These six women have been bringing the supply chain industry a wealth of diverse expertise and experiences. Here’s how they’ve navigated a traditionally male-dominated field.
By Sara Pearson Specter
There are more women working in the supply chain field—at all levels—than ever before. We know this thanks to the ongoing research conducted by Gartner since 2016. The most recent report found that:
• Women currently hold 17% of chief supply chain officer (CSCO) roles in surveyed organizations—up from 9% five years ago, and
• A majority of supply chain organizations (63%) have set specific goals to increase the number of women leaders in their ranks.
The Gartner report also found that, although women represent about 40% of the total supply chain workforce, efforts to deploy initiatives that build diversity, equality and inclusion in supply chains have been amped up. Further, men are more aware of the importance of these measures, and many are proactively working to help women gain more ground in the field.
Case in point: One of MHI’s first women-focused sessions was held at MODEX 2016, a moderated panel of women discussing “The Supply Chain: It’s Not Just for the Guys Anymore.” It was one of four presentations held in a conference room as part of MHI’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) education track. That was followed up at ProMat 2019 with a keynote by Reshma Saujani on closing the supply chain gender gap. Just three years later, women’s successes in supply chain were spotlighted in a ProMatDX keynote session featuring four supply chain leaders who just happened to be women. You can say that women in supply chain are definitely no longer in the background; they’re mainstage.
Just how far have women actually come in supply chain? To find out, we interviewed six professionals about their experiences as women in supply chain careers, their mentors and champions, and how the industry can attract even more diversity to the field. They include:
• Sheila Benny, President and Co-Founder, Optricity
• Carmela Hinderaker, Senior Director of Business Continuity and Customer Support, C&S Wholesale Grocers
• Rhonda B. Reece, 4SIGHT Program Manager, 4Front Engineered Solutions
• Kathy Fulton, Executive Director, American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN)
• Alison Martin, SVP of Customer Service and Customer Support & Analytics, Penguin Random House
• Michelle Sheedy, Senior Director of Digital Supply Chain Solutions, Pfizer