As a passionate supporter of women in business, DHL is challenging the stereotypes often seen in the male dominated logistics industry. This International Women’s Day we’re contributing to the conversation of ‘Each for Equal’, an initiative to raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.
From joining DHL when she had a young family to becoming an Operations Manager today, we’ve spoken to female leader Helen Mitchell about her career to date.
- What attracted you to work for DHL International?
I grew up feeling a part of the DHL family as my Dad works for the business, so always saw the red and yellow vans. I first took a role in the business myself when I had a young family, and part time roles were available in the warehouse, which suited my family life. Once I had joined DHL, I quickly realised that there was an opportunity to progress and build a career, and this is something that I was very keen to do.
- Have you found it challenging working in a male dominated industry? If so, how?
As a confident woman, I don’t feel that working in a male dominated industry has been any more challenging for me than any other. Here at DHL, you’re recognised for your abilities and your skill set rather than your gender. People management is a really important part of the role and I think being able to interact with people at all levels, and adapt my management style to best support each team member, is key.
- What qualifications/work experience did you have before you got this job?
Prior to joining DHL, I had no previous experience in logistics. I started as an Operations Processor in the warehouse, and found that I quickly fitted in with the team and was given more responsibility. The managers I have had at DHL have all supported my development and encouraged me to progress. Learning ‘on the job’, formal company training and management support has given me the platform to grow my career with DHL, and I’m now an Operations Manager.
- What does your job role involve (in brief)?
I am responsible for managing the Operations Agents within the Service Centre. This includes managing processes, people and appraisals, alongside reporting, finances and monitoring the couriers out in the field. It’s all about ensuring we are getting things right first time for our customers. At our Service Centre we have approximately 70 people working within the operation.
- What training have you had in company so far and are you encouraged to develop your career there?
DHL is the perfect company for development, and I’ve had many opportunities to experience this first-hand. I have graduated from one of DHL’s management programmes offered across our global business, CIM Supervisory, which is designed to equip supervisors with the skills needed to be an effective, people-focused manager. I’m also one of a small number of people in the business that has been invited to join a training programme to support my development through to a Service Centre Manager. I’m enjoying being challenged by this programme and in my current role and will hopefully progress to Service Centre Manager in the near future.
- What do you like best about your job and what do you find most challenging?
I enjoy coming to work every day and being part of an engaged and productive team. Every day is different, so that can be a challenge in itself! You never know what is going to happen, but it’s important to think quickly and resolve any issues asap, so that our customers get a great service. When the pressure is on, it’s still really important to keep the team’s spirits up, so at these times, we’ll take five minutes out, turn on the music and I’ll lead a ‘party dance’. People join in, or simply laugh, and then we’re all back to work in higher spirits, as a motivated team. Everyone sometimes needs that Friday feeling on a Monday morning!