Tawana Randall got her start in trucking almost six years ago when she decided to invest in a truck with her partner. “We had the funds to purchase a truck but no education,” said Randall. Shortly after her big investment, and leaving corporate America, they failed in the industry. Even though Randall was surrounded by family and friends in trucking for most of her life, she learned that “trucking is definitely not easy if you don’t have the proper training.”
Starting over again, Randall invested her time in learning the ins and outs of trucking with formal training. “I came back around, stronger than ever,” said Randall who attributes most of her success to finding the right mentors early on. “When I first entered trucking, no one wanted to tell me anything. I’d get a lot of ‘I don’t remember how I did that’ or ‘I don’t remember where I got that contract from’.”
Tristen Simmons of Lady Logistix and Samantha Smith of Advanced Transport Solution were Randall’s first introduction to helpful women in the transportation industry. “They really took me under their wings and showed me what community in trucking should look like.”
Simmons and Smith played a part in Randall’s career, that they inspired her to give back to her community, as well. Together, they co-founded Leading Ladies of Logistix with Vanessa Gant of Precision Accounting Solutions. The group provides mentorship and education opportunities for women of color looking to enter trucking.
“It’s such a male-dominated industry. We have to work double hard to earn respect and let men know that we’re in this, we’re educated, and most importantly, we can do this, too,” Randall continued, “even after four years of Leading Ladies of Logistix [and despite the name], people are still surprised to learn that women own their own trucking companies.”
Randall’s main goal is to infuse confidence in all women of color at the start of their trucking careers. “Most of us are taught that you have to work for someone else. Our job is to mentor and encourage people like us to start their own companies.” In response to the pandemic, Randall and her team worked to provide a “dispatch business in a box” for mentees, providing laptops, 6-month subscriptions to load boards, a transportation management system (TMS), and educational opportunities — all free of charge.
“I figured, if I can give all the tools someone needed to get started, then let’s go,” said Randall. And she did just that. Randall’s dispatching business, Gold Star Logistics Group, LLC, grew from nine dispatchers to 14 — providing job opportunities to those who had been laid off due to COVID.
Being a single mom to a 15-year-old son with autism, Randall knows what it’s like to overcome hardship first-hand. “I was at Emory University for 12 years with good benefits and good insurance. During COVID, I considered going back to corporate America but I realized I just needed to work harder.” Randall is also a Lupus survivor, noting “some days you get out of bed and your joints don’t work, you can’t breathe — but you’ve got to get up and keep going!”
Randall has not only defied the odds as a successful entrepreneur but demonstrates what it means to be a leader in the industry, every day. And she notes that it takes a village. “I’m grateful for my community. My mom, boyfriend, and kids have been my biggest supporters and I know a lot of people don’t have that,” Randall said. “Don’t take life for granted. COVID might be a part of our lives forever, but you have to make the best of the time you have here — it’s the only chance we get.”