Sharon Manker talks about her career; finding community through education; advocating for change unapologetically; and successful supplier diversity programs.

344: Women In Supply Chain™, Sharon Manker

In today’s episode of Women In Supply Chain™, I’m joined by Sharon Manker – award-winning supply chain, supplier diversity and inclusion strategist; author; board director; keynote speaker; and advocate.

Sharon is a multi-talented supply chain and procurement professional, with over 20 years industry experience. And as a renowned advocate and diversity strategist, she brings that experience – together with her unrivalled passion – to committees, and stages, around the country, using her voice to elevate all the unrepresented voices out there.

Today Sharon will be talking to us about her career so far; finding community through education; advocating for change unapologetically; and creating supplier diversity programs that actually work. 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.




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[07.29] Sharon’s childhood career ambition, and how she inherited her impressive drive and passion from her mother.

“I always kept myself focused on: ‘I’m going to be somebody, or do something.’… My Mom had this drive and ambition, that ‘I’m going to get it done’ type of attitude – and that’s where I get it from!”

[08.59] Sharon’s ongoing learning journey, the importance of education, and how it led her to supply chain.

“I started school because I knew where I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to be a statistic in my neighborhood. I knew that education was going to propel me to be successful in my career and in my life.”

[15.10] Sharon’s role as Director of Supplier Diversity at Radian, and her plans to bring data-driven, innovative initiatives to the industry.

[15.56] The current challenges within supplier diversity, and the importance of advocates in bridging the gap to bring large corporates and small diverse businesses together.

“I wouldn’t be engaging with you if I didn’t know the company could use your product or service, or you weren’t best in class. And you wouldn’t be engaging with me if you didn’t really want the business. But the problem is that sometimes there’s a disconnect.”

[22.41] How Sharon became a contributing author to Drexel University Black Alumni Council’s unique book “A Legacy to Share,” and a sneak peek at her upcoming book.

[25.10] Sharon discusses Juneteenth – what it is, why it’s so important, and what she’s doing to mark the occasion this year.

“I’d like to see people being very intentional. You want to make an economic impact on the communities where you live, work and serve? Go find a black-owned business in your community, get to know them, and spend some money with them.”

[30.36] Why Sharon is so passionate about pursuing roles on boards and committees and championing women and under-represented voices.

“You can’t say you want to change something if you don’t want to make sure you’re a part of the system that needs to be changed… I want to be part of creating a legacy for the next generation.”

[34.04] Sharon’s experience as a woman across her 20 years in supply chain, how important other women have been to her career, and how the landscape of the industry is changing.

[35.53] The difference between mentors and sponsors, and the many and varied mentors that continue to play an important role in Sharon’s career development.

“Have a diverse group of mentors, because then you’re going to have a diverse set of perspectives.”

[39.04] Sharon’s advice for companies looking to better support women and diverse voices in the industry.

“I want to see people act, not just say.”

[40.30] The future for Sharon.




You can connect with Sharon over on LinkedIn, or find out more on her website.

If you enjoyed this episode, why not check out 196: Women In Supply Chain™, Madison Mobley or 334: Blended – Education: The Last Socially Acceptable Bias.

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