Prime Logistics is busier than ever right now, responding to the onslaught of fresh-cut flowers used the world over to celebrate International Women’s Day. Nonetheless, we were able to snip out a moment to meet with one woman in business that has not only made significant contributions to the company’s success, but to the global logistics industry as well.
By her example, Prime Logistics Sales Manager Yulieth Onofre is paving the way for emerging female leaders in air cargo and international import/export – fields that up until only recently have been dominated by men.
Having joined the Miami-based sales team in March 2020, Yulieth was initially brought on due to her many years of experience – and solid contacts – within the ocean-freight side of the business. As a result, Prime Logistics has significantly expanded in this important niche in recent years, while also depending on her to help bolster all other commercial efforts on the freight forwarding side of the operation.
It is fitting that we talk with Yulieth in the days leading up to International Women’s Day, an annual worldwide event that serves as the anchor for Women’s History Month on March 8. This is the time of year countries all across the world take pause to celebrate the accomplishments of women and to recognize their strengths in business, at home, and in every aspect of society.
Here’s what we learned:
Q. Do you plan to acknowledge International Women’s Day?
A. Well of course I will. Granted, International Women’s Day isn’t as widely celebrated here in the U.S. as it is elsewhere, but I definitively recognize it in the office. In fact I believe everyone does at Prime Group. We consider it a big deal – but honestly, it is an especially important thing between the women in the office… It’s a happy day, for sure.
Q. What do you see as the biggest strengths that a woman brings to the work-setting?
A. I feel the most obvious quality we bring to any setting, work or otherwise, is our strength of character. Women are independent, sensitive, aware, and quite creative… And just like a mother often is, we are resourceful, responsible, caring, and dependable, too. These qualities combined are the right formula for success in the logistics business.
Q: So what specifically are you proud to contribute to Prime Logistics?
A: I’ve got 22 years of experience in ocean freight – more years than I want to admit! As a result, I am able to serve as the perfect ally for our customers because I have a clear understanding of the business and the processes involved. I am always able to find the right balance between service quality, cost components, and reliability of the service provider.
To be truly effective, it’s important to know the market, as well as how to ensure the customer doesn’t incur unnecessary expenses due to improper or untimely documentation. I optimize routing, match the customer with the best mode of shipment, and due to long-term professional relationships with service providers, I get to pass on the best freight rates.
Q. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing women in logistics?
A. The need to pay constant attention to detail – I mean every single detail, all the time, day or night – is very challenging. And there’s a lot of paper work involved, too, so you’ve got to be super organized… In some ways, it is like hosting a huge social function, where you’ve got to deal with each and every aspect of planning and execution, big and small – and the outcome is all riding on your ability to think ahead and make all the right decisions. Except this is no party, because you’ve got the success – or failure – of your client’s business in your hands. Any mistake can be truly disastrous, financially.
Ocean cargo, freight forwarding, and logistics in general is certainly not for everyone. But for those of us in the biz, and have been for years, I compare it to an addiction: You might want to get out at some point, but you like the high of the nonstop challenges far too much. And I absolutely love ocean cargo especially.
Q. So, who is your female role model, personally and professionally?
A. I have to say, my mother and my grandmother definitively – and so many of the confident, qualified, and professional women that I’ve been honored to work with along the way… I’ve been in business so long, I can spot a leader, and that’s who I admire and who I want to emulate.
Q. What advice do you have for rising businesswomen?
A. To be successful in business, you can never be afraid to push the envelope. Treat everyone fairly, because when you do good things you get good things back. Also don’t forget to always be networking and learning from the established female peers in your industry. Lastly, know that integrity and transparency are essential to your success; you need to “own” every decision you make, good or bad. Face the consequences, learn, be humble, and move on.
Q. Have you achieved what you have wanted to in business?
A. I would certainly call 22 years in the industry an achievement! But to be honest, I didn’t plan to be in logistics. Obviously, you have to have a plan, like I did when I started in university in Colombia. My hopes and dreams all pointed to becoming successful, so I set my sights on the United States to fulfill my goal. Ultimately, what I found out is that sometimes you can plan too much, and that things don’t always turn out exactly the way you expected.
It’s like that Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” well, the next line is, “but if you try sometime, you’ll find you get what you need.”
Be open to change and see what happens. You might just find your passion.
About Prime Logistics
One of four divisions of Prime Group, an international logistics services conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001, Prime Logistics serves to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight to and from the U.S. for a wide range of major industries.
With offices in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Bogota, Quito, and Amsterdam, Prime Logistics capitalizes on its long-time relationships with the major air carriers and ocean lines to offer competitive rates in securing ample space to destinations all around the world.
For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primelogisticsgroup.com.