Host Emily Soloby, founder of Juno Jones Safety Shoes, interviews women who have successfully broken barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields. These dynamic women share their stories and advice for the next generation. Emily's goal with this podcast series is to show listeners that there are many ways to be successful - and being successful often requires hard work, community, and creativity, even when faced with adversity.
Sn. 3, #11 Debbie Sparks and Kellylynn McLaughlin: Trucking Industry Trailblazing
The trucking industry is stereotypically male-populated. However, it doesn’t have the glass-ceiling so many other male-populated industries are infamous for. Talking to us today about why this is the case are Debbie Sparks and Kellylynn McLaughlin. Debbie started her career in marketing and is now the Vice President of Women in Trucking, and Kellylynn is on her third career, this time as a driver-ambassador, also for Women in Trucking. These two trailblazers explain to us why trucking is the circulatory system of the country and the benefits of being part of this adventurous industry. Tune in to find out more about WITney, the ground-breaking mobile museum, and the type of personality it takes to become a truck driver. From technological innovations to carving a space for women in the driver’s seat, there’s never been a more exciting time to dive into the world of 18-wheelers!
Photo courtesy of WITney
MEET YOUR HOST
Emily received her BA in Women’s Studies and JD from Temple University. Early on, she worked as a legal advocate for women in domestic violence cases. After practicing law, Emily began working on the business side of things. She is the co-owner of AAA School of Trucking, a truck and heavy equipment safety training firm, which she has spent the last 10 years growing into a thriving national business through government and military contracting and corporate partnerships.
As an executive in the transportation industry, darting from client meeting to trucking range required safety boots that met her style standards, and when she couldn’t find them anywhere, she created Juno Jones Shoes. Emily trained in shoemaking in Cuernavaca, Mexico and at the Brooklyn Shoe Space, and assembled a powerhouse team of designers, consultants, and industry experts to bring Juno Jones to life. Through Juno Jones Shoes, Emily is fulfilling her dream of not only providing women with safe, stylish footwear options for their jobs but of helping to normalize and empower women in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Debbie is a passionate, dedicated executive with twenty years of marketing and operational leadership. She current serves as the Vice President, Women In Trucking Association, Inc., a nonprofit established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women in the industry.
Although she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising and public relations from Loyola College, Debbie kicked off her career in sales, ranking top 2 percent of the company sales representatives nationwide in one of her first sales roles. Over the years, she accumulated expertise from a myriad of diverse positions and industries through her roles as director of marketing for IVC International, vice president and director of operations for C.G. Slogans Auctioneers, and product manager for Kinkos.
Debbie has been involved in the transportation industry for over two decades. She previously served as director of transportation and community outreach at Wreaths Across America, and served as vice president, business development, at the Truckload Carriers Association and as director of marketing for American Trucking Associations.
Kellylynn McLaughlin is Women In Trucking Association’s first Driver Ambassador. In this role, she travels around the country educating those she meets about the importance of the transportation industry and shares some of the challenges drivers face within the industry. Kellylynn has a strong social media presence where she shares her experiences while out on the road, tips to help other drivers and the joys and advantages of being a professional truck driver. In addition, she is also a Professional OTR Driver and Training Engineer for Schneider. She has been a professional driver for over 6 years and operates dry van trailers. Kellylynn’s work schedule has her on the road anywhere from 6-21 days per month.
Before she got in the driver’s seat, Kellylynn received a degree from the Oklahoma State University, served in the Peace Corps, worked internationally for a non-for-profit organization and was a professional instructor in passenger safety. It was as the Director of Logistics at a high school marching band that she discovered she loved everything about driving a truck and the problem solving it entailed.
Kellylynn is passionate about the trucking industry and is a tireless advocate for professional drivers.
She serves on the FMCSA MCSAC Commercial Driver Panel, on the Advisory Council for Truckers Against Trafficking and was honored to be a finalist for the 2019 WIT Influential Woman in Trucking Award. Kellylynn is currently serving as a member of both the Central & North Texas Freight Advisory Committee and the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO).