Jessica Ip is one of six women in the senior management team of an Australia-wide logistics company who is challenging stereotypes in an industry traditionally dominated by men.
The chief transformation officer, who has been with CouriersPlease for three years, says the company is proud to have achieved a strong representation of women across its managerial and office support teams.
CouriersPlease’s senior management team is made up of 50% women, who lead an office support team of 54% women.
It is a far cry from the industry average, where 21% of employees in the transport, postal and warehousing industry are female, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Ip’s role as chief transformation officer straddles logistics and technology and she tells SmartCompany that women in her field are often overlooked for promotions because of what is commonplace.
“I think what traditionally happens in some organisations is you tend to move to what’s familiar and common,” she says.
CouriersPlease, which ships within Australia and to 200 countries, avoids only replacing staff members with employees from within the company, and instead looks externally for transferable skill sets in other industries that are more gender balanced, Ip says.
“So, it’s being a little bit brave to promote and recruit people that are from different walks of life that have different skill sets.”
Leading with empathy
Among the other senior managers at CouriersPlease are national human resources manager Daisy Jacobs, national customer service Manager Dharshi Bubb, and Clare Matthews, who is the company’s legal counsel.
Queensland state manager Tracy Baldwin and South Australia state manager Lisa Tedstone are two of five state leaders who lead the operations teams.
“Traditionally these roles [state managers] have been held by capable male leaders, but in the last two or so years we’ve seen two of these leaders replaced by females who have that logistics experience,” Ip says.
In Ip’s opinion, the upside of having a diverse team is that it brings with it a range of approaches to management and problem solving that can be more people focused.
“I’m supportive of consultative and empathetic approaches to managing our workforce,” she says.
But it has not always been smooth sailing for Ip, who has worked as a manager in various roles in sales and information technology for some years.
Earlier in her career, Ip was given feedback about her overly consultative management style. At the time, she says it was confronting, but she has since learnt to appreciate leading authentically.
“I’m here today because of my operating style and I choose to be consultative and take my colleagues and my team on the journey with me,” she says.
When asked how she came to lead an international team of 24 staff, Ip credits those who provided her with opportunities along the way.
“I do attribute my success and where I am now to those leaders that I have worked very closely with over the last decade,” she says.