What women bring to supply chain management

Men largely outnumber women on the expo floor, in educational sessions, and at networking events of supply chain and logistics trade shows. There are typically more males than females in meetings and on sales calls.

Even so, Gartner’s fourth-annual Women in Supply Chain Survey reports modest improvement across the board, including women’s contributions in the supply chain workforce and more representation in most management and leadership roles.

Still, there’s more to be done to elevate women in supply chain.

As part of the effort, the ASU Supply Chain Executive Consortium and W. P. Carey School of Business are hosting the ASU Women in Supply Chain Symposium on Wednesday, Aug. 28. Attendees will get insights to help them prepare for their career, learn more about key companies in supply chain, and unlock their leadership potential.

“Hosting an event like this reinforces the value of a diverse workforce and the increasingly important role women play and will continue to play in the supply chain industry,” says Cisco Systems Chief of Staff, Sr. Director, Supply Chain Operations Lori Osterback.

It is imperative that female leaders possess both technical and business competencies in supply chain, says Osterback. “At Cisco, our supply chain organization is proud of our ability to recruit and develop strong technical female leaders. Cisco Supply Chain Vice President Jie Xue holds over 99 patents. Vice President of Cisco Supply Chain Product Operations Susan Hayes and Director, Product Operations Ta-NIkka Harrison are responsible for compliance regulations for Cisco’s multi-million dollar product portfolio,” she explains, adding that her 20-plus year supply chain career includes leading teams in warehousing, increasing revenues at global distribution centers, and creating innovative workforce strategies that consistently gain industry recognition.

Osterback would like to see supply chain reach into high schools and more events like the ASU Women in Supply Chain Symposium. “Women will continue to take a seat at the table, and we are seeing increased awareness with male executives on the role they need to play in supporting women and creating an inclusive culture,” she says. Male executives need to promote, sponsor, advocate, and mentor to increase the number of female leaders.

Research shows diversity in the workforce leads to increased productivity, innovation, and higher employee engagement and retention.

While the event is titled, women in supply chain, it’s for anyone who wants to attend. The attendees will get an enriched understanding of the breadth of career opportunities supply chain offers and how women play an incredibly important role whether they are in a technical position or business leaders. But more importantly, attendees will leave understanding how rewarding a supply chain career can be.

Learn more and register for the ASU Women in Supply Chain Symposium on Wednesday, Aug. 28, from 3 to 6 p.m. There will be speakers from some of the world’s most admired companies, including Cisco, Starbucks, Dell, and ASU. The event will culminate with executive networking roundtables where attendees get exclusive access to the featured speakers to discuss topics such as gender bias and pay parity, as well as get their questions answered about career paths and the supply chain industry.