Education: Dual Degree: B.S. Information Technology & Management, MBA University of Minnesota.
My job: As the leader of supply chain operations, I’m not only responsible for working to drive efficiencies in our current distribution centers but also the facility design, build and deployment of new distribution centers in our network.
Which best describes your career path? When I was graduating college and looking for a job, most of the opportunities I was presented were in IT consulting. I knew that was an area that I wasn’t interested in from a career perspective. A local distribution center heavily recruited on-campus and I loved the passion and energy that I saw for leadership and development, so it seemed like a great fit. Other than a couple classes that I took in college around operations, that was really my first introduction to the field.
Which of the following resources have helped you in learning to become a logistics/operations professional? Mentors (both outside & on the job); On the Job/Experiential.
My first job in retail operations was: Team Leader, Target Corporation, where I led a team of 30-40 hourly team members who performed warehousing functions.
I’ve been in this field for: 12 years.
I’ve been in this role for: 5 months.
What is the most interesting part of your job and why? Not only is retail a dynamic space, but Ulta Beauty is seeing huge growth in our business, which constantly keeps us focused on the future and ensuring that we are able to support the growth from a supply chain perspective. It’s allowed us to move at a fast and furious pace, specifically as we build out our network strategy. I personally have learned so much through leading large scale implementations.
What is the most challenging part of your job and why? Due to growth projections for the company, we are consistently focused on future initiatives that are fun and exciting to work on. At the same time, we don’t want to lose sight of building foundational capabilities that are crucial for running a crisp operation. It sometimes becomes challenging to balance those two strategies, but we’re always pushing ourselves to keep these objectives top of mind and create the right blended approach.
When looking to hire logistics/operations managers, what techniques produce the best results? Networking; Promoting from within your current team; Advertising; Working with schools and universities.
What are you most proud of accomplishing in logistics/operations? I’ve always tried to look for experiences that would help broaden my end-to-end knowledge of the supply chain/operations space. I enjoy continuously learning new things and understanding how things are connected in this space. Most recently, I’m extremely proud to lead a major initiative to open our first two ‘greenfield’ distribution centers with a new operating model and warehouse management system in place. I am also very passionate about and proud of helping others reach their career goals through mentorship and support.
If asked by another woman interested in the field of logistics/operations, what would you list as the pros and cons? I think that this field is an incredibly exciting space to work in. There are constantly large scale disruptions that are changing how leaders need to operate and think in order to be competitive. The ability to leverage creativity and strategic thinking is abundant given the challenges that we face. It’s a great industry in which to develop strong leadership skills. With that being said, we still have huge opportunities to help grow & develop women in this space to lead at higher levels of companies. Developing mentorships as well as sponsorships becomes critical to having a successful career.
I think of mentorships and sponsorships as two distinctly different but crucial activities. Mentorships are more of the day-to-day development that’s driven through relationships with others across the company. These could be peers, managers, external partners, etc., but the focus is on providing guidance and advice to an individual to help them succeed in their performance. A sponsorship is a high level executive who specifically advocates on your behalf during talent discussions and succession planning. They may be less involved in helping your day-to-day performance but they are a person in a role of influence who can help to steer your career and position you in a way that will lead to career progression.
Are you currently mentoring other women interested in logistics? Yes
See which Women in Operations were profiled in the September 2016 issue of Multichannel Merchant: