If you’ve been in the trucking industry for a while, chances are you know the name Meghann Erhart. She currently serves as EVP of Relay Payments and has spent almost 20 years serving and being a part of the trucking industry while also being a mentor, mom, and innovator.
Meghann is known for being a leader who exhibits both grit and grace. Our marketing team recently sat down with Meghann to discuss her time in the industry, her memorable experiences, and how they’ve shaped her career.
Q: What drew you to the trucking industry initially?
In 2009, I did a 13-hour ride-along with seasoned driver Jerry Baker to truly understand the industry's challenges. I got to our meeting spot at 5am, wearing FR gear, and we spent 12+ hours on the road, loading tankers, unloading tankers, helping others, spending time in stores. Jerry was not easy on me – I did everything he did that day (that I was legally allowed to do). By the end of it, I was an utter mess and completely exhausted. I had dirt, grime, and hose gunk all over me. He snuck pictures and sent them to other drivers in the area showing how he was putting me through the grinder. Over 12 hours later, we pulled back into the lot, and he gave me a tire thumper. He told me I had won his respect for working hard, not giving up, standing up for myself, listening – and that I’d earned the respect of him and others by doing it. I made him sign that tire thumper, and I’ve displayed it in every office and every job for the last 14 years as a reminder of how hard drivers work each and every day.
That day was the first of many on a truck and left me addicted to the industry. I realized how hard trucking is, but I also fell in love with it. To this day, if I see Jerry, he swings me around and gives me a big bear hug. I’ve called him a lot over the years to ask his opinion on ideas or thoughts for drivers. Trucking is full of people like Jerry – great people who work hard and who want to be respected.
Q: What has kept you in the trucking industry for all these years?
The industry offers a ton of opportunities for growth and learning for anyone who’s willing to work hard. Whether it's technology, people, or processes, there's always something to improve upon, so there’s always opportunity. My mentors – both male and female colleagues – have supported my journey. I've always been drawn to the industry's realness and relationships, and the chance to make a meaningful impact.
Q: How has your role in the industry evolved and diversified over time?
My journey has been marked by a lot of adaptability. From playing a role in mergers and integrations to leading digital transformations, working in sales, building and leading high-performing teams, and contributing to product growth at Relay, I've worn many hats. But this diversity has allowed me to make a positive impact across various facets of the industry, and I’ve learned many new things along the way while also honing my leadership skills. It’s fun and invigorating when you’re learning something new and trying to solve different kinds of challenges while also making a difference and helping people.
Q: Who are some female figures you've looked up to in the industry, and what have you learned from them?
Oh wow! I have many and out of respect for them and our friendship, I won’t name drop any here. What I will say is that women in trucking have shown me, not just told me, how to balance a successful career in a male-dominated industry while also being excellent moms. I’ve received feedback from all levels of women in trucking and it all hits home. From “make sure your family knows where you are every time you travel” to “nap with your baby while you can and don't worry if they want to be held later” to “enjoy the kindergarten drop-off” to 13 years later “don’t miss a game senior season” to “if you leave right now, you can be home late tonight to surprise them for breakfast.” Their guidance has been instrumental in my growth and helped me to be successful in my career and as a mom.
Q: Working in a male-dominated industry, have you faced any stereotypes or challenges?
Throughout my career, even before I was in trucking, I've often been the only woman in the room, and yes, stereotypes and challenges have reared their ugly heads. After our first daughter was born, I was told by a co-worker that his wife was not going to work after their baby was born because “she recognized that being a mom was more important than having a career.” I’ve worn dresses at conferences and been asked who my husband was. I’ve been the one that took the notes and cleaned the whiteboard. I’ve been told I should hang out with the wives versus attending a networking event since I didn’t play golf. I’ve heard the comments of “Can you believe they gave a woman that job? What were they thinking?”
I don’t take it personally now. For me, it's a reminder that perceptions still exist, but change is happening too. For every one person who may have misperceived me, I've had many more supportive males who have helped me navigate challenges, who have stood up for me, who have taught me, who have told others to apologize, who have told me to sit at the table versus in the back row. I’ve had the privilege to learn a lot of this industry from men who did not give into stereotypes, who saw me as an equal or someone who was smart and would work hard without complaint. They took me under their wing, taught me the industry, and have been and continue to be my sponsors, my mentors, my friends.
Q: What advice would you give to women looking to enter the trucking industry today?
No woman should hesitate to join the trucking industry. It’s a fabulous industry where you can build an amazing career and be an amazing mom. I would wholeheartedly tell any woman to “do it” – to seize any opportunity within trucking. The trucking industry is one where hard work, intelligence, humility, and relationships really pay off. Whether in technology or people-focused roles, the industry offers a chance to learn and make a lasting impact.