The fifth annual Celebrating Women in Trade luncheon took place at the Grand Ballroom of the Long Beach Convention Center earlier this month, where a heavy equipment operator, port construction manager, shoe company executive and maritime university student encouraged the over 300 attendees, 160 of those female high school students, to explore careers in the shipping industry.
The educational outreach event was first created during the Port of Long Beach’s (POLB) 100th anniversary, according to the release.
During the event, the second annual Advancing Women in International Trade Award was given to Carolyn Martin, a goods movement industry legend who retired in 2014 following a 42-year career with International Transportation Service (ITS), which operates the oldest container terminal at the POLB, according to the POLB post-event report.
“It wasn’t easy for our women trailblazers,” said Harbor Commission Vice President Lou Anne Bynum, the event’s emcee, in a statement. “That’s why we owe it to them to build on their hard-won successes, and offer this platform to encourage young women to consider international trade as a career path.”
Martin began her career as executive secretary to ITS’ assistant vice president of Customer Service. As a pioneer in terminal operations design, including entry and exit gates, Martin worked with programmers to computerize import operations and helped set up ITS’ facilities in Oakland, New Jersey and Tacoma.
In a panel discussion during the event, women who currently work in the industry spoke on inspiration, education, their career paths and described their typical workday, according to the port. Participants in the panel were Elena Armas, a cargo-handling heavy equipment operator and member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU); POLB Director of Construction Management Suzanne Plezia; Karla Strasser, Vice President of Import Allocation and Planning at Skechers and Halley Hogan, a Cal State Maritime Academy student.
Students and teachers from all Long Beach Unified School District high schools, as well as St. Anthony High School, were also given the chance to attend and participate in several table discussions facilitated by the industry professionals.
“To see how large this event has become warms my heart,” Martin said in a statement. “We’re unleashing this power in young women so they know they can and will make a difference in this industry.”
Image courtesy of the POLB.