We are delighted to announce that Diane Ward, our Deputy CEO, was awarded the winner’s trophy at Everywoman Transport and Logistics Awards in the Industry Champion Award sponsored by Asda.
The awards, which represent some of the best professionals in the industry, and have been celebrating outstanding women in Transport and Logistics for 16 years, were held at The Londoner Hotel, Leicester Square on 28th June 2023.
Diane, who has worked in the industry for over 30 years has had a superb career which saw her start initially with Unilever in the warehouse for 18 months before joining the army and completed four years’ service holding roles as Brigadiers Driver and HGV driver in the Logistics Corp.
With her appetite whetted for a career in logistics, Diane began a career with Wilkinson’s beginning that career as a Class 3 Driver, the first female driver in the business.
Diane then moved into the warehouse as an order picker to be more hands on and to learn more about the industry. In that environment she quickly became aware that, at the time, females were under-represented and that opportunities to explore more ‘typically male’ roles were not afforded. As a union rep she began to drive change to ensure females were recognised as valuable employees in all roles, irrelevant of gender.
Application to the groups management training course saw Diane succeed as the first female to be accepted onto the programme.
Diane left Wilkinson’s to join Carlton Forest Group in 2009 as Operations Director when the business had just 500 pallets in its 100,000 sq ft warehouse.
Diane soon made her mark, growing the business and building a strong, professional team. Her success was recognised with a promotion to Chief Operating Officer, and it was during this time (2020 – 2023) that the business grew to its current position of 1.4m sq ft, four sites, 150 staff and a turnover of £20m.
As she turned 60, Diane was promoted to Deputy CEO.
Empowering women to push gender stereotypes has been a key part of her approach to business success, especially in the early part of her career when the role distinction between men and women was more evident.
Upon receiving the award Diane said; “It is absolutely fantastic to be in a room full of such like-minded women. I’d especially like to thank my team, and Mark, and to all the young girls in the room, starting their careers, never give up, ever.”
At the awards, Mark Pepper CEO, was also shortlisted for Industry Champion of the Year Award and Lisa Tomlinson won, Supply Chain Leader Award.
Other finalists in the Industry Champion Category were from Coca-Cola, Royal Mail, AAA Taxis and Air Cargo Royal Air Force.