As leaders are building chains and economies back and the way organizations work is actively reimagined, women in supply chain are fueling innovation and a more resilient path forward. These female leaders are building back smarter. At Let’s Talk Supply Chain, we know the importance of women tapping into our collective power by supporting one another to shape a more accepting, inclusive industry and professional community.
When we rally behind each other, women make things happen—opening doors and breaking out of the status quo and dated gender roles. At Let’s Talk Supply Chain we’re committed to doing our part every month. We’re proud to feature the trailblazing women supply chain leaders and their bold moves to achieve a stronger more resilient supply chain and community.
In our Women in Supply Chain series, we introduce the women who are dominating supply chain. We ask what and who motivates them and how they’re doing their part to create positive change in their organizations, industry, and community. Let’s Talk Supply Chain shares the obstacles these women have conquered, their big leaps of faith, and the beginnings that ultimately led them to where they are today, leading organizations across the global supply chain. Read on for inspiring stories, career advice, and expert guidance on breaking into the chain.
This month, we’re honored to feature CEO, thought leader, and keynote speaker, Sandra Campos. Sandra has emerged as a powerful advocate for retail innovation, diversity, and female empowerment in the workplace—appearing on MSNBC, Bloomberg, and Telemundo to touch on these critical areas ripe for progress. Sandra has been named a 2021 Latina of Influence, a 2021 Female Founders Alliance Champion, and included in the Top 100 Latina Leaders by Latino Leaders Magazine.
1. How did your professional journey lead you to a career in supply chain?
I started my career in retail—on the sales floor and in the buying office. I was able to move to wholesale as an in-store merchandiser and account executive for retailers. My career path took off in sales; to leadership; and ultimately to the ranks of CEO of iconic retail brands. When the pandemic hit, with an opportunity to dig deeper into all the foundational elements that impact a product’s gross margin and the ultimate consumer experience, I pivoted from retail to supply chain.
It’s much more complicated than many people think, although I also believe that this wave of critical business restructuring requires a rethinking of these complications. Simplification and digitization have transformed other aspects of business execution and the shift towards automation and tech stacks that simplify workstreams will be game-changers.
2. What have you learned as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
It’s important for companies and leaders to embrace change, to focus on a purposeful organization, and to empower women to advance their initiatives. As an industry, we need to provide a safe space for women to be able to vocalize their opinions without retribution, to be able to take their skills to another level, and to promote from within in supply chain.
In Supply Chain, we need educational programs to help empower talent from the warehouse level to the executive level. There are countless women in supply chain who are intimidated by the “unknown”. We need to break it down and open the doors to more women and women of color to have a more equitable balance of opportunity for the future.
3. Have mentors supported you in your roles in retail and transition to supply chain?
Yes. I believe mentors exist everywhere if you try to find them. I learn from both more and less seasoned colleagues, and peers. The key is being open to learning and embracing new concepts. So many strategies can apply across industry sectors—sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you need to be aware and willing enough to take the risks.
Giving others space, a voice, and opportunities provided mentorship, but one also needs coaches, advocates, and sponsors who take you along their journey.
4. Who in supply chain inspires you and why?
Shekar Natarajan of American Eagle and Jeannine D’Onofrio, formerly of Tommy Hilfiger come to mind, as well as Stephen Denton of Ware2Go. They are all next-generation thinkers whose actions align with their words. They are leaders who are constantly pushing for progress.
I’ve witnessed Shekar’s openness to new ways of doing things first-hand, continually striving to reach future goals. He’s always ten steps ahead of the competition. Jeannine is magnetic, dynamic, and builds strong relationships while being incredibly team-oriented. She takes the time to teach and engage her team so that they, too, can become supply chain leaders.
5. When did you first find your voice as a supply chain leader?
Years of industry experience, failures, and successes have given me a stronger voice today. For me, knowledge equals confidence, and I am a life-long learner. I subscribe to every newsletter possible to absorb what’s happening across sectors and industries whether it’s tech, retail, supply chain, culture, education. I apply it all to my strategic thoughts. Becoming an expert at something takes time and that’s when your voice becomes strongest.
6. What other advice do you have for women entering the supply chain?
I always tell people to work hard, educate yourself constantly, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Networking is crucial and it is even more important in male-dominated industries like supply chain. Seize the opportunities that are presented, take some risks if you can, and don’t take failures as disappointments. Instead, always learn from failure, building back stronger and smarter for the future.
7. What does it mean to you to be featured in our Women in Supply Chain Series?
Transitioning from retail operations to supply chain isn’t common. I’m thrilled to welcome the opportunity to share my journey with others who can learn to pivot and find purposes in the most important sector, supply chain. As someone who supports leaders who empower diversity, momentum, and positive progress, it’s an honor to be featured alongside other woman leaders with the same values and mindset in supply chain.
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.