Laurice Burrell has just been appointed General Manager at Rhenus Logistics, a promotion of a female senior executive is welcomed in the rather male-dominated industry.
Managing Director Dirk Goedhart says: “Diversity and inclusivety are key components of the Rhenus culture. Laurice Burrell has been appointed to the executive position of General Manager to bring not only her remarkable leadership qualities but a fresh and diferent perspective to management that will assist in negotiating what I anticipate may be difficult roads ahead.”
To highlight the importance of women in transport, Laurice Burrell shares her views on the role of women in logistics.
Was it a dream of yours to work in logistics and transport?
Before I joined the logistics industry, I was involved in the import and export of stocks in the corporate gifting industry. This sparked my interest in global trade and in 2009 I joined an international freight forwarder in a finance role. Here, I discovered the incredible complexity and dynamics of the global freight market. With a woman’s eye for detail, I enjoyed how each part of the industry is so different – and which you need to fully understand, to move a consignment successfully. Not one day is ever the same. When you feel you need to challenge yourself, all you need to do is move to a different part of the industry.
You can spend an entire lifetime in logistics and still be constantly challenged and your mind expanded every day. Being in freight forwarding exposes you to so much more than ‘transport’ but rather an understanding of global market trends that influence every decision you make for clients. If you embrace the ever-changing environment and daily learnings, you will love this industry.
How has the logistics landscape changed in the last 12 years?
We live in a completely different world today. Let’s just take the past year, during the pandemic: rates have soared; transit times have become unreliable; airfreight capacity has decreased drastically. Adaptability is esential for business growth in this environment, and Rhenus has swiftly adapted.
More importantly, the industry has become more inviting and accepting for women. We have proved our worth – though we have had to earn our position today - through strong administration and planning skills.
Can you tell us about your journey to where you are now?
After a few months in the industry, I realised that my passion lies with operations, and I moved into airfreight, predominately dealing with Africa. Thereafter I was appointed head of Air, Road and Ocean operations within the exports mining division. I excelled in customer service and made the obvious carreer step to Client Service Manager at Rhenus Logistics in 2017. After four years I was promoted to my current position of General Manager, from September 2021. I am thrilled and very excited about this. My motivation is to make a difference and add value to everything I am part of, whether it’s supporting my team and helping them grow as individuals; or leading from the front, which is my management style.
How do you think the transport and logistics landscape may change?
Digitalisation is a crucial driver of change in the industry. Live data is key for the transparency of global processes. Diversity is another change: women have come a long way - the value we add is increasingly recognised and I expect more woman to find careers in logistics. Diversity – not only of gender, but also of race - is key to drive competitiveness and productivity. As women, we see things differently, adding immense value to our solutions.
How does Rhenus Logistics support women?
As an equal opportunity company that embraces diversity, Rhenus focuses on empowering employees, giving each the opportunity to grow and define their optimal career path, globally. Employees receive regular training, the chance to study and complete industry certification, and support.
Goedhart adds: “I wish to congratulate Laurice on her promotion - she epitomises female leadershiop qualities of attention to detail amd humanity, with leading from the front.”