By Brian Dunn

Ever since she was a young girl, Tracey Raimondo, Vice-President Logistics, Normandin Transit, knew she would follow in the footsteps of her father, Peter Raimondo, who also worked in logistics at CN Rail, then at Alcan.

“I’m the third generation of my family that worked in logistics,” she said at the Traffic Club of Montreal (TCM)’s third annual International Women’s Day luncheon on March 6 at the Auberge Saint-Gabriel. TCM is a non-profit organization which has been bringing together transportation and logistics professionals since 1926. Its mandate is to unite transportation, logistics and industry partners in professional networking venues. The club’s mandate also includes giving back to the community. In the last two years, it has donated more than $43,000 to the Children’s Wish Foundation and will be presenting it with another cheque for over $22,000 at the Club’s Annual Dinner on March 27.

This year’s luncheon theme was “Inspiring Change” and Ms. Raimondo alluded to how times have changed since her father’s days at CN. “When he started to work for CN Rail in 1953, married women were not allowed to work for the railroad. If a female employee woman got married, she had to resign. Can you believe it? Actually, it was not too long ago that women were not allowed to become members of the Traffic Club of Montreal. In 1981, my father, while he was Director of Distribution at Alcan, sponsored TCM’s first female member, who later became the organization’s first female President; Mrs. Arlene Mowatt in 1993.”

After studying transportation at Cegep, Ms. Raimondo began her career in the operations department of a trucking company. She wanted to be a sales representative, but was told she was too young. She continued to work in operations where she analyzed how the logistics chain worked. “Pretty soon, I was ready for a change and felt I could tackle the challenge of being a sales rep. A year later, I started a career as a representative for an international forwarder and have never regretted my choice.”

Interested in expanding her logistics knowledge, Ms. Raimondo took courses at the Canadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation (CITT) and joined its Quebec Council as a committee member after graduation. “I decided to devote my time to this very worthy educational institute as a means of driving change. There have been three women Chairs of CITT’s Board of Directors: The first, Judy McKeown in 1998; the second, Sue Collins in 2001, and myself in 2007. Catherine Viglas, CITT’s President, is the only female president we have had– she started in April of 1999. CITT recently changed its designation name to CCLP (CITT Certified Logistics Professionals).

“At CITT changes occur rapidly. Last summer, our membership was seventy per cent male, and thirty per cent female. That gender gap is closing; students working towards becoming certified members are currently sixty per cent male and forty per cent female.

After devoting over 15 years working and chairing CITT committees and being a Board member for over seven years, Ms. Raimondo’s dedication was recognized when she received the CITT Award of Excellence in 2013. “In the end, I received just as much as I gave to CITT. I have made very good friends, and met many incredible people and I am grateful for that.”

In 1990, Ms. Raimondo joined her brother Eric’s newly-founded company, AA-Options Transport Consultants, a third party logistics company, which provided both of them with a great experience of managing operations, sales and administration of the business. In January, 2007, the company merged with Normandin Transit, a less-than-truckload and truckload asset based carrier with services throughout North America. Ms. Raimondo said she was lucky to have Mme. Normandin as a mentor after the two companies merged. “What an honour to collaborate with other tremendous teams to reach our mutual goals. The real heart of this industry is the quality of human relations and real team work.

“We have been managing change in our industry for quite a long time and we see it changing faster and faster. How do we manage change? By challenging the status quo, in the actions we take and the little things we do right. By helping and supporting the people around us, by participating in collective efforts, and by participating in our industry functions. Supply chain management is a service industry. We share similar interests and challenges, and an organization like the Traffic Club of Montreal allows us to cultivate and promote our business partners and networks.”

The current president of the Traffic Club is Rose DiSalvo of DB Schenker of Canada, who replaced Lark Ford of “K” Line Canada. Ms. DiSalvo will be replaced by Christine Vucko of CN in April, TCM’s seventh female President, and the first time in its history that the club has had three female presidents in a row.

Women have been called the biggest untapped opportunity for Canada to become an economic powerhouse, and is lagging behind the global movement to invest in women, according to Carleton University’s Centre for Women in Politics and Public leadership. In a report, the centre says a 20 per cent increase in total revenues among majority female-owned companies would add an additional $2 billion annually to the Canadian economy, as women create new jobs at four times the rate of the national average.