In the fourth edition of this special series spotlighting some of the women leaders of our industry, we feature Theresa-Jasmin Meyering, Trainer and Bus & Coach Business Manager at Meyering Verkehrsbetriebe.
How would you describe yourself?
Determined, tenacious, patient, competent and qualified.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in your career?
Sexism and prejudice.
I had to battle to be accepted as equally able and combat the inherent biases towards female knowledge.
How did you overcome them?
I have learnt to not take everything personally, as well as using the fact that I can be underestimated to my advantage.
I always remain friendly and professional when speaking up for myself.
Having increased my commitment and involvement, I ensure that I am present for my colleagues, adapting the workplace to their needs.
What has been your experience as a female leader at Meyering Verkehrsbetriebe?
Female leaders bring more empathy, which helps to create more employee and customer engagement than traditional top-down management styles.
I also believe that a young leadership demonstrates that a company has a future with many opportunities ahead. It’s a tremendous asset and selling point!
What is your recommendation to women who wish to grow professionally?
Work with your strengths and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Connecting with people and understanding each other’s work also helps a lot!
Finally, don’t let challenges discourage you. They are great learning opportunities.
What do women bring to the road transport industry?
A female point of view, more inclusivity, and a weapon against “toxic masculinity”, as well as promoting a more compatible work-life balance.
What is Meyering Verkehrsbetriebe doing to attract more women bus and coach drivers?
When it comes to attracting more women drivers, it’s really the same as attracting new male drivers.
There are some steps that we can take as a private company, such as ensuring that women are aware of the great opportunities in our sector, the flexibility of the profession, and the modern tools we work with. But it’s really governments and the EU that have to do most of the heavy lifting.
We have to lower the minimum driving age to 18. Young people cannot wait until they turn 21 to begin their professional careers. They want to start working as soon as they finish school – understandably so.
We also have to remove some of the hurdles and minimise the training that drivers have to go through to what is essential and effective. Having to pass exam after exam can be quite a hindrance. Unnecessary, repetitive exams really damage the appeal of the profession. Their frequency can even limit their effectiveness.
At Meyering Verkehrsbetriebe, we are fortunate to have our own training facility, but the current regulations hamper its potential. The regulations that we need to follow are very narrow, not pragmatic, and often outdated – thus not suited to current needs and technologies. They’re really a disservice to the profession.
In a way, the good thing is that the strategy to attract more male or female drivers are very similar. There is a lot of room for improvement. But it’s time for politicians to get to work!