What can the supply chain industry do to attract, promote, and retain more women throughout its ranks—especially at the highest levels of an organization? That was the key question posed to a panel of industry experts on the second full day of CSCMP EDGE 2021, being held this week in Atlanta.
Moderated by Angie Freeman, chief human resources and environmental, social and governance officer at C.H. Robinson, the panel began by outlining some of the major challenges facing women in the industry, including supporting women at various stages of their careers, continuing to fight gender bias, and finding ways to instill in ever-younger generations of women the idea that there are no limits to what they can achieve in any industry. The panel of supply chain leaders included Cloe Guidry-Reed, founder and CEO of Atlanta-based supplier diversity management solutions firm Hire Ground; Jennifer Kilgore, human resources director for Augusta, Georgia-based RBW Logistics, and Maayan Nissan, director and head of global supply chain at Arizona-based Align Technology. They all agreed that one of the keys to attracting and retaining top female talent depends largely on developing role models at all levels of the supply chain profession.
“You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Guidry-Reed, noting that strong role models help to both inspire and develop future female leaders in an organization.
Among the panel’s advice for creating a more inclusive workplace that can help move women forward: creating mentorship and sponsorship programs within your organization; helping establish relationships, networks, and support systems for women at all points along their careers; developing programs that identify and invest in high-performing women with the capacity to lead; treating leadership as a tangible skill that can be developed and not something that is necessarily innate; highlighting senior women leaders in your organization as a way to appeal to younger generations and potential employees; and clearly charting the path to leadership within your organization.
CSCMP EDGE 2021 takes place in Atlanta September 19-22.
Victoria Kickham started her career as a newspaper reporter in the Boston area before moving into B2B journalism. She has covered manufacturing, distribution and supply chain issues for a variety of publications in the industrial and electronics sectors, and now writes about everything from forklift batteries to omnichannel business trends for DC Velocity.