28 May Donna Mullins: Stumbled into Logistics & Leading the Mantle
Consistency is a skill that relatively every professional must possess and it rewards you with enormous power to dominate the space you work in. Here is a woman who has put in 34 years of her career in the logistics industry – Donna Mullins. She began her career as an Import Agent and went on to become one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the international trade and logistics industry. In this blog, Donna is revealing how she stumbled into the logistics industry and how she held on to it for more than three decades.
34+ Years in the Logistics Industry
Donna says, “I stumbled into logistics and I was about 18 years old when I contacted my aunt for a job where she was working for an importer. She hired me for their showroom to take orders. Way back then, we had something called a Telex machine to send the overseas supplier orders for what needed to be shipped. I did that for a while and then they needed someone at the warehouse to do something called landed cost.”
She further said, “Later on my aunt took a job with our customs broker and I asked her to get a job for me too. In that job, they realized I was relatively fast with data entry. I had the job of an Import Agent where I entered data into our ABI system for customs release. In 1989, I became a Licensed Customs Broker. I held managerial positions for large organizations and in October 2002, I bought Alpha Sun International, a Customs Brokerage firm. I owned the company for 10 years and sold it. I was on board of the acquired company for a two-year transition period.”
“Later on, I formed Mullins International Solutions, which is a Compliance Training and Consulting firm for international logistics. Mullins International Solutions was chosen by Kale Logistics Solutions and I was their Senior Consultant for Kale Logistics Solutions before I joined the company full time. Now, I’m a Vice President in Kale Info Solutions USA which is a subsidiary of Kale Logistics,” she added.
Industry Then and Now
With a smile, Donna said, “From the time I entered the industry a lot has changed. When I first started the business, I used to say, for every pound of freight that moves, five pounds of paperwork has to move with it. It was because we were paper-heavy.”
She quotes the words of a policymaker and says, “In 1989, US Customs Commissioner William von Raab, said to the industry “automate or perish” and that was so many years ago. While most of the industry stakeholders have automated, still, in many arenas paperwork exists. Yet, the fact remains probably the reduction of paper-based information sharing is the most sweeping change in the industry.”
Talking about further transformations, Donna said, “There are a lot of regulatory changes that have happened. Now we have so many regulatory changes right from the screening of the cargo to screening of the documents to ensure safety of air cargo.”
Mentioning a common industry saying, Donna said, “I come from a logistics background and a successful day is moving 45 shipments a day. Now, a successful day is sitting for 14 meetings. I jokingly tell folks to work hard and play harder. During the work from home time, there is a work day and that consumes your entire day. And we forget to take enough breaks to replenish ourselves. One must always consider taking a strict break. I make it a practice to have a lunch break to replenish my nutrition both physically and mentally. I have a family and I make them my priority in the evening. On the weekends, I spend time with friends and volunteer for impoverished communities, serve food, prayers of love, etc.”
Working for Kale
“I have seen Kale that gives the same treatment to all employees regardless of nationality, gender, political or religious preference. Precisely, it is a non-biased open working environment. When I began, and even now, we see a lot of virtual meetings due to the pandemic. We have exchanged pleasantries and wonderful conversations through these meetings and our colleagues in Kale are very supportive, Donna said while talking about Kale.
Advice for Women Joining the Logistics Industry
Donna said, “My advice would be you are working in an industry where people don’t care about your gender. Therefore, it is important for a woman to come with an open mind and approach it as a professional individual.”
Summing it up
Career progression is all about being open-minded. Women, especially in the logistics industry, have broken the stereotypes and achieved great strides in corporate advancement. Donna Mullins is the best example to quote here. She has worked her way up that corporate ladder with an open mind and earned her position in the industry. She is also leading a 90% women workforce in Kale Info Solutions USA. All this because she came with an open mind and stopped at nothing.