Join us as we celebrate Women’s History Month! To kick-off this month-long series, we’ve nabbed three dynamic colleagues at Ryder E-commerce, currently leading and making great impact in the logistics space. Our host Caitlin Postel takes the helm solo, spearheading a rousing discussion on women leading in logistics. The group speaks to how they got started, their thoughts on diversity and inclusion, and the power of mentorships throughout their careers. Come on through and listen-in to our first ever, all women empowering roundtable discussion.
0:54 Growing up, what did the ladies aspire to be
3:59 Just starting out in logistics as a career – A woman’s perspective
10:56 Diversity, inclusion and gaining equity professionally
17:12 Empowering mentorships
23:45 Just starting your career? The ladies drop their best advice
Brian Weinstein: Welcome everybody to Sippin’ and Shippin’. I’m your host, Brian Weinstein. We’ll be kicking it here every other Friday, quenching your thirst for an insider’s take to enhance your customer experience. So grab your drink of choice, kick back, it’s Sippin’ and Shippin’ time.
Caitlin Postel: All right, welcome to another episode of Sipping and Shipping. I am your host, Caitlin Postel. If you couldn’t tell, I have officially hijacked the pod here. We gave Brian the boot. We started a soft launch last episode with Joanne Marciano from Greyson Clothiers, and now we are officially marching into Women’s History Month. Joining me today, I have not one, not two, but three very special guests, our very own from Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash, Eva Dicecco, Bri Chapman, and Ella Monarch. Thank you ladies for joining me today.
Eva Dicecco: Thanks, Caitlin.
Brianna Chapman: Thanks for having us.
Ella Monarch: Thanks for having us.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, of course. I’m excited for this conversation. So to get started and to get acquainted with the audience, obviously we know each other, but I’d like to start with, I guess an icebreaker we can call it. But what I’d like to hear from you ladies is what you wanted to be when you grew up, because I don’t think anyone was in kindergarten sitting down writing, “Logistics leader at Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash.” So what you wanted to be when you grew up and what your current role is here at Ryder E-commerce. Ella, you want to get us started?
Ella Monarch: Yeah, nice to meet everyone. So my name’s Ella Monarch. What I wanted to be when I grew up. I feel like I always wanted to be on the Disney Channel. I wanted to be like Hannah Montana on a TV show writing music, touring. That was always my MO when I was growing up. But alas, super stardom didn’t work out, but I currently am on the business development team here at Ryder E-Commerce by Whiplash. I’ve been with the company for, it’ll be four years in July.
Caitlin Postel: Awesome. Thank you for that. Bri?
Brianna Chapman: First of all, Ella, I just have to say that there’s still time, you can still get on the Disney Channel. Don’t let that dream die. Hello, everyone. So my name is Bri Chapman. So I have been with Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash for about six months. I think I had my six-month anniversary on February 22nd. And I am a part of the partnerships team here. So I lead our strategic partner program, and when I was growing up, I actually wanted to be in medicine. So up until I was about 15 years old, that was my career path. I was accepted to an international baccalaureate program at a school in London, and I was planning to move there. But then got cold feet, the last minute, much to my mom’s dismay because she was born and raised in the United Kingdom. So she was really looking to get back, and then I pulled the plug at the last minute.
So I always think back to what would’ve happened if I had stayed the course and gotten into medicine. But unfortunately, it’s probably a good thing that I decided not to because my chemistry grades in university and in high school were awful. So that’s unfortunately, why it didn’t work out for me. But my biology was great, and my chemistry and physics were terrible.
Caitlin Postel: Interesting. I never knew that about you. And funny, I wanted to be a physical therapist and I got my first C ever in biology, so I was like, “This is not going to work for me. I guess I’ll just go into sales.” So Eva, what about you?
Eva Dicecco: Yeah, so clearly Ella and I are from different decades. Well, she wanted to be Hannah Montana. I wanted to be a Olivia Newton John. I wanted to be Sandy from Grease and dance and sing and go to high school and have a great Australian accent. That was my goal. But currently, here I am with Whiplash, Ryder E-commerce by Whiplash, and I’ve been here for three and a half years, and I am currently the vice president of operations here running all of the buildings across the network.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, you sure are. And doing a fantastic job at it, Eva. So as far as your background is concerned, I know you had two long stints, one at Old Navy, one at H&M, can you give the audience a little bit of insight as to what it was like in those early stages of your career as a woman in logistics? We’ve talked about it on the program before, historically more of a man’s world. Yeah, give us a little bit of a background on that.
Eva Dicecco: Sure. So my Old Navy experience was all retail stores. So I worked on the floor, I led the teams on the floor and managed that process. And I spent 10 years there and then went over into H&M. And H&M is where I really gained my experience in logistics. I spent 13 years with them. At the first part of my career with H&M I actually was in stores and in controlling, which is completely not what you would think because here I am in logistics, so a completely different world. But I started off running one building for H&M and eventually took over North America. So ran Mexico, Columbia, the US and Canada.
I mean, Old Navy was a great organization that really had a lot of women in leadership positions, and so I just kind of joined in. But for me it was always about I belong at the table. And so that’s my mindset. I always believe that I deserve a seat at the table regardless if I was a man, woman, or child, it didn’t matter. And that’s how I think that I’ve just been able to be successful, move forward, share my ideas and lead teams. So that’s what I did. And I was fortunate enough to join a Ryder E-commerce three years ago, knowing a lot of people that worked with us. So H&M had a partnership with Ryder E-commerce.
Caitlin Postel: You don’t know which name to use. I know. I know. Everybody.
Eva Dicecco: So I had a lot of relationships and those relationships is what made me want to come. Great relationships, a great environment, a lot of great people that work for the organization, and it just seemed like a really natural fit for me.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, it sounds like it. So it sounds like there were some existing women leaders who kind of inspired you in the early days. And then networking, so you knew a lot of the folks as your roles progressed. As far as your transition from Old Navy going to H&M, what made you pivot there and go to that side?
Eva Dicecco: So actually from Old Navy, I went to H&M in the same sort of roles, from store to store. It was just the Old Navy store at one point, and then it was an H&M store. But within my world of H&M, as I was a controller, I went into the logistics world. And it’s kind of a funny story. I was just about to move to New Jersey and the leaders of H&M came to me and said, “We need a really strong leader to come in and run the warehouse in New Jersey. We hear you’re moving there, what do you think?” And I said, “You must be crazy. I’m a controller. What do I know about running a warehouse?”
So they asked me to go in there for a few weeks, check it out, see what I liked. And I loved it. It was great. I loved it because it’s problem solving. I loved it because it’s fast moving and it just gave me something else to learn and understand. So I dug my heels in and I learned everything there was about running a building and then just went on from there. It was a lot of fun and just a really new experience for me.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, it sounds like it. So from Sandra Dee to retail to controller to running buildings. Awesome. Thank you for sharing that. So moving on to Bri. Bri, I know your path. I know you refer to yourself as a Swiss Army knife, which I love that metaphor. I’ve seen you in action, so I believe it, I’ve seen it. Tell us a little bit about your experience and your career path. I think your roles pertain most to this theme for this 2023 Women’s History Month, which is Women Who Tell Stories, so women who are in media, women who do podcasts, women who are doing print, radio, TV, stage blogs, news, social media. Tell us a little bit about that.
Brianna Chapman: Yeah, I have a bit of a storied career path. I’ve done a few different things all with the theme of me just talking a lot to people. So I feel like I’m the perfect guest for this podcast. So I have always been in customer facing roles. I really tried to make marketing work for me when I was getting out of university. I thought that marketing was the sexiest career path, and that’s what I wanted to do. But try as I might, I could not find anyone who wanted a university grad with no experience to hire into a marketing role because that’s just what happens when you graduate, is it’s very difficult to find work.
So I was living in Victoria, BC at the time, and I got a job offer from a company called Neverblue, which was an affiliate marketing company. So that’s really where my career started is very low level entry data work. But they quickly realized that I’m a social butterfly, I am an extrovert to the nth degree. And I was put pretty quickly into an affiliate account management role. So that is how I got my start in business development and sales. And I spent about six years in that industry before I managed to convince the fine folks at Shopify that I was worthy of a sales role there. So that is how my professional sales career took off. I spent five years at Shopify. I was in a sales role there for two years, did a couple of maternity leaves, but also did some time in a sales enablement role and in content marketing. So I’ve always had a love of communication. So whether that is communicating with business owners, whether that’s written communication. Video, like you said.
I moonlight as a content creator on Instagram as well. So I’ve got a larger than average Instagram following. I just love to meet people. I just love to talk to people. I love to hear people’s stories. I love to tell my own story, and I love to figure out how to tell the stories of brands and companies in a way that is meaningful and interesting. So that’s kind of how I’ve gotten to where I am today in the partnership space. I feel like being a partnership professional, you have to wear a lot of different hats. So one day you’re doing enablement, one day you’re doing content, one day you’re doing sales, one day you’re negotiating. So it’s a really, really interesting career, and I feel like it marries all of the things that I’m passionate about pretty well.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, awesome. So Shopify is probably our most well known with this audience, and we had our very own Caitlin Teed talking about the community that was at Shopify. What was your experience as a woman in that space just as far as diversity, inclusion and mostly equity? How did you feel coming up in that role as a woman?
Brianna Chapman: So I think that it’s… I’m not going to say it’s perfect. I don’t see Shopify with rose colored glasses as some people do. I think especially in the craft of sales, there’s still a lot of work to be done to amplify female voices and to, like Eva was saying, give women a seat at the table. I think I did very, very well in my sales job there. I was at the top of the leader boards while I was pregnant and selling. But I still didn’t feel like I was taken very seriously. So I think that there’s some work to be done internally there as far as making sure that women feel like they are motivated to continue to succeed and to get promoted into roles that are meaningful. There are some incredible women leaders there, don’t get me wrong. But I do think that when it comes to the sales side of things, male voices are still the most dominant.
Caitlin Postel: Sure. Yeah. And I think that makes sense for kind of bigger orgs, but what a different experience for Eva coming from H&M where they were like, “Hey, you’re the leader we want.” Versus the male voice. I know in my experience, my previous role, 10 years in the seat that I was in, still working for the director and VP who five years after my exit, they’re still the VP and director, great folks. But my biggest cheerleader and one of my first mentors was my director who led the sales team with a female voice. So to be able to see that was super impactful for me and just being empowered. She never turned down my success, or in fact, she actually bolstered me up maybe a little bit more than I should have at sometimes. But I hear you that sometimes the male voice takes the lead at that table, which… Not at this table.
Brianna Chapman: I’ve a strong personality too. I am not a dormant individual.
Caitlin Postel: No way.
Brianna Chapman: I don’t have a problem voicing my opinions. Clearly. So I think that there’s also some work to be done with making sure that those who are not like me, who may have more difficulty raising their hand are also accounted for. I think especially as organizations continue to grow, that is something that is so important is to make sure that everyone feels like they are a part of the conversation.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Eva, you want to weigh in on that?
Eva Dicecco: Yeah, I think Brianna’s right. I think our job as leaders that are women in this industry, it’s very important to ensure that women around us know that it’s okay, that it’s okay to speak your mind. It’s okay to share your opinion. It’s okay to be a strong personality. I think as women we’re sometimes taught to just sit there with our hands folded. And that’s not how it should be. And it’s super important that everyone around us understands that they have a voice and they should be heard and their opinion matters.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, agreed. I think courage comes to mind as you’re speaking. Having the courage within yourself, but even seeing the courage in other female leaders I think is just truly inspiring. Yeah, couldn’t agree more.
Ella Monarch: Courage and confidence, right? Confidence even on days where you might not feel confident yourself, but showing up every day and just maybe you have to fake it until you make it one day, but having that kind of confidence really is what sets you apart.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, totally. Spoken like a true Hannah Montana put on that. Transition over. Ella, can you tell us a little bit about what made you choose Ryder? I know you started, what is, it four years or three years ago, Ryder Sales University, what was that like?
Ella Monarch: Yeah, so I really started this journey when I was a senior in college at the University of Tennessee.
Caitlin Postel: Ding, ding, ding. There it is. The old University of Tennessee.
Ella Monarch: Quick plug. Go Vols. But yeah, any other senior in college, you’re approaching the finish line and you know, have this thought of, “I got to get a job, I got to figure something out. What’s my plan after school?” And I, at the time, was taking a course in professional selling, and I was a marketing major and just taking this course to see what sales could be like as a career. So I got introduced to Ryder through that class and heard about this program they were doing for the first time. And it was an 18-month sales training program, learning all about supply chain, dedicated transportation and logistics sales, and how that really works. So I got involved, I started the interview process.
I was really interested in the program. I liked the fact that it was an individualized learning path. It wasn’t just a job that was, “We’re going to train you for three weeks and then we’re throwing you to the wolves and you got to sink or swim.” It was very much, “We’re going to learn. We’re going to teach you all about this complex world and this long sales cycle and teach you about negotiating a contract and the financials, what this operationally looks like.” And it was just a new world for me. It was something I hadn’t studied in school, I didn’t know a ton about, but I liked the idea of moving into a new industry and taking the time to really learn and develop. And it was exciting too, because the job required me to move to Miami.
Caitlin Postel: Oh. That’s a perk.
Ella Monarch: So that was really attractive to me being from Knoxville, Tennessee and going to South Florida and just starting your adulthood in a new place and taking me out of my comfort zone. So there was a lot about it that I was really excited about, and that was what attracted me to the role at that time.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, amazing. And we’re glad that you did because you’re certainly kicking ass in the sales side, filling that pipeline, closing deals like a boss. So it sounds like the formal approach and the methodical approach of career development really perked your interest into to get into this space that made supply chains so big at that time, people really starting to bring that to the forefront. My experience was a little less formal. As you all know, but the audience may not, I went to Brian Weinstein University, so I shadowed Brian for about a year and a half, and I certainly wasn’t in Miami, but we were all over the map and it just lended for a different experience. But during that time, those 18 months, can you tell the audience, were there any mentorship opportunities, male or female? How were the folks within the organization? Were they welcoming? What was that experience like?
Ella Monarch: Yeah, so the way the program was set up was that the first six months was really at our headquarters, learning a little bit more about Ryder solutions and what we do and how the company operates. And then the second six months was operational site visits. So I flew all over the United States going to our different facilities, really learning more about that boots on the ground aspect of what we do and learning the operational side of the business. Then the last six months was mentorship. So I met two individuals who are on the sales team at Ryder, and they really became my mentors. And then along the way too, I gradually would meet people and develop relationships that turned out to be kind of a mentorship relationship.
But it was funny, both of my mentors were males and it was something I hadn’t really thought about at the time. It was just kind of like, “Okay, these are two really successful individuals at the organization who I can learn a lot from.” So I didn’t really think too much about it. But they were fantastic and constantly challenged me and brought me out of my comfort zone, which I really appreciated at the time. I actually remember this one instance when I was catching up with my mentor, talking about what he had going on in his pipeline, deals he was working on, and I was asking him questions. And we got to the last three minutes of the call and he said, “Oh, by the way, I have a leadership call after this where I have to pitch my deal to our leadership team, and I want you to run it. I want you to lead the call.”
Caitlin Postel: With three minutes notice.
Ella Monarch: A three-minute notice. And I was scared to my core. I was so nervous. You know, your heart sinks to the bottom of your stomach. But he had that kind of confidence in me, and we had that kind of mentor-mentee relationship where he was like, “I know you can do this and I’m going to challenge you in this way.” And so I really appreciated that, and I really appreciated any time where my mentors felt enough confidence in me to challenge me and bring me out of my comfort zone like that.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, I love that. Talk about trust fall.
Ella Monarch: Oh yeah, oh yeah.
Caitlin Postel: Just backwards. Bri, any experience with mentorships throughout your career?
Brianna Chapman: Yeah, so I think one experience that really stands out to me is when I was actually in my sales enablement role at Shopify. So I worked with a fantastic woman there. And I had never really thought really, really strong female leadership before, no one that I felt like I really looked up to. But she was just such an exemplary human who, again, like Ella was saying, she stretched me in ways that I didn’t think I could be stretched. She was such a formidable talent in sales enablement. She was so organized. She had everything that I felt like I was missing. So she really worked with me closely during her time together to help me understand that I was capable of doing these things, that the tools I thought I was never going to have in my tool belt, I could have. And I think through working with her, I just realized that limiting beliefs are so powerful and that basically every thought that comes into your head, every negative thought is a lie. You’re just the only person that can hear it. So things that I think about myself and things that I thought that I would never be able to do, other people would never say that about me. Other people would be like, “You are absolutely crazy. You’re out of your mind. Of course you can do this.” But because you’re saying those things to yourself, you’re the only person that hears them. So she really forced me to get uncomfortable in my role, and she forced me to take a really good, hard look at myself and listen to those limiting beliefs in a different way.
So I think that that has made a massive difference for me in my career, in the opportunities that I’ve been able to explore, in being able to stretch myself out of my comfort zone, in taking on roles like this in an industry I knew nothing about, working with a team where I knew absolutely no one. I went back to Shopify after mat leave because it was comfortable for me. And in working with her, I realized that comfort, sometimes it can be good at certain points in your life, but there’s certain points in your life where stepping out of your comfort zone is going to be the best thing for you. So I’m forever grateful to her for showing me that I am more than the voices in my head.
Caitlin Postel: Sure. Yeah. That’s so powerful. And I couldn’t relate more just as far as get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. You’ve seen a hundred memes about it and inspirational quotes, that’s where the growth happens outside of the comfort zone. But it’s so true. I couldn’t relate more to that. And Eva, as a leader, now VP of ops for a company, what is it that you do? What are some strategies that you take to inspire and really empower the ops ladies that are running these buildings day in and day out?
Eva Dicecco: I think it goes back to what I said a little earlier in that they all need to understand they deserve the seat at the table, right? But being able to give them some responsibility to get them out of their comfort zone, to make them feel uncomfortable so that they can grow, but to give them just the opportunity to be successful. So it’s really an opportunity as a leader in this organization, which has many women leaders, I might add, to just say, “It’s okay to be you. Let’s see what you have to offer and let’s see how we can make you grow, and what kind of development can we give you to help you be successful.” And that’s what I try to do. Give them opportunity.
Caitlin Postel: Awesome. Love that. All right. So to wrap it up here, can we give two last pieces of advice? Ella, what would be your takeaway, or what would you tell to someone coming right out of college as far as landing at an organization that makes sense for them as a woman?
Ella Monarch: I think my advice would be just be a sponge. Every person you come in contact with and encounter on a day-to-day, you have something to learn from them. And don’t be intimidated by your youth because you’re young, and that’s just a fact. Everyone’s been young and new in their career at some point. So just be a sponge. Put yourself in front of people who are powerful and put yourself in front of leadership and those that have been in an organization for many, many years because you have so much to learn from them. And just be humble, but also be confident and be courageous, and don’t be afraid to speak up.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, awesome. I’m still sponging. I haven’t stopped sponging. I think it’s just an ongoing process. And Bri, final thoughts here, advice that you would give.
Brianna Chapman: Again, don’t listen to the voices in your head. They’re your own worst enemy. And I think that we’re all capable of doing great things. We’re all capable of being more than we are today. And I’m just so grateful that right now I’m surrounded by people that empower me and encourage me to do more. So I would say take your time. Make sure that you really understand where your leadership’s core values are, and make sure that they align with yours and make sure that you work with somebody that you trust to continue to amplify your voice.
Caitlin Postel: Yeah, understood. Got it. So I heard a lot of trust. I heard courage, inspiring mentorship. A lot of great stuff to kick us off here in Women’s History Month. Thank you so much, Eva. Thank you, Bri. Thank you, Ella. I’m truly inspired and privileged to work with you all on a daily basis and all of the women leaders, and men of course, within our organization. Everyone, thank you so much for tuning in to another episode. Make sure you check us out every other Friday on your favorite podcast platform. Have a great day, everybody. Thanks, guys.
Brianna Chapman: Thanks.
Eva Dicecco: Bye.
Ella Monarch: Thank you.