FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC –November 11, 2020 - Optricity, a developer of intelligent warehousing technology that provides powerful software solutions to clients around the world, teamed up with the University of Arkansas (U of A) and industry leaders to support the WISE (Women Impacting Supply Chain Excellence) Future Leaders Symposium. WISE, a U of A student organization with a focus on encouraging women to pursue supply chain careers, has four strategic initiatives for its members: making connections, supporting professional development, and building leadership skills and industry knowledge. A driving force of these strategic initiatives is a recently developed event, the WISE Future Leaders Symposium. This year marks the 2nd WISE Future Leaders Symposium and, noting the impact of the global pandemic, the format of the event needed to change pace and go virtual. Stephanie Thomas, Associate Professor of Practice of Supply Chain Management and Executive Director for WISE, saw this as an opportunity for the event to grow. Utilizing her network of supply chain leaders and educators, the support of the WISE officer team, along with the a generous donation from U of A alumni Shelley Simpson, EVP; Chief Commercial Officer; President of Highway Services for J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., Thomas brought together all the necessary elements for a powerful Symposium.
“I was initially disappointed about the format switch from in-person to virtual this year, but I am now grateful for the expanded opportunities that the virtual environment presents,” said Thomas. “The response from universities and supply chain professionals has been so positive. While in-person events are wonderful, obstacles like time and money can limit who gets to participate. The virtual environment removes those obstacles. I am really excited about how the WISE organization will continue to evolve as we plan to continue offering virtual events moving forward.”
The event’s theme, “What’s Your Vision,” provided a platform for session speakers to dive deep into various educational and thought-provoking topics. The Symposium kicked off with an inspiring interactive session from Simpson which prompted young professionals and seasoned supply chain leaders alike to think about their personal vision and what they aspire to achieve, not only in their careers, but in life as well. Vision Stories from women of various backgrounds and points in their careers took place throughout the event, providing interesting perspectives and advice for those just beginning their profession in supply chain.
“While this year's WISE Symposium was virtual, I was still able to gain so much knowledge that I never would have gained in a classroom setting,” said Natalie Frauenheim, student and President of U of A’s WISE student organization. “I really enjoyed hearing from Shelley Simpson, as before the symposium I never would have thought to make a personal vision statement so early on in my career. I also enjoyed hearing all the "vision stories." Hearing people talk about the variety of pathways to success gives me hope that I too can be successful regardless of the path I take in my life.”
Mentorship and how it can shape one’s career path and provide chances to grow was another Symposium hot topic. Optricity leaders, Sheila M. Benny, President of Optricity, and Alicia Hickman, Manager of Accounts and Commercials at Optricity, shared insight into how mentorship has made an impact in their lives through Mentor-in-the-Moment™. Mentor-in-the-Moment™ is a process-based (rather than transactional program) approach to mentoring. Benny, the co-developer of the Mentor-in-the-Moment™, says, “…it's an experiential learning process requiring a deep commitment from both the Mentor and the Stagiaire that transcends human differences and capitalizes on varying perspectives to help inform the mentoring journey." The process establishes that Mentors and Stagiaires must go through the following five steps: engage, reflect, activate, embed learnings and instantiate sustainably. The process avails new insights and experiences that help one explore boundaries in a meaningful way. “Reflection, being a key piece of this process, has to be taken seriously,” notes Hickman. “You have to think through the work itself in order to activate the learning or knowledge for yourself. This is a valuable trait that becomes secondhand nature when you have a mentor who is continuously teaching and coaching.”
The Symposium, supported by Simpson and sponsors J.B. Hunt, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Dollar General, The Clorox Company, General Mills, Gartner, AWESOME, Mondelez, Optricity and others, included attendees from over 40 United States’ universities, 6 international universities, and 30 supply chain organizations. This event, now the 2nd of many to come, marks a milestone towards continuing to build a strong network of young, women professionals to lead the next generation of the ever-evolving supply chain industry.
Optricity creates and supports warehousing analysis, optimization and performance improvement software. To develop its solutions, including the highly acclaimed warehouse slotting application, OptiSlot DC™, Optricity utilizes a blend of warehousing domain expertise, advanced mathematics and software engineering skills.
The Platform of planning solutions includes slotting, profiling, integration, simulation, @Ease Warehousing Technologies™ and the Moves Conductor™ for warehousing operations.
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