Since its inception as Continental Ltd. In 1978, CTL Global Inc. has transformed from a dynamic logistics and transportation company into one of the industry’s leading fulfillment, transportation, and marketing organizations. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for advocacy, Founder and CEO Sharon Dalenberg has cultivated her business from the ground up with a standard of respect, ethical practice, and customer service. As an entrepreneur in a traditionally male-dominated field, Sharon is a trailblazer. Read ahead to discover more about the origins of CTL, Sharon’s insights on the evolution of the logistics world, and her advice to women in the industry.


What inspired you to found Continental Ltd. In 1978, and how did it evolve into CTL. Global Inc.?

So, back in the late sixties and seventies, I was breaking barriers as one of the first female bank officers on Lasalle Street. It was a radical time, and I found myself pushing for change. My goal was to be an advocate for change by instituting programs and strategies for moving women and minorities into the workforce. This became a mission for me.


After law school, I decided to leave banking and start a business where I could do just that. I began with a courier service as a means of supporting me so that I could begin pro bono work for advancing the value of advocacy for those who could not defend themselves. My first customer and supporter was the very bank that I had been employed at. It was inspiring to have them support me.


But it wasn’t just about the courier services for long. While working with clients like Amoco I found myself coaching individuals, particularly high-earning men. This experience led me to believe that through the expansion of my courier business, I could increase my ability to serve not only my employees but my community.


So, about a decade later, I ventured into logistics, and that’s when Continental Ltd. really started evolving into what we now know as CTL. Global Inc.


The logistics industry is traditionally male-dominated. What has that been like for you?

I’ve noticed the male dominance in the logistics industry, but I’m glad to say that it’s changing. Over the years, I’ve seen more and more women entering the field, primarily in operations roles. However, there’s still a gap when it comes to women in strategic positions.


I’ve been fortunate to have the support of many male colleagues throughout my career in logistics. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but I believe my approach to conflicts might have played a role. I’ve always tried to inject humor into difficult situations, which I think helped break down barriers and foster acceptance.


Overall, while the gender dynamics in logistics have posed some challenges, I’m optimistic about the progress we’re making. As more women enter the industry and take on diverse roles, I believe we’ll continue to see positive changes in terms of gender equality and inclusivity.


How has the logistics and transportation industry changed since you founded the company, and how has CTL Global Inc. adapted to these changes?

Since the inception of CTL Global Inc., the logistics and transportation industry has undergone an electrifying transformation, propelled by groundbreaking technological advancements and innovative paradigms. When I acquired Errand Boy years ago, it was a glimpse into the potential of leveraging technology to streamline processes, albeit ahead of its time. Now, with giants like Amazon revolutionizing delivery systems and the rise of platforms like Instacart, the landscape is ablaze with possibilities.


The advent of AI is a game-changer, poised to reshape our industry in ways we couldn’t have imagined. At CTL, we’ve embraced this wave of transformation, swiftly integrating cutting-edge technology into our operations, albeit at a considerable cost. We’re witnessing the infancy of a revolution where robots will soon undertake tasks, we once considered exclusive to human hands.


However, amidst this whirlwind of change, CTL has carved out a unique niche for itself. Unlike the behemoths in the industry focused on standardization and consolidation, we thrive on customization. We eschew rigid processes in favor of tailor-made solutions that cater to the individual needs of our clients. Yes, it may mean a tad more manual effort, a bit more off-the-beaten-path, but that’s where the magic lies.


What excited me most is the boundless potential that lies ahead. Logistics is not just about moving goods from point A to point B: it’s a canvas for creativity. It’s about devising strategies that not only expedite the movement of products but do so in ways that are inventive and efficient. At CTL, we’re not just in the business of logistics: we’re in the business of innovation.


It’s a thrilling journey, one where every twist and turn presents new opportunities for exploration and discovery. And that’s what fuels my excitement—the endless possibilities, the untapped potential, and the sheer thrill of being at the forefront of an industry in metamorphosis.


Can you share a particularly challenging moment in your career journey and how you navigated through it?

In reflecting on my career journey, there was a period that presented significant challenges, particularly when encountering individuals whose values and reputations didn’t align with my own. It was tough navigating through interactions with them because of our differing principles. However, I chose to focus on building a strong reputation grounded in honesty and respect within the industry.


Rather than allowing these challenges to deter me from my core values, I remained steadfast in operating from a place of authenticity. I refused to compromise my principles, opting instead to navigate around the obstacles they presented. Over time, I’m grateful to have witnessed a shift in the industry. Even those who initially posed challenges have come to respect our approach; It’s truly gratifying to see the positive changes unfold in the industry.


As a successful female entrepreneur, what advice would you give to other women aspiring to leadership roles in male-dominated industries?

First, believe in yourself…even if it is hard to sustain that belief when challenged but remember to trust your skills, knowledge, and instincts…put people around you who know who you are and support you with truth and authenticity. Focus on your goals…actions speak louder than words. Embrace your unique perspective. Develop resilience. Advocate for yourself.  Be inclusive. Be a continuous learner. Advocate for others.


By embracing these principles and staying true to yourself, you can thrive as a leader in any industry, regardless of its male-dominated nature. Believe in your potential, and let your passion and determination drive you towards success.


What are your future plans and vision for CTL Global Inc.?

Of course, our focus is on achieving sustainable and profitable growth for CTL Global Inc. This means implementing strategies that not only drive revenue but also ensure long-term financial stability and success for the company. We also aim to prioritize the growth and development of individuals within our organization. This involves investing more in training and education than before, ensuring that our employees will get more opportunities to advance their skills and careers. We also aspire to make a positive difference in the world through our business activities.


Overall, our vision involves continuing to develop a successful and socially responsible organization.


In celebration of Women’s History Month, can you share a female leader or role model who has inspired you in your career journey?

I have drawn inspiration from a diverse range of individuals in various fields. Phyllis Apelbaum, with her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to community service, serves as a role model for resilience and altruism. Ruth Ginsberg in her trailblazing efforts to the legal profession has paved the way for women’s advancement. Charlotte Toerber, a wise and competent counsel to major energy groups for environmental progress and advocacy. Kim Quarles’ dedication to promoting the rule of law globally through The World Jurist Association shows the potential impact of legal advocacy. Mother Teresa’s selfless devotion to humanitarian work leaves a lasting impression on the importance of serving others. Each of these leaders has left a mark on me, reflecting different aspects of leadership, perseverance, and ethical conduct.

Sharon’s journey from founding Continental Ltd. to growing CTL Global Inc. exemplifies her unwavering commitment to advocating for women in business. With a humorous approach to the challenges of entrepreneurship and a steadfast focus on integrity, Sharon has built a successful company that continues to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing logistics industry.