“Just this week as I signed off from a work meeting with 10 participants, I stepped back and took a moment to reflect. I was the only female on that call and had been the only one on calls multiple times this week. I immediately thought of the confidence and strategies AWESOME has already begun to instill in me to feel comfortable speaking up and being heard and adding my value to the team in such situations.” -Katie Gustas, 2019 AWESOME Scholar
Members of a growing community of talented, motivated future leaders are now taking part in programs designed especially for them by AWESOME.
Since 2013, 55 women studying supply chain at universities across the U.S. have been awarded AWESOME Excellence in Education Scholarships. That includes the 20 new AWESOME Scholars announced in 2021 as the program grew from five Scholars annually to 20 and was expanded to include a $5,000 financial award toward tuition.
In 2021, four early career women were selected to receive AWESOME/MIT Advancing Women through Education (AWE) Fellowship, which provides funding to pursue a Master’s of Applied Science, Supply Chain Management at MIT. The number of AWESOME/MIT AWE Fellows now numbers nine.
These young women are forging paths towards leadership positions within their collegiate programs and in their early-career positions with a wide range of companies.
“We see this as a tremendous opportunity to build, support, and strengthen a strong pipeline of women who will become the next generation of supply chain leaders,” said Ann Drake, Founder and Chair of AWESOME. “That means keeping track of these outstanding women and keeping in touch with them to expand their opportunities going forward.”
AWESOME Scholar CONNECT!
The first of specialized AWESOME Scholar programs to be developed in 2020 was AWESOME Scholar CONNECT! Because AWESOME Scholars and AWESOME/MIT AWE Fellows are studying or working throughout the U.S. and many have moved on to early stages of their career, they had no way of connecting with each other. This program, involving interactive events throughout the year, was created to bring together these students and young professionals so they can get to know each other, support each other, learn from each other, and form an enduring network.
According to Michelle Dilley, AWESOME CEO, “Because professional relationships are so important to a successful career, our hope is that these women who are peers now at the earliest stages of their supply chain leadership journeys, will stay connected as they grow and develop at leaders.”
AWESOME Scholar Forum Series
In 2020, as an expanded dimension of Scholar CONNECT!, AWESOME launched a series of sessions – developed by AWESOME in collaboration with leadership experts – that provide actionable, career building and leadership development content for our community of AWESOME Scholars and AWESOME/MIT AWE Fellows.
The curriculum for each incoming class of AWESOME Scholars includes programming focused on leadership principles, leadership styles, and personal performance mapping. Scholars hear from industry leaders and content area experts and have the opportunity to learn from each other through facilitated breakout group discussions.
Additional “stage two” Scholar Forum programming has been developed for young professionals who have completed their first AWESOME Scholar Forum Series. Sessions in this series have the goal of continuing to build on their leadership skills, their confidence and their professional relationships.
What AWESOME Scholars say about the Scholar Forum Series:
“The AWESOME Scholar Forum has provided a platform for development and engagement during a period when those opportunities are scarce. As an aspiring supply chain leader, I am so grateful to the AWESOME team for continuing to “Reach Back” and invest in early career women.”
-Ellie House, 2017 AWESOME Scholar
“In the Forum Series, Session #3 was my personal favorite! I gained insights into my personal leadership styles and how I tend to interact with other personalities. We spoke about the importance of understanding the personality styles of the people you are working with and how you can “flex” your own style to collaborate and be the most successful together. I think being able to recognize others’ working styles and in what way they can contribute to the team best is a very important skill for a great leader to have.”
–Katie Gustas, 2019 AWESOME Scholar
“During this isolating time in the pandemic, it has been so wonderful to connect virtually in guided discussions and speaker sessions with like-minded, driven, and inspiring women in supply chain. These fellow AWESOME women understand the additional supply chain pressures caused by the pandemic and have provided such a refreshing and thought-provoking approach to solving these issues that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own.”
-Alyson Weber, 2019 AWESOME Scholar