By Jean Regan, President & CEO
Since March is Women’s History Month, I wanted to share a few encouraging stories and statistics I’ve seen recently about advances for women in the business world and the supply chain. The pandemic has made this a challenging year for everyone but thankfully there has still been progress during this time, and there’s also been more attention given to the role of logistics in providing essential needs. As the CEO of a women-owned business, I’m rooting for even more advancement for women ahead in this field and others.
A few pieces of encouragement:
Powering ports in the pandemic
During the pandemic new attention has been given to logistics in the United States and much of this activity originates at the ports. While the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are often given lots of attention, one of the most productive ports along the California coastline is the Port of Hueneme, which is led by Kristin Decas, CEO & Port Director. This port moves $10.85 billion in goods each year and is one of the top ten ports for automobiles and fresh produce in the United States. As well as bringing in goods, the port also brings 15,834 trade-related jobs to the community.
When it comes to leading ports, her leadership has been notable – she was the first woman to lead the Port of New Bedford (MA) in its 50+ year history and the first woman to lead the Port of Hueneme (CA) in its 82-year history. In 2019, Decas was named General Manager of the Year for growing cargo and protecting the environment.
In an interview with Automotive Logistics, when asked for the greatest piece of advice she’s been given, she responded, “One of my mentors, former mayor Lang of New Bedford, told me to make a fist and literally would have me make fists in his office. He was telling me to believe in myself and position my mind in such a way that I was always in the correct boxing match and could win. This small, but important piece of wisdom has gotten me through many challenges.”
Girl scouts introduce supply chain badge
While it may seem like magic when a box of Girl Scout cookies arrives at your home, there’s a lot of logistics behind it!
In the past Girls Scouts were able to earn a transportation badge by learning about the opportunities in trucking, but in December of 2020 a new program debuted to provide education about the full journey a box of cookies or other goods can take through the supply chain.
As shared in a recent DC Velocity article, the new program called “Girl Scout Cookies and the Supply Chain,” was created in conjunction with the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee, Ryder, and the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida (GSTF).
In case you’re wondering how big of an operation they’re tracking, Girl Scout cookies reach 200 million people in the United States and about a billion people worldwide each year, no small crumbs.
Growth in women’s entrepreneurship
Even though 2020 was a tough year for many businesses, especially those in the travel and hospitality industry, it didn’t stop the trend of women becoming an increasing larger share of the entrepreneurs in the United States. According to a comprehensive report by Mastercard, “The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2020”, in the United States there’s a “rising trend in female entrepreneurial activity rate (up from 10.7% of total female working age population in 2018 to 13.6% in 2019, and 16.6% in the latest GEM data).”
In addition to reporting on the number of women in entrepreneurship, Mastercard has pledged to add to their numbers. They’ve committed to “bring a total of 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. As part of this effort, there will be a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that can help them grow their businesses, through a range of initiatives across funding, mentoring and the development of inclusive technologies.”
It’s encouraging to see such progress for women’s leadership in business and the supply chain. Since the logistics industry has been a large area of growth, especially during the pandemic, we hope to see new women leaders consider this industry.
Resources for women interested in logistics:
Here are a few groups that support women in the supply chain and logistics industry all year round:
Women in Trucking (WIT) - This non-profit association supports women in all transportation roles as well as trucking, and has been around for nearly a decade.
Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) – This organization has about 1600 members and groups around the world including Ireland, India, and South Africa.
Women & Logistics (LinkedIn group) – This LinkedIn group has about 1000 professionals from all areas of logistics.