ships for young women to attend the annual CSCMP
conference and the AWESOME Symposium, and we
have slots for emerging leaders who are recommended
by another member to come to our annual conference.
We’re hoping to expand programming for them in the
We also have information and resources that we
publish on our website every Friday that’s available to
anyone. I also want to mention that every year we review
the criteria for membership with our advisory board, and
every year we have altered it based on lessons learned.
Why did you create the DSC Women’s Leadership
Council (WLC), and what are its objectives?
We realized our own numbers weren’t tracking very well,
as I, too, was a victim of thinking there just weren’t that
many highly qualified women. I also believe a lot of gender bias is truly unconscious. When we started out, I ran
focus groups in DSC to figure out why we didn’t have
more women at various levels. Even just doing that made
a difference, because it gave permission for people to talk
about the issue together.
WLC started out meeting irregularly, and it created an
informal network for those women. We got some speakers and sponsors. I also asked everyone on WLC and
on the management team—both men and women—to
read Work With Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and
Women in Business, by Barbara Annis and John Gray,
which talks about the differences in gender styles and
points of view. The best working style, of course, is
a combination—combining the strengths of both. If
you don’t have diversity, then you miss out on those
The leadership council now manages itself and does a
really good job of enhancing leadership skills. It’s already
having an impact on the members and on the company.
In the future we will work on the goals of the Paradigm
for Parity coalition. When I became a member of P4P, I
committed to make five actions happen in the company
that we believe will lead to more women in leadership
positions. If we can help make this happen for women at
all levels we will be moving in the right direction.
Members of the Paradigm for Parity coalition commit
to achieving gender parity in their corporate leadership by 2030. How do you do that, and how would you
measure that change?
Rather than dictating what people should do, we felt we
should give them latitude to do it their own way. Mine
is to give women a network and to make it okay to hire
and promote them.
Traditionally surveys have found that women have to
be more qualified than men to get hired into the same
positions. We’re not only making it okay for people to
talk about this, but we’re also giving them tools to do
something about it. Those are some things I’ve done in
my company, but we’re all learning. That’s part of why
we’re doing this—to learn from each other what does
make a difference, and what works. Ultimately, our goal
is to move the needle on senior positions. When that
happens we’ll know we’ve made an impact.
One of P4P’s five steps is to provide women with
“sponsors, not just mentors.” What’s the difference,
and why are sponsors more valuable than mentors?
The idea of sponsors for women came out in the last five
years or so. Their job is to make you successful. It puts
the burden on the sponsor to help you navigate organizational issues and advance you in the organization.
Mentors might talk to you once in while, and you may
have a relationship with them and look up to them. It’s
much more informal.
Both are very important and very valuable, but sponsorship has a bigger impact. We learned this because we
looked at men’s networks and why they are so successful.
One of the learnings was that we need to take a more
active role in helping women advance. It doesn’t have
to be only women sponsors; men can be sponsors, too.
In fact, it’s best to work with both kinds of sponsors in
If P4P’s goals become reality, will organizations like
AWESOME and P4P still be necessary or relevant?
It’s going to be so far in the future I can’t even think
about there ever being a time when we wouldn’t be
needed. There will always be a need for sources of learning and collaboration. I think there is still so much to
You have four granddaughters. What are your aspirations for them in the future?
Yes, I have four very lovely granddaughters. The oldest
is 16. I’m thinking about how to ensure that they have
equal chances to do whatever makes them happy and
successful. That’s why I pay this much attention to
removing barriers and figuring out how to make women
successful leaders in every endeavor and business—I
want to help make it possible for a workplace, a country, a school system, a cultural institution to be able to
achieve their best by having diverse members and people
in their organizations. And clearly I care about individual happiness for my family members. I’m sure many
readers feel the same about their families. R
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and
condensed. To read the full-length interview, go to the
online version of this article at www.supplychainquarterly.com.