Supply Chain and Logistics might make you think of men in hi-vis driving forklifts, but it’s so much more than that. We teamed up with Wayfinder who are creating a new pipeline of talented women coming into the industry while breaking down stereotypes and challenging the gender balance, to speak to 24 women about what working in supply chain means to them. These inspiring women told us about being mothers and role models, diverse career opportunities, continually learning and using a range of analytical and people skills to be successful.
If you’re considering a career in the industry and you want to hear advice and stories from women smashing glass ceilings in supply chain and logistics, then read on below!
Danielle Pollock, Shift Roster Officer - Aurizon
“Since working in a logistics role, I have found so many parallels and experience to draw upon from past roles which has given me a creative approach to planning strategy and problem solving. As a working mum, this has in turn, helped me enjoy a great work/life balance.”
Kate Lanigan, Live Run Coordinator in Brisbane - Aurizon
“Value the knowledge and experience of those around you. When you seek out experience and request it is shared not only do you learn and grow but you make others feel valued. It is the one thing you can do from day one and it will cement the relationships you need to succeed.”
Lisa Nguyen, National Transport Performance & Insights Manager - Coca-Cola Amatil
“Supply chain is more than just hard hats and steel cap boots. It is also a job where you can apply your life skills in planning, negotiating, managing, and working with what you have and what you know to get things done or making it better. No two days are the same, ever.”
Kerry Curtis, Planning Manager - Coles Logistics Smeaton
“It is ok to be a woman in a man’s world. Work hard and prove that you are the best person for the job.”
Sarah Laing, Associate Director Brewing & Quality - CUB
“I think it is important for young women to grow up seeing their mum doing cool stuff, like manufacturing and brewing! I want to encourage women and girls that you can do it. You absolutely can do it; and you should. You’ll never find a more rewarding career.”
Stacey Jones, Site Manager – Glen Cameron Group
“I love the dynamic nature of Logistics. Level upon level of processes intertwined and in sync to source, manufacture and distribute products everywhere. The industry embraces all types of personalities that work on a level of mutual respect and support which is critical to all stakeholders’ needs. As a Site Manager of a large operation, I thoroughly enjoy the constant direct engagement with customers and leading my team to achieve common goals.”
Maggie Pillay, Manufacturing Director - Kellogg Australia & New Zealand
“It’s up to you to build your own career and give it your best. Always think ahead to where you want to be in three to five years. Be deliberate in the role you aspire to be in, how long for and when you’re ready to move on. Sponsors are important, but you need to work hard and use your own voice. And learn, learn, learn, never stop learning.”
Emma Sibbald, Operations Team Leader – Kings Group
“A mistake is only a mistake if you make it twice. Always have a process in how you make decisions, that way if things do not go according to plan, you have reasoning as to why you made that decision and can tweak it to be better in the future.“
Charity Peters, National Distribution Center Site Manager - Kraft Heinz
The NDC is in Hastings, NZ and on average we despatch 4500 tonnes of food a week to our domestic and international markets.
“Its ok to not know everything. As long as you grow and learn as you go – never stop learning! Always maintain your integrity and stay professional, believe in your products and your company. If you surround yourself with like minded people, great things will happen.”
Hayley Elkington, C3 Australia, Green Triangle, Regional Manager – LINX Cargo Care Group
“Don’t sell your experience short when it comes to the value you can bring to a job or an organisation. Each day brings an opportunity to learn something new and exciting, so take those opportunities and don’t let fear prevent you from diving in. Be confident and trust your experience.”
“From my first day working with C3 I’ve been encouraged to “act like you own it” and in the six months I’ve been in the regional manager role, that encouragement hasn’t wavered. I came over to C3 from a role as a logistics officer in the Army. I’ve found my experience to be invaluable both for the organisation and for myself when faced with a new challenge or opportunity, which happens each day in Forestry. I can lean on my experience and this allows me to own the role the way I want to. The best decision I made is backing myself and applying for the role, and I haven’t looked back.”
“It's good to see more and more women are backing themselves and applying for jobs in the industry; at our base in Portland we now have more than 15 women in various roles and that’s only going to increase.”
Natalie Ng, Beverage Development Technologist - Lion
“The supply chain sector is a fast-moving world. Be prepared to be agile and flexible because you never know what the day will hold. There is never a boring day and you might be required to get your hands dirty, but it’s so much more than just hi-vis clothing!”
Chontelle Kelly, Procurement Specialist - Nestle
“Don’t be afraid to try something completely new, even if it’s completely left-of-field for you. All the people I have met along my career journey have been more than willing to help. It’s this network of people that will help guide you onto the field and through the goalposts.”
Lisa Rivers, Supply Manager – Nestle
“Be open-minded when career opportunities arise. They may be unexpected but learning agility is a real competitive advantage. The timing of opportunities will always be a challenge! Do your research but also trust your instincts on what is right for you. Have no regrets.”
Kathryn Esler, Operations and Logistics Manager, New Zealand – Nestle
“Supply Chain is an incredibly diverse field, that rewards planning, relationships, inventiveness, vison, and drive, regardless of who you are or what you have done before. Challenge yourself, channel your passions and embrace your talents, you will be successful in a Supply Chain Career.”
Millie McAdam, Customer Delivery Manager in QLD - Programmed
"Women have a strong future within logistics as we see the demand shift from physicality to business improvement. Women have an eye for detail and this is important from floor operations to customer service and management. It’s about balance.”
“We look to increase female participation by engaging with stakeholders and assisting them to identify roles that could be suited to women, helping to create flexibility within the roles themselves and hours required.”
“Women don’t just come to work to earn, women come to work with strong minds to prove that they are just as capable, if not more than the person beside them. This is what creates a strong workplace with increased productivity and loyalty to the employers that give them a chance. This is why it is important to me."
Danielle Markey, Health & Wellbeing Advisor – QUBE Holdings Limited
“After starting as a safety graduate, I now have a national role working in the Health and Wellbeing team at Qube. My role includes a variety of tasks; from maintaining systems and data interrogation to assisting develop health initiatives for the Group.
With Qube operating in all aspects of the supply chain, I am exposed to a variety of operations and countless opportunities to learn something new. I never expected I would work in the transport and logistics sector, let alone enjoy it as much as I do.”
Ausra Schaffarzyk, Commercial Manager LAND 400 – Rheinmetall Defence Australia
“Working in Supply Chain & Logistics is exciting and challenging, particularly in Defence where we are in the business of supporting men and women in uniform. Women are building a strong presence in this fast moving sector and, increasingly, are taking leadership roles that are reshaping our ability to deliver.”
Amira Amin, National Manager 3PL, Commercial and IT - VISA Global Logistics
“I completed my double degree in computer Science engineering, mastering in software engineering, one of 5 girls in a 500 pupil degree. There I was, full of life ready to grab the career world by its lapels, and shoot to the top, and what slap in the face that was. I had not been prepared for the challenges that young women, full of energy and goals would face. My career has seen me, become a business owner, lead large corporation bids, work on strategically turning profits around, leading teams of over 500, running supply chain across Australia, taking transport companies into the 21st century, this list continues, and now seeing me as the National 3PL Manager for a global freight organisation."
"My transition in to the supply chain industry, did no not come without its challenges, however if you stay true to yourself, and embrace the female skills that can be bought to the table, you will see that you will thrive in this industry. Do not hide your femininity, draw on the attributes that define you as a woman, and use them to your advantage, ‘there is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish” (M. Obama)."
"The world is thirsty for us, and when united, we are powerful.”
"Lastly, I leave you with the words of an amazing woman, Maya Angelou, "I am a woman / Phenomenally / Phenomenal woman / That's me."
Krystel Cochico, National Marketing Manager - VISA Global Logistics
“Aside from your work commitment, always allocate time for further study or training on managing people. This involves learning and become adept at managing your boss, managing your peers and managing your direct reports. Great people managers are so rare to come by and they are such an asset to any organisation: they can motivate, persuade, influence and negotiate their way to great results whilst involving and engaging everyone. I’ve found that this skill is even more important in the supply chain and logistics industry where you will be exposed to global markets, products and people from different cultures.
And to be frank, we need more capable people managers in our industry – we need you; I hope you can be one of them.”
Chanelle Carr-Janif, Sydney Airport JUHI Manager - Viva Energy
“Go in with an open mind - ready to learn! However, don’t underestimate the transferable skills and capability you already have. Supply Chain incorporates so many aspects from other fields; commercial acumen, stakeholder management, project administration, you’ll be surprised by how much you can bring to your first role in sector.”
Margaret Pyrchla, Head of Commercial - Western Power
”Having started my career in accounting and finance I never imagined my professional path would take me to the procurement, supply chain and logistics world. It is such an exciting area where my financial and governance experience is very useful, especially in this ever-changing environment. Working in a dynamic industry and leading a team of highly skilled professional, who are both strategic and innovative, are the most rewarding aspects of my job.”
Catherine Howat, Inventory Team Leader, Logistics - Woodside Energy
“I’ve never been bored; every day in the supply chain provides new opportunities to provide solutions to the business. Some of the best advice I received is to challenge paradigms and find creative solutions by continually asking “how could we do it?” rather than accepting that we can’t.”
Tara Martanovic, Systems & Technology Lead, Materials Management – Woodside Energy
“The supply chain industry is actively looking to increase female engagement, so it’s important to be straightforward when having conversations about what you want from your career and to have confidence that you’ll be supported. If you want to be considered for a more senior role, don’t be afraid to make it known.”
Denise Caroll, Head of Safety, Wellbeing & Environment - Woolworths Group Supply chain.
"We've seen many benefits when innovating with technology in Safety & Wellbeing. Obviously we think and operate more proactively when we innovate, but another benefit has been the diverse workforce we've attracted to work with our new and upcoming supply chain technologies. And as we become more diverse, we gain an even bigger variety of perspectives to innovate with. It's a positive cycle."
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