Women in brown

Celebrating the women who helped build UPS
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What’s the story: In a traditionally male-dominated industry, women have contributed at every level at UPS and made their mark at every turn along the way.

Why it matters: At UPS we’re committed to building a more inclusive and equitable company, and we’ve made attracting and retaining women in our workforce a priority. And our rallying cry – You belong at UPS – represents that long-term commitment and the progress we’re making.

Take a look at some significant firsts for women throughout our 115-year history:

UPS may have started in 1907 with two men, but women soon began filling the ranks as bookkeepers, telephone operators and administrative assistants. The women above were photographed in 1924.

During World War II, women were actively recruited to fill positions in operations, from sorting packages to loading and cleaning vehicles.

Mazie Lanham became the first woman package car driver, beginning her UPS career in 1943 in Los Angeles.

Arlene Westermeyer was UPS’s first woman pilot, joining the newly founded airline in 1988.

Lea Soupata was the first woman to serve on the UPS Executive Leadership Team. She became Senior Vice President of Human Resources in 1995. Today, four of the 11 members of the UPS C-suite are women: Carol B. Tomé (CEO), Kate Gutmann (President International, Healthcare and Supply Chain Solutions), Laura Lane (Chief Corporate Affairs Officer) and Charlene Thomas (Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer).

Ginny Odom became the first woman to achieve 25 years of safe driving at UPS and was inducted into the prestigious Circle of Honor in 1999. She was also the first woman to achieve 35 years of safe driving in 2009 and 40 years in 2014.

Carol B. Tomé is the twelfth CEO in UPS’s 115-year history and the first woman to serve in this role. She has also served on the UPS Board of Directors since 2003.

The UPS Board of Directors is currently comprised of 46% women, far above the average for other Fortune 50 companies. In addition to Carol, Kate Johnson, Eva Boratto, Angela Hwang, Ann M. Livermore and Christina Smith Shi also serve on the Board.

Did you know:

  • The UPS Foundation committed more than $3.3 million in grants and sponsorships to advance programs supporting women’s issues in 2021, including organizations like Spelman CollegeACCION International and Catalyst Inc.
  • Since 2018, 17,000 women and small business owners connected to the global economy through UPS’s Women Exporters Program. Last year, the program trained and coached 2,200 women on integrating their small businesses into the global economy.
  • The UPS Ignite program will strengthen 140 women-owned and underrepresented businesses through education, resources, networking and $100K in grants in 2022.

Go deeper: Explore how UPS is celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day here. And check out our Proudly Unstoppable Women-Owned campaign here

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