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EAST GREENSBORO, NC (December 1, 2022) – Four supply chain management students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics were selected to participate in the fourth annual WISE Future Leaders Symposium.
Arie Bethea, Gwenyth Easterling, Elah Ra-El and Elah Spence, joined by Arim Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of supply chain management, participated in “A Wiser Future for Supply Chain” at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.
Since then, Spence has been elected to serve as a member of the 2023 WISE Connections advisory board.
Bethea, Easterling, Ra-El, Spence and Park were among the 115 students and faculty from 24 universities registered for the symposium presented by WISE: Women Impacting Supply Chain Excellence.
“Our excellent supply chain management alumnae had the opportunity to understand how to prepare to become future supply chain leaders who can build more agile and innovative ways of thinking through this symposium,” said Park.
Keynote speakers included Shelley Simpson, President of JB Hunt Transport Services; Kathryn McLay, President and CEO of Sam’s Club; Amiee Bayer-Thomas, Director of Supply Chain for Ulta Beauty; and Debbie Hodges, Walmart’s vice president of supply chain.
“I had a great experience. I felt more empowered to fight for leadership,” said Bethea, a junior from Windsor, Connecticut. “I felt confident that it’s the right thing to do to be with an esteemed organization that cares about representation within your business. And not let the odds get you down.”
Participants heard panels of industry experts discuss a variety of topics related to supply chain challenges, such as sustainability and technology, how to navigate a successful supply chain career, the importance of mentoring, and sponsors, and much more. Breakout sessions discussed the key points of the event and how to increase diversity, especially as it relates to gender, among students and supply chain professionals.
“To be able to hear so many strong and impactful women is something I will never forget,” said Easterling, a junior from Chicago. “Surrounding myself with like-minded women within the supply chain gave me a social connection that I craved, and I am so grateful for the WISE connections and space it gave future women in the supply chain.”
A new addition to the event was the WISE Legends ceremony, an inaugural women’s hall of fame featuring 14 women in the field of supply chain management. Honorees ranged from transportation pioneers to women who have influenced the diversity and success of today’s supply chain industry. The list of honorees was developed and researched by an intercollegiate collaboration of supply chain students. A new class of legends will be introduced at future symposium events.