Since its founding in 2013, AWESOME has held a commitment to supporting current and future women supply chain leaders. The AWESOME Excellence in Education Scholars and AWESOME MIT Achieving Women’s Excellence through Education programs recognize these women at the university level and have resulted in a network of 40 professionals forging paths towards leadership positions within their respective collegiate and professional programs. These women are, now, convening through the 2020 launch of AWESOME Scholar CONNECT! programming and networking developed for the expanding, AWESOME Scholar network.
In September, AWESOME Scholars and Fellows from across the country gathered, virtually, for the inaugural AWESOME Scholar Forum, a multi-session series delivering actionable, career and leadership development content to these future supply chain leaders. The inaugural series included sessions on leadership principles, leadership styles, and personal performance mapping. Scholars heard from industry leaders and content area experts and had the opportunity to learn from each other through facilitated breakout group discussions.
“Now more than ever, women at all career stages need to connect with others through professional and personal networks,” said Ann Drake, Founder and Chairman of AWESOME. “Through AWESOME Scholar CONNECT! and the AWESOME Scholar Forum sessions, we are bringing career-building content to these future supply chain leaders while assisting them in building connections with fellow Scholars.”
The first AWESOME Scholar Forum session focused on Leadership Principles. Scholars learned about the foundation and importance of leadership principles from organizational development expert Donna de St. Aubin. They also heard from Ann Drake, who shared her personal leadership tenants. Scholars then moved into facilitated breakout groups in which they presented their own leadership principles.
Authenticity, integrity and empathy were common themes reported out from the groups.
“These women are intuitively grounded in principles required of any strong leader,” observed Michelle Dilley, AWESOME’s CEO. “Hearing from these future supply chain leaders was both thought provoking and inspiring.”
The second session of the AWESOME Scholar Forum focused on creating a Personal Experience Map, launching from the book Eight Steps to High Performance by Marc Effron. Scholars conducted pre-reading and created their own 3-5 year experience maps, which were shared during facilitated breakout sessions.
The focus of the third session was Leading with Style, helping the Scholars understand how to harness their personality traits and characteristics into creating a personal leadership style. Leading with Style served as a capstone for the three-part series and included a DiSC Survey for all Scholars to complete courtesy of AWESOME. Donna de St. Aubin led the Scholars through interpreting individual results and then, in facilitated breakout rooms, the Scholars discussed how they would translate the learnings to leadership.
The response from Scholar participants has been enthusiastic. As one Scholar said, “In addition to connecting with the broader AWESOME community, I am also really looking forward to forming relationships with other Scholars and Fellows, as well as hearing from AWESOME leaders and industry experts.”