Symposium Clips and Quips

While the memories are still fresh and while we are organizing the many hundreds of photos and words of wisdom we’ll share with you later, enjoy this look back at 2019 AWESOME Symposium, including Days 1 and 2 with discussions, Up-Close Conversations, Out in Front Talks, and Making Waves sessions, and Day 3 with AWESOME experiences in Seattle.

Go directly to Day 2

Go directly to Day 3

If you want to know more details, visit HIGHLIGHTS or AGENDA.

On Day 1

Wide Awake in Seattle…

Before the Symposium officially started, Symposium participants were invited to join athletes from Nike’s Seattle store for an early morning walk/run. The 3.1 mile trek led walkers/runners past the Seattle waterfront and paused for a photo op at the landmark Space Needle.


Top Sponsors – Host Partner Starbucks, Founding Partner DSC Logistics, and Champions Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, and Nike – met for a best practice sharing session, facilitated by Deloitte.

Check-In for the Symposium was anything but downtime…

ULTA Beauty and Lancome experts perked up participants with complimentary services at the ULTA Beauty Bar. A new feature this year, compliments of Hassett Express, was professional headshots.

Nina McLemore’s collection of executive clothing was on display and available for purchase during Check-In as well.

Then it was off to Starbucks Support Center (Headquarters)…

There, participants were treated to an expert demo of coffee tasting by Starbucks Virginia Tenpenny, VP Global Social Impact and Executive Director of the Starbucks Foundation. According to Virginia, the four steps are: Smell…Slurp…Locate the experience on your tongue…and Describe.

AWESOME Executive Director Heather Sheehan officially opened the Symposium, then introduced Hans Melotte, Starbucks EVP Global Supply Chain Operations, and Lucy Helm, Starbucks Chief Partner Officer.

Quips from Hans

    • We are beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to show you who Starbucks is and what we stand for.
    • We’re also eager to learn from you – as there is deep supply chain expertise and passion in the room.
    • No matter how we digitize the supply chain – our success starts and ends with talent. Supply chain is a people business.
    • We are proud that 50% of Starbucks supply chain team is women and that cuts across all levels – it doesn’t drop off as you go up.

Read bio

Quips from Lucy

    • It’s exciting to see what supply chain has done in the area of diversity.
    • One of our goals is to inspire others to do good in the world.
    • At Starbucks, we have reached 100% pay equity across the U.S., Canada, and China.
    • We don’t think of diversity as a competitive advantage, because when we do things well, we want others to do them well, too.

Read bio

Virginia Tenpenny returned to talk about how Starbucks is empowering women farmers in origin countries, such as Rwanda. Women there are rebuilding their country after 75% of the men were eliminated during genocide. She also shared some of her own career journey.

Quips from Virginia

    • At Starbucks, I found my “tribe.”
    • I learned when you have that crisis in confidence, reach in.
    • Reach out to learn from each other – and see what good we can do collectively.
    • In Rwanda, a co-op of all female coffee-growers is rebuilding the country 25 years after the genocide that eliminated 75% of the men.
    • When a woman develops herself, the whole country follows.

Read bio

View the trailer participants saw — and the documentary from the Starbucks website

Remarks by AWESOME founder Ann Drake:

In 2012, Ann Drake became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Service Award from CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) in the 47 years the Award had been presented. She decided to use that platform as a launch pad for a supply chain women’s leadership initiative. At the 2019 Symposium, she talked about how far AWESOME has come and what we need to do next.


    • At the beginning of AWESOME, we turned over every stone – almost one at a time – to find 150 women in senior supply chain leadership roles to be part of our new organization. Today…we have our community of more than 1300 high performing, high impact leaders.
    • I felt in 2013 that women in our field were at a tipping point. Women were capable but not connected. Women deserved recognition but were not getting it. And advancing in the supply chain was usually unpredictable and perilous.
    • Each of you — as an individual — has a role to play. As a leader, you must drive change – because that’s what leaders do.
    • We are at a new tipping point now. Just as in 2013 we were at the point to get something started – we are now at the point to take it the rest of the way.

Read bio

Up-Close Conversation:

Game-changer Roz Brewer, Starbucks COO, was interviewed by trail-blazer Deb DeHaas, Deloitte’s Vice Chairman & National Managing Partner of the Center for Board Effectiveness.

Quips from Roz

    • What can corporate America do to get rid of bias? Give women encouragement, put us in tough spots and send the message: “You’ve earned this opportunity.”
    • Promoting a woman or giving her a big job is not a bet or a guess or a risk.
    • Don’t be afraid to take a lateral move to build your own toolbox.
    • Confidence comes from doing the job.
    • If you’re a woman in an uncustomary position, always take the higher ground. Do what women do: Nurture.

Read bio

Next a woman from outer space…

Former NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman talked about her experiences and lessons in leadership as a crew member on space missions and on the International Space station.

Quips from Cady

    • When we take gravity away, we look through a different lens. When you come up against obstacles, try looking at things from another perspective.
    • There’s danger on either side of a tipping point.

Read bio


Day 1 ended with a reception at the Starbucks Reserve.

On Day 2

Good Morning, AWESOME Leaders

Founder Ann Drake and Executive Director Heather Sheehan once again welcomed participants. Ann used the opportunity to take stock of women’s progress, mentioning research recently undertaken to explore what kind of networks work best for women.


    • The AWESOME community has grown in numbers, but also in reach, in influence and in impact.
    • Women need a network just like men do but they also need a trusted community of peers – a circle of women who can give them personal insights about how to operate in a male-dominated industry. Research by Brian Uzzi, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. (see article)
    • Women who have this type of circle – and use it – tend to rise faster and higher.

News about the AWESOME/MIT Scholarship:

Katie Date announced that AWESOME and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology once again will partner on the Advancing Women through Education (AWE) Scholarship for full tuition to MIT’s master program in supply chain management. Applications will be accepted beginning in September for the 2020-21 school year.

Katie is Manager, Corporate & SCALE Network Outreach for MIT’sCenter for Transportation & Logistics.

Learn more

Inspired by the theme of “Reaching Beyond & Achieving More”…

A panel of top women in supply chain talked about how they have reached up, reached out, reached in, reached back and reached across to advance women’s leadership.


    • You can force diversity in with diverse talent – but if the culture isn’t inclusive, they leave.
    • Make diversity an “everyone” issue. Make everyone aware.
    • For dual career couples who are sharing housework and childcare, compromise is better than sacrifice.
    • How can a male mentor help? Find someone who will give you big challenges.
    • Sometimes finding the confidence to take risks comes from a series of small steps.

What she’s learned about CEOs…

AWESOME Executive Director Emeritus, Nancy Nix, introduced Jane Stevenson. As Korn Ferry’s Vice Chair, Board & CEO Services, Jane has studied what qualities help a woman rise to the C-Suite, and she shared insights in an Out in Front talk.


    • The current state of the world is bringing important opportunities for women.
    • Success comes from the “three P’s”: purpose, passion, and permission.
    • Women too often feel limited by the circumstances we’re in.
    • You can give yourself permission. You can promote yourself in your mind. You can think big.

Engaging Men as Advocates for Change

Bonnie Fetch, author of (Un)Skirting the Issues: A Guide for the Well-Intentioned Man in Today’s Workplace, led a mixed panel of supply chain leaders in a discussion about how men and women can work together to improve work environments and opportunities for women.


    • There are no glass ceilings. Only sticky floors.
    • The majority of men are well-intentioned but they don’t know how they should engage and are concerned they might do something wrong.
    • The work environment was designed by men for men – because women weren’t there.
    • Women are likely to downsize their aspirations if they aren’t supported.
    • People tend to operate within a “truth”. To change things, you sometimes have to break the frame of reference.
    • Men need to be invited to be involved in a respectful way – not shamed.

She received an AWESOME standing ovation

Carla Harris, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Morgan Stanley, is not only one of today’s most accomplished and most respected business leaders, she’s a speaker whose ideas bring people to their feet – as they did at the AWESOME Symposium.


    • What the world needs now is intentional leaders.
    • How people perceive you affects how people will deal with you.
    • Most decisions are made about you when you’re not in the room.
    • Pick three adjectives that apply to you – and three adjectives that describe qualities valued by your organization. Where they intersect is how you must consistently behave.
    • What helped you into the seat you’re in is not what will get you to ascend from that seat.
    • You have two types of currency: Performance currency and Relationship currency. Relationship currency becomes more important as you advance so invest in relationships.

Making Waves

Where else would you have the opportunity to brainstorm with your AWESOME peers about the best ways to reach beyond and achieve more?

Presenting the AWESOME Legendary Leadership (ALL) Award

The 2019 ALL Honorees are Michelle Livingstone, VP Transportation, The Home Depot, and Noelle Walsh, Corporate VP, Cloud Operations and Innovation, Microsoft. In their Up-Close Conversation with former ALL Honoree Jackie Sturm, VP Global Supply Management, Intel, they touched on what defined them as a leader.

Watch for more Words of Wisdom from their Up-Close Conversation

New Research Results and Talent Strategies

Dana Stiffler, VP Research for Gartner, described findings from the 2019 AWESOME /Gartner Women in Supply Chain Survey. The headline worth celebrating is that there was a healthy surge in women at the VP level of supply chain. The report is available for download.

Sharing what they know about customer experience…

This panel on “Innovation and Customer Experience” gave a behind-the-scenes look at how their iconic companies – Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Nordstrom, and Starbucks – keep their customers coming back for more. Kelly Bengston, SVP and Chief Procurement Officer of Starbucks, moderated the conversation.

Wrapping up the day

Ann Drake and Heather Sheehan reminded AWESOME Leaders to mark their calendars for the 2020 AWESOME Symposium on May 6-7 – and enjoy the closing reception hosted by CJ Logistics.

Day 3

On May 3, many AWESOME leaders expanded their learning and relationships by participating in one of five experiences customized for AWESOME in the city of Seattle. Each tour included special features not available to the general public.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Pike Place Market

Port of Seattle

Amazon Spheres

Starbucks Roastery

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