Stephanie Shrader on Mentorship, Authenticity, And Teaching the Future of Supply Chain

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 Stephanie Shrader, senior director of strategic sourcing for Light and Wonder and a member of the Procurement Foundry. Stephanie is known for her commitment to increasing procurement and supply chain efficiency while empowering visibility through collaboration with internal stakeholders at all levels. Stephanie is dedicated to growing the number of women in procurement and supply chain via networking and social media. Stephanie has a bachelor’s in marketing and management from Lipscomb University and is gaining her license as a Certified Supply Chain Professional by the Institute of Supply Chain Management.

1. How did your supply chain journey start?

I started out as a Customer Service Manager and Global Purchasing Manager. I worked for both Shippers Paper Products and ITW Cargosafe while managing customer service and handling all the procurement and sourcing functions. I oversaw the warehouse inventory, launched a new MRP systems, and sourced products internationally. I handled all development of domestic and international logistics, and have been in strategic leadership roles for purchasing and supply chain since. I’m currently the Director of Strategic Sourcing for Light and Wonder, content and product creator for land-based casino gaming, social, and digital organizations across the globe.

2. How have mentors supported your career growth in the supply chain?

I never knew the value of having a mentor until a couple years ago. We are trained to think we can do it all on our own; especially women. We have to prove ourselves to the world, right? Without a mentor, it is definitely harder to accomplish professional and personal goals. I am lucky to have found a few I consider friends and my growth has skyrocketed since listening and gaining insight from these mentors. I too mentor younger women coming up into the Supply Chain field and love it! There is nothing better than feeling we have made a difference in someone’s life!

3. Tell us about what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry:

Working in the South in supply chain, you are working in a mainly male oriented industry. This can be a challenge at times as we do not always think alike and have ways of handling opportunities and challenges differently. We have to learn to work better with each other. I would love to see a class at our workplaces that deals with the opposite sex and the way we professional think and work. Sort of like a Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus but for the work area. If we understand what makes each other motivated to do certain things, I think together we could rule the world! I’m on a personal mission to help encourage more women to join the ranks in supply chain and procurement.

4. When did you find your voice in supply chain?

Honestly, I’m just now finding my voice, and it’s a great feeling. For me it has come with age and reaching out to others. I love to learn and have listened well—I never stop listening. I am a typical people pleaser, I’ve learned to assert myself and set boundaries—areas I struggled with earlier in my career.

5. Is there anyone you admire professionally who influenced your work?

There are so many, Sarah Scudder immediately comes to mind. Sarah is authentic, serves others, is disciplined and follows her own path. Her confidence and positivity are contagious.

6. What does it mean to you to be featured in Women In Supply Chain?

When Sarah asked me to be part of her Women in Supply Chain blog, I felt like I’d won the lottery. (Which is illegal since I’m in the gaming industry, ha!)

7. What advice do you have for women looking to start in the supply chain industry?

Find a mentor, man or woman, but I suggest women whever possible. Always bring your authentic self into networking. Attend industry events, and don’t be afraid to say no.

8. What’s next on your supply chain journey?

So many opportunities await! Getting past the fear of Just doing it! Finding a work-life balance.  I’d love to teach women in college on the reality of the workplace. And one day consult or own a business.

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

Let's Talk Supply Chain Stephanie Shrader on Mentorship, Authenticity, And Teaching the Future of Supply Chain 1

 

Naomi Garnice (She/Her/Hers) is a Senior Manager, Supply Chain Solutions Marketing at Anaplan where she supports brand awareness and expansion—leading marketers to simplify supply chain planning, make it profitable, and ignite agility by integrating other key business planning areas. Naomi has 16 years of marketing experience and is passionate about telling stories that matter. For over a decade, she has been committed to highlighting the voices of female thought leaders in male-dominated industries. Naomi’s LinkedIn Newsletter, The Chain Explained helps break down supply chain concepts and disruptions to give industry outsiders a greater understanding of how they impact their everyday lives.

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