Throughout her career, many male supporters accompanied her - for example her husband who was always willing to relocate for her exciting career opportunity and her son, who never complained when she missed Parent-Teacher conferences or traveled three weeks in a single month and a former manager who encouraged Prabha to lead a team before the age of 29. 

Prabha states: “In my two and a half years’ experience with DB Schenker, I have found our company to be very people friendly with lean hierarchical structures. My current manager is the biggest supporter of diversity. He truly believes in talents and motivates them irrespective of gender! Encouraging talent is part of our DNA and not once have I felt like my gender matters in our organization.”

Being a female in Logistics
“For me, there is no industry as dynamic and exciting as the logistics industry. There is a new opportunity or challenge waiting around every corner”, she says. However, being a female in a male dominated field does not come without its challenges. There have been countless scenarios where she has been the only female in the room. Prabha believes: “By ‘knowing your stuff’, being open to learn and really doing your homework beforehand, you will have the confidence to stand your ground, and not be intimidated by the boy’s club.” To her it is all about conquering your self-doubt, working on your weaknesses, and seeing yourself as smart enough, good enough and worthy enough for the job. Prabha is convinced: “When you know who you are as a person you transmit that confidence to others.”

Her thoughts on leadership
To be a great leader she believes it takes the will to tap into diverse perspectives and foster inclusion within your team. It requires authenticity, giving credit where it is due, building the morale of your team and acknowledging everyone’s contribution to the success of the team. Prabha says: “It is important as a leader to never stop learning and imparting knowledge. One will never know everything and there will always be something to learn from someone.” 

Lena, Project Manager Digitalization & Innovation

System error!!! Women and technology - still a rare combination. System reboot: here comes Lena, our queen of apps.  

I had great colleagues that shared their knowledge and experience with me.

Lena (30) loves IT. She works as Product Owner at Global IT Land & Digital Solutions (GILDS) and is responsible for mobile app development at DB Schenker, heading up an international team of 17 colleagues. But this has only been a love at second sight. She once had great respect for IT.  

Lena was fortunate to grow up in a surrounding that supported technical interests. As a teenager, she attended a technical high school where she was one of two girls among 28 boys. Thereafter, she studied international industrial management which included some lectures on IT. A great basis but no – Lena was still convinced: “I will never work in IT– never! I just don’t get it.” She was annoyed by html codes. “You put the comma at the wrong place or you forget to put something in brackets and then, nothing works. You have pages with commands and have to find this tiny but important bug. I could really freak out in these moments.” 

Now, she has been working in DB Schenker’s IT & Digitalization department for over four years. At the age of 26, her manager expressed confidence in her skills: “I saw Lena had the right attitude. She was tough, eager to learn and to drive topics forward. IT is no magic – it means translating the business needs into clear requirements and finding a proper solution.” After some onboarding time, she got her first project – to develop her first mobile app. 

Lena still thinks of this task as a huge challenge. Being a project manager, she had to hold all the threads together. But how can you take decisions, lead a team and develop a product if you are not an expert yet? You talk to the experts. Lena asked a million questions and always got answers. “I had great colleagues that shared their knowledge and experience with me. But also a very supportive manager and a highly motivated project team”. Her team of software engineers put the comma in the correct position and everything worked out well.  

Also, she visited our truck drivers and accompanied them on tour. “I had to start the project on the road to understand what our drivers’ daily life really looks like and not what we think it looks like. I wanted to create an app that simplifies their job.” There is still a lot of analog work within Land Transport – e.g. tours and updates are communicated to the drivers by phone calls. Sounds easy. But if the truck driver does not speak the language of the dispatcher, misunderstandings are predetermined. The driver might end up at the wrong location for the collection or delivery of goods.  

What’s coming next? Lena is pushing digitalization to a global level. “I don’t think we’ll run out of work so fast. There is still some paperwork that is waiting to become digital. So, let’s change this!”  

Thessa, Chief Commercial Officer

60% of DB Schenker Brazil's employees are female. Responsible for setting sales strategies and interacting with IT, Finance, Human Resources, and other departments, this Chief Commercial Officer-Brazil works to identify the best business opportunities for DB Schenker.

Although I am glad to work in a non-discriminative environment, we know every day a lot of women suffer and fight against discrimination.

According to Thessa, there’s a lot of fairness in DB Schenker – Brazil’s recruitment process. “There’s no cherry picking by gender or salary,” says Thessa. This approach translates into a majority representation for women in operational supervisory and management positions. 

“Three out of five branch managers and three out of nine board members here are women,” says Thessa, who would personally like to see more women on the company’s warehouse operational staff and serving as global board members. 

“Although I am glad to work in a non-discriminative environment, we know every day a lot of women suffer and fight against discrimination,” says Thessa, who believes strongly in the self-empowerment of women in Brazil and to believe in their rights and to shamelessly fight for them.
This topic is very special for Thessa, who has three daughters. “I’m sure they will carry this fight,” she says. “They may eventually suffer discrimination, but hopefully in a different or easier environment than I did.”

Elizabeth, HR Officer

Raised in Kenya and one of six siblings, Elizabeth never allowed a lack of money to prevent her from dreaming. Today, she is a Human Resources Officer at DB Schenker’s office in Kenya.

Both my personal family and my DB Schenker family help me in reaching my goals.

When it comes to career advancement, Elizabeth credits her own strengths plus a strong support network that helped her succeed. “I never give up and I am always willing to learn,” says Elizabeth. “Both my personal family and my DB Schenker family help me in reaching my goals.”

Elizabeth says she also owes a big portion of her success to her late and beloved mother Rose. “Having a low-paying job as a civil servant, she still managed to raise six kids and guaranteed all of us a good education,” says Elizabeth, who has also had some strong, encouraging mentors along the way.

“My local CEO, Darren and our Head of Human Resources, Jedidah, really supported me in the mission to further my career,” says Elizabeth.

Warmest regards and Asante sana kwa wale wote walionishaka mkono katika kazi yangu ya afisa wa rasilimali watu.

“This is Swahili, saying my appreciation to everyone who has supported me in my work as an HR officer”, Elizabeth says.

Manuela, Head of Air Freight Export

For Manuela, no two days are ever the same when working in airfreight. In fact, she says that every task is different when leading a team of 30 colleagues. Despite this, Manuela still finds the time and energy to support a Nepalese aid organization.

DB Schenker's international network means everything to me, even in my private life.

Manuela started her career as an industrial clerk in a jewelry shop. Twenty-five years ago, she joined DB Schenker to explore the logistics involved in each imported and exported good. Now, she has a job that she loves.

“DB Schenker's international network means everything to me, even in my private life,” says Manuela, who is based in Germany. “No matter where I head for vacation—China, Spain, Finland, Singapore, etc.—I always take the time to meet with my local colleagues.”

These days, Manuela uses most of her annual leave to support the "Nepal Schulprojekt" charity organization, which provides support for Nepalese children. “I’ve seen a lot of despair over the years, when visiting kindergartens, schools, and homes for the handicapped,” says Manuela, who at one point helped to build a solar plant in Jalbang, a village in the Northwest of Nepal that previously had no electricity.

For one year, she collected money and organized the logistics behind this project, which meant every single component had to be transported by mule for 54 kilometers at an altitude of 3,800 meters. “Seeing the light from an electricity bulb for the first time in their life, people started to cry,” says Manuela.

To women around the world, Manuela cautions against striving for perfection. “Just put yourself in the driver's seat,” she says. “Don't wait until you are asked to be promoted to a new job; just apply. You are worth it!"

Jobs at DB Schenker

With more than 76,900 employees worldwide, DB Schenker is one of the leading transportation and logistics providers in the world. If you’re looking for a challenge, and are ready to elevate your career, consider joining one of our many top-performing teams. We’ve been providing employees with a variety of amazing jobs in logistics and transportation for more than 140 years.

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Are you interested in more insights on the Diversity and Inclusion activities at DB Schenker? Please reach out to us.

It is always a good time to explore the various career opportunities that DB Schenker has open in its locations around the world. Known for its welcoming, inclusive workplace and excellent corporate culture, DB Schenker is a great choice for women all around the globe.

Schenker AG
Leandri Meyer
45128 Essen, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 201 8781 -2234