The 2019 AWESOME Legendary Leadership Award was presented to two outstanding supply chain leaders: Michelle Livingstone, VP Transportation, The Home Depot; and Noelle Walsh, Corporate VP, Cloud Operations and Innovation for Microsoft. The presentation took place at the ALL Award Luncheon on Day 2 of the 2019 AWESOME Symposium – May 1-3 in Seattle – and was followed by an Up-Close Conversation with Jackie Sturm, VP Global Supply Management, Intel, and a recipient of the ALL Award in 2016.
Excerpts from the Honorees’ remarks:
“I spent much of my career avoiding women’s groups, primarily because I had kind of figured out how to play in a man’s world… but all that changed when I read Gail Evans’ book, She Wins, You Win. She was the first female EVP at CNN. Gail was scheduled to speak at The Home Depot and I was asked to facilitate that conversation so I read her book. I came to the part where she said (and I’m going to paraphrase): ‘If you have made it up the corporate ladder and you have not helped another woman along the way, you have failed.’ I have to tell you, it was quite the wakeup call for me.”
“I took that opportunity to stop and say, exactly how many women have I truly helped up the ladder? I knew at that point in time, I needed to make up for lost time. Since then, I have been very motivated to help women generally and specifically trying to attract and retain women in supply chain.”
“The great thing is that this passion is also shared by my Home Depot sisters that are here today. It is absolutely an honor to work with these women and they are making a difference in The Home Depot supply chain.”
“I think the future is bright for women in supply chain, but I think we have to make sure that it’s an industry people want to come to. In the past I may have become de-sensitized to comments, to jokes, to stories to whatever—and let things slide, I’m now trying to be a much more vocal advocate for women.”
“I’m grateful to my parents for encouraging me through my engineering education, when back then it was not usual for a girl to go into engineering. They encouraged me to follow my passion and not necessarily follow the norm, not knowing — none of us knowing where that would lead to.”
“I’m very grateful for my new Microsoft team and those in the room here today. From a supply chain perspective, we’re doing more, we’re doing it faster, more cost competitive and better than ever before, and we’ve just started the journey. And I’m very grateful that I’ve been included in the big Microsoft family as I move from one industry into another.”
“This award really inspires me to do more for women and to reach out and aspire to achieve equality at all levels of every organization – corporate and government as well. I am a believer that the world will be a better place when more women rise to leadership.”
“There were many times when I was the only woman in the room or the only woman at the lunch table, etc. I’m delighted now that even though we’re not there yet, we’re beginning to have a small critical mass…I think we’re going through some growing pains at the moment on how to treat each other with respect. What words to use as the culture changes. But, I think we’re turning a corner and the more we can lean in and embrace that — and I would say propagate that awareness — the more the environment will change and enable and empower a lot more people to achieve their best.”
About the Award
As AWESOME works to advance women supply chain leaders, it is also our goal to recognize women supply chain leaders who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments and success.
The ALL Award was created in 2014 to honor women in senior supply chain leadership roles who have:
2019 ALL Award Honorees
Michelle Livingstone’s achievements in the transportation field make her one of the industry’s top leaders. For more than three decades, while performing leadership roles for companies such as The Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Kraft Foods and C&S Wholesale Grocers, she has been active throughout the industry. She has served on the boards of the Transportation Institute of Denver and the Coalition for Responsible Transportation. Livingstone was appointed by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to the National Freight Advisory Committee.
Strongly committed to advancing women’s leadership, she serves on the board of the Network of Executive Women ATLANTA Region. She is an AWESOME Advisor and a frequent speaker for powered by AWESOME events, as well as consistently working to connect women both inside and outside her company with opportunities to develop as leaders. Internally at Home Depot, Michelle serves as the VP Advisor to Velvet Hammers (female directors and above) and the Women’s Link, an associate resource group.
When Noelle Walsh joined Microsoft in July 2017, she brought her strong operational background in leading large, global teams across geographies and businesses. She leads the Cloud Operations + Innovation organization, which owns the cloud physical infrastructure and operations charter for Microsoft and includes supply planning and strategic acquisition, global construction, datacenter and edge site operations, critical environment and availability, and, datacenter innovation. Prior to joining Microsoft, Noelle dedicated over 25 years to The Dow Chemical Company, where she led over 25% of its Manufacturing base, the Chemicals Division of businesses and Global Supply Chain and Customer Service functions.
Throughout her career, Noelle has led initiatives to advance women’s leadership. She was a co-founder of Dow’s Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) in the Netherlands and served as co-chair of WIN in North America. In 2013, The Manufacturing Institute recognized her with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award, noting her contributions as a mentor for young female engineers and her sponsorship of a division-level Women’s Leadership Forum to prepare female engineers for future success.
2018 ALL Award Honorees
AWESOME presented the 2018 AWESOME Legendary Leadership (ALL) Award to two outstanding trail-blazers and role models. They are Susan Seilheimer Brennan, Chief Operations Officer, Bloom Energy Corporation, and Ilya R. Espino de Marotta, Executive Vice President for Engineering and Programs Management, Panama Canal Authority. Their achievements in their chosen fields would be remarkable for any leader – that much more so because they are women in traditionally male fields.
Susan Brennan has 25 years of experience in global manufacturing and operations for the automotive and energy industries. In strategic leadership roles for Nissan Motor and Ford Motor – both Fortune 100 companies — she spearheaded large-scale initiatives and drove the companies’ transformations with systemic process and corporate culture change. At Nissan, she was the highest ranking woman in operations – and one of the few women who have held an executive position at a leading Japanese corporation. She ran the largest automotive manufacturing plant in the world and led the introduction of five new car models for Nissan, including the first Infiniti built outside of Japan and the all-electric Nissan Leaf.
At Ford, Susan ran the global business office for the assembly, power train and stamping plants on six continents. She was a key member of the global team that reorganized Ford under its “Way Forward” program. In addition to developing and implementing a strategic plan for the restructuring of labor and manufacturing capacity for Ford, she led the charge to address diversity imbalance among Ford’s management, from production supervisors to directors. She also co-chaired the Women in Manufacturing Employee Resource Group.
As COO of Bloom Energy, Susan is responsible for global supply chain and purchasing, as well as all new product launch strategy and sales execution, operations, capacity management, labor management, EHS strategy and compliance and government affairs.
Throughout her career, Susan has created and supported organizations that encourage young women to pursue careers in math and science. Among these endeavors are serving as a national advisory board member for the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) at Stanford University and President and founder of the Southern Automotive Women’s Forum. She is past vice president of the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation in Detroit, Michigan and served as an advisory board member for the University Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at Middle Tennessee State University. Twice, she has been named to “Top 100 Women in Automotive” by Automotive News. She is a Distinguished Alumni of University of Nebraska at Omaha, and in 2016, she was honored as a Woman of Influence, Silicon Valley. Susan serves on the board of Senior PLC, a FTSE listed company.
Ilya Marotta is known in Panama as “the woman who led the Panama Canal Expansion Program.” As EVP for Engineering and Programs Management for the Panama Canal Authority, she is responsible for preparing the designs and specifications for all Panama Canal Projects. She is the first woman to hold the EVP of Engineering position in the Panama Canal’s 100-year history.
Ilya has worked for the Panama Canal Commission/ Panama Canal Authority for more than 30 years, and was involved in many capacities leading up to the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2016. With a degree in Marine Engineering she began as a design engineer in the Industrial Division, the shipyard where all Canal floating equipment is repaired. She also worked for the dredging division; the Mechanical Engineering Branch; as a valuation engineer for the accounting division; and as Capital Program Coordinator for Maritime Operations. She participated in the development of the Panama Canal Master Plan and the Expansion Proposal presented for national referendum in 2006.
After the referendum passed, Ilya was appointed Executive Manager of the engineering department’s Resource Planning and Project Control Division, responsible for supervising environmental services, security, budget, risk assessment, cost control and execution time, communication and historical documentation and legal services. In 2012 she was appointed as EVP of Engineering.
Ilya is a familiar sight, whether on the ground in her pink hardhat and vest – or boarding a helicopter to survey the ongoing projects from above. Her Vice-Presidency also supervises the canal’s maintenance, operation and construction contracts, and the purchase of goods and services.
Among the awards she has received are being named 2014 “Outstanding Woman of the Year” by the Panamanian Association of Business Executives and the “Distinguished Woman Award” from the Association of Professional and Business Women of Panama. She has been recognized by The Circle of Intellectual Women of Panama for its Technology and Engineering achievement award. She was also one of the recipients of the “2016 Women Who Make a Difference” award by the International Women’s Forum, and was named on the list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Central America by Forbes Mexico.
2017 ALL Award Honorees
The fourth annual AWESOME Legendary Leadership (ALL) Award was presented to Francesca DeBiase, Chief Supply Chain and Sustainability Officer, McDonald’s Corporation, and Kristin French, retired Brigadier General, U.S. Army, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Logistics and Materiel Readiness), U.S. Department of Defense.
The award ceremony took place as part of opening reception and dinner AWESOME’s Fifth Anniversary Symposium – An AWESOME New Frontier: Imagine. Believe. Achieve. Read highlights of the Up-Close Conversation with 2017 Honorees that followed the award presentation.
(Bio at time of selection)
Francesca DeBiase seeks to further embed sustainability into the way McDonald’s does business around the world. Applying her corporate experience to the company’s sustainability priorities, she challenges her team to set increasingly higher targets that grow the business by making a positive difference in society.
Francesca is also responsible for overseeing Global Supply Chain. Her team’s role is to ensure the most competitive suppliers with the right capabilities are focusing on the future needs of our customers. The team leverages the scale of our $40 billion spend in food, packaging, logistics, toys, technology, equipment and other services, while driving safety, quality and sustainability leadership in the industry.
Since joining McDonald’s in 1991, Francesca has held numerous management roles in Supply Chain and Finance in the U.S. and internationally. She was previously responsible for strategic sourcing, quality assurance and new food development for McDonald’s European operations, leading a team of supply chain, quality, food safety, sustainability and food technology experts.
Francesca is a Board member of Hephzibah Children’s Association. For Loyola University Chicago, she is an Advisory Board member to the Supply and Value Chain Center. She is also a passionate advocate for women and the Global Advisor to the McDonald’s Women’s Leadership Network.
She began her career with Ernst & Young and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Economics from Loyola University Chicago.
(Bio at time of selection)
Kristin French, a West Point graduate, retired from military service as a Brigadier General in the United States Army. She now serves in the Pentagon as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness. She is responsible for the oversight of Department of Defense logistics policies, practices, operations and efficiencies in support of enhanced readiness to the Warfighter. Her logistics portfolio includes maintenance, materiel readiness, supply chain integration, transportation policy, and program support. She assumed her current position in July 2016.
Kristin graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York in 1986 and was commissioned into the Regular Army as a Lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps. She retired from military service as a Brigadier General in November 2015. Prior to her military retirement, she served as the Commanding General for the Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command and the Joint Munitions Command in Rock Island, Illinois. From 2011 to 2013 she served as the Commanding General for 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and in April 2012 deployed the unit to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Her 29+ years in uniform included duties in key command and staff positions worldwide, to include tours in the Pentagon, Defense Logistics Agency and Army Materiel Command. Along with her General Officer commands, she commanded Alpha Company, 703d Main Support Battalion, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized), Kitzingen, Germany; Regimental Support Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colorado; and 406th Army Field Support Brigade, Army Sustainment Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Her military service includes combat deployments as the Commanding General, Joint Sustainment Command-Afghanistan and senior operational logistician in Afghanistan as well as a squadron commander and the senior logistician in western Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She also completed a deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Fox and to Croatia in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.
Kristin holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy; a Master of Science degree in Logistics Management from Florida Institute of Technology; and a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Her military education includes the Quartermaster Officer Basic and Advanced Courses and the Logistics Executive Development Course at Fort Lee, Virginia; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. She received numerous awards and decorations throughout her military career, to include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, two Bronze Star Medals and the Parachutist badge. She is also a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.
2016 ALL Award Honorees
The third annual AWESOME Legendary Leadership (ALL) Award was presented to Annette Clayton, EVP & Chief Supply Chain Officer, Schneider Electric, and Jackie Sturm, VP of Global Supply Management at Intel on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at the World Headquarters of Host Partner NIKE, Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon, outside Portland.
The award ceremony took place as part of opening reception and dinner for the AWESOME Symposium – Creating an AWESOME Future: Challenge. Innovate. Lead.
Read Highlights of their Symposium comments
(Bio at time of selection)
Annette Clayton is the Executive Vice President & Chief Supply Chain Officer of Schneider Electric, responsible for a 12 billion euro operation comprised of 90,000 employees and more than 218 manufacturing factories and 100 distribution centers in 44 countries. She also oversees the company’s India Commercial Sales zone and the Customer Satisfaction & Quality and Safety, Environment & Real Estate organizations.
Prior to joining Schneider Electric in 2011, Annette led Dell’s supply chain transformation and manufacturing and fulfillment operations, and was also responsible for the commercial order management and customer care operations in 16 countries. She joined General Motors in 1983 and held senior management positions in engineering and production, including serving as the President of Saturn Corporation. She was also a member of the North American Strategy Board and served as the Vice President of Quality. Annette serves on the board of Polaris Industries and advisory board for SCM World.
(Since receiving the ALL Award in 2016, Annette has been named President and CEO, North America Operations, for Schneider Electric.)
(Bio at time of selection)
As VP of Global Supply Management at Intel, Jackie Sturm is responsible for all of Intel’s strategic sourcing and procurement worldwide, delivering on solutions that meet stringent objectives across a complex and diverse set of businesses, technologies, and supply ecosystems. Her organization is a 7-time winner of Intel’s prestigious Intel Quality and Achievement Awards and was most recently cited by Gartner as #4 in its Top 25 Global Supply Chains. Jackie is a member of Intel’s Ethics and Compliance Oversight Committee, and directs the Supply Chain Environmental and Social Governance program, which includes Intel’s first-mover Conflict Minerals initiative. Jackie’s experience prior to Intel included Hewlett Packard, start-up Ridge Computer, and Apple.
As a leader, Jackie’s primary focus is on talent and professional growth of her entire team and she sponsors targeted advancement programs such as Women in Supply Chain Excellence to address the particular challenges faced by women in technology. She is an active member of the Intel Network of Executive Women.
2015 ALL Award Honorees
Beth Ford, EVP, Chief Supply Chain and Operations Officer, Land O’Lakes, and Debbie Lentz, SVP, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Toys”R”Us, were presented with the AWESOME Legendary Leadership (ALL) award on opening night of the AWESOME on May 6.
“The ALL Award recognizes women supply chain leaders who have achieved extraordinary professional excellence and addressed challenges for women in our field,” said Dr. Nancy Nix, AWESOME’s executive director. “These leaders have advanced the landscape of supply chain leadership, raising visibility for the possibilities that exist for women today. As Chief Supply Chain Officers, Debbie and Beth represent the importance and impact of supply chain roles in business today.”
Read comments by Beth Ford and Debbie Lentz at the ALL Award presentation.
(Bio at time of selection)
Beth Ford joined Land O’Lakes in January 2012 as Executive Vice President, Chief Supply Chain and Operations Officer. In this role, she is responsible for all supply chain and operating functions from sourcing through to customer delivery as well as for R&D and IT. During her 25+year career, Beth has held line operating and senior leadership positions with global companies in multiple industries including chemicals (International Flavors and Fragrances), consumer package goods (Pepsi), publishing (Scholastic and Hachette), and oil and gas (Mobil Oil).
A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Beth holds an MBA from Columbia University Business School, and a BBA from Iowa State University. She remains involved with both universities, sitting on the Deming Center Board of Advisors for Columbia University Business School and the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the College of Business at Iowa State. Beth is also active in her community and in industry, having accepted Board appointments with both the United Way and Children’s Theater of Minneapolis as well as with the Executive Advisory Board of think tank SCM World.
Beth sits on the Board of Directors for Clearwater Paper Corporation and PACCAR, Inc.
(Bio at time of selection)
Debbie Lentz is currently Senior Vice President, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc., responsible for distribution, transportation, fleet operations, customs compliance, global importing and exporting, and engineering. In this role, she also oversees sales and operations planning, merchandise planning and allocation, inventory management as well as e-commerce/ Omni Channel fulfillment. She is a key member of the executive team leading the company’s “TRU Transformation” strategy.
Before joining Toys“R”Us, Inc. in 2014, Debbie spent 13 years at Kraft Foods Group, where she most recently held the position of Senior Vice President, Customer Service and Logistics. In this role, she was responsible for product supply, fulfillment, demand planning, distribution, transportation, customer service and customer development. She led a successful transformation which drove significant cost savings, inventory reduction and service improvement as well as the seamless separation and spin off of Kraft Foods Group from Mondelez International for her function. Prior to this role, she lived and worked in Zurich, Switzerland, where she led customer service and logistics for 23 countries in Europe. She successfully integrated two key acquisitions, LU Biscuits and Cadbury, designed an integrated supply chain organization model and opened a transportation load control center in Bratislava.
Throughout her tenure with Kraft, Debbie also held positions in global procurement, information systems, manufacturing operations and supply chain across the company’s multiple businesses in North America and Europe.
Earlier in her career, Debbie worked for Nabisco Foods Group, culminating in the position of Senior Director, Logistics Operations, where she managed all transportation, distribution and warehousing activities.
Debbie serves on the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation which focuses on leadership development, mentoring and advancing the careers of women globally, is a past president of the Chicago chapter of the International Women’s Forum, and is a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
Debbie received her bachelor’s degree in Business Logistics from Penn State University and an MBA in Operations Management and Personnel and Labor Relations from the University of Scranton.
She has received several awards for excellence in supply chain management including The Outstanding Achievement in Supply Chain Award from Penn State University in 2008 and The DSC Logistics Thinkers and Movers Award for innovative leadership in 2013.
Read current bio.
2014 ALL Award Honorees
The two leaders honored by the first AWESOME Legendary Leadership (ALL) Award were Heather Sheehan, Vice President, Indirect Sourcing and Logistics, Danaher Corporation, and Kathryn Wengel, Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain. The ALL Award was presented by Ann Drake, AWESOME founder and CEO of DSC Logistics, and Alex Marren, one of AWESOME’s 2014 Advisors, an aviation consultant and retired Senior Vice President, Network Operations and United Express, for United Airlines.
(Bio at time of selection.
In January 2018, Heather became Executive Director of AWESOME. Since receiving the ALL Award in 2014, she founded her own consulting company Crispy Concepts LLC. and joined the AWESOME team, helping to nearly double the number of network members and significantly increasing the support from corporate sponsors. Read current bio))
Heather Sheehan is Vice President, Indirect Sourcing and Logistics, Danaher Corporation. As Danaher’s co-Chief Procurement Officer, she has worldwide responsibility for non-production and logistics sourcing, strategy, and implementation across the corporation’s 40-plus operating companies. She is involved with operations in 125 countries, primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia and has led successful changes in supply chain processes, policies, talent, quality, efficiency, and acquisitions as Danaher has grown from $3 billion to over $19 billion in revenues in the past 12 years.
Heather’s career experience spans nearly 30 years in the manufacturing and transportation industries and includes experience living and working in Hong Kong. Prior to joining Danaher in 2002, Heather held various leadership positions in procurement, logistics and marketing with Honeywell, Union Pacific Corporation and NCR Corporation.
Heather has served on the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ board of directors for 10 years and this year was elected Chairman of the Board.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
(Bio at time of selection)
Kathy Wengel is Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain (JJSC). She serves on the Johnson & Johnson Management Committee and chairs the JJSC Leadership Team.
JJSC encompasses five segment supply chains (Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Products, Global Orthopaedics, Global Surgery, and Diabetes Care and Vision Care) that cover plan, source, internal and external manufacturing, Customer Logistics Services and the Office of Strategy & Execution. Other functions that are also part of JJSC and support the entire corporation are Quality & Compliance, Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability, and Engineering & Technical Operations. Kathy has enterprise leadership responsibility for accelerating the JJSC strategic efforts to meet the diverse needs of Johnson & Johnson businesses and customers around the world by consistently and cost-competitively delivering high quality, reliable products.
During her 26-year tenure with Johnson & Johnson, Kathy has served in diverse quality, operations, technical and business leadership roles. Her early career included manufacturing engineering and facilities roles at Janssen U.S., followed by several leadership roles at the Janssen Gurabo, Puerto Rico, site, including the strategic consolidation and growth of the solid dosage manufacturing portfolio for North America Pharmaceuticals.
Kathy worked in Europe for eight years, serving first as General Manager of Janssen Latina in Italy where she built a strategic growth platform by providing unique pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities for all three sectors of Johnson & Johnson. She was subsequently appointed Vice President, Quality & Compliance, EMEA, Asia Pacific and Worldwide Chemical Production, delivering the first pharmaceutical cross-regional quality strategy while making critical improvements in the legacy product portfolio.
Kathy’s most recent role was Vice President, Quality & Compliance (Q&C), and the first Chief Quality Officer for Johnson & Johnson, a role she held since 2010. She had enterprise leadership responsibility for Q&C, as well as for the Sterility Assurance and Operations Readiness & Convergence groups. In that role, Kathy led the creation of an enterprise Quality & Compliance organization that has worked to simplify and standardize Q&C across the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, including a single Johnson & Johnson Quality Policy and a common set of Quality Policy Standards, and an independent internal audit program. (Since Kathy received the ALL Award in 2014, she has new responsibilities as Worldwide Vice President, Johnson and Johnson. Read current bio)