CASSANDRA GAINES Cassidy Araiza for Business Insider

Cassidy Araiza

Cassandra Gaines

Managing Partner and founder, Gaines Law Group

America’s $800 billion trucking industry is massive and crucial to the economy — touching nearly every product we buy — but its inner workings can be unwieldy and hard to grasp.

With nearly 10 years in the industry, transportation lawyer Cassandra Gaines knows that well. She’s held senior legal positions at big names like Echo Global Logistics and Schneider National. And two years ago, she broke off to form her own law firm.

Basic business knowledge is hard to find in trucking, which is dominated largely by folks with family connections. So the Ivy League grad had the idea to start making YouTube videos to help small trucking and logistics firms learn more about the industry — putting out quick videos on basic transportation law topics like cargo claims during her lunch break to keep people informed.

“It didn’t give me business,” Gaines tells Business Insider. “It just made me feel good helping people.”

The videos quickly picked up, particularly through her LinkedIn page, where she has more than 25,000 followers across the trucking and logistics industry. She now has a podcast and a weekly live show called "MadGaines." In June, Gaines told Business Insider a quarter of a million people tuned in to see her Zoom chats with industry leaders, interviews with CEOs, and talk shop during open-mic nights.

Gaines is still a lawyer, but she’s now something of a community builder too — in a highly fragmented industry that’s at risk of splintering even more during the pandemic.

“People just want real education and people want a voice,” Gaines says. “People who are just regular folks can talk about things and learn from somebody who is grinding every day. You learn so much from these people.”