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Black Team Members’ Excellence Drives Company Culture

We strive for excellence in all we do and our inclusive culture is essential to achieving that.

Two team members represent this commitment as Crowley Culture Movers and demonstrate excellence in their work, with their teams and within the communities we serve. Angela Smith, a land transportation capacity manager, and Willie Atkins, a supply chain services specialist, pave the way for future generations of industry leaders through their talent, integrity and growth. In this way, they embody Black excellence.

Using Mentorship to Propel Progress 

With nearly 10 years at Crowley, Smith often takes on a mentorship role for new hires and early career colleagues.

Angela Smith

 “Mentorship plays a crucial role in developing future leaders in the maritime industry. Especially when the mentors are of diverse backgrounds,” said Smith about sharing her experience and approach through mentoring.

Mentors seek to be role models and to guide mentees in developing leadership skills, such as decision-making, problem-solving and effective communication.

“In my experience with mentoring, the most value comes from being relatable to the mentee. I share my experiences, failures and insights along with real-life examples to help outline concepts and decision-making frameworks,” said Smith.

Mentoring relationships at Crowley allow mentees to learn from more experienced professionals and ask questions in a space that allows for exploration and learning. Through guided conversations around career goals and planning, mentors can often direct mentees toward opportunities that align with their passion and interests. Which makes employees excited to grow their careers within the industry.

In Smith’s experience, effective networking and relationship-building are essential in all aspects of life. However, they hold particular significance within the logistics industry. She makes sure to teach that to her mentees. “I help them recognize the importance of establishing strong connections with stakeholders to achieve optimal outcomes for the company and its customers.”

Bolstering Collaborative Teams with Inclusion 

Fostering excellence requires open-mindedness—even if it means charting into new territory. At Crowley, we strive for a culture that allows experimentation and innovation in collaborative environments – a commitment that complements Black excellence as well as the advancement of diverse team members.

“I foster collaboration and teamwork by embracing diversity and inclusion. I always make a point to convey clearly that I value different perspectives and ideas,” said Smith.

With a year and a half at Crowley, Atkins works to dispel misconceptions he experiences that diversity and inclusion only progress or show up at the leadership or managerial levels. He believes small gestures during daily work, such as using virtual backgrounds to display messages promoting inclusion or showcasing diverse identities, have a more significant impact.

To Smith, actions that encourage team members at all levels to bring their personal experiences to the table lead to more innovative solutions and a more vital team dynamic.

Challenges Chart a Path for Black Excellence and Culture to Shine

Willie Atkins

“When most people think supply chain, they think of hands-on jobs like warehousing or trucking—both of which are integral components of the supply chain life cycle,” said Atkins. “However, through my experience, I can provide insight into jobs many people may not immediately think of or know exist.”

Of course, the actual test of excellence lies in how it responds to challenges. Both Smith and Atkins share the sentiment that Crowley’s culture embraces challenge as an opportunity to look toward progress.

“I believe that challenges are opportunities for growth and learning. I see them as stepping stones towards progress and an opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills. I also try to stay adaptable and open to change,” said Smith.

In a rapidly changing business environment, embracing change makes Crowley’s teams and culture stand apart. By approaching challenges with a willingness to be adaptable, our teams can drive positive change, overcome obstacles and contribute to the progress and growth of the business.

“I try to always approach challenges from the perspective of developing long-term, sustainable solutions. In the short term, it is easy to apply quick-fix solutions that produce the desired results under pressure,” said Atkins. “But committing the extra time and effort to produce a solution that can be maintained. Correcting a challenge moving forward is important for the future of our company and industry.”

For Atkins, solutions require a high level of collaboration.

“We encountered a challenge when a supplier suddenly implemented extensive paperwork requirements for our vessels. Understandably, our vessels found this new process burdensome and time-consuming,” he explained. “I partnered with them and tackled the supplier’s paperwork challenge by pre-filling forms where applicable to ease the burden, improve efficiency and optimize our process.”

Smith and Atkins represent Crowley’s values—integrity, sustainability and drive. Even as our business changes and the world shifts, we ground ourselves in our people and our promise to forge relationships based on trust and respect. These relationships last long and create a shared vision for the future.

Between innovations in energy and sustainability and a diverse and exciting talent pool, the future of our industry is bright. We look forward to continuing to welcome and support Black excellence within our organization.

We are committed to growing the leadership and development of our people within the organization. Our goal is to foster a culture that is honest to our values and champions diversity of experiences and inclusion of perspectives while encouraging innovation. We have many opportunities available where your skills, knowledge and experiences can Carry The World. Forward.