Logistics industry ambassador from Mid Sussex ‘humbled and amazed’ to receive MBE in New Year Honours
A Hurstpierpoint resident and logistics industry ambassador has received an MBE in the 2022 New Year Honours list.
Sharon Davies, 53, who is vice president, regulatory and public affairs, for DHL Express Europe, said she was thrilled to get the award for services to logistics.
“It was a huge surprise,” said Sharon, who feels ‘humbled, proud, amazed and lucky’.
She thanked her husband for his support as well as DHL for giving her so many opportunities to develop.
“I’m very grateful for everything I’ve been able to do but it’s because people have believed in me,” she said.
Sharon has been in logistics for more than 25 years, working for DHL in corporate affairs and representing logistics with many trade organisations.
She was born in Cuckfield Hospital and grew up in Haywards Heath, attending Saint Wilfrid’s C of E Primary School and Warden Park before going to Haywards Heath Sixth Form College.
“After that I went to the University of Greenwich, which was then Thames Polytechnic,” she said.
Sharon took a Humanities degree focusing on politics and philosophy and from there she went into public relations.
She said DHL were one of her clients when she was working in a consultancy and saw an opportunity to apply.
January 6 will mark her 26th anniversary with the company.
Sharon said she enjoys working in logistics because it is a fast-moving and exciting industry where no single day is the same.
She said her job can involve looking into legislation that might affect the company, as well liaising with stakeholders and working with charity partners.
During her career Sharon recognised a need for a corporate affairs department to represent DHL in the UK and created the only strategic team within DHL UK with such a remit.
She earned a place at the CEO collaboration board and, as a board member, was the lead link with stakeholders, including business organisations, community groups, CEOs, MPs and the Government.
She also helps policymakers understand how the industry works and has highlighted its operational needs in areas like cross border customs operations in 2021, Covid-19, night flying and urban logistics.
But Sharon said her job has also been also about ‘bringing joy to people’ and supporting their businesses, adding that the DHL team have been ‘fantastic’.
One of the most memorable times of her career was in the Covid-19 pandemic, she said, because she worked with charities to coordinate shipments of PPE and other vital aid.
“When Covid first hit there were a lot of people concerned about getting PPE to their organisations,” said Sharon.
“So one of the projects I was really pleased to work with was a charity called Masks for NHS Heroes.”
DHL were asked to help bring masks into the UK and they managed to bring an impressive supply into East Midlands Airport to be distributed to the charity.
“Being involved in that was really phenomenal,” said Sharon who found the experience highly rewarding.
Sharon said other highlights have involved helping conservation projects like the Sumatran tiger movements for ZSL London Zoo.
The aim was to bring tigers in for a breeding programme so Sharon helped coordinate the transport of one tiger from Australia and another from America.
“It’s not something you do every day of the week,” she said, adding that other projects have involved moving gorillas to Africa.
“It’s outside the norm of what people think you might do within a parcel company.”
Sharon is particularly proud of becoming a trustee and chair of the management committee of the Industry and Parliament Trust too.
This independent, non-lobbying and non-partisan charity provides a trusted platform of engagement between Parliament and UK business, she said.
“Parliamentarians are able to learn about businesses and vice versa,” said Sharon who has been a ‘huge supporter’ of its programmes for more than ten years.
In addition to this part of Sharon’s work over the past 25 years has involved championing women in logistics.
She works as part of a mentoring programme for women within DHL and won the Everywoman Industry Champion Award for Transport and Logistics in 2014.
Recently, Sharon has been pleased to work with The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to help female entrepreneurs in grow their businesses in Kenya and South Africa.
“The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women helps release the potential for women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries and close the global gender gap in entrepreneurship’,” said Sharon, adding that she is as part of a DHL team on this programme.
She said DHL helped fund a free app from the foundation that gives women access to training programmes to complete in their own homes.
These can be anything from marketing to financial management to applying for a business loan, she said.
“Women are able to have access to training that they potentially wouldn’t be able to if they are running a family or running their own businesses,” said Sharon.
“It’s just really inspiring when you hear some of the stories of the women who run these small businesses and they’re able to take on another employees,” she said.