Elisa Gustavo on Living and Breathing Excellence in Supply Chain and Empowering More Mozambican Women

Supply chain disruption is more than a buzzword, and its enormity is on everyone’s minds with growing visibility and consternation amongst consumers. Running into product shortages, backorders, and delays is the new normal. Between a historical labor gap, unprecedented demand, and a continuing pandemic, woman supply chain trailblazers continue emerging—bringing fresh momentum and best practices into the mix with them. These female supply chain leaders are fueling innovation to drive a brighter path forward. 

At Let’s Talk Supply Chain, we understand the value of women tapping into our collective power as professionals in a male-dominated industry—together. Because when women in supply chain advocate for each other, big things happen—breaking status quos and glass ceilings to help advance the entire community. At Let’s Talk Supply Chain we’re dedicated to continually doing our part each month. We’re committed to featuring the achievements of trailblazing women creating a stronger more vibrant supply chain and professional community.

In our Women in Supply Chain series, Let’s Talk Supply Chain introduces the woman leaders who are dominating the chain now, and unleashing better, smarter outcomes. We ask what and who motivates them and how each is doing her part to create positive change in their organizations, industry, and community. Let’s Talk Supply Chain covers the hurtles these woman leaders have conquered, big leaps of faith, and the beginnings that ultimately led them where they are today, leading businesses across the global supply chain. Read on for career advice, inspiring achievements, and expert guidance on breaking through to the top of the chain.

For our final Women in Supply Chain blog of 2021, we’re proud to feature Elisa Gustavo, procurement leader and petroleum engineer with a proven history in the oil and gas sector and fuel trading. Gustavo is the Head of Engineering at Belutécnica with a degree in engineering and petroleum resource management. 

  1. How did your professional journey lead you to a career in supply chain?

I have a degree in Petroleum Engineering and Management. I had my first brush with supply chain while taking an academic course covering Petroleum Logistics. We mostly discussed Procurement and Supply Chain. I had no doubts that I wanted to specialize and work in that area. 

Later, I broke into Logistics and Operations as an intern at a Petroleum trading company in Mozambique. In 2019 I started my career as a Procurement assistant. Due to some implementations and improvement proposals, I was recruited into the procurement department that I now head up today.

  1. What has leading in a male-dominated industry taught you as a procurement leader in supply chain?

Working as a woman leader in supply chain has been challenging and inspiring at the same time. It’s challenging being a woman and still being viewed as too young to be in a senior management position in a male-dominated industry. Channeling positive results and motivating other women around me to always seek the best in themselves is inspiring. Because we were all born to shine, God made us to be excellent in everything we do.

  1. Have you had any mentors on your career path so far?

I consider them more advocates and members of my professional family than mentors. The first is Professor Dr. Rui da Maia, who taught Oil and Gas Logistics, sparking my interest in the area. He passed on a lot of knowledge from working in the petroleum logistics field and has helped me a lot throughout my career. With Dr. Rui da Maia, I learned that information is power and that an informed woman is worth a thousand. This empowered me to continue to search for information. 

The second is the engineer Quincardete Lourença, CEO of the company where I started as an intern. I consider him responsible for a good part of the professional I am today. I learned from him that I am a super star and that I must never turn off the light of the star that is in me. That is to always give my best and seek solutions for all types of problems. Take responsibility, be disciplined, deliberate, and consistent. I am very grateful to both supply chain leaders.

  1. Which woman in supply chain inspires you and why?

I admire Marlene de Sousa, a young Mozambique who fights for the development of Human Resources in Mozambique. I respect her a lot because she has brought many innovative ideas that have created a huge impact for HR Management professionals, not only at the national level, but at a global, international scale. Marlene sets the example as a highly professional woman who battles fearlessly daily for the development of HR Management in Mozambique and now in Africa.

  1. How have you found your voice as a leader in supply chain?

I lost my fear when I started taking credit and responsibility for my actions as a professional. Fear made me submit to various decisions even though I didn’t agree. That anxiety prevented me from giving an honest opinion, making decisions, and taking on responsibilities. When detached from that fear I realized the importance and value that my opinions have.

  1. What do you want to tell women looking to dive into supply chain and those already in the industry?

In a market with so many qualified professionals, having the right attitude makes all the difference. Be bold. Have clear life goals with metrics and deadlines. I have clear goals and I fight to meet them. 

Be a person of words and actions. We were born to be excellent, God made us perfect creatures, do everything with excellence in mind. Be excellent and kind to others. Be humble. Bond with people—we need each other to go far—never stop networking.

  1. What have you learned on your supply chain journey so far?

I’ve learned a lot about myself, and that I am a high-value being. I can inspire and motivate other valued beings. And the best results are realized and achieved through the people around us who are motivated. I always say the future is female. I am that woman who will transform to make an impact, positively shape the Mozambique supply chain, opportunities for the women here, and abroad.

  1. What does it mean to you to be featured in our Women in Supply Chain Series?

Being featured in Women in Supply Chain is a personal and shared victory. It’s a shared achievement for me and first step towards the empowerment and inspiration of more Mozambican women in supply chain. Anything is possible with greater knowledge and visibility. Gaining this type of visibility myself and for other Mozambican women means that anything is possible. We can live what we imagine and dream.

Being featured in Women in Supply Chain truly is my dream. It’s a great opportunity to prove that I can achieve anything and to show Mozambican women they can be anything they want and to keep going.

This Women in Supply Chain feature was made possible by our sponsor, Apex Logistics. Apex Logistics International Inc is deep 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:

Let's Talk Supply Chain Elisa Gustavo on Living and Breathing Excellence in Supply Chain and Empowering More Mozambican Women 1Naomi 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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