Group Supply Chain Manager
What did you want to be when you were at school?
An astronaut because I wanted to pilot a spacecraft to Mars! Or a police officer, to help people.
What did you study?
I studied sciences at A level, and then took the first year at Sheffield University in Physics and Astronomy (I was serious about the astronaut stuff).
I made some difficult choices and switched to Social and Political Studies where I graduated with a BA.
What do you do in a typical day?
There are no typical days in supply chain… We must ensure raw materials come in on time and finished product goes out on time and there are many obstacles along the way, combined with the many global challenges we are facing right now.
We could be visiting a supplier, trying to solve a problem in the factory and analysing detailed data all in the same day. There is a bit of something for everyone.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Making a difference, whether that is solving a problem, trying something new or making improvements.
There is nothing like the buzz knowing product is going out of the door on time because of the hard work put in by the team to get everything arranged. Equally, I enjoy getting lost in a spreadsheet or project plan to work out if we have enough available production time or machine capacity.
What is your best or most enjoyable moment in your career?
This must be returning from maternity leave, incredibly anxious and nervous about whether I could hold it all together, and, after a challenging and exciting day at work, driving home to pick up my son feeling like Superwoman. I realised at that moment that you don’t have to choose, and you can find a balance – sometimes that balance changes but it does work.
Who inspires you?
Shonda Rhimes, American television producer. Shonda writes and produces several TV franchises and uses her script as a platform to showcase flaws in society, whether they be gender or race, or other protected characteristics; and how we can make things better for the next generation.
What are your career aspirations?
To enjoy what I do.
How do you think we can encourage women into STEM/Engineering/Manufacturing careers?
There is still a societal imbalance with gender specific roles, even down to the language we speak and the images used.
Whilst we can wish for good quality female candidates, if the qualified candidates are not available in the first place then we make no improvement.
We all have a responsibility to collectively close the gap. As individuals, this could be as simple as talking to young female family members about our jobs and companies we work for. As influencers and/or decision makers in our businesses, we can enhance links with the local community or review policy to offset any imbalances.
Any advice for young women, or anyone, wanting to start a STEM/Engineering/Manufacturing career?
Believe in yourself and have a plan. Small wins are still wins.