As an always-on, digital age and a disruptive industry landscape continue challenging the way we think about supply chain; women leaders are working to build the chain back smarter. Fueling new operations concepts and approaches, these female trailblazers are creating more possibilities for a brighter future. At Let’s Talk Supply Chain, we know the value of women rallying behind each other to promote a more diverse and inclusive logistics community and landscape.
Because when women empower each other, they make meaningful progress—breaking professional barriers, stereotypes, and dated gender roles. At Let’s Talk Supply Chain we’re dedicated to lifting the voices of women leaders. We’re proud to promote these supply chain leaders and their bold leaps forward in innovation to modernize the supply chain while igniting a vibrant and inclusive industry landscape.
Each month our Women in Supply Chain series introduces the female thought leaders making moves and shaking up the industry as we know it. They share what motivates them and how they drive real progress inside their organizations, industry, and community. Let’s Talk Supply Chain explores challenges women supply chain leaders face that all too often go unnoticed. We celebrate their breakout achievements and the beginnings that positioned them for their recent success stories, ushering change and businesses across the global supply chain.
In our Women in Supply Chain series, female trailblazers across the industry from different backgrounds open up about their experience, career advice, and musts for advancement in careers in supply chain. Read on for deep leadership insights and expert guidance on becoming a supply chain leader.
This month, we’re proud to highlight an up-and-coming operations leader, Hannah Meyer, the senior manager of programs for Emerge, an organization committed to reinventing freight procurement. Hannah is known for her proven ability to lead while contributing to high-level management strategies and overseeing day-to-day operations. She is the former co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Pie for Providers, an award-winning social enterprise. Hannah has a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies with a minor in Social Work from Arizona State University, a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University, and a Master of Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, Operations, and Economics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She has also earned her Product Management Certification through General Assembly.
1. How did your supply chain journey start?
My journey in Supply Chain started when I relocated from Chicago back to Phoenix. I was looking for work and knew I wanted a change when I found Honeywell. This role was my first introduction to supply chain outside of business school. I thoroughly enjoyed the operations and supply chain-focused courses I took but hadn’t considered it a career path until that point. At Honeywell, I was fortunate to have a supervisor who went out of his way to show me the ropes of the industry, taking me onsite to suppliers and allowing me to sit in on negotiations. I eventually realized that I missed the start-up environment (I was previously the co-founder of a social enterprise) and found my way to Emerge. Emerge appealed to me because it was the intersection between my old life—bringing technology to an analog industry (child care government programs) and my new life in the aerospace supply chain.
2. How have mentors supported your career growth in the supply chain?
My manager, Maggie Petrovic, has been instrumental in my growth as a logistics and supply chain professional. She took a risk when she hired me with no logistics experience and gave me a lot of room and trust to figure things out. Maggie also made space for me to ask all the questions I needed.
3. Tell us about what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry:
It’s been interesting. The start-up that I co-founded was tiny, and except for one intern, all of our employees were women, so it was quite a culture shock going from that to supply chain. My Bachelor’s is in Women’s and Gender Studies, so I had at least a theoretical understanding of how gender impacts my experience in the world. Actually working in a male-dominated industry provides a different perspective.
I think it’s important to note that, as a white woman, when I find other women in this industry, they are more likely to look like me—particularly in leadership positions. As an industry, we have some work to do in supply chain to bring in new and diverse voices and support and promote those voices into leadership roles.
4. When did you find your voice in supply chain?
Last June, I had to present to our leadership team, and I felt like I had to punch above my weight—assessing potential strategies and making my recommendations for both the short and long term. I was nervous that I didn’t have the experience or clout at the time for my presentation to land the way it should.
My presentation ended up being very well received and laid the groundwork for the expansion of our team and strategies that are still in place today. That presentation and its response marked a turning point for my confidence, both at the company and in the industry. I knew I had gained enough mastery of the sector to do my job well and that I had established myself in the company as a leader.
5. Is there anyone you admire professionally who influenced your work?
I still look up to my former co-founder, Chelsea Sprayregen. Chelsea’s tenacity, candor, and unbelievable amount of grit inspire me. We don’t connect as often as we did in the past when I was at Pie for Providers. Still, it’s inspiring to watch her driving forward with her vision for the organization, even from a distance.
The more I reflect on the question, the more I find I’m just coming up with a list of women I appreciate. I’ve been fortunate to have met so many women who have supported me, taken chances on me, and helped me in my growth as an individual and a professional. It’s been wonderful to get to know them and watch them thrive in their paths, and in that way, I think I admire all of them for their strength and individuality.
6. What does it mean to you to be featured in Women In Supply Chain?
It’s great to share my experiences with other women and be recognized as a leader in this community. When I joined Emerge, I did a lot of supply chain and logistics research. Through this ongoing research and self-education, I hope that I can contribute to someone else’s journey in this industry.
7. What advice do you have for women looking to start in the supply chain industry?
I’ve learned that it’s okay not to be the best at things the first (or even the fifth) time you do them. I don’t think I’m alone in having this feeling that I need to succeed on the first try, and I constantly remember that some of our best moments of growth happen when we make mistakes and learn the hard lessons.
8. What’s next on your supply chain journey?
I’m not sure what the future holds, there is still a lot for me to do and learn at Emerge, and I’m excited to see where that takes me.
This Women in Supply Chain feature was made possible by our sponsor, Emerge. As a company focused on empowering and growing meaningful supply chain relationships, Emerge is proud to sponsor Women in Supply Chain. Through its freight procurement platform, Emerge offers solutions that enhance the spot and contract procurement process, enabling shippers and carriers to make more strategic decisions. Learn more about Emerge here.
About the Author
Naomi 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.