Highlights of the April 2016 Symposium

View Symposium video


AWESOME Founder encourages leaders to seize opportunities

Ann Drake, founder of AWESOME and CEO of DSC Logistics, welcomed participants to the 2016 Symposium with remarks about challenging, innovating and leading – three themes of the Symposium. “We have to be totally fearless when it comes to new ideas new solutions and new pathways.”

She continued, “We live in a world and we lead in an industry where leaders are bombarded with non-stop opportunities and change, and businesses are in a constant state of transition and reinvention. In this rapidly changing world the perspectives and strengths of women are critical to business success. The world needs more women leaders who can seize opportunity and lead through collaboration.”

“More and more we are in a position to make things happen. Instead of waiting and hoping for opportunities we must create them. Leadership today is about values and tough choices and longer- term sustainability of our enterprises and our world.”

Ann Drake founded AWESOME in early 2013 after receiving the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from CSCMP, the first women to be selected for the award in the 47 years since it was created.

ALL Recipients: (left) Jackie Sturm, VP, Technology and Manufacturing Group, General Manager of Global Supply Chain Management, and (right) Annette, Clayton, EVP & Chief Supply Chain Officer, Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric (via video from her home base in Singapore) at the 2016 AWESOME Symposium.

ALL Recipients: (left) Jackie Sturm, VP, Technology and Manufacturing Group, General Manager of Global Supply Chain Management, and (right) Annette, Clayton, EVP & Chief Supply Chain Officer, Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric (via video from her home base in Singapore) at the 2016 AWESOME Symposium.

Insights and Advice from the 2016 ALL Honorees

What do the 2016 AWESOME Legendary Leadership (ALL) Award honorees have in common – in addition to the fact they have outstanding careers and have made it to the top of a traditionally male field? Both credit their upbringing in a “rural environment” for instilling a strong work ethic; both believe supply chain plays a critical role in the success of their company and the world economy; and both take pride in the steps their company is taking to provide a more diverse culture.

Jackie Sturm, VP, Technology and Manufacturing Group, General Manager of Global Supply Chain Management, Intel Corporation talked about her career at the 2016 AWESOME Symposium in an Up-Close Conversation with Debbie Lentz, 2015 ALL Award recipient and SVP and Chief Supply Chain Officer, Toys”R”Us, Inc. Annette Clayton, EVP & Chief Supply Chain Officer, Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric, shared her views on leadership and success via video from her home base in Singapore.

Influence of early environments

Annette described growing up on a farm where “we did all of our work. We never hired someone else to do anything.” There she learned to take things apart and put them back together, something she considers a foundation for her decision to study engineering.
Jackie grew up on her grandparents’ cherry orchard in what is now Silicon Valley. She says in these rural environments, “hard work is the currency of the realm.” In college, she studied finance and spent her early career with Hewlett Packard.

The role of supply chain

Annette said: “Supply chains evolved from being branded as cost centers to sources of competitive advantage that deliver value to the customers….If sales inventory and operations planning is the nervous system of a supply chain, it’s the supply chain itself that’s the heartbeat of any business.”

She continued, “My hope for the future of supply chain is that we continue to get, you know, more and more important seats at the C-table. We see trends like digitization driving value in the end-to-end supply chain network, into your customers, into your suppliers. And I think those companies that figure out how to optimize that end-to-end using digitization are the companies that are going to win.”

Jackie sees supply chain as an important partner with engineering and product development: “I am deeply committed to the importance of manufacturing and value-added products as the backbone of the economy. The middle class has jobs because we create value-added products and manufacture them in local environments….As a supply chain person, I’ve tried to really work to help bring ideas to reality. You can only succeed if you have both compelling products as well as a cost effective way to deliver that product so that the customer who wants it can also afford it.”

She also said, “My vision for the supply chain of the future is very energizing. I see it as a place where we are not just sought out. We’re routinely a critical part of defining and delivering amazing products that are going to lead the world.”

What are their companies doing to advance women?

According to Jackie, “Intel as a corporation is pledging to achieve gender parity by the year 2020. And this year we announced equivalent gender pay for the first time. We are making real traction toward our 2020 goals… Intel’s network of executive women is actively sponsoring our top female talent in order to find bigger and more influential roles for them. And we are making significant progress as measured by the increasing numbers of directors, vice presidents, and fellows who are females in background but stand out for their merit as well.”

As Annette described her company, “Schneider embraces gender diversity as a business imperative. We are committed to it because it’s not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do. And we back up our commitments with action. In just a few short months, more than 24,000 male Schneider employees joined the United Nations sponsored HeForShe movement and we’ve been given the CEO leadership Award for advancing Women’s equality by the Women’s Empowerment Principles Organization.”

Annette Clayton and Jackie Sturm also offered career advice for women, and their comments will be included in the Collective Wisdom in the upcoming fifth volume of AWESOME’S REALITY CHECK.

Read ALL honorees’ bios

Symposium panel of supply chain leaders focuses on innovation and leading change

Supply chain leaders who participated in the 2016 AWESOME Symposium session titled “Supply Chain Innovation: Leading Change for Future Success” shared steps their companies have taken to encourage and achieve innovation. As one panelist said, “The sweet spot of innovation is being close to the customer.”

Panelists agreed that companies that want to be innovative need to seek out good information and input, even if that means reaching out beyond the company. One member of the panel related how her company came up with a new approach to become more efficient about maintenance. With the goal of making the ordering of supplies more proactive — less reactive — they talked to suppliers and asked them to bring ideas to the table. In this example and others, sometimes the best sources are those not traditionally being tapped. Another company did something similar when they formed a council of NGOs to talk about making the supply chain more sustainable.

Sometimes a consultant is brought in to take an objective view. Another company held a “break-a-thon” where they asked people to take a closer look by “breakIng apart ” how they do things.

The panelists agreed on another point: Innovation must be driven from the top and built into the culture. Sometimes changing the culture requires small steps, perhaps even hiring people with different skillsets from those of the current team members. It’s critical that teams truly understand each other and are communicating to find and formulate a vision together. Often that involves “bridging,” or working across silos.

More insights from this discussion will be incorporated in the fifth volume of REALITY CHECK. Watch for the report’s release on this website in a few weeks.

Panelists for this Symposium session included Linda Bryant, VP, Global Strategy & Business Excellence, Janssen Supply Chain, a Johnson & Johnson Company; Francesca DeBiase, Chief Supply Chain and Sustainability Officer, McDonald’s Corporation; Alexandra Lopez, CPO & VP Operations, Cisco Systems; and Kristen Workman, VP, Supply Chain Performance, Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric. Moderator of the discussion was Stacey Taylor, SVP & Chief Procurement Officer, MGM Resprts International.

View entire Symposium Agenda



Nike panel of Women in Sport share what they’ve learned about competing
and achieving

brooksCharlie Brooks, VP, NA Communications, NIKE, Inc. moderated a conversation among four outstanding women in sport at the 2016 AWESOME Symposium. He set the scene by quoting Nike founder Phil Knight: “At Nike it’s about the athlete. It always has been and always will be.”

Members of the panel were Debbie Antonelli, Basketball Analyst; Joan Benoit Samuelson, Running, Health and Fitness Clinician and NIKE, Inc. Consultant; and Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Head Coach, USC Women’s Basketball; and Sarah Reinertsen, Ironman Triathlete.

We’ve selected some Words of Wisdom from that conversation that we think apply almost universally to women advancing in their careers.

Joan Benoit Samuelson:

    • “You can’t be complacent. You have to take action. Life is not a spectator sport. You have to be active. And you have to have the vision that you talked about. You have to see things.”

“And then you can’t sit and let somebody else do it. You have to take the bull by the horns and run.”

(One of Joan’s many accomplishments was winning a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. View a video of that achievement.)

“There’s still disparity in sports. There’s still disparity in some work places. And that’s why I say it’s still a work in progress. But that gives us something to keep working on and you know, forging ahead with. And it’s teamwork you’ve heard about up here. It’s not just us…It’s everybody in our cohort, everybody in our sport, everybody who appreciates hard work and dedication. You can’t just sit and think things are going to happen for you. You have to be a part of it.”

Cynthia Coooper-Dyke:

    • “It matters how much work you put into it. It matters what you’re willing to drive, the determination, the passion that you have.”

“Each one of us has our own challenges. But if you are able to hang tough in the tough moments that life brings you, then you’re able to be successful.”

“We are women of action. We don’t just stand by the sideline and let things happen to us. But we make things happen.”

(View Cynthia’s acceptance speech when she was inducted into the Naismath Memorial Hall of Fame.)

When asked “What’s the secret of great coaching?”:
“Confidence and never arriving. You’re constantly seeking out more information, how to get better, be stronger, find a different way to do it.”

“Another big thing is flexibility. I don’t recruit players and make all those different players from different environments fit into my system. I really adapt my system to the players I have on my team.”

Debbie Antonelli:

    • “You can do more than you think you can do.”

“When you’re on a team and you’re playing your role you may not like your role. But it’s important that you understand if you want to change your role then you’ve got to put the hard work in to be able to do that.”

When asked about creating her own identity in a field (sports casting) traditionally dominated by men:

“Fear of failure and the margin for error are very high motivators for me. Because when you’re in the men’s field, they may be looking for you as a female to make a mistake. I understand that mentality. And I welcome it. I don’t feel extra pressure for it. I’m challenged by it. I want to be the best I can be. In order to do that it’s got to be hard work and passion.”

“Every female that’s on television I am rooting for. Even though some of them are my competition. Overall, I need them to be successful because the better they are at what they do, the the more that unconscious bias will dissipate.”

Sarah Reinertsen:

    • “You’ve got to celebrate the little victories in order to get the big one.”


    • We look at these systems where it’s been male dominated. And I think a lot of it is because they have figured out the trick of fraternity. And we women need to do better about figuring out the trick of cooperation and sorority. We can have a lot more power if we are collective in our efforts.”

“I definitely think the highlight of my career was doing the Hawaii Ironman – being the first in something, the first woman on a prosthetic leg to do so. And the reason why I went for it was actually because another amputee gentleman with a prosthetic leg who had done the race told me that he didn’t think a woman could do it.”

About Nike’s mission statement: If you’ve got a body, you are an athlete:

“I love that quality and that everybody matters no matter what shape or size you have, whether you’ve got both feet, one foot, one arm, no arms, whatever it is that you are part of that family of athletes.”

“I always like to say fear less, live more. But that doesn’t mean you’re not going to feel fear. It means don’t let the fear stop you. Push forward. And you can do amazing things when you learn to be uncomfortable.”

Panel 2 Mens panel ALL

Men talk about real steps toward diverse leadership

A panel of male supply chain leaders at the 2016 AWESOME Symposium spoke candidly about their own experiences and how their companies are working to increase diversity. Their starting point was giving reactions to recommendations from “Paradigm of Parity,” a call to action by a group of female CEOs, board members, and academics to achieve gender parity by 2030.

One of the most pervasive and persistent challenges, according to panel members, is unconscious bias – particularly because it is unconscious. “Today, you don’t have overt cases of people saying ‘I don’t want women on the team,’” said one panel member.

Some ways to address unconscious bias include:

    • Developing a vocabulary that enables candid discussion and permits people to admit they might be biased
    • Identifying behaviors that are not conducive to women participating fully, such as all men sitting around a circle, the only woman sitting on the side; letting every conversation be about football, etc.
    • Providing formal bias training for managers
    • Recognizing and “squashing” stereotypes when discussing the way leaders work – i.e. criticizing a woman for the same behavior a man is praised for

The panel also agreed that “measuring what matters” – the actual numbers of women being able to advance to higher levels – is essential. According to one panelist, “If you’re not measuring the number of diverse candidates that are put on the slate and if you’re not looking at gender participation you’re never going to get to the change that you need.” To succeed in becoming more diverse, the panel suggested, companies need men to be “champions.”

Sandra Beach Lin, former President and CEO of Calisolar, Inc., and one of the leaders in the development of Paradigm for Parity, moderated the discussion by panelists Astad Dhunjisha, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Monsanto Company; Rick Frazier, Chief Product Supply and Service Officer, Coca-Cola Refreshments; Eric Sprunk, COO, NIKE, Inc.; and Steve Inacker, Formerly President, Hospital Sales and Services, Cardinal Health, Medical Segment.

The panel’s insights into other topics, including how diversity leads to innovation will be included in the upcoming fifth volume of REALITY CHECK.

Symposium panel on “Taking it to the Next Level” - with Ann Drake (center), AWESOME founder – left to right: Tanya Fratto, Lynn Utter, Joanne Bauer, and Joyce Russell.

Symposium panel on “Taking it to the Next Level” – with Ann Drake (center), AWESOME founder –
left to right: Tanya Fratto, Lynn Utter, Joanne Bauer, and Joyce Russell.

Taking Leadership to the Next Level – Beyond Supply Chain

At the 2016 Symposium, a panel of accomplished C-suite leaders and board directors shared insights about moving beyond functional responsibilities into the highest roles. In a discussion led by Joanne Bauer, former President, Health Care, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and current board member of several organizations, panelists were asked what is required to be successful at these levels of leadership.

Panelists were Tanya Fratto, Joyce Russell, and Lynn Utter. Read some of their career highlights below.

Key points of advice from these successful women include:

    • In every role, be sure to “over-perform” – do each job just a little better than anyone would have expected you to do.
    • Talk less and act more – be a “doer.”
    • “Hire slow and fire fast” – focus on talent and building great teams.
    • Develop “executive presence” based on communication skills, appearance, and gravitas, also described as performance, image, and exposure.
    • Take the jobs other people won’t do and get the job done.
    • Build a network – a circle of friends who will talk over tough challenges with you.
    • Assess the group you’re presenting to and working with – and adapt your communication to them.
    • Find or develop a sponsor who will see opportunities for you that you don’t see for yourself.
    • Look for honest feedback and learn from it.
    • Embrace the ambition that is in you.
    • Whatever your current role, understand more about the company from the CEO perspective.

Other topics they covered include how to know when it’s time to make a career change, how to move between functional and P&L roles, and how to balance the demands of work, family and community. More of their insights will be included in AWESOME’s fifth REALITY CHECK.

Tanya Fratto is Non-Executive Director at Smiths Group plc; former President and CEO, Diamond Innovations; she spent over 25 years with General Electric, including President and CEO of GE’s Superabrasives business; and is on the Board of Directors, ADS.

Joyce Russell is President, Adecco Staffing US, on the Board of the Committee of 200 and recipient of C200’s Corporate Innovator Luminary Award.

Lynn Utter is on the Board of Directors of WESCO International; former President/COO, Knoll Office; former Chief Strategy Officer at Coors Brewing Company; Board of Directors, Merchants Metals.


Christie Smith, Deloitte’s diversity and inclusion leader, calls for new approach

After being introduced by Heather Sheehan, AWESOME’s Director of Member Engagement & Sponsorships, as “one of the world’s most advanced thinkers, writers, speakers and change agents in leadership and diversity” Christie Smith suggested many well-intentioned efforts at increasing diversity are “a massive failure.” Christie is Regional Managing Principal, Consulting Deloitte, and Managing Partner, Deloitte University.

In an Up-Close Conversation, a signature element of AWESOME Symposiums, Christie described the concept of “covering,” which involves individuals downplaying an aspect of themselves they see as stigmatizing. She told the compelling story of her own experience at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and how she “’covered” her emotional distress afterward.

Christie also believes diversity and inclusion efforts need to evolve beyond “affinity groups,” which she says actually can segregate the populations they are trying to help. Leaders need to be asked if their organization is “really is really living up to its stated values of inclusion.” She urges organizations to look at the totality of the individual, “bring people together in an organization around diversity of thought to solve business issues,” and tie inclusion to brand image.

More of Christie’s insights will be incorporated into Volume Five of REALITY CHECK, AWESOME’s listening-based record of Symposium discussions, which will be published soon. You can also view Christie’s Ted Talk: It’s Time to Look Under the Covers.

Nike gives AWESOME leaders a first-hand look at World Headquarters

Nike_visit_campus3Participants in the AWESOME Symposium on April 27-29 began the event with a tour of the World Headquarters of NIKE, Inc., 2016 Symposium Host Partner. The first-hand look gave tour members a taste of the company’s culture and history.

Of special interest to visitors was the history room, which tells the story of running enthusiast Phil Knight, who founded the company with his running coach Bill Bowerman.

Throughout the campus, buildings named for sports greats such as Michael Jordan, Mia Hamm, Bo Jackson, and Nolan Ryan, show the company’s respect for athletes and their accomplishments. Many interior spaces display some of those athletes’ memorabilia.

The tour also included facilities for just about any type of physical exercise, which Nike encourages employees to use, bringing to life the NIKE Mission:

“Bring Innovation and Inspiration to every athlete in the world.*

*If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”

The tour was followed by a networking reception in the Tiger Woods Center.


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