Top Female Supply Chain Executives Lead the Way for Global Success

Female leaders stand out in traditionally male-dominated market segments of supply chain


If you haven’t already noticed, this month’s issue has a resounding focus around key decision-makers in the global supply chain. Our 2013 annual “Pros to Know” awards coverage (pg. 14) provides just one glimpse of such men and women who help address company challenges and end-user issues. While it’s evident that the supply chain is filled with executives who help actively grow the global industry across a range of market segments, even more apparent is the increasing number of female executives who are growing their company’s business with their efforts. As such, Supply & Demand Chain Executive is honored to highlight the achievements and insights of a select group of female supply chain executives in our first-ever “Top Female Leaders of the Supply Chain” industry focus. From retail to healthcare, chemicals, finance, government and more, female executives are truly positioning the supply chain for global growth.

And while our top five female Pros to Know (pg. 18) are prime examples of supply chain success, they provide only a small peephole into a larger world of females who continue to drive their companies to success. As a result, yes, some in the industry may claim that the glass ceiling has shattered, so to speak. Yet others still argue that only a slight dent has been made in terms of metrics regarding the female-to-male workforce ratio in the supply chain.

Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on, one thought was unanimous in speaking with the top female leaders we recognize this month. While we need to recognize the proactive efforts that female decision-makers take to better the supply chain, it goes without saying that achievements gained through hard work, passion for discipline and perseverance is where the true source of success lies—whether you are a male or female. The statement is refreshing in itself considering that is does come from a number of our honored female executives this month; and factoring in how far women have come to get to where they are today in any industry role. Which is why Supply & Demand Chain Executive takes a stance to say—“women of the global supply chain—it is OK to toot your own horn.”

This month, we reached out to 28 female decision-makers in the supply chain to gain their insights on what new practices/processes they will use to drive value for their company in 2013; which current industry issues require extra industry focus; if the glass ceiling has truly shattered; and even ways that females in the global supply chain can better position themselves for economic decision-making positions in their relative industries.

It is an honor to be in the presence of such female leaders in the supply chain who continue to truly make a difference and recognize the issues that need to be addressed today. We sincerely thank the following women for their valued insights this month to SDCE and for their ongoing efforts to truly make the global supply chain a better environment.

 

Stephanie Miles, Senior Vice President of Commercial Services, Amber Road

I have seen a positive shift in the past 10 years towards a multi-discipline perspective of the supply chain. In the past, individuals focused on their discrete department and often had little knowledge of other operational disciplines of the supply chain. This trend is still evolving. As individuals or individual departments come to understand how their role influences the broader supply chain, it strengthens the overall performance of the organization. A wider adoption of cross-department metrics would drive more cohesive activities and initiatives across the supply chain. Most of the women leaders I know in the supply chain have achieved their success through their hard work, achievements and passion for the discipline. I know of several female Vice Presidents or Directors of Supply Chain that started with their current company as an entry-level analyst. These women have earned the respect of their colleagues through their intellect, dedication, leadership and ability to make a difference. Whether a supply chain executive is female or male, operational experience and the ability to understand the “forest through the trees” provide a fantastic foundation for success. The supply chain is a hands-on discipline and requires individuals to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, communicate across cultures and disciplines, and see an opportunity from more than one point of view. I have seen these characteristics in both men and women, and it is encouraging to see both genders represented in leadership roles. In 2013, we are enabling our customers to pursue global revenue growth while maximizing margins, especially as they leverage the benefits of preferential and free trade agreements.

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