Managing people

Female leaders who really deliver

Let's look at how CouriersPlease has increased female leadership in a traditionally male-dominated industry. 

8 March 2023

With a 40-year heritage, CouriersPlease prides itself on a supportive culture, diverse team, and a high-performing female workforce. The company’s senior leadership team comprises 62% women, up from 50% in early 2022.   

Chief operating officer Janine Zammit said supporting and nurturing women was inherent in CouriersPlease’s culture.  

“A dedication to bringing and supporting women in the industry permeates across our company and starts at the top with our senior leadership team,” Ms Zammit said. 

Driving success 

 CouriersPlease is particularly proud of its franchisee network of small-business owners, many of them women who are kicking goals in a traditionally male industry.  

Across its operational roles, female franchise territory managers are also well-represented – more than a third (36%) of those who hold such roles at CouriersPlease are women. These roles work directly with franchise partners, working alongside them as well as supporting and overseeing them. 

Shannon Menzies is one of CouriersPlease’s longest-serving team members. She joined the company as a relief driver nearly two decades ago before starting her business as a franchise partner 13 years ago.  

“I’ve been in the transport and logistics industry for my entire career, as I love driving, physically active work and the outdoors. I also love connecting with people in the community I serve, and building strong relationships,” Shannon said. 

 Since starting as a franchise partner, Shannon has maintained her run in Brisbane’s Salisbury and Robertson as a one-woman business, and she completes more than 100 daily deliveries to industrial, commercial and residential areas. 

Another Brisbane franchise territory manager, Jasmin Ginn, manages a fleet of 28 franchise partners and depot staff. Jasmin joined the company more than a decade ago as a customer service agent before rising through the ranks to become one of its most dedicated and successful franchise territory managers in 2017.    

Meanwhile, in Adelaide, franchise partner Carolyn Van DeLeur joined CouriersPlease as a relief driver five years ago before purchasing her first territory as a franchise partner in 2021. Since starting her business, Carolyn has seen exponential growth in parcel volumes and now delivers to 140 to 190 customers a day across several Adelaide suburbs, including Blakeview, Evanston South and Elizabeth.  

She takes great pride in her work, forging close connections and relationships with her customers, many of which are small businesses, and maintaining a strong, steady revenue over the past two years.  

 Breaking down barriers 

 Hannah Dunlop, head of people and culture, said building a diverse workplace had been crucial to the company’s continued success.  

 Ms Dunlop has been in the transport and logistics industry for her entire career. At 28, she is the youngest team member at CouriersPlease to hold a senior leadership position. Since taking on her new role, Ms Dunlop has been instrumental in hiring women in key roles, supporting the company’s CEO in finding key talent.  

“The presence of women in senior leadership at CouriersPlease speaks to a genuine and organic culture where women feel safe and empowered in roles which have been traditionally performed by men,” Ms Dunlop said. 

 “The power of physically seeing women succeeding in senior roles cannot be underestimated. It breaks down the stigma associated with women in leadership, particularly in an industry such as transport and logistics. We have started to see more and more females in our junior and mid-level leadership roles, and that is a direct result of our people witnessing the possibility and opportunity that our culture presents to them. 

 “Like any business, the challenge for us is to convey to our workforce that our female leadership is genuine and not a quota or ‘tick-box exercise’. Their performance speaks for itself. Our women, and men, in these roles, are exceptional leaders, communicators and performers and that alone shows that we appoint the best person for the role, regardless of their gender.” 

 Ms Dunlop said the company linked all initiatives to the company’s purpose, core strategic pillars and/or overall vision.  

The strategy is regularly communicated to the workforce via all-company meetings, toolbox discussions, collateral and the Franchise Advisory Council.  

“This regular communication means everyone knows how they personally contribute to our success,” she said. 

“It also means that our workforce has the confidence that the programs we implement have been selected because they contribute to our strategy, people and goals. Additionally, we operate under a set of meaningful values that underpin the way we do things, and we actively celebrate when our people demonstrate these values through our monthly recognition programs.  

“Each leader on our senior leadership team represents a particular function in our business, giving a voice to the different groups of people and customers, and the impact decisions and programs may have on them.” 

The company has regular remuneration reviews that evaluate and address any gender pay gaps, along with reporting annually to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. 

 Ms Dunlop has also helped initiate programs that have benefited both men and women, including the company’s graduate program. 

Looking ahead to the future, the business plans to redesign and improve its succession planning processes.  

“Up until now, our succession planning has been effective but relatively informal. As we grow, we would like to formally identify genuine pathways for promotion within our business, and provide up-and-coming talent with the tools to be successful in those roles,” Ms Dunlop said.  

“This will also strengthen our ability to identify top talent within our front-line channels, which will naturally increase opportunity for women in our business.” 

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