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Steady as She Goes

By on March 1, 2016

In nautical terms, the phrase, “Steady as she goes,” refers to an instruction from the captain to the helmsman to keep the ship heading steadily on the same course, regardless of wind gusts or cross currents. This time-honored phrase also applies to Wyzeena Heeny, a 14-year veteran driver-trainer for Covenant Transportation Group.

Since completing driver training and earning her CDL in 2001, Wyzeena has continued to learn and has inspired others to learn. The Orlando, Florida native’s transition from student, to a driving job, to a driving career, to a trucking industry advocate would make any company or organization proud to have her as member of the team.

She’s a believer in learning the ropes, seeking advice from others, broadening horizons, and cross training. About six years into her career, Wyzeena was asked if she would consider becoming a trainer. As you might expect, she gave it some thought, talked with some of her mentors, and reached out to those already working in that capacity. She wanted to fully understand the responsibilities, the challenges, the risks and rewards. She only wanted to learn how that role helped others grow and how she could be a difference maker—both professionally and personally.

Training Others

Wyzeena agreed to give the driver-trainer role a try. The results speak for themselves. She has trained more than 50 drivers in the last seven years. Each student or two-person team is on board for six to seven weeks. Handling live loads, students learn more than 40 essential functions in and around a big rig. Beyond that, they’ll expand their understanding of life on the road based on some of Wyzeena’s favorite words including courtesy, respect, responsibility, communication, professionalism, mentoring, teamwork, focused, success, optimism and more. “I’m always concerned about those around me,” says Wyzeena. “Kind words make a difference in someone’s day.”

Along the way, Wyzeena developed an affinity for sharing, mentoring and volunteering. Through her employer, the Tennessee Trucking Association and Women In Trucking (WIT), you might find her conducting a safety class, speaking with students, handing out literature at a rest area, working a trade show floor or simply talking up the profession among those she encounters in her daily travels. Perhaps she’s partially responsible for 16 percent of Covenant’s drivers being women, more than double the industry average.

WIT Image Team

In 2015, Women In Trucking established its first-ever Image Team. Questions regarding safety records, previous awards and recognitions, volunteer service, and community involvement were included in the selection process. Applicants were also required to submit a 250-word essay explaining why they should be chosen. From 25 responses, ten finalists were selected and five Image Team members were named. Wyzeena Heeny was thrilled to be one of the five.

“I’m grateful to be chosen to help advance WIT’s mission,” says Wyzeena. “Representing WIT at public events and trade shows and with a range of industry leaders is an honor and a responsibility that I take very seriously. In addition to attracting drivers, I’d like to see more dispatchers, load planners, safety instructors and others join. In the future, we’ll hopefully see women running driver training schools for women, and more women in transportation leadership roles throughout state governments and Washington, DC.”

The steady-as-she-goes approach that has been a hallmark of Wyzeena’s career progression has served her well as she has added on new dimensions and her horizons have grown.

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