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ASCM Insights

Celebrating and Supporting Women

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On Monday, the world will observe International Women’s Day, a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women everywhere. Importantly, the day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. To achieve that goal, there are a number of objectives being highlighted during International Women’s Day this year, and two of them are particularly important to our supply chain community:

1. Applaud digital advancement and champion the women forging innovation through technology.

2. Establish inclusive work cultures where women can thrive in their careers.

Here at ASCM, we see positive steps being taken toward these goals each and every day. First, I’m very proud that our 2021 board of directors is composed of 50% women. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a board of directors that represents a variety of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences can be key to an organization’s success. In particular, gender diversity has a strong impact on how an organization runs, makes decisions and its ultimate success.

In addition, the ASCM Awards of Excellence continue to recognize more women each year. I recently read about the 2020 Emerging Supply Chain Leader award winner, Sheila Birungi, CPIM, CSCP, in SCM Now magazine. She was recognized for her efforts to drive innovation at Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. Her responsibilities are critical to her workplace, ensuring supply continuity and optimized planning. Moreover, Birungi recognizes the importance of championing others: “When you support those who need your help, they can also move up their own career ladders,” she told SCM Now.

Luvi Jane Cruz, customer fulfillment specialist at Sony Mobile Communications, was our 2019 Emerging Supply Chain Leader award winner. Another inspiring story, Cruz started as a receptionist but was given an opportunity to move to the business side of the company as a junior customer fulfillment coordinator. Today, she ensures efficient processes and high customer value — and she also believes in giving back: “Success is a lot sweeter when there is collective hard work and the goal is to grow together. Focusing more on empowerment by helping and training the people around you to be more resilient and knowledgeable in their roles leads to more opportunities, better income and a better way of living for all.”

Our 2018 Emerging Supply Chain Leader also came to supply chain in a nontraditional way. “I worked as a manager in the restaurant business [but] was looking for more income, so I worked shifts as a production associate on the floor,” Hollie Elliott, CPIM, materials manager at Leggatt and Platt Automotive Group shares in SCM Now. “Later, a customer service position opened up in the logistics department. I had one week’s worth of training and was on my own. It was a sink-or-swim situation, so I started swimming.”

Swimming evolved into a race-winning gold medal from ASCM, and today Elliott manages a team of more than 20 employees. “I try to be a leader who listens and provides clear communication,” she says. “I am leading them to be self-efficient, reliable, strong and supportive in all areas.”

Call for Entries

As these stories highlight — and as the International Women’s Day mission states — we can all help create an inclusive world. I look forward to reading the stories of this year’s award winners and seeing how each of them is making an impact through supply chain. ASCM is now seeking nominations for the 2021 ASCM Awards of Excellence, the premier global supply chain awards program. I urge you to enter or nominate a deserving supply chain professional or organization today.

ASCM members, visit the Women in Supply Chain group in the ASCM CONNECT COMMUNITY to connect and share stories.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through editorial@ascm.org.

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