At Let’s Talk Supply Chain™, we’re passionate about closing the gender gap to expand innovation through diversity. Making this hard dichotomy shift isn’t just about good business ethics either. It’s a business investment in an industry that’s anything but predictable. Research shows that women in supply chain™ empower more curiosity and agility—empowering breakthrough business outcomes at organizations across the globe—these are the women whose stories we share monthly.
The numbers prove that gender inclusion and promoting the advancement of woman leaders in your ranks is profitable. In sharp contrast with organizations that have fewer women in leadership, more than half of businesses actively focusing on gender equity and inclusion have 50% higher profits and 61% higher revenue growth—73% of these are official leaders in customer satisfaction scores.
And while the tech industry job market is still anything but stable, supply chain leaders are still dealing with ongoing talent and resource shortage challenges. The record talent shortage has been a source of frequent delays and price jumps in recent years. Having meaningful and sometimes tough dialogues to close the diversity gap in supply chain and logistics can fuel business growth—faster. And that means more opportunities for fresh industry talent, women included.
At Let’s Talk Supply Chain™, we’re committed to closing the supply-chain gender gap by recognizing women supply chain and logistics leaders who are breaking the mold with big career jumps and landings. Each month our blog series highlights the endless force for good that up-and-comers and veteran female trailblazers bring to change the logistics industry for the better. Let’s Talk Supply Chain™ explores the roadblocks women leaders continuously learn to navigate, how they empower each other, and ways they are transforming the way their employers do business.
Women in Supply Chain™ explores the everyday challenges women supply chain leaders overcome that often go unnoticed. We celebrate their personal and professional breakout achievements and the roots that positioned them for their latest achievements, ushering change across the global supply chain. Global trailblazers share their unexpected beginnings, stories, obstacles they’ve overcome, and the career advice they have for other women in supply chain™.
This month we’re honored to feature Zarrin Lilani, Product Marketing Director for o9 Solutions. She boasts an Executive MBA from the Quantic School of Business and Technology and a Bachelor’s degree from King’s College London. For more than a decade, Zarrin has dedicated her career to finding smarter and more sustainable supply chain planning approaches and technology solutions.
1. Where did your supply chain journey start?
I started on my sales and supply chain development path at Nestle UK, where I was a Demand Planning and Trade Promotion Planning Super User. I moved to the U.S. for a North American software rollout. I project-managed different Supply Chain system implementations for Nestle across the continent and then led Nestle’s Silicon Valley Hub Supply Chain division—setting up supply chains and new business models with technologies to pilot.
Driven to make a climate impact in my work, I moved to a plant-based seafood company to build its supply chain for the first product launch. I missed working in technology, and my passion for greener approaches took me to o9 Solutions where I bring best-in-class Supply Chain Planning and ESG tracking systems to market.
2. How have your mentors helped you move ahead?
I have been fortunate to have many mentors throughout my career transitions. They have all encouraged me to stay curious and focused. It’s tempting to say yes to everything; do everything. But my mentors remind me that I can make the most meaningful impact by strategically honing in on a few key areas.
3. What’s your experience working in a male-dominated industry?
There have been many positive changes over the years in recognizing women supply chain leaders and their achievements especially when it comes to Supply Chain Planning. At first, it was a challenge to have my voice and ideas heard. Fortunately, that dynamic has changed. Because we have to justify our decision-making more than our male counterparts historically, women are skilled in new technology adoption and data-driven practices. This commitment to precision and innovation can take our careers further.
4. When did you find your voice in your supply chain career?
I had an aha moment when I was leading User testing for a Nestle USA Supply Chain software implementation. I was presenting the results to Senior leadership when I realized I understood so much about the end-to-end business. I knew the detailed nuances of end users in the supply chain and the big picture. I knew then that I could pinpoint the biggest supply chain challenges and anticipate how to solve them.
5. What advice do you have for women in advocating for themselves and others in the supply chain?
Make sure you remember to advocate for each other. Working together, women in any industry are an unstoppable force. I feel fortunate to be featured in the Women in Supply Chain™ blog series, especially because a female colleague nominated me. It’s an honor to be considered a leading woman in supply chain and have the visibility to shine the light on other female leaders.
6. Who do you admire in the supply chain industry?
Many women in Supply Chain™ have a very quiet confidence about them. They don’t necessarily dominate meetings, but when they say something it’s impactful and drives action. Wendi Smith, who is the CSCO of Nestle USA is a strong woman supply chain leader who propels progress.
7. What have you learned so far and what’s next on your supply chain career journey?
I’ve realized that staying open-minded can take you far. Being curious and wanting to learn about supply chain elements and dynamics and how it all comes together can propel you ahead. Having a growth mindset and a thirst for hunger will take you to unimaginable places and positions you never expected.
Meet Our Sponsor
GoFreight is proud to sponsor the Women in Supply Chain™ blog and 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.
About the Author
Naomi Sylvian is a content marketing leader with more than 17 years of experience, and the editor of Let’s Talk Supply Chain™’s Women in supply chain™ series. Her works have appeared on Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider, The Muse, and Yahoo, and have been mentioned by The New York Times Online. Naomi mentors at-risk teens to fight recidivism and contribute on a local level, working with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. Subscribe to her LinkedIn newsletter, The Chain Explained, for all things Supply Chain broken down with as many pop-culture references as possible, or view her marketing portfolio online.