Inspiring change. Breaking Barriers. Celebrating women in the industry

One that is far more transformational, and has taken far too long to occur. If you take a moment to look around the traditionally male-centric industries today, you’ll notice something a little unexpected. More and more, women are serving at every level of industrial organizations. Of course, it wasn’t always this way. Historically speaking, the representation of female employees in industrial settings has been almost nonexistent. In fact, according to a 2018 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, women accounted for more than half of all workers within several sectors such as financial, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality services. However, when it comes to industrial roles, women were, and still are, substantially underrepresented. Not surprisingly, women accounted for only 14% of the employees in the mining industry, 10% in construction, 29% held manufacturing jobs and just 24% in transportation and utilities. Although progress has been made, women still find themselves having to fight day in and day out to find equality in their challenging professions, while working to make a positive impact in their chosen fields. But as women continue to become more independent and technology makes physical labor easier to conduct, women are beginning to find better wages, benefits and pensions, leading to an increase in the number of women holding rewarding roles in industry.


Working to eliminate the gender gap.


The road women have faced across our male dominated industry sectors has been a long one. So, with March being International Women's Month, at Global Industrial, we’re intentionally celebrating the leadership and innovative achievements of women in our own industry. We recognize that all over the world, women are making a difference in their jobs, yet often, their inspiring contributions go unnoticed. That’s why we’re calling attention to some of the most influential women in our business today. One such woman is Claudia Hughes. As Chief Sales Officer at Global Industrial, she has 28 years in sales and leadership, and is responsible for driving the success of her teams. Her personal experience has led her to champion change in her industry, and she’s seeing the positive shift toward having more women working within sales, as well as in upper management. “More women are stepping up to get these positions. And it's not just in sales where women's voices are being heard. This is a trend across all sectors, at all levels and businesses are benefiting as a result,” Claudia states.


Holly Sterling has risen to become Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at Global Industrial and alongside Nelson Rivers and the management team in Toronto – has grown the business in Canada to what it is today. She knows the importance of having women in leadership roles as early in her career she intentionally sought advice from those in management positions. Today, she encourages other women to be proactive every step of their career. “You have to be more ambitious than you think you need to be,” Holly says.


Maria Espinal is a Warehouse Supervisor at Global Industrial, who began her career as a packer. Quickly working her way up, in time, she became the first female equipment operator in the New Jersey Distribution Center. Her experience spans the operation of everything from cherry pickers to forklifts – equipment once only reserved for male operators. Through hard work and determination, though, Maria found herself at the core of the distribution center. But still, she wasn’t satisfied. With her warehouse experience, education, and eagerness to learn, Maria applied for and was chosen to serve as a warehouse supervisor, the position she holds today, with her sights firmly set on becoming the Global Industrial’s next Operations Manager.


Shattering expectations. And the glass ceiling.


Another woman making an indelible mark on industry is Benita Coffey who serves as the Vice President of Operations for Bennett Motor Express. Selected as the top women-owned firm by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Bennett, is a pioneer in the movement toward equality. According to Benita who started at the firm in 1989 as a secretary, “Trucking has undergone a total transformation, but Bennett Motor has always had women drivers.” Using her vast experience and knowledge of the trucking industry, Benita is paving the way for other women, making every effort to help them achieve the success she has had. Two other women from Bennett Motor Express, Tricia Reynolds and Jennifer Powell, joined the company around the same time and have seen an increase in the number of women holding roles in both trucking and logistics. Their ability to lead and perform well in a male dominated industry hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. In 2013, Jennifer Powell, Operations Manager at Bennett, received the BIT Excellence Award for being one of the top performers in her department. And in 2022, Tricia Reynolds, Vice President, received the JD Garrison Award – the highest award one can earn at the company.


At Global Industrial, we’re proud to champion every woman who is making a difference in the workplace around the world. Join with us as we acknowledge and applaud the inspiring, daring, and industrious women who endeavor to achieve equality and lay the foundation of success for generations of women to come.


The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial® be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.


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