For agility and flexibility in today’s complex supply chain environments, you need diverse, collaborative professionals who can make critical decisions and implement new technologies that streamline operations—all the way from development to fulfillment.
One underrepresented group that can help with this challenge is
women. The gender comprises 41% of the supply chain workforce on average in Gartner’s 2021 “Women in Supply Chain Survey.”
“All told, 73% of responding supply chain organizations, the
highest proportion ever, have a diversity, equity and inclusion goal
related to attracting, developing, retaining and advancing women,”
states the survey’s introduction. “The number of women that held
leadership roles also increased in 2021.”
The report broke it down the percentage of women year-overyear (YoY) thusly:
● First-line managers and supervisors: 33% (2% increase YoY)
● Senior managers: 29% (4% increase YoY)
● Directors: 26% (3% increase YoY)
● Vice presidents and senior directors: 23% (2% increase YoY)
● CSCOs, SVPs, EVPs, and CPOs: 15% (2% decrease YoY)
The report includes possible reasons for the increases, including diversity measures introduced by businesses paying off and the public eye and shareholder scrutiny being fixed on corporate actions
and commitments amid unrest of racial justice and inequality.
However, Gartner cautions, “it is important to know that despite
improvements in representation when compared to 2020, there is
one trend that has remained since this survey was launched in 2016:
as the corporate ladder advances, the proportion of women leaders
declines. Women only make up 23% of VP-level positions in the
average supply chain organization, and apart from consumer sector
supply chains, that number continues to decline as we look at specific industry segments.”
Further, Gartner reports that 54% of survey respondents claimed
that retaining midcareer women is an increasing challenge, and 10%
advised that it is a significant challenge. “We find that lack of career
opportunities is the top reason that midcareer women have left the
organization across all supply chain industries, including supply
chain solution providers,” states Gartner.
Given the improving but still challenging state of women in
supply chain leadership, it is critical that Global Trade’s Women
in Logistics for 2022 recognizes just some who are helping reshape
Kristy KnichelCEO and owner Knichel Logistics, Pittsburgh, PA
Twenty-four years ago, Kristy Knichel was 19 when she left the pizza joint she was managing to join her father William’s business. In 2007, she became president of Knichel Logistics, and today she owns and runs the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council-certified company that aims to become a $250 million concern in the next three to five years.
“My mission now revolves around being an advocate for other women within transportation while continuing to grow my business in this fast-paced and ever-changing industry,”
she said in the July/August 2020 issue of Pittsburgh Magazine. The
Women in Trucking Association, which bestowed its inaugural Distinguished Woman in Logistics Award to her, has named Knichel Logistics a top womanowned business and top place for women to work multiple times. (The company has also made Global Trade’s annual list of America’s Top 3PLs several times.)
As of April 25, Synergy Freight Solutions merged with Knichel Logistics to become Knichel LogisticsDetroit Branch. All Synergy employees were retained, including owner and CEO Natasha Erickson, who joined the Knichel leadership team as executive vice president of Business Development. “This relationship will provide additional resources and services to Synergy Freight Solutions customers,” reads a company release, “while also providing Knichel Logistics leadership with another female logistics
Gretchen Seth: Senior Vice President Logistics Plus of Erie, PA
A key leader at the transportation, warehousing, fulfillment, global logistics, business intelligence, technology and supply chain solutions company, Seth has more than 40 years of industry experience. That she spearheads business development, implements programs for some of the company’s largest clients and provides international logistics expertise to the freight forwarding division are enough to put her on this list.
What sends Seth over the top is her charitable work, which includes helping launch a fundraising campaign in March for refugees of Ukraine, where Logistics Plus had 50 employees. As of April, nearly $600,000 had been collected, and she even traveled to Poland to help distribute the aid.
During the height of the pandemic, Seth helped create the LP Medical division that leveraged the company’s overseas resources to source, import, warehouse and deliver more than 2 million pieces of personal protection equipment for hospitals, government organizations and companies in dire need.
Robyn McAllister Meyer: Vice President, Parcel Solutions Transportation Insight of Atlanta, GA
Recognized as a 2021 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Women in Supply Chain, Meyer is known for encouraging women within the industry to take charge and make their own path without worrying about negative reactions or stereotypes. Their inspiration can be her nearly 20-year career of deploying innovative strategies in small package logistics.
Certified in International Trade Compliance, Meyer has worked with logistics, supply chain and fulfillment leaders to solve supply chain challenges for e-commerce companies, retailers, distributors and manufacturers. Her expertise in customer experience, client retention, compliance, risk mitigation, B2B platforms, data security, parcel logistics program management, strategic planning and executive alignment has helped shippers achieve significant cost savings, reduce cycle times, and improve
customer satisfaction rates.
Meyer has also focused on identifying and mentoring individuals who demonstrate leadership qualities, many of whom have risen to VP level or above in various organizations. Like Seth, Meyer has leveraged her industry knowledge to assist those fleeing Ukraine.
Lily Shen CEO & President Transfix of New York, NY
As the leader of the freight transportation company that links shippers with carriers, Shen has driven significant company milestones in waste reduction, empty miles driven and workforce diversity at all levels.
She and her team recently released their inaugural Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance report that shows 43% of senior executive roles are held by women as are 40% of its board seats. Prior to joining Transfix, Shen held numerous senior leadership positions at such companies as eBay, Wealthfront and IDEO, and she served as an advisor to leading global platforms including WeChat, Coupang and Mercari.
During her first year, Transfix’s growth quadrupled and the enterprise customer base increased fivefold. With clients that now include Unilever, Staples and Target, Transfix posted record revenues in 2021 and was positioned to become the first female-led digital freight brokerage to go public via specialpurpose acquisition company in Q2 2022.
Renee Krug CEO Transflo of Tampa, FL
Only announced as the new CEO on April 19, Krug came to Transfl —a Pegasus TransTech mobile, telematics, and business process automation provider to the transportation industry—from GlobalTranz, where she had also served as the 3PL’s chief executive.
She also brings Transflo experience from the carrier side, having previously filled leadership roles at Swift Transportation, America’s largest full truckload carrier, as well as the shipping side from her
days at Honeywell. Krug was presented with a 2018 Distinguished Women in Logistics Award from the nonprofit Women in Trucking. Her arrival at Transflo allowed previous CEO Frank Adelman to become chairman of the board, and he could not be happier about
his successor, praising her “deep sector expertise” and “track record of innovation and executing strategic initiatives.”
Karin Stevens Executive Vice President and Chief of Marketing and Product Overhaul of Austin, TX
Hired as the first full-time employee before Overhaul officially launched in 2016, Stevens’ executive leadership during the early days helped propel the software-based, supply-chain visibility and security solution company to hyper-growth mode now. Part of an initial team of only 15 people, Stevens helped secure the company’s first Fortune 50 customer and coordinated the onboarding of 20+ distribution sites.
After the company secured $55 million in funding that allowed for expansion across North America and into Asia, Europe and Latin America, she played a pivotal role in securing key hires across Client Management & Operations, Sales, Marketing and Product Marketing.
Her superpowers include being a good listener, supporting employees through modeling and recognizing and nurturing her team members’ unique strengths in intentional and innovative ways,
which explains why Stevens earned the title Captain Marvel in Overhaul’s Superhero Program that matches staff attributes with those of corresponding characters in the DC or Marvel universes.
Jennifer Coulter-Lissman Vice President TOC Logistics International of Indianapolis, IN
With two decades of experience working in international logistics and supply chain management, Coulter-Lissman has spent her past eight years as vice president helping realize TOC’s mission of providing supply chain solutions that are unique to each client. She
helped open new offices in Hamburg, Germany; Monterrey in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico; and El Paso and Laredo, Texas. and Hamburg.
Under her leadership, employee count has grown by 1000%, more than 150 new positions have been filled and performance reviews were restructured to encourage open, engaging conversation between team leaders and staff. Speaking of staff, TOC’s team is now comprised of around 50% women and about 50% minorities.
Coulter-Lissman firmly believes that if the company does well,
employees should also, which explains her championing profit sharing and quarterly bonuses. She’s also known for promoting from within.
Cinzia Atkinson Business Solutions Manager Railinc of Cary, North Carolina
With nearly a decade of supply chain experience and a reputation
as a mentor and company culture builder, Atkinson works in rail
freight solutions company Railinc’s TransmetriQ business unit, where she speaks daily with customers navigating the challenges of moving stuff across the country.
She gleans the perspectives of port officials, shippers, railroads and 3PLs to develop more effective inventory strategies in the face of supply chain bottlenecks. That also has her staying up to date on the latest technology advances so she may be a resource for clients.
Because each has unique challenges, she customizes solutions to fit specific business needs and objectives, relying on an array of TransmetriQ data and intelligence on various platforms. She then leverages customer feedback to further refine her team’s solutions. Atkinson was nominated for Railinc’s 2021 President’s Award, and she was named a 2022 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Pro to Know.
Jo Shepherd Executive Vice President of Supply Chain AkzoNobel of Chicago, Illinois
Headquartered in The Netherlands with about 10,000 employees in more than 80 countries, the former AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry hired Shepherd 38 years ago for a junior-level position in the United Kingdom.
She went on to posts around the world before eventually
landing in the Windy City, where she helps the global company transform being the “only woman in the room,” she is thankful “the pool is getting a little bigger” and actively encourages women to explore career opportunities in supply chain. But she adds this warning: “If you want to be praised and patted on the back, then don’t go into supply chain.
This job requires a thick skin because people generally only come to you when things are going wrong. They don’t tell you about the 95% that’s going well.”
Melissa Runge Logistics Industry Consultant Services Atlanta, GA
In 2021, Spend Management Experts was acquired by Transportation Insight, and Runge was put in charge of building a new small parcel business with eight new account managers. Along with her team, the vice president of Parcel Implementation and Client Services helped propel customer retention rates to 97%, and TI went on to realize one of its highest revenue years ever.
Runge, who left TI in May, has a diverse background working for
Fortune 500 enterprises such as UPS, Georgia Pacific, Kimberly Clark and AGCO. Named one of the 2020 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Women in Supply Chain, Runge is a frequent community speaker and industry writer who serves as the board treasurer for
Girl Talk, which inspires middle and high school girls to be confident leaders customer service, planning, scheduling and logistics functions. “I spend quite a lot of my time mentoring people and developing people; that’s one of my passions,” Shepherd says.
Accustomed to In 2021, Spend Management Experts was acquired by Transportation Insight, and Runge was put in charge of building a new small parcel business through peer-to-peer mentoring, and member of CHIEF, the only private membership network focused on
connecting and supporting women executive leaders