cares about community service. Industry associations offer
the opportunity to give back, a place where I have a true
passion. WERC offered a merger of all of those areas for
QYou’ve mentioned your experiences with mentorship. Can you talk a little about mentoring and its benefits?
AI think of mentors a little differently than other peo- ple do. I don’t think of mentorship as being linear
in nature, where the mentor is always a senior person.
For example, I might receive mentoring from a younger
person in my organization or provide mentoring to a colleague in a comparable position. To me, mentoring can
be delivered over time or just in nourishing moments.
Mentor moments are “aha!” moments that provide a new
piece of information or inspiration that requires you to
look at things with fresh eyes; that insight can come from
a younger person, someone outside the industry, or from
someone like my daughter, who’s one of the strongest and
most influential people I know.
QHow have things changed since you started out in logistics and supply chain management?
ACertainly there are more women in the industry today. I am thrilled to have fantastic leaders who are women
in my own organization as well as who serve on the board
of directors with me at WERC. And I’m also delighted to
have met influential women like Nancy Nix through the
AWESOME [Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply
Chain Operations, Management, and Education] network
[where Nix serves as executive director]. These leaders have
inspired me to be my best self and think about what kind of
role model I want to be.
Equally, men in the industry today are inspiring change.
Today, we have men and women who are collaborating and
encouraging all of us to be our best selves and give more to
the industry. I think we have more people looking out for
QWhat do you think we can do to encourage more young people in general, but specifically young women, to
pursue leadership roles in supply chain management?
AOne-on-one education is key. We must communicate, educate, and activate the next generation so they understand what opportunities are available in the supply chain
For example, we must be active in industry associations,
reach out to our own networks, and better communicate
professional opportunities. We have to make sure we don’t
get so busy in our careers that we lose sight of our role in
educating the next generation. Among other things, this
means creating awareness among talented young women
that there are exciting technology opportunities in the supply chain field, like optimization software or data analytics,
to name just a couple. Otherwise, we will be missing out on
the best and brightest. Education, activation, and one-on-one support: That’s where the rubber meets the road.
QHow can a person find ways to provide this one-on-one support?
AThis type of dedicated support really comes down to ne-on-one purpose-driven “mission work.” For example, I make it a proactive goal of mine to engage with the
next generation. I’m involved with the Global Supply Chain
Program advisory council for Wake Technical Community
College, a local school that has a logistics and distribu-tion-focused curriculum. I am actively connected with
both the students and faculty, and provide input regarding
industry needs. In addition, I proactively seek the best and
brightest talent for my own organization, Optricity.
I am personally committed to reaching out and connecting with people who have both creative and analytical
minds to encourage them to consider the distribution and
supply chain field. Each one of us has to find our own
niche, whether that’s by taking a leadership position in a
professional organization, developing a one-on-one relationship with a young person, or simply exchanging mentor
moments whenever possible. Support is activated when
each of us as individuals converts our own commitments