Story by Danielle Huggins, Corporate Communications
Photo by David Grano-De-Oro
If you could build one of the best freight-loading, shipment-scanning, customer-handling squads, Cargo Agent Irma Ortiz-Cooprider, Cargo Lead Wanda Jones and Cargo Station Manager Gordana Zigic would undoubtedly be on it.
Each member of the dynamic trio has served between 17 and 30 years or more of service at Delta and built strong ties working together as part of Delta's Cargo operation in DTW. Over the past few years, the team has seen more women than ever working in Cargo. And with nearly half of DTW Cargo Operation consisting of women, the team is excited to see the growing interest.
"Back in 1985 when I started, there were only a handful of women, and you really had to prove yourself,” said Ortiz-Cooprider, who is also a Frontline Involvement Team member. “It was just the way the times were back then. You had to work twice as hard to prove you could handle the job just as well as the men. You had to earn their respect. Things are a lot different now. There are so many more women working in Cargo – and not just in the office anymore. Some women just want to be out in the warehouse, where they are constantly on the move."
During the pandemic and into Delta's recovery, Cargo Operations saw more women take on new roles and conquer new challenges, many of whom had never worked in a warehouse before. When asked what she would tell other women interested in joining Delta Cargo, Jones says, "I tell women, 'If I can do it, you can do it for sure.' It does help a lot [when women] have someone who has done it before, and they see that they can do it."
When talking to Michele Carson-Vaughn, Managing Director of Airport Service, the women shared their personal journeys and encouragement for other women managing tough jobs at work and at home.
Station Manager Gordana Zigic, who recently left DTW to take over the Salt Lake City Cargo operation, shared her thoughts on balancing work and home. "To balance, sometimes you do have to make some difficult decisions. Having a strong family unit to help out makes all the difference."