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Female supply chain leaders fuel diversity, innovation, and transformation to spark smart, deliberate strategies and build back a stronger supply chain. At Let’s Talk Supply Chain, we know that there’s power in women supporting each other. It’s a means to opening doors to more female supply chain leaders and breaking out of gender roles and the status quo. We’re doing our part every month, highlighting the trailblazing woman supply chain leaders who are making bold moves to push the supply chain forward into something more resilient.

In our Women in Supply Chain series, we introduce you to the up-and-coming and expert female thought leaders who you need to know about now to learn what motivates them and how they’re changing the chain for good. Let’s Talk Supply Chain explores the obstacles they’ve tackled, their leaps of faith and achievements, and the path that brought them where they are now, leading organizations across the global supply chain.

These supply chain leaders share what it takes to break out of stereotypes and into leadership roles—smashing glass ceilings across the chain along the way. Keep reading for inspiring stories, career advice, and expert guidance on breaking out in the chain.

This month we’re proud to highlight Crissa Klein, senior vice president, and chief operating officer at PPT America and a member of The Procurement Foundry. With more than two decades of global operations experience, Crissa has led high-performance teams and projects to propel transformational results. A formidable negotiator and an experienced supply chain and sourcing executive, Crissa has helped her employers mitigate potential disasters while saving them critical business funds—to the tune of multi-millions.

Crissa is passionate about developing supply chain strategies to support growth and efficiency while reducing manufacturer risk.

How did your supply chain journey start?

I started as an economist and became a management consultant after graduate school and kind of fell into supply chain projects by accident. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve been fortunate to work in multiple supply chain areas, including sourcing and procurement, and logistics.

Instead, I’ve been building my knowledge and experience across industries in Fortune 500 companies, including consumer goods and financial services organizations. Currently, I am the COO of an apparel sourcing and production agency—serving American and Canadian customers with production in Asia.

Now, I’m ready to embark on a new chapter in my supply chain journey.

What challenges have you faced in a male-dominated industry?

Being a woman in supply chain has been a challenge, but I love a good challenge.  To earn my place at the table, I’ve had to be creative in gaining attention and buy-in from colleagues and executives. Even with the obstacles I’ve faced as a woman in a production environment, I’m proud of the achievements I’ve made so far.

Who helped you navigate these challenges?

While I’ve never had a formal mentor, I’ve had a couple of advocates who have helped me find my way in being sounding boards, guiding me, and encouraging me to never give up. From giving me career advice and confidence in my abilities to encouraging me to take leaps forward in my career—they’ve shared what worked for them and what could work for me.

Who or what inspires you?

There are so many trailblazing women in supply chain who I admire including Suzanna Zhu at Hershey, Sandra MacQuillan at Mondelez, and the supply chain leaders at Amazon. I’m constantly amazed at how these leaders continually innovate and improve the end-to-end supply chain.

When did you nail your professional voice and style?

I found my voice working as a consultant. I was comfortable providing counsel to executives and leading teams. While I’ve always been great at facilitating, I’m also an ambivert or an “extroverted introvert.” The global COVID-19 pandemic offered me new opportunities to expand my network and participate in broader supply chain dialogues—opportunities that weren’t readily available pre-new normal.

What’s your favorite part about being in supply chain?

I always want to be challenged and keep learning. I always have a new webinar, course, or read teed up to keep growing my knowledge around new trends, case studies, and technologies. I look forward to continuing to advance my supply chain career and following my areas of passion including mitigating supply chain risks and improving the reach of the circular supply chain.

What’s your advice for women with big supply chain dreams?

Don’t be deterred by who or what you perceive as obstacles. Instead, try to gain experience in as many functions as possible. Make the time to build meaningful relationships—your network is everything. Get to know more about your colleagues and what your counterparts in marketing and business development do for more visibility.

Taking everything in and working in as many areas as possible makes you a well-rounded supply chain practitioner. Having deeper visibility into every angle of the chain and what impacts consumer decisions along the way will make you a stronger, smarter leader.

And remember, you can never be too smart. Embrace a growth mindset hungry for knowledge and never stop learning.

What does it mean to you to be featured in Women in Supply Chain?

Being featured in Women in Supply Chain shows me that I’ve finally started to make an impact in the field I love; I’m so honored. Also, it’s a reinforcement and a reminder that there is so much more ahead for me to achieve.

Being recognized as a voice in supply chain, among other female leaders who are reshaping our industry is inspiring. That inspires me to want to do more.

I hope this blog inspires more young women to explore supply chain and get active and involved in the industry. Because more diversity means more opportunity and higher performance for everyone.

Meet Our Sponsor:

This Women in Supply Chain feature was made possible by our sponsor, Apex Logistics. Apex Logistics International Inc is deeply rooted in diversity and culture, led by our own “Woman in Supply Chain” CEO, Elsie Qian; these values are why we partnered with Let’s Talk Supply Chain for the Women in Supply Chain series. Apex is recognized as one of the fastest-growing Top 25 airfreight forwarders in the world, with a network of over 2500 global employees in more than 70 countries.

About The Author:

Naomi GarniceNaomi Garnice is the Director of Marketing for MicroAge where she leads the marketing team and creative strategy. Naomi has been a content marketer for 14 years and is passionate about creating engaging content that matters. Throughout her career in marketing for technology, healthcare and supply chain organizations, Naomi has advocated to highlight female thought leaders in male-dominated industries.

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