Looking out at the Retail Industry Leaders Association's (RILA) Women in Supply Chain Breakfast on Tuesday, Amy Carovillano, vice president of supply chain for The Container Store, couldn't help but pause and think about past supply chain conferences she had attended.
"It used to be that out of the thousand or so people attending, maybe 20 were women," she remembered.
The conference room packed with mostly women supply chain professionals at RILA's LINK2020 supply chain conference attested to how much has changed in the past 20 years. However, there is still more work to be done. While women make up 33% of the supply chain workforce, only 11% of senior vice president, executive vice president, and C-suite positions are held by women, according to AWESOME (Achieving Women's Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education).
The breakfast and networking session hoped to encourage attendees to advocate for increasing diversity in the field. During the breakfast, Nancy Nix, executive director emeritus of AWESOME highlighted a recent paper by the organization that identified "seven smart moves" to help encourage women's leadership in the supply chain.
Carovillano emphasized that the ultimate goal was not just to help women break the glass ceiling. "This is not just about gender diversity, it's about diversity in all areas, to make sure you have diversity of thought," she said.
Carovillano pointed out research has proven time and again that organizations and teams are more successful and better equipped to solve problems when they include diverse backgrounds, experiences, and thought patterns.
"This is not about being altruistic," she said. "This is a business philosophy."