MIT’s Katie Date shares ideas for achieving gender balanced teams

July 10, 20192 minute read

When MIT held its first Women in Supply Chain Summit last March, one of the topics of discussion was how to correct the gender imbalance in supply chain leadership. Katie Date, who is manager of corporate and SCALE network outreach at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, summarized some of the key observations from that discussion in an article published in Supply Chain Management Review. Katie also leads the MIT CTL Women in Supply Chain Initiative.

In the SCMR article, Katie begins by referencing the 2019 AWESOME/Gartner Women in Supply Chain Survey, showing that while the percentage of women in VP supply chain roles has increased, other levels are flat or have declined.

She goes on to cite examples of strategies mentioned by summit attendees who have gained first-hand experience of the challenges. Under the heading of “Grow the talent pool,” Katie writes:

“Companies at the summit reported that recruiting women at the leadership level is particularly challenging because the pool of potential candidates tends to be relatively small.

“Accelerated leadership programs for women can enlarge the pool. At one company, all four women in such a program attained senior vice president status in 10 years. Another company launched a Career Central platform that focuses on career development by, for example, offering courses geared to the advancement of female professionals. These offerings include sessions on self-reflection for individuals who need to clarify their career paths, guidance on how to articulate career goals and make course adjustments when necessary and tips on how to build the experience and knowledge needed to advance up the career ladder.”

Other areas where Katie offers summit attendees’ suggestions include: “Let leaders lead the way,” “Strike a balance in the workplace,” and “Develop appropriate hiring practices.”

Katie spoke at the 2019 AWESOME Symposium about the AWESOME/MIT Advancing Women through Education Scholarship offering full-tuition for a woman seeking to pursue a master’s degree in supply chain management from MIT.

Read Katie’s article in SCMR or download a PDF