As a professional driver and a transgender woman, Staci Anne Bruneau has built a thriving business and a great life at the wheel with her wife, Holly.
After working for a large trucking company for 15 years, Staci Anne Bruneau finally introduced herself to her employer. Two days later, she was fired.
“I was absolutely shocked,” Staci Anne said. “I was an experienced driver – and I am a very good driver – I was a mechanic, I was a dispatcher, I was loyal and faithful and they said, ‘We do not like your red nail polish, and we are not going to call you Staci Anne.’”
She knew that coming out as a transgender woman in trucking would take courage, but Staci Anne never expected to find herself without a job. She had grown up in trucking through the ‘70s and ‘80s, riding with her father, who was a professional driver for 45 years. When Staci Anne was 25 years old, she took to the road as a professional driver, too.
“My father was so proud of me that I took after him,” she said.
Losing her job made Staci Anne feel lost, but then a friend suggested she contact U.S. Xpress. That was 10 years ago, and she has never looked back. Staci Anne hit 1 million safe miles of driving with U.S. Xpress in 2022, and was recently named owner/operator of the year. Staci Anne runs Two Girls Trucking along with her wife, Holly.
“U.S. Xpress has treated me for the last 10 years like I’m just another trucker,” Staci Anne said. “I do my job and do it well, and U.S. Xpress has gone out of their way to show that if you do your job well, you are elevated to driver of the year.”
Making trucking a more inclusive and equitable industry is an important part of the journey at U.S. Xpress. The company has a range of initiatives focused on fostering an inclusive workplace, including an Inclusion & Diversity Council made up of people from all over the company, five employee resource groups (women’s, veterans, multicultural, pride, and faith-based), strong connections with community partners, and engagement in a range of initiatives within the logistics industry.
Last year, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) recognized U.S. Xpress for its equitable policies and initiatives in the ATA’s inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Change Leader Awards. Just a couple of weeks later, U.S. Xpress was among the 2022 “Top Companies for Women to Work For in Transportation” in Redefining the Road magazine, the official magazine of the Women in Trucking Association. It was the fifth consecutive year U.S. Xpress had been honored since the designation launched in 2018.
For Staci Anne, the U.S. Xpress commitment to inclusion means she and her wife can build a great life for themselves and their family.
“Holly is my partner in everything,” Staci Anne said. “She’s with me everywhere I go, she’s my best friend, my fashion consultant, my confidence builder.”
It was Holly who gave Staci Anne the courage to embrace the identity she had always worked so hard to hide, and together they have built a strong family and a deep network of friends and supporters.
“Between Holly and I, we have five children and 20 grandchildren, and we have friends all over the country,” Staci Anne said. “We have an incredibly fantastic life together, we have a beautiful home in the Berkshire Mountains. I’m no better or worse than anyone else.”
Growing up, Stacie Anne knew she wasn’t like her three brothers, but she didn’t understand why.
“I knew at 6 years old I was different, but I grew up with boys and there was nobody I could talk to,” she said. “I had an E-Z Bake oven, I played with Barbie dolls, but it was the ‘80s, and no one knew what to make of it.”
Finally embracing life as Staci Anne made her feel at peace with her identity, but not everyone accepts her, and there are very real dangers to being a transgender woman on the road. Staci Anne has been threatened more than once, and she has friends who have been assaulted for being transgender.
“We live in a country where people are so decisive about who they hate,” she said. “I know someone could jump me anytime. I don’t flaunt who I am, but I certainly don’t hide it. I just want to be me.”
Driving for U.S. Xpress has allowed her to do that, Staci Anne added.
“Every transgender woman on the planet will tell you the greatest pleasure is being just another person in the crowd,” she said. “Just another person doing their job, living their life, being who they are.”