Women in Logistics Share Their Career-Changing “Lean In” Moment

Posted - September 4, 2014

Women in Logistics Share Their Career-Changing “Lean In” Moment

A “lean in moment” is a term to describe a big moment in a person’s career – a time when they had to step up, make a change or take a big risk.

Recently, at the 12th Annual eyefortransport North American 3PL Summit, a panel of talented women who have turned their passion for logistics into remarkable careers sat down to discuss their lean in moments – and they had some fascinating insight to share. Here are a few of their stories!

Sheila Hewitt, Vice President, International at Transplace
Sheila’s biggest lean in moment was when she saw the opportunity to take charge of a department at Transplace.  With an extensive IT background, she felt that she could make the department more innovative and was willing to take the risk to put herself in the running for the job.  She noted how important it was to take these types of career risks and not be afraid to fail, adding – “There is always a chance that something positive will happen!”

Andrea Hargrave, Senior Manager Supply Chain International at USG Corporation
For Andrea, her lean in moment came when she realized in graduate school she wanted to get out of IT and into the supply chain field. There were many who told her that she didn’t belong in supply chain because she didn’t have the “right” background. Despite the negativity she was facing, Andrea created a presentation that matched all of the skill sets required for a supply chain role she wanted and exemplified exactly how she had the skills to excel in the position. She made sure that it was very clear that she was qualified for what she was asking for and that the risk to the company was far greater not to have her in the role.

Lisa Dolan, Vice President Supply Chain Strategy at ALOM
After working for a large company, Lisa took a risk on a role with a smaller, unknown company boasting only 25,000 square feet of manufacturing space. She says it was the best thing she’s ever done! Noting that, “It’s not ‘leaning in’, it’s taking risk! What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? I’ve taken huge risks, and with risk is reward. If you don’t take that risk, you’re never going to get what you want and you’re never going to get ahead. If you fail, who cares! Go with gusto, have passion, and just move forward!”

Susan Kichuck, Senior Vice President Corporate Development – Americas at DB Schenker
When Susan realized that she was putting her own barriers up by questioning and doubting herself, she sat down and put together a presentation to showcase what she could really do.  She created a new position for herself based on what her company needed, what skills she had to meet these needs and what the company would get in return for hiring her.  She said everything really “exploded” when she took things into her own hands. Today, her created position is being replicated at companies around the world.

Kelli Saunders, President at Morai Logistics
When Kelli was only in her late twenties, she had the opportunity to buy into the company she worked for. It was a huge decision for her to make so early on in her career, and she was taking a financial risk that truly terrified her. The opportunity became a base for her career and a great lesson learned. She learned tremendously about ‘risk versus reward’ that she has carried throughout her professional life.

To hear more about these career-defining “lean in” moments from the Women in Logistics panelists, check out our videos below.

What was a true “lean-in” moment for you in your career?  Was the risk worth the reward?