Successful women business owners excelling in a traditionally male industry

With an impressive 40 years of service, CouriersPlease prides itself on its unwavering commitment to fostering a supportive culture, promoting diversity, and nurturing a high-performing female workforce. The company’s senior leadership team comprises 50 per cent women and the company has a growing number of female franchisees.

CouriersPlease is immensely proud of its nationwide network of franchisees. These small business owners are the driving force behind the company's success. As International Women's Day (8 March) approaches, three of CouriersPlease’s outstanding female franchisees share why they are passionate about owning a business, working 'on the road' and succeeding in a traditionally male industry. This year's International Women's Day theme is #InspireInclusion, and these franchisees embody this very spirit in their daily work.

Coral, Vaishnavi and Bec, below, are among growing female couriers who are part of the CouriersPlease network. CouriersPlease’ diversity drive has seen a more skilled and diverse network of franchisees, comprising women, migrants, older and young Australians. 

These initiatives, and more, earned CEO Richard Thame the number one spot in the Top 30 Franchise Executives Award last year. He says: “I am proud to lead initiatives that promote diversity within our business. So, the next time you see one of our female couriers out-and-about at work, consider if it irks with your stereotype or just seems nothing out of the ordinary. That’s what inclusion can foster – making the exception part of the norm.”

Coral Corrin

Coral, a former sales manager, calls herself the “boss person” for the CouriersPlease franchise on NSW’s Central Coast she runs with her husband, Tony, and adult daughter, Melanie. Seven years in, Coral says she loves “having a bit of chatter with customers to help build trust and rapport”. 

Each family member has a one-tonne van and their own, mostly residential, rounds. At “5ft 1” and 50kg”, Coral says she doesn’t need to go to the gym thanks to the lifting she does for a crust. Each day she’ll deliver/pick up 80-170 parcels; anything from Kmart flat-packs, 16kg cubic boxes, 1.8m long packages, or small parcels. “Some I have to carry up steps to the front door or steep driveways,” she says. 

Courier work is a great opportunity, says Coral, even for those just after part-time work while studying at uni. “You manage your own time, are out there meeting people, and if you like that, you’ll do just fine.”

Vaishnavi Siddhamshettiwar

Vaishnavi signed on as a CouriersPlease franchisee in Perth in November and has an agreed base income for her first year. Hailing from India, she’s been a hotel manager, childcare worker, and sales assistant prior. She moved from New Zealand late last year with her two children and husband – he’s champing at the bit to join the business soon, too. 

Vaishnavi says courier work gives her the “job satisfaction” and release from office politics she’d been a part of over the past few years. At 6am each business day, she’ll pick up her parcels from the CouriersPlease depot, fill her two-tonne van, scanning and organising the load according to her areas, then hits the road by 8am. “It was a bit hard to get my body to adjust, but I’m fine now and after I finish deliveries, there’s nothing in my mind related to work. I come home, watch some TV, then pick up the kids. It’s a great fit for my life.” 

She’ll typically do about 100 pickups and drop offs a day and operates in a “totally new franchise area” that she’s been building up. Vaishnavi is proud of her business: “I feel that if men can be couriers, we can. It’s a good feeling.” Her young son asked her recently why she was doing “a man’s job” involving lifting. “I said there’s no job that’s particularly for men or women, but what’s most important is that I’m enjoying it.”

Bec Johnson

Bec, based in Perth, had worked in retail then run her own dance studio for a decade, but increasingly found it “wasn’t helping with my bills at home, only covering the business”. Despite her workforce experience, “no one would hire me once I turned 40; it was really hard to find a job”. 

Becoming a CouriersPlease franchisee last May is much more on pointe for her. “I really enjoy it. Working on my own is easy. I meet a lot of interesting people and it’s flexible enough if I need to pick up my kids or drop off something to them at school, I can do that.” Her area is 60:40 residential to industrial/business and one of her key customers deals in computer parts. “Residential areas are quick – I can pump out 25-30 in an hour.” It’s a manageable workload: “I’ll get to the depot at 5am, take an hour to set up the van, and then I am on the road”. 

During busy times like Christmas , she might work 10 hours, but the rest of the year there’s a healthy work/life balance. If her van needs servicing, Bec is grateful she can call on CouriersPlease to find a replacement courier to help out. That’s handy because further down the track, Bec’s goal is to have three-day weekends. She’s still glowing about her CouriersPlease division naming her “High Flyer of the Month” last November for her stellar customer service.