International Women's Day: Focus on 5 GEFCO Women leaders

08 March 2019

On International Women’s Day, some of GEFCO's many female leaders share their thoughts about their careers and keys to success.

“For five years I was the CEO of GEFCO Ukraine and this is the 22nd year I’ve been developing my skills in logistics and management. In January 2019, I was promoted to General Manager of GEFCO Baltic (Latvia and Lithuania), which is a new international experience for me.  The turning points in my career have always been powered by a courageous call to action and a move into roles I’ve never held before. Challenge is what keeps me motivated, energized and moving forward. Joining the GEFCO team was a good chance to create new opportunities for myself and contribute to the company’s success.

My career path has allowed me to meet all the incredible people around me at GEFCO who have supported me, given chance to develop my skills, collaborate and grow together. I’m happy and proud to see GEFCO promoting more and more talented, professional women to managerial positions, including general management. One of the main functions of a general manager is cultivation. We carry with us the seeds of possibility (talents, skills, experiences and hopes), which we plant and water with years of work and development, constantly finding ways to make them blossom.

Careers are no longer passed down or handed over. When we take our success into own hands, when we take ownership of our achievements, development and ambition, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. Each of us can be the change we want to see, and we can also help others’ careers blossom. I’m proud to be part of GEFCO team, helping provide new opportunities and open new doors for employee development.

My message is: no matter where you are today, no matter how high you want to grow in your career, remember you deserve every success and it’s yours to harvest. It takes determination, courage, curiosity, persistence and patience, but you will be offered a lot of opportunities in return.”

Oksana Yakovleva

“Many moons ago, the freight and logistics industry was considered a gray, dusty, male dominated, unsexy and not really a job for ambitious young women. When people asked me and my girlfriends what we wanted to be when we grew up, I’m pretty sure we never said, ‘I want to be a !’

During my journey at GEFCO, I’ve been very fortunate to work with a variety of great teams around the world, starting in the UK, followed by the EMEA region, global headquarters and now the Netherlands.

Over the years, I’ve seen a vast increase in female leaders in our industry and our organization. Finally! Because our industry IS sexy! It provides us with the opportunity to literally build bridges between countries, make an impact internationally, look into the heart of our customers’ businesses and shape the future of transportation. Freight is not about planes, ships, trains and trucks or moving boxes. is about providing mobility for goods to move fast around the world in compliance with the right regulations and policies.

To provide this mobility, we need to work as a team – men and women together, each bringing our own strengths to the table. We need to be creative, persistent and innovative, so one day at school our daughters and granddaughters will say: “I want to be a mobility expert, like my mum!”

Naomi Landman
Managing Director - GEFCO Netherlands

In my role as CEO of GEFCO South Africa, I take a hands-on role within the business; being responsible for building a strategy, profitablility of the country and manage a diversified team on the principle of people+service+profit. Invest in your people, they will provide the service, which will generate profit.

On the road to becoming a woman leader in Logistics, especially in an African Country, I had to constantly remind myself that I can overcome any stumbling blocks or negative opinions – it makes you stronger and you learn from them, but it does not define who you are, nor does it diminish your skills set or impact the believe you have within yourself

“Must have” skills in becoming the leader you want to be:

  1. Most important:  Financial Acumen (do courses, formal or informal training …)
  2. Become an Expert in Negotiations (one of your most important tools)
  3. Hone your critical thinking and decision-making abilities
  4. Make sure that you work for the right company, that acknowledges performance and value your input. Gefco is an excellent match for me, as they respect, acknowledge and promote woman in the workplace, based on performance and contribution and not gender.  Gefco implemented several initiatives to attract, train, mentor and coach woman in Logistics

My testimony is dedicated to all the woman who are warriors at heart and the men who proudly read this article.

Marliza Mulder
CEO - GEFCO South Africa

“Starting my career at GEFCO Group almost seven years ago, I’ve clearly understood that general management demands skills that go beyond management duties. It’s the art of motivating people to help achieve our common goals. To be effective here, I have to manage the resources at my disposal.

At the same time, our Infinite Proximity™ culture requires additional skills like inspiring, communicating, mentoring and coaching – almost everything a leader needs to be successful. I’m proud to be part of the GEFCO world.”

Irina Novikova
General Manager - GEFCO Ukraine


GEFCO is the company I’ve grown up with and truly believe in. With a journey of more than 10 years at the company in different countries and roles, from Operational Manager to Country Managing Director, I can confidently say that the best part of personal and professional development at GEFCO is the opportunity to work with a bunch of talented people with amazing passion for their work and tireless energy. Taking the opportunity to learn every day, gain new experience, try out new solutions and innovate, GEFCO inspires its employees and offers plenty of professional development opportunities. It’s the perfect place to be for a motivated, ambitious personality like me. Throughout all these years, the biggest achievements have resulted in the professional growth of my teams. This has always driven growth for me and definitely GEFCO as well.

Woman-leader is certainly a challenging role in the business world. I would wish all and each business lady to be unique, wise, carried by intellectual curiosity, being followed by own dreams, keep discovering herself and always remember that the best make up a woman can wear is the smile on her face!

Olga Danyliuk
General Manager - GEFCO Adria