In honor of Nancy Nix’s term as AWESOME’s first Executive Director (2014 through 2017), we’ve asked her to share thoughts on AWESOME’s progress over the past years and her perspective on what the future may hold.
What do you see as AWESOME’s major accomplishments since the beginning of the organization in 2013?
I can still remember that first Symposium – I think there were about 100 women in the room, and all of us were wondering what AWESOME was all about and how we felt about being a part of it. I think many of us looked around and wondered where all these women we were meeting for the first time had been throughout our careers. Moreover, we thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to interact and engage with so many other women for the first time. Today, the AWESOME Symposium is recognized as the premier event for women leaders in supply chain, with more than 250 women attending, and outstanding support from multiple companies and industries. AWESOME is recognized as a major force in our industry and through our initiatives, the visibility and recognition of outstanding women leaders in our field has grown. We have also raised awareness about how low the percentages of women in key leadership positions still are and the significant opportunity for companies to tap into a critical talent pool. It has been a wonderful journey and I have been honored to be a part of it!
Has anything surprised you?
I’ve been surprised and extremely pleased to see so many great companies and women leaders stepping up to support AWESOME’s mission. Beginning in 2015, when Johnson & Johnson became the first Host Partner and offered their facilities as our Symposium venue, our sponsors and partners have made a major contribution to our ability to provide an outstanding experience for leaders in our community. In 2016, Nike stepped up and hosted the event in their corporate headquarters in Beaverton and in downtown Portland. And in 2017, as we celebrated our 5th anniversary in downtown Chicago, some 31 companies stepped up to support the organization with their sponsorship. In 2018, we have a unique opportunity to partner with JDA Software in conjunction with their major user event in beautiful Orlando. The energy and enthusiasm of the women in our community has been incredible, and the commitment and engagement of these great Corporate partners has truly been a highlight of the past 3½ years.
What will you remember most about being Executive Director?
Without a doubt, the people I’ve had an opportunity to work with and get to know. Working with Ann, Heather and the DSC/AWESOME team has been such a pleasure. Something I’ve really appreciated is the commitment to quality the team has exemplified in everything we do and the willingness to go the extra mile to ensure that quality. Working with our host partners J&J and Nike and now JDA, our research partner Gartner, and AWESOME advisors, I’ve developed wonderful friendships and met so many women whom I admire. They are women who have made a significant difference in their companies and their communities and given back in many ways to our industry as a whole. It has been a pleasure to get to know them and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way.
What would you like to see AWESOME do and become in the future?
As we celebrated our 5th anniversary, our leadership team has given a lot of thought to this question. We’ve heard from many in the community they would like to see more opportunities to interact with each other throughout the year, so we have just begun to pilot regional events in locations with a number of AWESOME women. I hope we can expand that concept in the future.
I would also like to see us do more outreach to inspire and encourage young women to pursue a career in supply chain management by partnering with our university members. The members of our network are such great role models and can be a wonderful inspiration to young women just embarking on their careers – I would like to see more venues where these young women can learn from today’s leaders.
Finally, I hope I will see more and more individuals stepping up to make a difference. AWESOME is a wonderful opportunity for women to connect and learn, but the real magic happens when individual members are reaching out to each other more than once or twice a year – acting as sounding boards, nurturing collaboration, and providing support and insights throughout the year – and encouraging the next generation of women of women to advance their careers.
It has been a privilege to work with Ann and the AWESOME team to move this initiative forward, and I am delighted to see Heather Sheehan take on the role of Executive Director. Having worked closely with Heather over the past several years, I know what an outstanding leader she is and how committed she is to continuing to strengthen AWESOME’s impact on the future of the industry. I look forward to seeing the organization evolve and grow under her leadership.
In September 2017, Nancy Nix received the Distinguished Service Award from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). The award is the supply chain profession’s highest honor and recognizes Nancy’s successful career as a practitioner, educator, thought leader, researcher, speaker, CSCMP officer and Board member, and, since 2014, Executive Director of AWESOME.
Read Nancy’s DSA acceptance remarks