Women in Supply Chain Summit
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2023, we hosted a Women in Supply Chain virtual summit to hear from leaders across the sector. The group we gathered brought broad experience and expertise ranging from contract logistics and freight to visibility, data, and analytics. Our goal was to promote discussion around challenges facing today's supply chain and the new technologies being deployed to solve these problems.Over two hours, we heard from an excellent group of entrepreneurs and industry leaders on these topics. The discussion began with two panels on the growing role of data within the supply chain. Fourkite’s Priya Rajagopalan shared the stage with Raja Chandrasekharan from Quiet Logistics and FedEx’s Maureen Fogel to talk about how real-time visibility and live streams of location data are changing everything from freight to parcel transportation. Simultaneously, eBay board member and former Google executive, Aparna Chennapragada, and Weav.ai Co-founder, Deepti Chafekar, had a conversation about how AI was poised to streamline many processes within the supply chain. Following the panels, Cardinal Health and American Eagle board member, Suja Chandrasekaran, gave a keynote centered on the need for supply chain leadership at the board level.In the second half of the event, we heard from OnRamp’s CTO, Natalya Elkanova, and Mabel Ng from S&P Global discuss how supply chain payments and the derivative data is rapidly evolving with the implementation of modern software infrastructure. This was paralleled by a lively discussion on how SaaS is transforming the supply chain with Deidre Cusack from Dematic, Caitlin O’Keefe from Kearney, Sarika Garg from Cacheflow, and Sara Hoorman from Lyric.ai. The event was wrapped up with a fireside chat with Ann Drake, the founder of DSC Logistics, interviewed by Sally Miller, the CIO of DHL Supply Chain, reflecting on her long career in as a supply chain leader.Overall, there was enthusiasm for the potential of new technologies like AI and ML to change how supply chains are built and managed. Despite having endured one of the most disruptive supply chain shocks in history with the pandemic, most participants were optimistic on where supply chains are today along with their near-term trajectory.While the main point of the conference was to discuss the current challenges that exist today in the supply chain, and the potential solutions that are on the horizon, we also wanted to use it as an opportunity to elevate the role of women in the supply chain.From an entrepreneurship perspective, only 18% of startups have a female co-founder. Even fewer companies – 2% – have all-female co-founding teams. Part of our mission at NewBuild VC is to improve these statistics. We believe that having a diverse set of views within the supply chain will make the industry both more efficient and more profitable.Second, women make up 39% of the supply chain workforce and are involved with 70% of ultimate purchasing decisions. It is critical for supply chain leaders and entrepreneurs within the sector to understand and reflect their diverse customer base.We believe that bringing together this group of key decision makers and founders not only provided a great discussion around the supply chain environment, but also served as a platform to highlight some of the women leaders in the space. We enjoyed hosting this amazing group of women – thanks to all who participated and joined us! If you didn’t have a chance to attend, we hope you will be able to make the next one.