Monday, June 30, 2014

Women in Logistics Honour Female Talent in the Supply Chain

Freight Sector the Winner as Attitudes Change Toward Gender Imbalance
Shipping News Feature

UK – Women in Logistics (WiL), the organisation formed in 2008 specifically to address the gender imbalance in the worlds of shipping, road and air freight and the supply chain in general, celebrated its annual conference and awards on 27 June at a glittering ceremony at the St John’s Hotel in Warwickshire when the winners of the four awards were announced in the company of the judges Professor Richard Wilding and Ruth Waring, along with special guest Mrs Beverley Bell, the UK's first female Traffic Commissioner.

As well as over £5,000 raised through ticket sales, a charity raffle at the dinner raised a further £1,500 for the inspiring transport charity Transaid. In a keynote speech, Mrs Bell praised Women in Logistics for championing the cause of gender diversity in the transport and logistics sector. The awards were then presented and the winners are:

Leader of the Year: Nicky McGroarty of Telefonica UK

Rising Star of the Year: Victoria Burrows of Royal Mail

Diversity Champion of the Year: Tracey Clifford of Wincanton

Company of the Year: DHL Supply Chain

A speech from a delighted Nicky McGroarty encapsulated both how the attitude towards hiring women has changed radically in a few short years and how quality staff, like this year’s Leader of the Year, coming from other industry sectors, can make the transition into logistics should they care to do so. She said:

"Telefonica is committed to equality and diversity in the workplace so it's an honour to receive this recognition for my role as Head of Supply Chain. I continue to encourage other women in the logistics sector to be ambitious because the career opportunities for both women and men are fantastic.

“My background isn't logistics I'm a qualified CIMA Accountant who moved into supply chain 10 years ago and did almost every role before taking on the role of Head of Supply Chain 2 years ago. I hope my story can inspire others to move into logistics; supply chain is integral to any organisation as it's all about delivering a great customer experience which is so important."

The awards followed the Women in Logistics Conference, which was fully sold out, with 70 people attending from all sectors of UK logistics and supply chain businesses. Delegates were given plenty to think about as Professor Janet Godsell (Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy, WMG, University of Warwick, Coventry) talked about circular business models and flexibility within the supply chain. Emile Naus (Partner and Technical Director at LCP Consulting and former Head of Logistics Strategy at M&S) showed delegates the impact of customer returns in an omni-channel environment and there was a discussion on how to aim for simplicity in a complex world.

The Panel discussion sparked a lively debate, talking about role models and offering strategies for being a woman in a man's world. The general consensus was to be yourself and believe that you have every right to be there and just do it!

Photos: Just to prove this was not an all female affair! Bob Hughes from The Forton Group presents the award for Company of the Year to Vernon Barchou of DHL