Excerpts from each Scholar’s essay follow her bio below and were chosen to represent a variety of sessions and experiences highlighted in their essays.
Sarah DiPietro is a first year MBA student with a concentration on Supply Chain Management and Finance at Michigan State University. She has a B.A. in Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University.
Sarah was initially drawn to supply chain because of the versatility of the work and the role of creativity in effectively addressing supply chain challenges. During her five years of working professionally at 3M Company prior to returning to school for her MBA, Sarah enjoyed interacting with suppliers and manufacturers around the world, and realized the far-reaching impact of decisions made by people with roles in supply chain. Sarah’s career goal is to secure an influential leadership position that blends both Supply Chain Management and Finance into a high-level managerial role.
Sarah is a member of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), and was a recipient of ISM’s “30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Star” award. She is also a member of the Broad Women MBA Association, recently elected as Secretary of Student Affairs, and the Michigan State University Graduate Supply Chain Association. Sarah participated in the 2018 TCU Supply Chain Case Competition. Additionally, she was honored as a Forte Fellow and a Richter Scholar in 2011.
“One of the first sessions I attended was “Around the World in 75 Minutes,” where panelists discussed different regions around the world and business opportunities and challenges. I learned about the US impacts of inflation, trucking capacity constraints, and tariffs. It was discussed how the role of automation has shifted the traditional thinking mindset for many companies, and how analytics has been a game changer for the final mile. In Europe, it was discussed how there is increasing regulation, and high geopolitical risk, which has led to a lot of time and effort on contingency planning. Other regions were also discussed, but I really took away that the common theme globally is it’s the people and the investment in relationships that continue to drive success.”
“I absolutely loved meeting and learning from the women leaders at the CSCMP conference. There are so many qualities and skills I aim to strengthen and grow, and I found it so helpful to be able to connect with women that are in amazing roles and have had achieved such great success and impact. I will never forget trying to find the AWESOME reception, how I ran into a couple others also trying to find their way there. We all teamed up to find the reception and were having fun chatting and laughing. Strolling through the conservatory area, one of the women was asked how she was feeling about presenting. Thinking that she was presenting at one of the break out sessions, I asked her where/when she was speaking. Calmly, she says, “The opening keynote!”. I about fell into the atrium river! It really made me think about how truly real, awesome, powerful and personable women leaders are.”
Read Sarah’s essay
University of Tennessee
Kate Kobza is a first year MBA student with a concentration in Supply Chain Management within the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Supply Chain Program. She has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.
Prior to pursuing her MBA, Kate worked for three years as a Project Manager and Development Engineer where she drove and managed the design, development and manufacturing of custom consumer products. She led a cross-functional team collaboration with suppliers, bringing client’s product goals to life while meeting product specifications, as well as budgetary and timing constraints. She traveled internationally and domestically to partner with suppliers to oversee ongoing manufacturing processes and ensure compliance in supplier facilities and production controls. Kate plans to focus on supply chain improvement, implementing supply chain initiatives to achieve business objectives and hopes to participate in a leadership development program through her employer, ideally within the CPG or clothing/accessory industry. Kate would like to work within several different company offices around the world, learning and engaging with individuals of different backgrounds and positions.
Kate is a member of the CSCMP National and UT Chapters, and has volunteered at an on-campus NeXxus Networking 101 event, mentoring undergraduate students on networking techniques and navigating professional opportunities. She also serves as the Vice President of Golf Programming within the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA).
“One of the most impactful sessions I attended was hearing Keller Rinaudo, the CEO and founder of Zipline, speak. This talk focused on the significance of implementing a drone delivery system at a national scale, to deliver medical supplies within the country of Rwanda. What was most interesting to me, is while most distribution channels rely on a set infrastructure (whether that be, ocean freight, roads, or rails), in various areas of the world this is hard to control or come by, so the use of drones significantly expands one’s distribution networks. Drone technology also does not hinder the ability for remote communities and less economically developed societies from obtaining frequent and dependable deliveries.”
“In furthering my growth professionally, AWESOME’s Global Volatility and Risk mega session panel provided key insights I hope to incorporate in my own career. For example, the importance of staying true to one’s values when in a leadership role and making sure others within the same work environment are aware of these values, as this is what motivates an individual and helps establish professional and personal core drives. I also learned of the importance of creating a problem-solving culture within my future organization, with a “fail forward” and “fail fast” mentality. By taking ownership of one’s learnings and personal development, failing fast requires one to learn and grow from situations gone wrong in order to achieve long term success. This mentality is vital, specifically within the supply chain field, as risk mitigation occurs on a daily basis due to global volatility.”
Read Kate’s essay
Lauren McGlon will complete her degree in Supply Chain Management with a minor in Sustainability Studies at the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University in Spring 2019.
Lauren’s journey with supply chain management began at the age of eight when she was tasked with writing checks to professional drivers in her father’s third party logistics company. The complexities, innovations, and global impact of supply chain and how it can be utilized to incorporate sustainability into products and processes is what drew her to the field in her college career. In the future, Lauren plans on going into procurement to implement sustainable sourcing, waste reduction, and cost savings in an innovative, fast-paced company to benefit profits, people, and planet.
Lauren serves as an Executive Ambassador for the Auburn Supply Chain Management Association, through which she has represented the program at RILA Supply Chain Conference, MODEX, and Fusion Supply Chain Symposium. She has also served as Pledge Class President, Head of the Professional Development Committee, and VP of Business Operations for Alpha Kappa Psi, the oldest and largest professional business fraternity. In the summer of 2018, Lauren worked as a Global Procurement Intern for Freeport McMoRan, Inc., where she implemented sourcing strategies, identified improvement opportunities within vendor agreements, and developed data tracking tools to be utilized in ongoing and future projects.
“The main lesson I took away from the conference was “be curious.” Never embrace what is the current norm and continuously strive to improve yourself, processes, and technology. This was discussed in the day 2 opening session “How Iconic Brands are Building the Future Supply Chain,” which featured executives of Nike, Amazon, and IBM. The key takeaway was that disruption is always going to be a way of life, and companies must turn this disruption into value by leveraging their data and supply chains. In order to continuously adapt and embrace disruption, one must tune into their own curiosity and take risks.”
“I worked to leverage CSCMP’s sessions to amplify my procurement knowledge, since I am passionate about apply strategic sourcing to sustainability, cost savings, and company core values. The most intriguing session I attended was Intel’s “Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computive Learning Based Sourcing Intelligence.” This session discussed Intel’s recent implementation of cognition into supply chain analytics to assist in driving sourcing decisions. This session opened my eyes to AI and cognition’s potential to touch more areas of the supply chain than driverless cars, and it demonstrated how companies are successfully implementing it into their technology today.”
“Attending Edge Conference and establishing relationships with AWESOME women truly proved to be one of the most impactful experiences of my college career. Women influencers are a necessity to supply chain management in order to broaden the perspective and facilitate diversity in the workforce. Being surrounded by influencers at the conference gave me a glimpse into what diversified leadership can accomplish and how collaborative efforts between organizations can catalyze results.”
Read Lauren’s essay
University of Arkansas
Monica Sewell will complete her bachelor’s degree with a dual major in Supply Chain Management and Marketing, with an Information Systems minor in the spring of 2020.
Monica decided to pursue a career in supply chain management in high school, after being selected to participate in an international business case competition. When she saw the wide variety of opportunities available in the field and realized how supply chain touches many facets of our everyday lives, she decided that it would be a rewarding profession. Monica would like to use her analytical and leadership skills to become a purchasing manager for a large company.
Monica is the Vice President of Finance for the Women Impacting Supply Chain Excellence (WISE) club at the University of Arkansas. She is also a Supplemental Instruction Leader, providing tutoring and training for her peers. She is a Peer Mentor at Zeta Tau Alpha, and served as Homecoming Committee Chair. She is a member of CSCMP, the Arkansas Supply Chain Association and the American Marketing Association. In the summer of 2018, Monica will serve an internship with GOJO Industries in Akron, Ohio, focusing on procurement and sourcing, as well as gaining practical experience in many areas.
“If I had to choose one thing that I got most out of this conference, it would be the impact that it made on future. It helped guide me in areas in supply chain that I am passionate about, and opened my eyes to areas that are interesting, but ultimately not for me.”
“Before this conference, I had never heard about opportunities in government and in the non-profit sector for a supply chain professional, and now it is an area that I am heavily looking in to. I attended a session that was called, “Speed Kills, so Does Lettuce.” This was the first session that I went to during my time in Nashville, and it set the bar high. During this session, I learned from a panel of professionals, one of which works as the Chief of Staff for the Defense Logistics Agency, and another who is the Executive Director for the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN). Being in these significant positions, both of these women were incredibly knowledgeable about the industry and had a wealth of knowledge to share.”
“Along with the industry professional’s that I connected with, I met a lot of professors that gave me tremendous advice about the future. I also talked a lot with another scholar, Sarah DiPietro, about the possibility of attending graduate school in the future. This is something I had never thought about in the past. The professors I met all had many great things to say about how much graduate school can develop me as a person and a professional.”
Read Monica’s essay
Meghan Tomassetti will complete her Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Supply Chain Management at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University in the spring of 2019.
Meghan is involved with the Franklin CSCMP Syracuse University Student Roundtable — which visits manufacturing and distribution facilities – and it solidified her interest in learning more about manufacturing processes. She interned this past summer for Nestlé Water’s Supply Chain Solutions team, and gained first-hand experience with SAP by creating test documentation (such as POs and Invoices) for their upgrade to SAP Hana and Vendor Authorization process.
Meghan credits her passion for supply chain to when she was younger, she would go to the family business, Tomassetti Distributors, and watch her father create forecasts, distribution routes, and fill orders for the products he distributed throughout Connecticut. Ten years later, when she took her first Supply Chain Management course at the Whitman School of Management, she realized she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps by pursuing a career in this field. This decision has been reinforced by her participation in the Franklin CSCMP Syracuse University Student Roundtable and her internship at Nestlé Waters North America.
“Although I initially went to the conference knowing no one except Professor Tucker from Syracuse University, I left three days later with great connections with industry professionals, the AWESOME staff, and the other four scholars. From this experience, I gained insights about current industry trends, the linkages between my two majors of supply chain management and finance, as well as ways in which supply chain is improving the lives of millions. By attending both daily and AWESOME-sponsored networking events, I was able to discover my career aspirations and get advice from professionals.”
“By attending the Building Analytics Capabilities in Organizations, The Uberization of Freight, and Supply Chain Impact of a No Deal Hard Brexit sessions, I became more informed on where the supply chain industry currently is, and where it is heading in the future. As technology continues to constantly change, I’ve learned how important it is to integrate these changes into a company’s supply chain.”
“In addition to the connections I made as a result of participating in the Edge Conference, being a member of the AWESOME community has helped and will continue to help me in my professional endeavors. By being a part of AWESOME, I know I will always be tied to a group of strong, accomplished women in the field through events like the CSCMP Conference and the AWESOME Symposium. I believe having a support system like the AWESOME community is essential in order to reach my full professional potential.”
Read Meghan’s essay
Scholarship Selection Process
Faculty members from top universities nominate a young woman demonstrating superior supply chain leadership potential who is currently enrolled – and who also will be enrolled the following fall in the university’s MBA, MS or undergraduate supply chain program. A committee of supply chain leaders conducts a review of the applications, and selects the scholarship recipients.
2017 AWESOME Scholars
University of Maryland, College Park
Fatima Awan is an international graduate student majoring in Supply Chain Management at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has a BSc (Honors) in Economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. Fatima will graduate in December 2017.
Fatima developed interest in supply chain management when she worked as a project manager in ERP implementation at a retail footwear company in Pakistan. She led several sub-projects and soon became one of the key persons involved in optimizing and integrating the company’s supply chain functions. She has also worked in freight forwarding, and in procurement of raw and packaging materials in an FMCG company.
Fatima is studying in the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship, and is thoroughly enjoying the experience of living and engaging in a diverse and multicultural environment. She is currently the VP of External Relations for APICS UMD student chapter and has hosted several events at her university. She is also tutoring for a course in data analytics and in materials planning. In the long run, she would like to work as consultant and also offer her guidance and mentorship to young professionals, especially women, interested in a career in supply chain management.
From Fatima’s Essay:
“It was refreshing to learn about supply chain management outside of books and the classroom setting; to learn how all the big and even small companies apply the theories and concepts that we have studied about. Even more interesting was to find out how dynamic supply chains are and, hence, how important it is to keep oneself updated with all the innovations that are completely changing the way businesses operate.”
“An important thing I learned is that there is a general trend towards consumer-driven supply chains. It is believed that in this era of technology and changing expectations, consumer-driven supply chains are the key to success. A lot of companies, as a result, are changing their business models and are investing heavily in researching and implementing ways that will improve customer experience.”
“The closing speech by Major Mary Jennings was also very inspirational and moving. Her experience and ordeal show what women are capable of achieving but how they are generally held back because of their gender. An important message she shared which will resonate with me was that key to changing the world is to be the change. The lessons I learnt during this conference and the inspiration I have gained will be of great help to me once I return to my country (Pakistan) to be the change for other women in my field and to fight the stereotypes and to learn to confidently say yes to opportunities in spite of the typical gender expectations.“
Pennsylvania State University
Laura Holleran will complete her bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management and Information Systems in the Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University in the spring of 2018.
Laura is a member of the Sapphire Leadership and Academic Program and the first recipient of the Robert A. Novack Scholarship in Supply Chain Management. Currently President of Penn State’s CSCMP student roundtable, she became a member of the organization when she was a freshman and has held leadership positions since she arrived at Penn State.
Following her sophomore year, Laura completed an internship with Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies where she worked in procurement, and she spent the summer of 2017 in an internship with Dell in Austin, Texas. She was a research participant for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Industries at the Penn State Center for Supply Chain Research.
After graduation, Laura aspires to work for a company dedicated to developing its employees and growing its business, while minimizing its impact on the environment and engaging in sustainable business practices.
From Laura’s Essay:
“I learned a lot from this conference and after spending three and a half days being a sponge I have many key takeaways that I will remember throughout my professional career:
Always say yes.
- “Just say “yes” is the #1 key takeaway and “Take the emotions out of decision making.”
- Collaboration is key and conflict can be good sometimes.
- Staying true to your morals is more important than being loyal.
- You’re in charge of your own mentoring.
- Know the impact you want to have.
- Fail fast and early.
- All feedback is a gift.”
“My participation in this conference has helped me realize the gravity that comes with being a woman in business, and especially in supply chain. I knew that it was important for me to be an advocate for women in supply chain before the conference, but after attending CSCMP and networking with so many intelligent and confident women, they have helped me realize it is so much more important than I may have realized. Women need to support other women.”
“Getting to know my fellow (AWESOME scholarship) recipients was very rewarding, as we are all cut from the same cloth: ambitious, curious, and proud supply chain nerds at heart.”
“I have never had the chance to truly network like I did at the conference. It showed me the power of connecting with people and having a great conversation about the industry, the conference, and life.”
University of Kansas
Ellie House will graduate from the University of Kansas in May 2018 with a BS in Supply Chain Management and Accounting and a concentration in Business Analytics. She is a member of the University Honors Program and the Business Honors Program.
Growing up, Ellie worked on her family’s farm in Northwest Kansas and was exposed to the agriculture industry, specifically in the production area, gaining knowledge about business operations without even realizing she was doing so. When she took her first supply chain management class at KU she began to look at her family’s farming operations from a different perspective, realizing that all of her family’s hard work was a very necessary but seemingly small aspect of a bigger picture.
Ellie spent the summer of 2017 interning at Deloitte Consulting as a Business Technology Analyst. At KU, she is a Vice President of the Supply Chain Management Club, an officer for Mortar Board, and the Founder and President of the Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter. Ellie works on campus as a Business Statistics Teaching Assistant. She has gained exposure to international logistics through two study abroad programs in Northern Europe and Panama.
From Ellie’s Essay:
“It was truly inspiring to see the outstanding women that are leading in the field and finding positive ways to make a difference. Meeting these individuals provided me with an appreciation for the connectivity and network that exists within the industry and I hope to be a part of it.”
“Some of my favorite sessions revolved around the use of predictive analytics in the field. I am studying supply chain management and business analytics so it was encouraging to see the rise of these opportunities. The Mega Session sponsored by AWESOME was largely focused on this topic and added value to my experience. The knowledge that I gained will help me to be successful and provide me with an advantage on my first day on the job.”
“The greatest benefit of this conference was the networking opportunities that it provided. The AWESOME reception and scholars’ breakfast created avenues for me to meet individuals who support the organization and in turn supported my attendance. I looked up to many of them on a professional and personal level. Additionally, with my AWESOME sponsorship I was connected to four other college women who were some of my brightest peers.”
“I have no doubt that my attendance at this conference will help guide me professionally moving forward. I gained valuable knowledge about trends within the industry and I am now more confident when speaking to others about supply chain management.”
Texas Tech University
Megan Long will receive her undergraduate degree in Supply Chain Management from Texas Tech University in the spring of 2018.
Megan is a member of Tech Supply Chain Association (TSCA), and currently serves as Vice President of Operations. She is a student member of CSCMP and a member of the Women in Business organization. At the University of Arkansas, prior to transferring to Texas Tech, she was a Supplemental Instruction Leader in data analysis and secretary in Women Impacting Supply Excellence (WISE).
In the summer of 2016, she was the customs compliance intern in the logistics department at Academy Sports and Outdoors in Katy, Texas. She completed a project focusing on duty savings opportunities for private label import items and identified over two million dollars’ worth of potential savings. In the summer of 2017, she was a transportation intern with BNSF Railway in Tacoma, Washington. During her internship, she learned the ins and outs of the railroad industry and the job responsibilities of a trainmaster. She also completed a project researching initial terminal delay and dwell at the Auburn, Washington terminal where she recommended a new system for recording information and noted most frequent delay codes.
From Megan’s Essay:
“I had the opportunity to meet other students, professionals, and educators. I also attended sessions covering transportation and logistics, supply chain leadership, and supply chain technology and innovation. It was amazing to be surrounded by a so many successful people with supply chain experience and a wealth of information.”
“On the first day, I kicked the conference off by attending the Women at Work session. Following this session, I went to the AWESOME networking event. I was so honored to be recognized as an AWESOME scholar, and it was my first time meeting many of the women who started AWESOME and are paving the way for women in supply chain. I connected with women from Nike, Dollar General, Johnson & Johnson, and many others. This event was one of the highlights of my trip.”
“Day two started off with the opening session where Nancy Nix was presented with the 2017 distinguished service award. In her speech she discussed her journey and emphasized ‘just saying yes.’ Her speech really hit home for me as I am about to graduate and venture onto many new and exciting things. She has inspired me to run with every opportunity that presents itself, even if it may be out of my comfort zone… The conference inspired me to embrace opportunities that may be scary and challenging because they allow for the most growth.”
Zoe Mattis will receive her BS in Supply Chain Management from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in December 2017.
Since August 2015, Zoe has held the position of Co-Manufacturing Supply Chain Administrative Assistant at Nestle Waters North America, in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania. In this position, she works in a cross-functional environment to partner with customer service, transport, quality assurance and the financial sector to manage supply and balance raw material inventory. Her responsibilities have included reviewing forecasting and supply data, managing six brands, 70-80 SKUs and 12 co-manufacturing locations, optimizing raw material deliveries, developing SOPs and analyzing supply needs while evaluating shipping costs versus product availability.
Zoe is currently President of the Lehigh University Supply Chain Management Club and has previously held leadership roles as the Vice President of Women in Business, along with the Vice President of the Lehigh University Supply Chain Management Club prior to the recent election. Zoe was nominated as TRAC Fellow Candidate and was awarded the Supply Chain Management Department Professors’ Award.
Her career aspirations include a position as a purchasing manager as she is interested in the negotiation and sourcing of raw materials.
From Zoe’s Essay:
“The AWESOME network is rapidly growing, but the caliber of women who partake in this organization is astonishing. These women have accomplished so much in their time as supply chain professionals and have made great strides for myself and other upcoming women in supply chain. I learned many different topics about different supply chain current events and also women functioning in the professional world.”
“The ‘Decisions Determine Your Destiny’ panel that Ann Drake spoke on was a session that all young professionals should have had to attend as I found it so informative but also light-hearted in a way that made it seem like they were speaking just to you as an advisor or close family friend. This discussion was very candid yet helped me to gain so much insight that I will now be taking to my full-time job. The first point that really stood out to me was, ‘suit up, show up, and shut up’ – this may seem blunt to some, but to me it was really a realization. A lot of educated young people will go into their first job and find themselves thinking that they know more than the individuals in industry, but it is in fact the opposite. It is important to understand that others can look to you for advice, but you need to be keen on listening to their ideas and theories.”
2016 AWESOME Scholars
University of Arkansas-Fayetteville
Kyani Alford is a senior in Supply Chain Management and Logistics at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. Kyani is from West Memphis, Arkansas.
She is the director of events and past president of WISE (Women in Supply Chain Excellence), Collegiate Chair for the NWA MLK Council and SCSO Roundtable Member. Kyani has been featured in Global Trade Magazine (2016) and her work was featured in Nestle Purina’s internship recruitment segment (2015-16). Her passion for customer interactions and logistics work pushes her to strive in all of her projects. Her experience and interests include analytics, brand specialization and data mining. Upon her graduation in the Spring of 2017, Kyani plans to continue her journey with Nestle Purina in the Supply Chain Management Program.
From Kyani’s essay:
“Sunday evening’s cocktail event with DSC exposed us all to the world of networking and connections. I met a number of individuals ranging from academia professionals, current students, and executives who all knew one another. Throughout the entire conference, the most impressive aspect was being able to see how many professionals were acquaintances and happy to reunite.”
“The panel (Kyani served on a panel at the Conference) focused on Omni channels and the supply chain industry. My purpose was to express the millennial perspective on the topic and how we are impacted by the different stereotypes placed on us as a whole.”
“Having the opportunity to speak with (the supply chain leaders I met) helped me to shape my responses and ways of viewing the different questions commonly presented to millennials…I can say that I learned how to handle a tough situation in a mature and professional manner… I learned how to maneuver through a sensitive area of discussion with ease and professionalism that can be clearly understood and relatable.”
University of Kansas
Kaitlyn Gerard is a senior at the University of Kansas majoring in Supply Chain Management and Information Systems.
She is very involved on campus and in the Supply Chain Program. Kaitlyn participated in study abroad programs, one to Panama and the other to Northern Europe, focused around supply chain and logistics. She is the President of the Supply Chain Management club, and wears many hats to provide students with experiences that engage them in the supply chain field. Kaitlyn is an active member of her local CSCMP Roundtable, running their social media and assisting in event planning. Kaitlyn also serves as an Executive Business School ambassador and is the 2016 Homecoming director. In the summer of 2016, Kaitlyn interned for Deloitte Consulting, where she gained experience in IT and supply chain consulting.
From Katie’s essay:
“I chose a session based on the people leading it, because I found their jobs or past jobs peaked my interest the most. I found this was a very good choice for me, because a large majority of them used their career experiences to lead the session, so it was a win-win. I was able to learn more about a topic in the field of Supply Chain Management while also learning how they reached that point in their career.”
“When I left the conference on Wednesday, I came away with 103 business cards of new people I had made some sort of connection with and I left with none of my own business cards. That alone says a lot about all the connections I made over the course of the conference.”
“The CSCMP conference has been one of the most transformational experiences in my college career. Getting to be a part of something so much bigger than myself and getting to learn and connect with so many professionals who have made huge impacts on the field of supply chain management, is an experience I will always be so beyond thankful for.”
“Being a woman in a field of so many males, (connecting with the women in AWESOME) is a constant reminder not to ever give up or be pushed back because of my gender, because a woman can serve at a C-level.”
Julie Ludwig will graduate in May 2017 from Miami University with a major in Supply Chain and Operations Management, and a minor in Management and Leadership.
Julie has held many positions of leadership on campus. Currently she serves as President of the Honors Student Advisory Board, after serving as Director of Public Relations for the board for one year. Julie plans all meetings and ensures that the organization runs smoothly. She is a Miami University Student Ambassador as well as an Honors Ambassador, where she advises prospective students and families about Miami University. Julie is also a Campus Tour Guide, a Teaching Assistant, and a member of the Supply Chain Management Association. In the summer of 2016, Julie interned for The J.M. Smucker Company in their supply planning unit.
From Julie’s essay:
“This was an invaluable experience and I learned a tremendous amount about the supply chain field, the importance of mentorship, and how there are many different ways in which you can define ‘success.’ Most importantly though, I was able to learn this from outstanding women… These are the women that I look up to and that I aspire to be like. It is 2016 and only 20% of the senior leaders in supply chain roles are women. That is something that I would like to see changed in the future and something that I think the AWESOME organization is definitely an instrumental tool in helping to improve.”
“The session that talked about supply chain innovation was very interesting to me because of how much they discussed the future… Leaders need to be the ones to fuel and drive innovation by hiring the right people that will challenge the current state, and creating a safe environment where employees are not afraid to fail. Innovation all starts with people.”
“I have two pieces of recommendation to future years’ recipients. The first, is to not be afraid to put yourself outside of your comfort zone… Don’t be intimidated by the executives, be motivated by them. Take advantage of their insight and advice… My second piece of advice, is to make as many connections as possible. Both with your fellow young professionals …and the high-ranking executives that you will meet.”
Colorado State University
Hannah Walcher is studying Supply Chain Management at Colorado State University (CSU) with additional certificates in International Business and Leadership in Organizations. She will be graduating in the spring of 2017.
Hannah is President of CSU’s Supply Chain Club and a member of CSU’s Dean’s Student Leadership Council. She is also currently working on her senior thesis on the topic of focal firm reactions to supplier use of child labor. Hannah has been a Purchasing Intern at Wolf Robotics and a Global Supply Chain Intern at Johns Manville. She is a Certified Supply Chain Analyst and a Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt.
From Hannah’s essay:
“The opportunity to be surrounded with successful professionals, innovative supply chain solutions, and impactful speakers felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“Once I stepped out of my comfort zone and started approaching AWESOME members, I was able to network and meet some incredible female leaders in supply chain management…What surprised me most about these women was how down-to-earth and approachable they were. They were so willing to spend their time with an undergraduate student, discussing their careers and companies. Connecting with these powerful, approachable women boosted my confidence and made me more driven to become one of them.”
“There are a lot of contradicting ideas that I have heard regarding career advice, so having a panel of extremely successful professionals and academics answer these questions was helpful… As a high-performing student, the idea of failing can be scary, so learning that it is critical to growth was an important realization. Your career is a place to grow and learn, so you should use it to try new roles and take advantage of exciting opportunities that come up. If you are in a role that you aren’t learning in, you need to move on and find a new one.”
Annie Zheng is a senior at Syracuse University majoring in Supply Chain Management. On campus, she works as a student ambassador with Career Services and as Vice President of Finance with the oldest and largest business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi.
As a teaching assistant for an Introduction to Supply Chain course, she helps oversee 4 classes and facilitate lab studies. Over the years, Annie has cultivated an array of skills from teaching at an urban education organization to interning at Eaton’s Ephesus Lighting in the supply chain department. Upon graduation, Annie is looking forward to applying her academic and professional experiences to strengthen supply chain systems and explore both international and domestic opportunities.
From Annie’s essay:
“Attending CSCMP has been one of the most incredible experiences as it refueled my passion and curiosities for supply chain.”
“After visiting several sessions and the exhibition, it was clear that supply chain innovation will rely heavily on information technology and data utilization in the future. With the Internet of Things, companies can react proactively to issues and delays in their supply chains so they can deliver faster customer service…How will matrix management accommodate the increasing need for speed, especially in larger corporations where lengthy approval processes undergo multiple departments? Although lengthy approval processes can help mitigate risks in different perspectives, it can conflict with lead time and hinder a company’s ability to adapt to the culture of speed.”
“I was able to connect with many professionals with senior positions to discuss their journey into the supply chain industry and what they anticipate for the future. Hearing their concerns and excitement for where the supply chain industry is going will help me better understand the competitive landscape for my future employer.”
Read complete essays
2015 AWESOME Scholars
University of Tennessee
Samantha Herold attends the University of Tennessee where she majors in Supply Management with a minor in International Business and French. She is a Global Leadership Scholar in UT’s College of Business and in 2014, won the Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarship from Womenetics.
From Samantha’s essay:
“One of my favorite quotes actually came out of AWESOME’s Reality Check from last year’s AWESOME Symposium: “It is no longer shocking to say that having women in executive roles provides business with a competitive advantage.” After attending the conference, this quote seemed to play out before my eyes. Hearing confident, capable, career-driven women speak eloquently about the roles thay have played in their companies not only made the notion of women providing a competitive advantage “not shocking” – it made it obvious.”
“I found myself in a session called ‘Women in the C-Suite: Leadership Lessons from the Top.’ All of the women on this panel gave excellent advice. They agreed that in order to advance to an executive position in your career, you need to acquire knowledge of the entire business. Panelist Kathy Wengel advises to have superior ‘technical chops’ and to build a set of experiences that brings legitimacy to your ‘brand.”
“Attending this conference has reinvigorated my zeal for the study of Supply Chain Management.”
Pennsylvania State University
Darby Hogan will graduate from Penn State University with a major in Supply Chain Management and a minor in Information Systems Management. She has served as president and in other executive board positions of Penn State’s CSCMP Student Roundtable.
From Darby’s essay:
“A key takeway from the conference was the importance of mentorship – both personally and professionally. I can’t think of one leader I heard on a panel who accredited all of their success to themselves. More often than not, it was accredited to the people they surrounded themselves with, as well as an excellent mentor along the way.“
“The technicalities of the profession change quickly, and in order to develop the most value to the firms we work for, we must always be willing to challenge ourselves to learn about the rapid changes within our industry, and yet still account for as many commercial variables as possible.”
“My advice for future scholars is to be as present as you can through the duration of the conference. Go to sessions on topics you know are of interest to you and also go to sessions you know will be a challenge for you. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable at the conference, as this is where you are going to get the most out of it!”
University of Maryland
Cindy Liu is pursuing a dual degree in Supply Chain Management and Information Systems at the University of Maryland. She was selected for the Supply Chain Fellows Program, and is involved with Honors Ambassadors, Consult Your Community, Supply Chain Management Society, and the Dean’s Student Advisory Council on campus.
From Cindy’s essay:
“I began the conference by attending the Women at Work event (powered by AWESOME)…The room was filled with women from all walks of life: young and seasoned, been with the same company their entire career or had changed industries several times, loved their job or were looking to find more fulfillment. It was a great feeling to hear these women’s stories and to learn about their success in traditionally male-dominated fields.”
“I loved the perks of the networking receptions sponsored by AWESOME and DSC Logistics…It was so nice to be able to have a setting where higher level executives are open to share their experiences and are eager to talk to us.”
“My favorite part of the weekend was meeting the other scholarship winners. ..I loved learning about the different supply chain programs at their universities and they have inspired me to have a conversation with the Supply Chain Department and the Undergraduate Dean at my school to see how we could also implement some of those programs.”
Danielle Shields graduated in December 2015 from Syracuse University with a dual major in Supply Chain Management in the Whitman School of Management and Advertising in the Newhouse School of Public Communications. She will be starting full time with Target beginning in February working as a Group Leader in one of their distribution centers.
From Danielle’s essay:
“I have never been so sure about a career in the supply chain management business as I am at this very moment (after attending the conference)….What I never expected was that so many established individuals in the supply chain industry would have such a genuine interest in me. I learned that networking with others means making both sides of a relationship feel valued.”
“Being sponsored by AWESOME to attend the CSCMP Conference is something I hold dear to my heart. I feel like I now have a support system of amazing women in all sorts of different careers in supply chain.”
“To future scholarship winners: Don’t be overwhelmed walking into the conference not knowing what to expect because this is the best part…My biggest piece of advice is to introduce yourself to as many people as you can… Everyone at the conference had so much to offer.”
Michigan State University
Jessica Sun majors in Supply Chain Management with a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Michigan State University. She has participated in the undergraduate branch of the Supply Chain Management Association and volunteered as an SCMA Career Fair Ambassador.
2014 AWESOME Scholars
University of Kansas
Hannah Bremer is pursuing a Supply Chain Management degree at the University of Kansas. She is the VP of Finance for the University Supply Chain Club and a student member of CSCMP.
From Hannah’s essay:
“I discovered that leaders in the supply chain industry are continually asking questions. Answers are followed up with additional questions: How can we do this better? Is there a different way? Where can we create more value? What can we cut from the process to improve profitability/efficiency? The successful supply chain professionals have realized that in order to grow and maintain competitive advantages they must first recognize that they will never have it all figured out. Pursuing answers to what they do not know will help them stay one step ahead of the competition.
“Change is the only constant in the supply chain industry. The only way to stay current is to always be willing to make changes and explore options. Collaborative efforts among competing businesses, hiring women in traditionally male roles, and radical software changes are examples of the major changes that are being made in order to improve businesses processes.”
“One day I hope to meet the qualifications to become a member of AWESOME and perhaps mentor a future scholarship winner. As for the present, I will use the knowledge I gained to complete my courses and find my place in the supply chain world.”
Victoria Drici is a Supply Chain Management major at Lehigh University. Victoria is a Finance Peer Tutor, a Supply Chain Scholar, and a representative on the College of Business and Economics Student Board of Advisors.
From Victoria’s essay:
“One of the most beneficial features of attending this conference was being a student attendant at professional-based talks. This allowed me to be a sort of fly on the wall, and absorb content that was directed at fellow professionals rather than for an audience of potential future candidates. In particular, this was useful during an educational session about mentoring. As a future mentee, it was very insightful to hear what experienced mentors look for and the challenges they face. For example, forced links can be ineffective and as a mentee you must assume positive intent in the relationship for it to be productive.”
“An area of personal development which I found chiefly important was the inspiration and confidence I gained being a woman entering the workforce. It was a unique experience being surrounded by so many successful and established women. It is unfortunate that many college grads will not have the same eye-opening experience that I did… One of the most important things I learned through this experience- how to carry myself and approach a professional.”
The Ohio State University
Carla Garver is a second year MBA student with a specialization in Operations and Supply Chain at Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University. She served eight years active duty in the US Coast Guard, responsible for forecasting, budgeting and procurement.
From Carla’s essay:
“At first I was timid because I felt out of place as a student rather than a practitioner. When people read my name tag and saw I was from Ohio State University rather than a large company, I immediately defended myself. As time went on, I began to realize that we are all students in some way or another. Many people told me they wished they could go back to school for their MBA. My confidence surged as I told them there are many part time programs, and explained the benefits that I had already received well ahead of my graduation date. I was so shocked that I got the chance to reciprocate all the knowledge I had gained by being an ambassador of sorts for further training and education.”
“As a welder in the U.S. Coast Guard, I was used to being surrounded by men in my profession. At the (CSCMP) general session, awards were given for Smartway Transportation. All but one of the recipients was male…I had been surrounded by so many great female leaders over the past few days as I attended the AWESOME events that I took it for granted that women leaders were everywhere in the industry. The reality is that women will always be present, but they are still not advanced in the Supply Chain positions.”
Lauryn Kulkarni is a double major in Supply Chain Management and Finance at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. At Syracuse, Lauryn has participated in the Denver Transportation Case Competition and is a member of the Franklin Supply Chain Group.
Miami University of Ohio
Nancy Odero is a Supply Chain Management major at Miami University of Ohio. She is a founding member and Vice President of the International Students Advisory Council, and is a member of the Supply Chain Management Association.
From Nancy’s essay:
“Les Brown once said, ‘In every day there are 1440 minutes. That means we have 1440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.’ The opportunity I had to attend this conference is proof of the substance of this comment. The ladies involved with AWESOME have used their daily 1440 minutes of opportunity to build inspiring careers for themselves and make an impact on young women entering the Supply Chain field… I am honored to have been able to experience this opportunity in my college career and hope that one day I may be able to use my 1440 minutes of opportunity each day to make a positive impact in the lives of other women.”
“My participation in this conference has given me a first-hand view into the professional lives of women in the Supply Chain industry as well as different up and coming issues that companies continue to face and deal with.”
“The (panel of women leaders) discussed what they perceive to be issues that prevent women from taking charge and being at the forefront of their careers; some of these were our tendency to not be forthright with our ideas and our lack of belief in our own capabilities. I hope to be able to venture into the professional world after graduation with a strong belief in my skills and an ability to acknowledge that I can succeed just as any man can, sometimes even better.”
2013 AWESOME Scholars
Texas Christian University
Alex Kester is a 2014 graduate of the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University with a major in supply chain management and marketing. Her honors thesis is on “Human Capital Affects the Efficiency and Viability of the Supply Chain.”
From Alex’s essay:
“Through AWESOME I have found role models and assurance that a woman can make a significant difference and penetrate the man’s world…I was exposed to strong, persistent, self-assured women who are masters of their craft. ..Three key takeaways from my interaction in these events are everyone needs a mentor, the right kind of confidence is essential, and women need to take more career risks.”
The Ohio State University
Monica Yu is a 2014 Robert Bartels Fellowship MBA student in the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, focusing on operations, Lean Six Sigma strategy and marketing. She received her BA degree in finance from Soochow University in Taipei in June of 2008.
From Monica’s essay:
“Our world needs more female leaders to stand out. Through this chance to attend the CSCMP Conference and AWESOME events, I have more confidence in myself. Now I have the courage to think big and different. This is a life-changing experience. I told myself someday, I expect to make the same contribution to support our next generation.”