Transport Industry Trailblazer: Jacquelene Brotherton

Jacquelene Brotherton’s list of accomplishments in the transport industry reads like a bucket list for anyone looking to carve out a successful career in transport. Jacquelene is the Transport Manager of Oxford Cold Storage, Chair of Transport Women Australia Limited, the Co-chair of the Wyndham Industrial Liaison and Development Committee and a life member of the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association of NSW.

She is also a member of Women in Supply Chain, Committee for Wyndham and Toastmasters International, Women in Trucking Content Advisory Council and a member of the International Refrigerated Transport Association.

Jacquelene has had diesel in her veins from a very early age despite the male dominated industry. A renowned advocate on the importance of the trucking industry to everyday Australians, she holds fast to the belief that “If you bought it, a truck brought it”. You may also recognise Jacquelene from her regular fortnightly column in the popular Australian truck magazine “Big Rigs”.

Jacquelene’s extensive history in the Australian transport industry began in 1970 when her parents purchased a rundown general store in Bourke, New South Wales. Being the last fuel stop before the Queensland border, the roadhouse was a popular destination for truckers.

“I started with my parents as a 13-year-old, working after school and on weekends. That’s how I got involved in trucks and the transport industry,” said Jacquelene.

“My parents were hugely influential in the fact that they believed you could be anything you wanted to be. Especially my father. If people wanted to do anything, he would encourage them to do it.”

Having little female role-models to look up to, some might have chosen to pursue a career with less obstacles to success —but not Jacquelene.

“I can’t think of any women who were working in the industry back then. There were plenty of wives of people but none working directly in the industry. When I joined the livestock transport association committee to replace my father-in-law, I was not only the woman involved in that committee, I was also the second youngest person on that committee. Now I’m one of the old-timers.

Dedicated to spotlighting the indispensable role transport and logistics companies play in the Australian business landscape, Jacquelene is a strong believer that industry will benefit from a more diverse mix of talent in the sector.

“As an industry, we need to find a better way of attracting the younger generation. This is also a fantastic industry with plenty of opportunities for women. As a truck driver, women earn the same payrate as men. Nobody cares whether you are male, female, transgender, gay, or anything. As long as you can drive, do your job properly, work the hours, you get equal pay. It’s an equal opportunity industry.”

Having worked her whole life in the transport industry, Jacquelene also has some fresh ideas about how the industry can better increase its talent pool.

“We need to look at how companies are recruiting. We need to change the wording of these recruitment advertisements to be more inclusive and make them more female friendly and show women that they are encouraged to apply for these roles. We also need to look at the structure of these roles and perhaps introduce more flexible schedules and job sharing. We need to adapt.”

Jacquelene strongly encourages those in leadership roles to promote the industry every opportunity they have. She believes the leading players in the transport industry hold the key to transforming and recruiting fresh, diverse talent for this vital sector.

Having been heavily involved with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in the development of the national code, Jacquelene has been an important voice in the world of Australian transport by furthering the advancement of safety on our roads.

In June 2018, Jacquelene was honoured with the Excellence in Road Transport Award at the Women in Industry Awards. This was followed in September by the inaugural Female Leadership Award at the Australian Freight Industry Awards. These awards are evidence of what can be achieved with determination and hard work and are further testament of her contribution to the industry over the span of her career.

“If women want an exciting career in an industry that not only offers equal opportunities — but a career with a huge variety of roles and skills that are easily transferable overseas — then joining the transport and logistics industry is perfect. There is also a lot of fun to be had which is also important.”

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