How to Attract the Right Talent_from Women in Logistics at E4T 3PL Summit

Note to ALL Logistics Industry Event Organizers – Mix it Up!!

E4T’s 3PL Summit in Chicago June 16-18, 2015 was an excellent investment of time for logistics practitioners interested in exercising their brains and taking a fresh look at our industry.  Kudos to conference organizer Haley Garner for sessions such asThe Logistics Tech Start-ups Looking to Shake-up the Industry, which featured CEO’s of start-ups:  Shiphawk, Milezero, Shippo, Aptdeco and Freightos.  Most comments leaving that room were along the lines that those guys are either onto something that’s truly going to change logistics as we know it, or about the demonstrate what ‘epic fail’ means!

In an effort to reach out for younger perspective, I asked millennial exhibitors from Project 44 who they were excited to hear from and learned of Bobby Harris, CEO of Blue Grace Logistics – new to me and a very powerful talk on the topic of social media, and how his company uses it to foster its values and create a dynamic, communicative culture.  Very cool actually and well worth the time.

In fact, on multiple occasions over the couple days in Chicago, I was able to facilitate connection between providers of software and service with executives  looking for just what they were pitching.  Good stuff and what most of my 3PL clients actually go for – so … as a 3PL Summit, the gathering was a big improvement over standard fare in my view.

But attendees weren’t really feeling the intended benefit of co-location of the Chief Supply Chain Officer Summit (CSCO) – but it’s certainly a great idea.  More ‘beneficial product owners’ and branded product companies would definitely make for an even better experience.

‘Logistics are commoditized, so what next?’ though, was light years ahead of earlier years in quality of insight and value of sharing from the C-level executives speaking.  Allen Smith, CEO of BCG Logistics was a bit of fresh air, and Brad Jacobs, CEO of XPO Logistics was an absolute standout, agreeing with his peer 3PL CEO’s on the critical need for more robust Talent aligned to future requirements for logistics providers.  When this panel of six white, male CEO’s were pressed by E4T CEO Chris Saynor to identify what they intend to do about the lack of diversity in their companies – only Brad Jacobs put forward an intention:  to boost the number of women on his own board of directors.

Only I applauded in a room of a couple hundred people.  But I was freshly arrived from facilitating the Women in Logistics panel which had just addressed that very topic.  Interestingly, there were quite a few more specific strategies offered by our panel of six (CEO, SVP level, white, black, Russian, Canadian and American) Women in Logistics:  Leaning In, Looking Up and Making a Difference!  Namely, when seeking to bring more diversity to your workforce, in an industry with an 80% white male population, it makes sense to lose the requirement for logistics experience in order to attract top notch talent that can lead, manage and sustain the level of change ahead for our industry.

Next for E4T and all our industry conferences, let’s make an effort to mix it up a bit – and construct panels with a mixture of genders, colors and age brackets!