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Maria Villablanca Wants You to Find Your Passion and Your Tribe • Let’s Talk Supply Chain


The final days of spring are numbered as we continue hurtling to the halfway point of 2024. How did we get here already? Supply Chain is no stranger to change, challenges, and yes, general chaos, but this year has been its own kind of animal charged by a strained global economy, shifting tensions across continents, and a major presidential election that could have resounding impacts across business and commerce this coming fall. According to Freight Waves, the upcoming American presidential election can shake up global supply chains in a major way, with the potential for evolution in business and market policies.

Anticipating the actual election-based outcomes on supply chains and across manufacturing and logistics arms is virtually impossible. What we do know is that presidential elections increase risk and disruptions across the chain. The actual effect of this year’s election hinges on factors like candidate and party policies, the economic climate, and the level of political polarization and resulting gridlock. Some analysts still attribute present disruptions being connected to the U.S. and China trade war. The impact of the approaching election and variables in the mix are made clear already by the striking differences across candidates and party platforms on trade agreements, tariffs, labor laws, and foreign relationships.

Political shifts generally lead to variations in the cost and flow of goods. But at Let’s Talk Supply Chain we still think the best is yet to come. And while that tagline might sound cliché, we mean it because we continue to see the growth of women in executive roles across logistics and the supply chain. That’s important because organizations employing more women in leadership outrank competitors in profitability and customer satisfaction due to diversity in thought, new approaches, more effective communication, and higher resulting levels of collaboration. Closing the gender gap isn’t just good for business, it can help the world economy.

At Let’s Talk Supply Chain we’re proud to feature Women In Supply Chain™ who are redefining their roles across logistics and manufacturing. The numbers show Women In Supply Chain™ drive stronger moves forward—sooner.

Women In Supply Chain™ change our way of thinking about limitations in the workplace. These new influencers and seasoned leaders continue finding novel approaches to respond effectively to the latest logistics and Ops challenges with greater performance outcomes.

Let’s Talk Supply Chain’s Women In Supply Chain™ program, and our blog and podcast series share the value in investing in gender diversity including women and our nonbinary counterparts. We hope our Women In Supply Chain™ blog series motivates you to look past traditional gender norms to the impact you envision making in the industry.

We’re thrilled to feature Maria Villablanca this month, host of the Transform Talk podcast and Gartner Peer Community Ambassador officially ranked among the 100 Most Influential Women Supply Chain Leaders. Maria is the Co-Founder and CEO of Future Insights Network—an organization dedicated to connection, content, and collaboration among senior industry professionals in Supply Chain, Manufacturing, and Digital Transformation. She has nearly three decades of supply-chain-specific experience across manufacturing and logistics and a global business acumen fueled by her BA in Political Science and Government.

1. Where did your supply chain journey start?

In my first job after college, I worked in the food manufacturing space in Latin America. I was doing an entry-level job in operations that covered everything from sourcing, procurement, import, export, quality control, and manufacturing. I loved it because I knew nothing going in and learned so much along the way. After five years of working in this space, I moved to Europe to pursue a commercial career in publishing and media for the supply chain and manufacturing industries. I am now a content creator, mentor, advisor, and influencer for all things global supply chain transformation.

2. Have mentors supported your professional growth in supply chain?

I’ve had both male and female mentors who have helped me overcome obstacles to get to where I am today. Having an experienced person at my disposal makes decisions so much easier and helps to reinforce the things I already knew. Funnily enough, I’ve had tremendous support from male mentors who are strong advocates for women in the industry. These male allies have helped women like me become the examples we can set for the next generation.

3. What’s your experience working in a male-dominated industry?

In the almost three decades since I’ve started my career, I have seen a great deal of progress and positive change for women. There are many more mentors and senior women to inspire the next generation. Fortunately, these advancements mean that younger women won’t have to experience some of the negative aspects of being female in a male-dominated field. We still have a lot to achieve and overcome and I’m here to help make that happen.

4. When did you find your voice in your supply chain career?

The older and more experienced I became the more secure I felt in my own knowledge and abilities. I had to listen to my own voice and remind myself of my accomplishments. There was a moment when I was struggling as a young manager, and I had to dig deep to find my own confidence and inner voice to succeed. Having the support of mentors and people who I admire was pivotal.

5. What advice do you have for Women In Supply Chain™ and others looking to start a career in the industry?

Identify mentors, women, and men you admire and find inspiring. Remember to have confidence in yourself, and listen to your inner voice while you put in the hard work. One of the key factors that has helped me tremendously is finding and networking with like-minded people. Find your tribe and lift each other up.

6. Who do you admire in and outside of the supply chain?

There are so many it’s hard to name them all. I admire some of the biggest female CXOs in our industry for paving the way in a tough, male-dominated environment. Equally, I’m always in awe of women anywhere and no matter what age group, who stand tall and fight for their corners.

7. What have you learned on your supply chain journey so far and what’s next?

I’ve learned that I am agile and can learn new things. As people get older, more senior in their positions, and more experienced, they are more likely to stay within their comfort zones. I have found a love for putting myself into new situations and exploring non-traditional paths to build the kind of path forward I envision. As for what the future holds, I want to contribute to society and build a business I’m passionate about.

I’m committed to continually creating more valuable content, collaborating with more leaders, and having fun in the process. Work is great, but when you’re building a future that makes you happy, the climb is easier and more rewarding.

8. What does your Women In Supply Chain™ feature mean to you?

The WISC series is a powerful way to highlight the amazing work by women in our industry. Being featured in this series is a true honor and something I take great pride in, as both recognition of my work and the experiences I’ve had in my almost 30-year career in the industry.

 

Calling all Women In Supply Chain™!! There’s a new initiative that’s 100% geared towards serving YOU!

 

Women In Supply Chain™ is an online community with the sole purpose of providing women in our industry with consistent support and opportunities, all year long.

Elevate Your Career with Women In Supply Chain™! 

Join a groundbreaking industry initiative that goes beyond networking. Women In Supply Chain™ is a diverse collective of professionals fostering growth, deep connections, and career development.

What you get:

  •  3-hour Introductory Call
  •  Monthly Live Calls with a Professional Facilitator
  •  Access to a Private Online Community
  • Women In Supply Chain™ T-Shirt
  •  FREE Access to The Supply Chainers ($175 Value)

Investment:

$1,000 deposit + $100/month membership Learn more + join here.

Take your future into your own hands & ask your company to add this to your professional development budget. Reach out to hello@secretsocietyofsupplychain.com for questions.

Spaces are going fast– Don’t miss out on this transformative opportunity! 

Meet Our Sponsors

GoFreight is proud to sponsor the Women In Supply Chain™ blog and podcast series, recognizing women’s vital role in the industry and the need to highlight their contributions and experiences. We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the supply chain field and are honored to support initiatives that empower and inspire women in their professional journeys.

Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s Women In Supply Chain™ award, sponsored by Let’s Talk Supply Chain podcast and Blended Pledge project, honors female supply chain leaders and executives whose accomplishments, mentorship, and examples set a foundation for women in all levels of a company’s supply chain network.

 

About the Author

Let's Talk Supply Chain Maria Villablanca Wants You to Find Your Passion and Your Tribe 1

Naomi Sylvian is a content marketing leader with more than 17 years of experience, and the editor of Let’s Talk Supply Chain™’s Women In Supply Chain™ series. Her works have appeared on Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider, The Muse, and Yahoo, and have been mentioned by The New York Times Online. Naomi mentors at-risk teens to fight recidivism and contribute on a local level, working with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. Subscribe to her LinkedIn newsletter, The Chain Explained, for all things Supply Chain broken down with as many pop-culture references as possible, or view her marketing portfolio online.          


BtoB Central Staff
BtoB Central Staffhttps://btobcentral.com
Btobcentral is dedicated to business news.
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