One of the major drivers of Women in supply chain™ is Let’s Talk Supply Chain’s commitment to supporting bridging the gender gap in the industry. And it isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a smart investment for a business landscape hallmarked by uncertainty and yes, the more-than-occasional chaos. Research shows that having more Women in supply chain™ can empower more curiosity and agility—helping organizations meet and exceed business milestones with breakthrough performance.
According to IBM, organizations that focus on gender inclusion and promote the advancement of female professionals boast significant results:
- 73% lead their industry in customer satisfaction scores
- 60% report being more innovative than competitors
- 61% enjoy higher revenue growth than other organizations
- 50% higher profits are reported by employers that have more women in leadership positions in comparison with others that do not
And, even while mass layoffs are reported each month across tech and other sectors, (more than 800,000 last month in tech alone), supply chain leaders are still facing ongoing talent and labor shortage challenges. The continual talent shortage has been a source of regular delays and price hikes. By having meaningful dialogues to close the diversity gap in logistics and supply chain, you can drive faster business growth. Making more opportunities visible to newcomers—women included—is more critical than ever.
At Let’s Talk Supply Chain, we’re fiercely dedicated to closing the supply-chain gender gap by recognizing women logistics leaders making bold moves and big career wins. Every month our Women in supply chain™ blog series highlights the unstoppable, up-and-coming, and veteran female trailblazers who are forever changing the logistics and manufacturing industry—for the better. Let’s Talk Supply Chain shares the obstacles women leaders continuously face, how they lift each other up, and ways they are ushering business transformation across their organizations.
Women in supply chain™ blogs explore everyday obstacles women supply chain leaders navigate behind the scenes. We celebrate their breakout personal and professional achievements and the beginnings that positioned them for their latest breakthroughs, igniting change across the global supply chain. In our Women in supply chain™ blog series, we hear from global trailblazers about unexpected beginnings, stories, challenges they’ve overcome, and the supply chain career advice they have for their peers.
This month we’re proud to highlight Chelsey Reynolds, the Vice President of Revenue at Envase Technologies. With a Master of Business Administration MBA from LSU Shreveport and a Bachelor’s in Global Studies from Trinity College, she has put her knowledge to work solving internal operations and customer challenges. We applaud Chelsey as one of the female leaders we’ve recognized who recently broke into supply chain.
1. How did your supply chain journey begin?
My twenties were a lot of fun and struggle. I was searching for an AHA! moment that would help me find what to do with my life. I worked in film production, marketing, events, bartending, and construction, drove a snow plow, was a boss’s personal assistant, and engaged in a few pyramids… I mean “multi-level marketing” opportunities.
I took a chance with a 9-5 job making 80+ cold calls a day, and it. was. thrilling. I was terrified and almost quit day one, but my team members popped into my gorgeous grey cubicle and let me know everyone sounds terrible on their first day. So, I stayed and learned. A lot.
I was selling GPS and ELDs over the phone to businesses that didn’t expect my calls. With great coaching and hard work, I became tremendously skilled at it. I was at a really large company where I was required to stay in roles and take a certain path up the ladder. No jumping levels. That’s when I began looking at startups (you can google startup jobs, check out Wellfound, and even search startups on LinkedIn).
SecurSpace was a three-person Charlotte startup solving the truck parking crisis. It was a hoot. We built all our tools from the ground up, designed processes, and made cold calls with what was a crazy idea at the time (“Hey, let strangers pay to park in your lot!”). It was challenging, frustrating, fun, and incredibly rewarding. SecurSpace was acquired by a hip little company called Envase. (Pronounced en-vah-say, fun to say).
Headed by CEO Larry Cuddy, Envase was flying under the radar, acquiring crazy-cool technologies focused on the supply chain data black hole: DRAYAGE. Where would I fit in? These folks knew so much about trucking, and especially drayage.
Over the last two and a half years, I gave myself some grace and learned as I went. My passion for growth helped me design the role I am in today, overseeing Marketing, New Business Sales, and Customer Success. Our team has been through a lot together figuring out how to smoosh nine companies into one powerful brand. It has been chaotic, frustrating, fun, and satisfying.
Now Envase has been acquired by WiseTech Global, and I look forward to the new challenges and growth ahead.
2. How have mentors helped you gain career momentum?
My first mentor was through SCORE Mentors—a free program with leaders across specific specialties volunteering their time to help you learn more about different industries and reach your goals. I purposely sought out male Chief Revenue Officer mentors who could help me see where I may be letting my gender give me a complex. I learned how to present ideas and strategies (to bosses who weren’t expecting them) in a variety of ways. That was tremendously instrumental as I started working across multiple departments.
At Envase, I have been fortunate to work with wonderful, talented professionals willing to take the time to mentor and guide me. I’ve learned how to get to the point without being too curt on calls. I’ve learned how to approach workplace confrontations in a healthy and diplomatic way. I’ve found awesome books and podcasts to prepare you on how to pull teams from all walks of life to one team when to ask for help, when to shut up and listen (get curious before you get furious), and to just let it go. It takes work. I still pull from these lessons every day. Just a few of my favorite books include:
- Liz Wiseman’s Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter
- Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time
- Mike Weinberg’s Sales Management Simplified
- Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
- Allan Dib’s The 1-page Marketing Plan
- James Clear’s Atomic Habits
- Tara Bush’s Radical Acceptance
3. What’s it like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry?
I’m from a family of a few strong women surrounded by mostly gents. I’ve worked on teams with zero women (my job on a contractor’s crew, for example). I wrestled on the boys’ team in high school. And I still struggled when I first joined the industry.
Now I work on working and living by Ruiz’s iconic four agreements. If you aren’t familiar with them already, they are:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
Ignoring one of the four agreements, I did take things personally. Often. If someone cut me off in a meeting, I allowed myself to immediately root it back to my gender and fell into a rut of feeling small rather than living as the force that I am.
It wasn’t always the industry or the people in the industry… the insecure feelings were usually (and some days still are) the stories inside my head. The stories we tell ourselves can be dangerously powerful. I have awesome coaches, mentors, and a therapist who have helped me slowly reshape this mind of mine to handle any industry, anytime.
4. When did you find your voice in supply chain?
I’m still finding it. At one point, I got tired of feeling angry, frustrated, and victimized. I went to therapy, and I went back to graduate school.
Over the last few years, I’ve been introducing mini (some might say atomic) habits into my life to get healthier, be nicer to myself, and focus less on the gloom-and-doom stories that still occasionally pop into my head.
I won’t be done growing any time soon, but you’ll notice the growth in my tone of voice when I start really being a friend to myself again.
5. Who do you admire in supply chain or outside of it?
I’m not sure there is a harder-working person than Danny over at Harbor Division. I haven’t had the privilege of working with him in a while, but I remember him leaving it all on the field every day and taking great care of his team and his customers. You can’t teach that level of caring.
On the Envase team, we have a few rising stars in the mix. Jessica Whitehouse has a ridiculously expansive knowledge of the industry, tackles each role with endless energy, and keeps teams motivated to do their best. Rather than hoarding her experience, Jessica is an expert willing to share her knowledge and teach others around her.
6. What advice do you have for women in advocating for themselves and others in supply chain?
Be kind. To yourself first, then others. Be curious and ask questions. It’s OK not to have everything figured out now, or ever. We all keep growing and changing.
Don’t quit a job where you enjoy the work you are doing out of frustration with people or processes—reach out for help first from a mentor, HR, or someone on LinkedIn. I left a few really cool jobs because I didn’t know how to emotionally handle a bully or a silly process.
If there isn’t a role at your company that checks these boxes for you, then try to create it for yourself. You can be great at it, enjoy it, and bring your company more value.
7. What have you learned so far and what’s next on your supply chain career journey?
Hustle beats talent if talent doesn’t hustle. But I can only hustle if I am genuinely invested in the work I’m doing. Sometimes you need to listen to people who tell you to take a vacation and hustle less.
Movement and Action are not the same things. I have a strong dislike for movement without action, (planning something but never doing it).
It’s more than O.K. to say no to meetings, projects, and responsibilities that don’t fit into your path, (I Marie Kondo’d my workweek).
There’s a time and place to let your survival mode brain kick into high gear… it usually doesn’t need to be turned on at work (no tigers are going to eat you). This one is tough, but I’m gradually getting there.
The Future? I love learning, building processes and tools, failing, learning, and trying again. I reckon I’ll keep doing that.
The first area I want to focus on is continuing to have a positive impact on the industry. I’ve learned that even a small change can make a huge difference and improve someone’s day, which can be incredibly fulfilling. Next, I want to make sure I am continuing to build relationships that can offer support, guidance, and valuable connections to bring everyone closer and facilitate more collaboration. Lastly, I hope to attract more people to the supply chain industry. Now that I don’t need to explain to anyone what Supply Chain is (thanks Covid!), I hope to be a mentor for those looking to launch and continue their career in the industry.
8. What does being featured in the Women in supply chain™ series mean to you?
Being featured in the Women in supply chain™ series is an honor and a phenomenal platform to share my story. I’m relatively new to the logistics industry, and I still have the feeling in meetings of “What is that acronym again?!”.
I’d like to show that learning never stops, and just because you may not understand the ins and outs of supply chain today doesn’t mean you should avoid it. It is a fun industry, and there are supportive folks willing to say “That acronym means ______” without judgment, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and dig in for more details.
Meet Our Sponsor
Women fuel the success of some of the world’s most successful businesses, yet barriers still exist. SAP is committed to supporting and elevating a new generation of women to profoundly lead and impact global supply chains and is proud to support the Women in supply chain™ Series and its efforts. Supply chains need to evolve from low-cost and optimized to risk-resilient and sustainable and SAP can help. SAP Digital Supply Chain solutions connect the entire process — design, planning, manufacturing, logistics, maintenance, and service; connecting your supply chains to the rest of your business and all your contextual data; supporting your efforts in alleviating risk in your supply chains. SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software and for the last 50 years has been helping companies to run better. Find out more at sap.com
About the Author
Naomi Sylvian is a content marketing leader with more than 17 years of experience, and the editor of Let’s Talk Supply Chain’s Women in supply chain™ series. Her works have appeared on Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider, The Muse, and Yahoo, and have been mentioned by The New York Times Online. Naomi mentors at-risk teens to fight recidivism and contribute on a local level, working with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. Subscribe to her LinkedIn newsletter, The Chain Explained, for all things Supply Chain broken down with as many pop-culture references as possible, or view her marketing portfolio online.