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Empowering Our Female Truckers

How One Mother-Daughter Truck Driving Team is Raising Awareness for Breast Cancer

Photo: Courtesy of Daimler Trucks North America

Mothers and daughters have a deep bond; so do truck driving teams. Combine the two and you have something special: Team Lewis.

Dorwenda Bynum Lewis and her daughter, Sanaye, are drivers for Werner Enterprises and since 2015 they have logged the equivalent of 18 circumnavigations of the globe. That’s more than 460,000 miles of together time in the close confines of a truck cab. That’s a long haul for any relationship, but Dorwenda says their miles together have been smooth.

“Getting to travel the United States with your best friend as a part of your job is amazing. The fact that we’ve done every part of this process together, from driving school to training for several weeks to getting our own truck, we have been able to encourage one another through the good and bad days,” she says.

The opportunity to spend more time together was a plus, says Sanaye: “Once we read up about the industry and the ability it gave us to spend more time together, we jumped at the opportunity to embark on a new adventure — something we haven’t regretted!”

More than pink

Currently, the Massachusetts-based team shares time behind the wheel of a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® truck. The Freightliner new Cascadia® is wrapped in white and gray with the familiar pink ribbon and the messages “More Than Pink” and “Team Lewis.” It was presented to the team by Werner and Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). Werner’s second Race for the Cure Cascadia, also presented by DTNA, is driven by Shannon Palmer who joined Werner in 2015. It has nearly 300,000 accident-free miles and trains female driving students.

The Race for the Cure trucks and their message have a special resonance for Team Lewis as well as Shannon Palmer because Dorwenda and Shannon are both breast cancer survivors.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to drive the ‘More Than Pink’ Susan G. Komen truck, and to be a visual reminder for breast cancer awareness in people’s everyday commutes,” Dorwenda said.  

“We have always been extremely close but taking care of my mom during her breast cancer treatment brought us even closer,” Sanaye said. “In recent years, since driving with Werner, people just refer to us as ‘the mother-daughter team,’ which we love.”

The Lewis’s are captains of Werner’s Road Team, representing Werner as driver ambassadors and working to improve communication between drivers, customers and the front office.

Supporting female drivers

“We’re honored to have two trucks in our fleet supporting the Susan G. Komen organization’s mission for research, community health and global outreach,” said Werner Enterprises President and CEO Derek Leathers. “Dorwenda, Sanaye and Shannon are exemplary ambassadors for Werner and inspirational women in the transportation industry.”

“We’re proud to support the work of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure because there’s no doubt that breast cancer has touched many of our lives,” added Steve Mignardi, director of national accounts, Daimler Trucks North America. “It was our privilege to present Werner with the two custom-wrapped new Cascadias, and we’re pleased that Team Lewis and Shannon will use the trucks to advocate for the critical importance of breast cancer research on our nation’s highways.”   

Though women are underrepresented in the trucking industry, Werner’s female driver workforce nearly doubles the national average. Dorwenda encourages other women to consider joining the transportation industry as drivers, dispatchers, managers, and customer service representatives.

Both trucks will make an appearance at Race for the Cure events in October. Team Lewis will be at the Komen Nebraska Race for the Cure on Oct. 7 in Omaha, Neb., while Palmer will be at the Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 6.

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