AWESOME Scholar Spotlight

Yailyn Melendez

Meet Yailyn Melendez, a 2020 AWESOME Excellence in Education Scholar and an upcoming 2021 Colorado State graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a minor in Global Environmental Sustainability. Yailynn will be joining Target’s global supply chain team as an Inventory Analyst at their HQs in Minneapolis upon graduation in May.

Yailynn first learned about supply chain when she was 17, while reading a New York Times article that focused on Sambazon. The company strategically gained the açaí export market by paying farmers higher wages and encouraged the use of sustainable harvesting practices. Yailynn was immediately interested in the philosophy, as it matched her passion for the environment and for the supply chain industry. Yailynn originally thought her career path would be ecology-based, however, after learning about supply chain, she hasn’t looked back.”

As a college  student, Yailynn has loved learning about the different success drivers in supply chains. She found that using the health of our ecological systems as a driver is her passion. Yailynn says that her decision to major in supply chain is attributed to Yvon Chouinard’s book, “Let My People Go Surfing,” and his explanation for Patagonia’s philosophies on production, distribution, and management.

“Patagonia’s business strategy emphasizes using the best practices that cause no unnecessary harm, not only to reduce the company’s ecological footprint but to drive a higher return on investment. In supply chain, the operations, materials, and processes all have an impact on the people and environment in which they’re manufactured, produced, or mined. We live in such an interconnected world, yet also detached from where our products come from. As I begin my career in supply chain, I hope to work on impact initiatives that implement sustainable business solutions.”

While in class, she learned that strategic communication helps build agility in supply chains and how contract negotiations have a place in every project. During her internship, Yailynn learned about the importance of visibility and collaborating with suppliers.

“I’ve always been taught that suppliers value transparency. While interning, I was able to understand how that directly ties into the success of a partnership. Although I didn’t realize it in class, being in the workplace helped me recognize that relationship management is my favorite aspect of supply chain.”

Yailynn is excited to find a challenging career that forces her to find innovative solutions to an ever-changing global market. She lives for the opportunity to deliver impactful results in an industry that excites her most and also hopes to work on improving a company’s sustainable business practices.

“Supply chain is a broad spectrum, but in essence, it’s an ever-evolving puzzle that requires continuous problem solving and finding a part of the puzzle that speaks to you. It’s important to find networks that will encourage you to seek out your internship, develop mentorship relationships, and help you navigate  through any questions you have about the industry.  Finding your voice in the workplace may take time, but never underestimate yourself or your skills.”

Last semester, Yailynn took a risk mitigation seminar. Throughout all her research, “pandemic” was listed as a vulnerability but always in the sense of small outbreaks in particular parts of a country. As Yailynn reflects on her supply chain experience and the impact COVID-19 has on supply chain, she finds it interesting how different sectors pivot current production to adjust to the unprecedented levels of demand for certain commodities. She believes this will redesign the way organizations prepare for risk planning.

“I think now it’s about redesigning our new normal. Companies will stress agility, being able to evolve with rapidly changing circumstances, and have strong recovery plans. I am interested to see if and how different companies will approach reshoring following the global pandemic.”


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