Women in Supply Chain - Confessions from the lounge suite!

14 March 2019

On Thursday 21 February, 2019, we held the first of hopefully many events and experiences designed to bring together women who are working in supply chain roles in New Zealand.

This collaboration between The University of Auckland Centre for Supply Chain Management, Executive Education and KPMG invited women in roles across NZ supply chains to a breakfast with three of New Zealand’s most senior female supply chain leaders. In this intimate setting they discussed the highs, lows, challenges and realisations of their careers with honesty and warmth. Suzanne O’Leary from the January Group chaired the discussion, drawing out personal stories that ranged across topics including:

  • How to stand up for yourself in a sea of people who don’t look like you
  • How to manage family responsibilities, long workdays, crises and the need for time for one’s own interests (painting in Liz’s case)
  • How to demonstrate competence and integrity despite opposition and, sometimes, exclusion
  • How to collaborate with others across the supply network to get more done

This event was born out of conversations in the Supply Chain Advisory Group which oversees the Strategic Supply Chain Management Programme and the work of this Centre. It was clear from everyone’s experience that women in roles across supply chains needed the opportunity to meet together to discuss things that are important to them. Many women are the only ones in their work area and the opportunity to meet together at this function was clearly needed. Over 100 women registered for the event. Unfortunately only 75 could fit in KPMG’s large meeting room but this interest confirmed that the need is great. Present were many young women beginning their careers in this fascinating field.

‘On the lounge (bar stools actually!)’ were:


Deena Clarkson:
GM Distribution Centres, Fonterra


Louise Wood:
GM Supply Chain, Sanford Ltd


Liz May:
Former GM Logistics, Progressive Enterprises

In addition to hearing unique stories and insights from the speakers, participants had the opportunity to meet other women and forge new friendships and mentoring relationships. There is a recognition that not all supply chain people live in Auckland and the founding group are pondering how to make events like these available in other parts of New Zealand. Stay tuned for updates.

The next event will be held on: Tuesday 2 July 2019

Location: Fonterra Auditorium, 109 Fanshawe Street, Auckland CBD

Time: 7.30-9am