‘Use Your Voice at the Table’ — How This Director Excels as a Woman in Supply Chain Operations

Sponsored by PepsiCo

Wendy Palmer

Photo courtesy of PepsiCo.

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Fairygodboss
June 25, 2024 at 8:50PM UTC

Working as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field such as supply chain operations isn’t always easy. Just ask Wendy Palmer, Manufacturing Plant Director for PepsiCo Beverages North America, who says that working in the supply chain field “can be challenging and even lonely at times.” 

However, she emphasizes that “the collaboration with supply chain is critical to the success of an organization because, without diverse perspectives, the challenges we face on a daily basis would come with very narrow solutions. The key to working in an environment where you may be a minority is pushing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone to use your voice at the table.”

As part of PepsiCo’s Positive Value Chain ambition, it aims to achieve gender parity in management roles by 2025. They are also striving to improve their attraction, retention and advancement of diverse talent to ensure they sustain a high-caliber pipeline as well as drive women’s economic empowerment in the communities in which it operates.

Palmer took the time to share with Fairygodboss what it’s like being a woman working in supply chain operations, as well as how allyship and PepsiCo help her thrive. Here’s what she had to say... 

What is supply chain operations and why do you like being part of the Operations team?

The supply chain is the critical link in a company that brings the ideas of the frontend innovators to the hands of the everyday consumer. We are responsible for every aspect of the life cycle: from planning, manufacturing, warehousing to transportation and distribution of the products we make.

Being part of the supply chain organization is extremely rewarding — seeing the tangible results delivered to store shelves daily and how the products we make bring joy to our consumers provides an immensely rewarding experience. The satisfaction comes from knowing that what we do on a daily basis impacts the lives of everyone we know.

Could you share the most rewarding and challenging aspects of being in supply chain operations?

I find that the most challenging and most rewarding aspect of being part of supply chain operations is the diversity of obstacles we address daily. 

One critical way to address these obstacles is to complete a potential problem analysis and create strong contingency plans for each aspect of the supply chain that you own. Each day there are new unexpected obstacles that need to be overcome, which allows me to think outside the box to make what seems impossible possible.

How has PepsiCo supported you in your career development journey?

PepsiCo’s focus on developing diverse talent by enabling leadership opportunities for women, as well as educating our male partners on how to be allies, has allowed me to feel valued and given me the confidence to share my ideas and experiences. 

Additionally, the company has encouraged and supported me to participate in various organizations that focus on addressing the unique challenges that women in the supply chain face.

What’s your top piece of advice for women who are looking to make a career in supply chain operations?

Take the leap, share your ideas and let your voice be heard! Bring your true authentic self to work every day—being different and standing out is what will set you apart from others and help you be successful.

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