Our Staff

 

Left to right: Lana Nichols, Brian Everett, Carleen Herndon, Ellen Voie, Karen Everett, Brynn Everett, Don Friddell, Michele Wade

Ellen Voie, President & CEO

Debbie Sparks, Vice President

Carleen Herndon, Member Services & Sales

Lana Nichols, Director of Programs

Brian Everett, Strategy & Management

Kellylynn McLaughlin, Driver Ambassador

Karen Everett, Membership Administration

Don Friddell, Marketing Strategy & Deployment

Brynn Everett, Marketing & Communications

Michele Wade, Managing Editor, Redefining the Road Magazine

Char Pingel, Director of Member Services

Robert Rothstein, Legal Counsel


 

Ellen Voie, President & CEO
Women In Trucking Association

Ellen Voie is an internationally recognized speaker and authority on gender diversity and inclusion for women working in non-traditional careers in transportation. She has been invited to speak to audiences in Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Viet Nam, France, Mexico, and Canada in addition to being a popular speaker at conferences throughout the United States.

As founder of the Women In Trucking Association in March of 2007, Voie currently serves as the nonprofit organization’s President/CEO. The Women In Trucking Association was formed to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, to remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and to celebrate the successes of its members.

Career:
Voie’s prior role was the Manager of Retention and Recruiting Programs at Schneider, Inc. She was responsible for creating corporate-level programs to encourage non-traditional groups to consider careers in the trucking industry and designed initiatives to eliminate (or reduce) irritants that lead to driver dissatisfaction, which ultimately affects turnover. She also was responsible for communication to drivers (newsletter, audio magazine and driver website).

From March of 2000 through January 2006, Voie served as the Executive Director of Trucker Buddy International, Inc., a pen pal program between professional drivers and elementary students. She had served on the Board for three years prior and had become familiar with the program and its mission, and under her guidance the organization grew to become an internationally recognized mentoring initiative.

Voie’s background in the trucking industry began as the assistant and later Traffic Manager for a steel fabricating plant in central Wisconsin. She then worked as a dispatcher for a grain hauling carrier before becoming co-owner of a small fleet. After starting a family, she used her background to become a freelance transportation consultant to carriers in Wisconsin, licensing and permitting trucks for more than 16 years. 

Education:
Voie earned her diploma in Traffic and Transportation Management in 1980 from LaSalle Extension University. In 2005, Voie earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the American Society of Association Executives, the leading authority in association management and a professional society for the association industry. In December 2008, she attended Tri-C Truck Driver Academy in Cleveland, OH to earn her Class A Commercial Drivers License (CDL). Voie earned her Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, where she completed her Thesis research on the complex identities of women married to professional drivers. In 2015, she completed the Strategic Leadership program at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State. In 2018, Voie completed the Finance for Strategic Decision Making program at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State. Voie also completed the Women In Trucking Professional Development Certification.

Recognition:
In July 2012 she was honored by the White House as a Transportation Innovators Champion of Change. She received the 2015 “Distinguished Alumna of the Year” award from her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Division of Communication. Voie also was named one of Supply & Demand Chain Executives magazine’s “2016 Pros to Know,” which honors select supply chain executives who are leading initiatives to help their clients, companies, or the supply chain community at large to prepare for the significant challenges in the year ahead. In May 2016, she was chosen as one of Fleet Owner’s Dozen Outstanding Women In Trucking. In 2017 Voie was named to Insight Success Magazine’s “The 50 Most Empowering Women in Business” and "The 30 Most Innovative CEOs To Watch."  In 2018, Voie was named by "Beyond Exclamation Magazine" as one of the "Top 10 Shepreneurs through the Glass Ceiling and Beyond," Aspioneer Magazine’s “2018 Flying High Women Leaders," and Insight Success Magazine’s “20 Successful Businesswoman to Watch,” as well as was named the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) “Transportation Person of the Year.” In 2019, Voie was named the Cinderella to CEO of the Year to recognize women who have overcome obstacles to change businesses, communities and industries for the better; The Leader's Globe "One of the Ten Most Successful Business Women Leaders"; CIO Magazine's "Women Leaders Making a Difference"; one of Insight Success Magazine's "Companies with Most Disruptive Innovation," The Business Berg’s “Business Achievers Making a Difference 2019,” Enterprise World’s, “Influential Women In Business 2019,” CIO Views Magazine included Voie in the December 2019 distinction, “The Path-braking Journey of 10 Influential Businesswomen"; Exeleon Magazine named the Women In Trucking Association as, “15 Best Companies to Work for in 2019,” and her blog "Ellen's Blog" was named Fronetics' Top Three Logistics and Supply Chain Blogs. In 2020, she was named by Business Brainiac magazine as one of, “The 10 Most Trailblazing Business Leaders to Watch in 2020,” and one of the “Top five coolest women making waves in the supply chain sector” by Supply Chain Digital.

Voie is the recipient of the Skinner Humanitarian award, presented annually to a trucking advocate in her state. In 2014 she was awarded the Frank W. Babbitt award from the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association. This annual recognition is given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding service to the trucking industry and association as a whole.  

In her effort to promote the trucking industry to the public, Voie helped found and organize Trucker’s Pride Day in Waupaca, Wisconsin, which grew to include thousands of visitors to this annual truck show. She convinced Governor Tommy Thompson to proclaim the event as a statewide “Trucker Appreciation Day” in Wisconsin. She also worked as an advocate for women married to truck drivers. She assisted in promoting and expanding the Families of Trucker’s Support Group, where she was active in providing a network for women who felt isolated because of their lifestyle.

In 2015, Voie was appointed to serve a two-year term on the FMCSA’s Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Motor Carrier Association and is a member of the Wisconsin DOT’s Motor Carrier Advisory Committee. She was involved in adapting the Wisconsin Driver’s Manual to include information on sharing the road with trucks. She also has served as chairwoman of the ATA Safety and Loss Prevention Council’s Recruiting and Retention committee and on the ATA Image and Communications Committee.

Voie served as President of Mensa of Wisconsin/Upper MI from 2010-2014. She also served on the Mensa of Wisconsin Foundation during that time. In 2013, she was elected to the board of directors of American Mensa and served as the Regional Vice Chair for two years. She serves on the board of directors for Transport for Christ International. She has also served on the Saint Christopher’s Fund board of directors and the Truck Writers of North America board of directors. Voie currently serves on the board of directors for the National Transportation Center where she is the Vice Chair.

Voie has written extensively about trucking and family issues, and her articles have appeared in print and internet magazines. She has also published a book, Marriage in the Long Run, a collection of some of her most popular columns. Her most recent book, Crushing Cones, was written to provide potential drivers with information on what to expect when attending driver training school. In addition to these, she created a workbook for professional drivers and their families which assists the driver’s family in coping with the time and distance apart.

Debbie Sparks, Vice President
Women In Trucking Association

Debbie Sparks is a passionate, dedicated executive with twenty years of marketing and operational leadership. With a strong background in brand identity, process improvement, and establishing vision and direction for growing organizations, Sparks has been instrumental for company success throughout her career. 

Although she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising and public relations from Loyola College, Sparks 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. 

In 2001, Sparks was introduced to the association world when she was hired as director of marketing for the American Trucking Association (ATA). There, she launched non-dues revenue programs including ATA Marketplace, endorsement programs, sponsorships, new product development and subscriptions. In 2006, Sparks became vice president for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), where she Increased member retention marketing and communications strategy, and launched an image campaign in partnership with Wreaths Across America (WAA) effectively humanizing trucking, a highly commoditized industry.  

After working with the WAA team for eight years as a volunteer responsible for logistics, a critical component to the success and growth of the organization, Sparks took on the position of director of transportation and community outreach. She currently drives the strategy to achieve the organization’s mission of placing a wreath on every veteran’s grave to Honor, Remember, and Teach, and is instrumental in the event planning, creative fundraising, and logistics. 

Not only is she passionate about making a difference to honor service members, Sparks has been an advocate for advancing gender diversity in transportation. She served two terms on the board of directors for the Women In Trucking Association (WIT), a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage employment, promote accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the transportation industry. She also served one term on the board of directors for the Women In Trucking Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports ambitious students, drivers, and professionals in the trucking industry who seek to grow their skills through classroom and vocational training. As a results-oriented non-profit senior executive in the industry, she was a perfect fit for vice president of WIT when the opportunity presented itself. Hired on in 2020, she is responsible for a number of new projects, including establishing a driver ambassador and managing WIT’s U.S. and Canadian Image Teams in addition to other duties.

In her free time, Sparks loves to put pen to paper as she is the co-author of the book series, Tripp Wheeler Adventures, a series that engages children’s interest in trucks and teaches them about the world around them, inspiring their spirit of adventure.  

Carleen Herndon, Member Services & Sales
Women In Trucking Association

From city life in L.A. to country living outside of Nashville, Herndon has accumulated more than 25 years of experience in a myriad of positions and industries in business development, sales, public relations, publicity, and marketing and communications. Her unique blend of experience and knowledge brings creative strengths, excellent communications skills, and diverse knowledge to the clients she serves.

She began her career as a publicist in L.A. and promoted such projects as Michael Jackson’s “We Are The World” and the Kennedy’s pet project “The Special Olympics.” A move to a small town in west Texas put her in the newspaper industry. She was hired by a local daily newspaper as a writer and was quickly promoted to Lifestyle Editor, Religion Editor, and columnist. Not only were several of her feature stories picked up by the Associated Press, she also received numerous writing awards for her stories and columns. She moved to Nashville where she worked as a publicist for country music artists, then at The Tennessean for 10 years in Creative Services. She has worked as the Marketing and Public Relations Director for Southern Shows, Inc.; Marketing a Sales Director for Cardiovascular Risk Assessment; and worked as an account executive in B2B sales for Sysco and Ricoh Business Solutions, and as a loan officer for Magna Bank and Sellers Financial Group.

In 2010, she was hired as Vice President of Business Development for MindShare Strategies, a full-service marketing and management firm that specializes in the transportation and logistics industries. There, she was involved in member services and sales for critical accounts for the firm, including NASSTRAC (the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Conference) and the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA). She now solely focuses on member services, conference sponsorships and exhibit sales for the Women In Trucking Accelerate! Conference, and sales of advertising for the Redefining the Road magazine.

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Lana Nichols, Director of Programs
Women In Trucking Association

Lana NicholsLana Nichols is Director of Programs for the Women In Trucking Association. She has been with WIT since May 2013 and is responsible for accomplishing project objectives set forth by the WIT Board of Directors. Prior to this position, Nichols spent nearly five years with Truckstop.com in New Plymouth, ID where she held the position of Product Manager and Technology Department Manager. During her tenure, she managed employees that consisted of software engineering, database administration, quality assurance and product development. She was also a member of the implementation team that successfully adopted the scrum methodology into the Tech group. Her experience with project management along with her implementation record make a positive contribution to the Women In Trucking Association.

Nichols received her MBA from Eastern Illinois University. She was raised in southern Illinois and currently lives in Idaho with her husband, Marcus, and their three children.

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Brian Everett, Strategy & Management
Women In Trucking Association

Brian EverettHe’s got a reputation as the “go-to guy” for marketing in the transportation and logistics industry. That’s because he has more than 25 years marketing, communications, and sales experience in transportation, warehousing, and logistics, with a special expertise in business strategy, B-to-B marketing, and association management. As Senior Partner of MindShare Strategies, Everett regularly provides marketing counsel to the firm’s key accounts. He is particularly well-connected to shippers as the former Executive Director of the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC). Currently, he serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA), and also provides strategic counsel for the Women In Trucking Association.

Everett also was Director of Marketing for C.H. Robinson for 10 years, and helped transform this low-profile company to one of the most widely known brands in the third-party logistics market when it went public in 1998.

Everett is known to be a “chronic volunteer” in industry associations. He has served on the board of directors for the International Association of Business Communications at the international, regional, and local chapter levels; on the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Twin Cities Roundtable; and was the Chairman of the Transportation Track for a recent Warehousing Education Research Council (WERC) annual conference. In fact, in recognition of his career experiences and passion for industry involvement, Everett was named the youngest recipient of TMSA’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

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Kellylynn McLaughlin, Driver Ambassador
Women In Trucking Association

Professional Over The Road CMV Driver & Training Engineer 
Schneider National  

Kellylynn is passionate about the trucking industry and is a tireless advocate for professional drivers. In addition to training new drivers to prepare them for the challenges they will face, she is also actively involved in sharing the “driver” perspective with decision makers in the industry. Kellylynn constantly seeks to raise awareness and educate the public about the vital role of CMV drivers and to encourage others, especially women, to consider professional driving as a career path.  

As the Women In Trucking Driver Ambassador, Kellylynn’s responsibilities include attending trade shows, truck stops and other events; assisting with legal requirements and logistics for commercial truck operation; providing media interviews; giving rides to legislators, regulators, and media; and increasing the number of driver members.

She is currently serving as a member of the Central & North Texas Freight Advisory Committee, the North American Strategy for Competitiveness and Truckers Against Trafficking.

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Karen Everett, Membership Administration
Women In Trucking Association

Karen EverettKaren Everett is skilled with numbers, statistics and data, and has an analytical mind to make sense of it all. With more than 25 years experience in administrative and executive management support roles, she’s able to put those skills to good use on behalf of the Women In Trucking Association, a major client of MindShare Strategies (a management and marketing firm that specializes in transportation and logistics).

Everett is an instrumental resource in leading such projects as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategies, establishing online surveys through MindShare’s research tools, and providing all client reporting on financial budgets and project billing. She’s skilled in all Microsoft Office software products, troubleshooting problems and leveraging technology at various levels of projects in a business environment that is built around Microsoft Office products and software-as-a-service (SAAS) platforms.

She and her business partner/spouse, Brian Everett, launched MindShare Strategies in 1997 and have grown the firm into a successful marketing enterprise. Previously, she worked as Office Manager at Ridgeview Business Health Services, in accounting and financial management roles with Holiday Companies and the University of Minnesota, and as a legal assistant at Callahan Gorman & Woodford.

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Don Friddell, Marketing Strategy & Deployment
Women In Trucking Association

Don is a seasoned marketing professional with nearly 20 years of experience in the logistics and financial services industries. He has successfully developed internal processes, implemented new technologies, and built marketing programs from the ground up. He is especially skilled at maximizing profits while working within a limited budget to create marketing plans, brands, teams, and campaigns to achieve short and long-term objectives year after year. Passionate about growing companies, he spent the last 16 years taking Kenco Logistics from $151M to $619M in net revenue by leveraging sales and marketing technology, digital marketing, public relations, and account-based marketing techniques.

In early 2019, Don was hired as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for MindShare Strategies, a full-service marketing and management firm that specializes in the transportation and logistics industries. There he focuses on delivering a consistent message that establishes strong brands and growth for the firm’s key accounts. He is responsible for Marketing Strategy and Deployment for Women In Trucking and serves as CMO & COO for the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association.

Don is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Marketing. In college, he was a graphic design major until his junior year when the fear of becoming a starving artist inspired him to transition to a major in marketing. This gives Don the rare talent of being both creative and analytical. 

Don lives in Chattanooga, TN with his wife Lindsey and 2 children. When he’s not working, he spends all his free time with his family and friends.

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Brynn Everett, Marketing & Communications
Women In Trucking Association

Brynn is a young professional starting out her career in marketing and communications. In 2016, she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication. Figuring out next steps to start her career, she took a temporary part-time position at her parents’ small marketing and association management firm specializing in transportation and logistics, MindShare Strategies, Inc. While originally a transitory position, she fell in love with the work she was doing and ultimately joined MindShare permanently in January 2017. Her main responsibilities include managing website, social media, and WIT e-Newsletter content, handling member communications, media relations, contributing to the Redefining The Road magazine, managing the Engage member collaboration platform; and providing project management support for various direct marketing, advertising, media relations, and event initiatives.

Brynn recently moved to Nashville, TN. She likes to spend her free time with her dog, Theo, going for walks, and checking out new restaurants in the city.

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Michele Wade, Managing Editor, Redefining the Road Magazine
Women In Trucking Association

Michele puts her 20+ years experience in transportation and business along with an English M.A. degree to good use acting as the Editorial Director of Redefining the Road, Women In Trucking Association’s (WIT) official magazine.  

Michele also is Account Director for MindShare Strategies, WIT’s association management company, and is adept at identifying key messages and relaying them in a meaningful way to target audiences. In this role, she employs a variety of tactics including research, media relations, advertising, e-marketing, and event marketing to help clients reach their business objectives. 

Prior to joining MindShare, Michele served as marketing communications coordinator at C.H. Robinson Company and as senior account executive at Weber Shandwick Worldwide, a global public relations agency. She’s enjoyed helping companies in such diverse industries as transportation, food, and specialty chemicals to build their brands in the B-to-B marketplace. 

Michele earned her M.A. degree from Marquette, University. Her work at MindShare has earned awards from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA), and the American Marketing Association (AMA).

When she’s not helping clients to meet their communications goals, Michele enjoys time with her family along with travel, reading, and yoga.

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Char Pingel, Director of Member Services
Women In Trucking Association

Char PingelChar Pingel has worked for the Women In Trucking Association since its inception in March 2007. From 2002-2007, Pingel served as Executive Assistant to Ellen Voie at Trucker Buddy International. She matched drivers and teachers in this pen pal organization; created the newsletters, brochures, and flyers; answered phone calls and letters; and attended truck shows.

Pingel worked at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for nearly 25 years. She managed a gift store and hired/trained over 300 students. Her work also included desktop publishing of The Interpreter’s Handbook Series (five books). She and her husband (a retired owner-operator) have been married since 1973. They have two children, one grandson, and two granddaughters.

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Robert Rothstein, Legal Counsel
Women In Trucking Association

Bob RothsteinRobert G. Rothstein is of counsel to Seaton & Husk, L.P. a transportation law firm with offices in Vienna, VA, and Nashville, TN. He serves the legal, legislative, regulatory, and business interests of motor carriers, household goods movers, private carriers, and logistics providers.

Rothstein received his undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Miami; his J.D. from the Shepard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University; and his L.L.M. in Labor Law from Georgetown University. He is admitted to practice in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and is also admitted to practice before several federal district courts and circuit courts of appeal. Rothstein’s practice is devoted cargo claim litigation, regulatory matters before the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and matters involving licensing, registration, and taxation of motor carriers by federal and state jurisdictions.

Rothstein serves as General Counsel to the Virginia Trucking Association. His civic involvement includes pro bono legal representation of trucking industry organizations Women In Trucking Association and Trucker Buddy International. He maintains a valid Class A Commercial Drivers License and logs at least one cross-country trip each year behind the wheel of an eighteen-wheeler.

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