Seretha Willingham tells us all about her career; swapping the corporate world for entrepreneurship; scaling a business during a pandemic; & the secret to her success.

347: Women in supply chain™, Seretha Willingham

In today’s episode of Women in supply chain™, I’m joined by Seretha Willingham – founder, CEO, project management professional and Certified Scrum Master!

Seretha’s impressive corporate career spans from financial data analysis and IT project management to strategic planning and execution. And, utilizing all of that knowledge and experience, Seretha went on to found SJW Logistics – a 3PL providing freight transportation, warehousing and e-commerce fulfilment services. SJW has been recognized as a Top 10 3PL by the Logistics and Transportation Review magazine and as one of the Top 10 Fastest Growing Transportation companies by Business Chief magazine.

Today Seretha will be talking to us about her career so far; swapping the corporate world for entrepreneurship; the challenges of scaling a business during a global pandemic; and the secret to her success. 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.

 

SHOW SPONSOR:

 

GoFreight is proud to sponsor the ‘Women in supply chain™’ podcast series, recognizing women’s vital role in the industry and the need to highlight their contributions and experiences. We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the supply chain field and are honored to support initiatives that empower and inspire women in their professional journeys.

GoFreight is the world’s leading cloud-based freight forwarding management system. In addition to its comprehensive core features, including business quoting, ocean and air freight processes, invoicing and payments, accounting, and finance, customers highly favor it for providing a customer-facing platform that meets the needs of freight forwarders and their clients and agents.

With GoFreight, tasks such as quoting, booking, cargo tracking, and data reporting, which traditionally required email or phone communication, can now be quickly completed through a user-friendly online platform, similar to booking flights or hotels.

For more information, visit GoFreight.

 

IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:

 

[07.25] Seretha’s different dreams in life, why no journey is ever linear, and an overview of her career journey.

“I had a dream of being in the military… then switched to nursing, then to accounting… like most people, I had a lot of dreams and aspirations to do different things – but I landed here!”

[09.13] Seretha’s career progression throughout her seven and a half years at Coca-Cola; how she discovered a talent for project management; and how it helped her to discover supply chain and logistics.

[12.42] Seretha’s experience at Coca-Cola, and what she learned about workplace culture and the importance of customer service.

“Fresh out of college, it taught me professionalism, customer service… and they were so big on core values and everyone being on the same page.”

[14.25] Why Seretha moved from Coca-Cola to a logistics firm; the big differences in culture and approach; and what she learned.

“It was a culture shock for me… but it helped me out so much, because that’s where I was able to see acquisitions happen, how to transition through an acquisition, I worked next to the CEO and president so I could hear their stories…”

[17.46] Why Seretha took the leap and founded her own 3PL, SJW Logistics.

“I thought ‘if they can do it, maybe I can do this too!’…

[19.41] The experience of growing her business during a global pandemic, and how Seretha is adjusting to the current turbulent market.

“Like most businesses, we’re experiencing the rollercoaster, with the economy, of things we can’t control!”

[23.37] The secret to Seretha’s success.

[25.34] Seretha’s experience, as a woman of color, moving from a big corporate to the male-dominated logistics industry to founder and CEO.

“In corporate America, I applied for positions – I knew I was qualified, I knew I had put in the work – but I was denied. But that didn’t stop me. I just thought, ‘well, I’m going to go a different route.’”

[29.45] An overview of the Scrum Alliance; how it helps to speed up the progress of complex projects; and the importance of agility and community in modern workplaces.

[31.11] Seretha’s advice for achieving healthy work/life balance, and the importance of technology in helping her to stay on track.

“When you’re an entrepreneur, a mother, a wife – you’re very busy! Its so easy to forget the important things…. My phone is like my second brain!”

[35.27] Seretha’s advice for women looking to follow in her footsteps; for organizations looking to improve, or better support up-and-coming women in the industry; and the importance of mentors.

[40.52] The future for Seretha.

 

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED:

 

You can connect with Seretha over on LinkedIn, or find out more about SJW Logistics on their website, LinkedIn or Instagram.

If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more inspiring stories from women in logistics, check out 275: Women in supply chain™, Amani Radman or 260: Women in supply chain™, Maggie Petrovic.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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