Experiencing the power of diverse leadership and women’s networks at the 2019 AWESOME Symposium

At the 2019 AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management and Education) Symposium, “Reaching Beyond & Achieving More,” May 1-3, in Seattle, Washington, participants heard from accomplished leaders on the compelling need for diverse leadership, the importance of building relationships and the power of women’s networks.

In their opening remarks, Hans Melotte, EVP Global Supply Chain Operations, and Lucy Helm, Chief Partner Officer for Starbucks, the Host Partner of the 2019 Symposium, emphasized the importance of the human element and diversity in a successful supply chain. “No matter how we digitize the supply chain, our success starts and ends with talent,” Melotte said. “Supply chain is a people business.“ Helm added, “We don’t think of diversity as a competitive advantage because when we do things well, we want others to do them well, too.”

In her session, Starbucks COO Roz Brewer answered the question: What can corporate America do to get rid of bias? “Give women encouragement,” she said. “Put us in tough spots and send the message: ‘You’ve earned this opportunity.’” She also offered this advice: “If you’re a woman in an uncustomary position, always take the higher ground. Do what women do: Nurture.”

AWESOME founder Ann Drake, Chairman of the DSC Logistics Advisory Board and former DSC CEO, spoke about research on women’s networks by Brian Uzzi, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “Research shows that women need a network just like men do but they also need a trusted community of peers – a circle of women who can give them personal insights about how to operate in a male-dominated industry,” Drake said. “Women who have this type of circle – and use it – tend to rise faster and higher.”

Former NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman used her experiences as lessons in leadership. “When we take gravity away, we look through a different lens,” she said. “When you come up against obstacles, try looking at things from another perspective.”

Carla Harris, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Morgan Stanley, brought the audience members to their feet when she talked about career advancement. “What helped you into the seat you’re in is not what will get you to ascend from that seat,” she said. She went on to say, “You have two types of currency: Performance currency and Relationship currency. Relationship currency becomes more important as you advance so invest in relationships.”

A founding partner sponsor of AWESOME, DSC Logistics, a CJ Logistics Company, was a sponsor of the 2019 Symposium, and CJ Logistics sponsored the Symposium networking reception.

DSC and CJ Logistics share a commitment to diversity, inclusion and leadership, especially as the companies work together across cultures, countries and companies to create seamless integrated global supply chain solutions and accelerate innovation.

AWESOME is an industry-wide leadership organization focused on advancing women leaders and transforming the future of supply chain leadership. Since its founding in early 2013, the AWESOME community has grown to include more than 1,300 women in diverse senior supply chain leadership roles for a full spectrum of companies and organizations. The AWESOME mission includes bringing together senior women in supply chain for collaboration, learning, networking, recognition, and inspiration. For more information: www.awesomeleaders.org.

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