Bold is the operative word of the day. 250 people gathered at Miami Dade College today to hear about educational and career opportunities for women and minorities in the transportation/supply chain industry. The event was put on in collaboration with the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT-South Florida), and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). The audience was composed of high school and college students as well as industry professionals. The message was incredibly positive, after all, trade is booming. Jennifer Diaz, Partner & Chair of Becker & Poliakoff’s Customs and International Trade Department, cited U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics from its recent import trade trends, stating CBP processed 2.38 trillion worth of imported goods in 2012, up 5% from 2011. The top trading 5 partners, in order, include China, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Germany.

The audience heard from an all-star lineup composed of: Michelle Livingstone, Vice President of Supply Chain/Transportation at the Home Depot, Natalie Putnam, Vice President of Marketing at Ryder System, Inc., Monica Wooden, CEO & Founder of MercuryGate International, Inc., Andy Funk, CEO & Treasurer of Cambridge-Lee Industries, and was moderated by Jennifer Diaz.
The educational opportunities in Supply Chain at Miami Dade are extremely promising. Miami Dade announced two new degree programs it plans to offer, an Associate of Science in Transportation and Logistics, expected to roll out Fall 2013, and a Bachelor of Applied Science, expected to roll out Fall 2014. Michelle Livingstone elaborated on the importance of education and said “education can never be taken away from you,” when motivating the audience to say yes when fortunate to have a company pay for higher education opportunities. “Only 10% of women choose careers in supply chain as a major in college, it is ripe for women,” continued Michelle.
Michelle inspired the audience with her road to success, which included a map filled with 10 different locations all over the U.S. where Michelle had worked. “Sometimes you have to relocate to get ahead,” said Michelle. Michelle made it clear and matter of fact that “women must work harder to succeed then men,” and success “is 80% attitude and 20% aptitude.”
Natalie Putnam introduced a new concept, stating “problem finders” are tremendously valuable. Not problem solvers, but, instead, problem finders. Those that have the aptitude to find problems are much more so needed by organizations to evolve. Natalie commented that there are “multiple paths to success” and “1 in 9 people every day are in sales jobs” – a quote taken from Daniel Pink. Natalie discussed the importance and existence of the sale function in every line of work.
“It was encouraging to see so many women interested in the dynamic and growing supply chain field. The speakers were inspirational in sharing their experiences and how they navigated through and were successful in traditionally male dominated careers,” said Andy Funk.