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The supply chain and courier operations industry is male-dominated, remaining steadily around 39 percent female year-over-over. The nature of the job, from long-distance travel to heavy-duty lifting in the warehouses, is not conducive to women, particularly those who are raising families. 

However, Carly Fliesher has noted a change in the male-dominated industry. Since 2012, she’s worked at Delivery Drivers, Inc. (DDI), a third-party HR administrator for independent contract delivery drivers, starting in sales and now as the VP of Strategic Partnerships. She even did a stint at GrubHub as a regional market manager before returning to DDI. 

DDI is an Inc. 5000 fastest growing company that has steadily grown over the past decade. When Carly started, there were only 13 full-time employees and now she’s helped hire one-third of the 70+ employees with 59 percent of them being women. COVID added an increased demand in delivery, and Carly spearheaded the company’s special driver survey, where DDI found a surge of females becoming delivery drivers. 52 percent identified as females, compared to 30 percent in years past.

Carly shares how to succeed in a male-dominated industry:

Listen and Show Empathy

Carly’s clients often said that they stayed at DDI because of the relationship she built with them. In sales, Carly says it’s important to listen to a person’s needs and concerns, and show empathy to the challenges their business may face. She believes that women think more about relationships with sales accounts and clients. From personal experience, she’s been able to get more out of her accounts with that approach. 

Learn About the Person Behind the Company

A lot of people in the sales and operations industry focus on a simple yes or no response when selling clients. Carly stood out because she intentionally looked for ways to relate to people. Before she talks to potential clients, she looks them up on social media. She recommends getting to know a client more by asking key questions like: How long were you in business? How did you create your company? What made you decide to get into this industry?

Know the Ins and Outs of your Industry

Carly’s industry is heavily focused on compliance, which varied state-by-state or by type of business, like a restaurant versus a courier service. She quickly found that using the wrong terminology can show your level of experience or worst, lose an account.

So how can companies in male-dominated industries be inclusive and supportive to bring in more females?

Keep Women Front and Center

Carly had to prove herself to clients and other industry players and she built a rapport now. She’s known as the ‘networker’ of the company and sits on a few industry boards, including one that is forming a women’s committee. She recommends companies keep women in front of clients from the start, and have their back if a client says something.