331: Women In Supply Chain™, Sylena Urbanoski

In today’s episode of Women In Supply Chain™, I’m joined by the multi-talented Sylena Urbanoski: veteran, business founder, supply chain leader and start-up advisor.

Sylena Urbanoski is a strategic and dynamic operations leader with over seven years’ experience at the chief executive level, where she built profitable start-up divisions, grew business lines, managed deals, and streamlined operations. A veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, Sylena also co-founded a company that sold at 10 times valuation within 24 month to Flexport.

Today Sylena will be talking to us about her career so far; her entrepreneurial success; her long-time business partnership; and why she’s so passionate about scaling start-ups. Plus, she’ll be sharing her experiences as a woman in supply chain, as well as her words of advice for all of the women following in her footsteps.




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 are 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.

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[10.16] Sylena’s career journey and how a road trip with a friend led to a life-changing business and lifelong partnership.

“We went on a road trip and by the end of the trip we had the whole business plan sorted, and a vision about what we wanted to build. We found some investment backing, and jumped into it!”

[13.26] The vision behind Sylena’s first business, and its successful sale to Flexport.

“Customs in Canada are so far behind, and we went through the journey of what would it take to start digitizing and creating an environment where we could re-employ amazing women who weren’t staying in the industry, because it didn’t support their family and work/life balance.”

[17.46] Sylena’s experience working with Flexport, the next steps in her career journey, and her long-time business partnership with Cindy Christensen.

“I love building start-ups, I’m passionate about scaling them.”

[19.59] How and why supply chain has changed for women in the last decade, and the work that still needs to be done.

“Women in the supply chain industry spend so much of our careers fighting for any breath in the room… and it used to be that there were so few women in that room that it was so hard to partner up with other women because there was so little air to take.”

[22.26] From finance to the military to supply chain, Sylena’s experience across multiple male-dominated environments, and her experience of strong, supportive women.

“Every room I’ve ever been in as an adult has been male-dominated… it’s better now, but it’s nowhere near as good as it needs to be.”

[25.15] The industry areas that Sylena would like to see changed for women.

“The industry doesn’t create opportunities… there is no unifying place where continued education and promotion opportunities exist.”

“We spent so long finding any available space in that room, we really haven’t, as women in this industry, embraced the opportunity to step in and take the space we deserve.”

[30.40] What the future holds for Sylena.

“If you look at everybody else that’s trying to solve supply chain from a tech perspective, they’re all looking at it from a freight perspective. But the only one unifying factor about supply chain… is that every shipment touches a customs broker.”

[32.49] Sylena’s words of advice for leadership, and women in the industry.

“Find community first, and lean into it.”

[35.35] What excites Sylena the most about the future of supply chain, and her advice for jumping in.

[38.11] Sylena’s biggest top tip for Women In Supply Chain™.




You can connect with Sylena over on LinkedIn.

If you’d like to hear more from Sylena, check out episode 26 of Blended – Veterans Voices: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Serve. And if you want to hear even more veteran voices,  listen to episode 14 of Blended – Veterans and Civil life: Winning the Battle of Workplace Discrimination.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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