Dec. 28, 2023, Dallas, Texas – The success of the 2023 Accelerate! Conference & Expo was apparent as it wrapped on Nov. 8 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The event attracted more than 1,900 professionals in the transportation and logistics industries who pre-registered. Attendees were from all roles, levels and company types to bring together diverse perspectives, best practices, stories and connections.
The three-day event featured more than 50 educational and networking sessions with more than 180 speakers, thought leaders and subject matter experts. Educational sessions were focused around seven tracks and topics, including leadership, professional development, HR/talent management, operations, safety, technology, driver issues, sales and marketing, industry issues and trends, and D&I best practices. Industry leaders were featured, including Shelley Simpson, President of J.B. Hunt Transport; Judy McReynolds, President & CEO of ArcBest; Erin Van Zeeland, Chief Commercial Officer of Schneider; Debi Boffa, CEO of TravelCenters of America; and Michelle Burgess, Director of Inclusion & Diversity of Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages.
MindShare’s Role in the Conference
According to Brian Everett, Senior Partner of MindShare Strategies, this was the ninth conference that has been hosted by the Women In Trucking Association since it’s inception in 2014. As the official association management company on record of the Women In Trucking Association, MindShare Strategies was commissioned in 2013 to conduct research on the feasibility and market demand for such a conference.
“After extensive research by MindShare’s Research Practice, we determined that there was a significant need and demand by the industry for a conference,” said Everett. “Since then we have created a unique conference that focuses on best practices in gender diversity, raises awareness and understanding of gender issues and differences, and provides overall education and networking in the industry that help to raise up women in transportation and logistics. It’s an incredible experience for all who attend.”
Everett notes that while a majority of attendees are women, approximately 15% of attendees are men. “This conference is not only for women but about women – and the value and need we have for more diversity in our industry,” said Everett. “The men who participate support the mission of Women In Trucking and are male allies for their female counterparts in the industry.”
The mission of the Women In Trucking Association is to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. A majority of content, networking and activities revolve around this critical mission, says Everett, who also leads the content of the overall conference.
The Conference Goes Beyond Education
The conference also includes a major exhibition that features more than 150 sponsors and exhibitors offering thousands of products and services. This year, many valuable products and services specific to the industry were featured on the expo floor, including an Expo Game Card component, an interactive and fun way for attendees to meet and greet with exhibitors and be eligible for prizes at the end of the conference. In addition, attendees experienced first-hand innovative new equipment through the Truck & Technology Tour – which featured cabs, trailers, self-driving trucks, Big Data and AI technology, IoT devices and platforms, TMS, and WMS. Companies included: Badger Infrastructure Solutions, Big M Transportation, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, Frito Lay, Mack Trucks, Navistar, Nikola Motor Company, PACCAR, Panther Premium Logistics, Pilot Company, Truckers Against Trafficking, TruckSuite, UPS, Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co., Volvo, Walmart, and WM.
The conference also features a signficant amount of recognition of women who are making a powerful and long-lasting impact on the North American trucking and transportation industry. “In fact, during the conference schedule more than 200 companies and individuals were recognized for their progress and success in leadership and gender diversity,” said Everett.
During a special recognition program, Redefining the Road (the official magazine for the Women In Trucking Association) acknowledged and celebrated the “Top Companies for Women to Work in Transportation,” the “Top Woman-Owned Businesses in Transportation,” and the “Top Women to Watch in Transportation” for 2023. The Women In Trucking Association also recognized Shelley Simpson, President of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, as the 2023 Influential Woman in Trucking award. The award, sponsored by Daimler Truck North America (the leading manufacturer of Class 6-8 commercial vehicles in North America), recognizes the achievements of female role models and trailblazers in the trucking industry.
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MindShare Strategies provides clients in the logistics and transportation industries with a broad range of capabilities that generate results.
As Senior Partner of MindShare Strategies, Brian regularly provides business strategy and marketing counsel to the firm’s key accounts, including Food Shippers of America (FSA) and the Women In Trucking Association (WIT). With 30+ years marketing, communications, and sales experience in transportation, warehousing, and logistics, Brian has special expertise in business strategy, B-to-B marketing, and association management. Previously he was CEO of the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA), Executive Director of the National Strategic Shipment Transportation Council (NASSTRAC) and was the first lead marketing executive who established the formal marketing function at C.H. Robinson.