Harnessing Female Leadership for Innovation and Equality in Logistics & Supply Chain

By: Marina Wille, Chief People Officer, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics IMEA Region | Wednesday, 10 July 2024

Marina Wille is a seasoned HR leader with a decade of experience in senior roles across global firms in Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Indian continent, and Africa. Currently managing operations across 14 countries with over 2000 employees, she excels in HR framework development, fostering cohesive cultures, and aligning human capital strategies with organizational dynamics.

In a recent conversation with the Global Woman Leader Magazine, Marina discusses leveraging female leaders' perspectives in logistics to enhance innovation and efficiency, integrating gender equality into core strategies and measuring diversity impact effectively. She talks about guiding aspiring female leaders to surpass glass ceilings, and addressing systemic barriers to leadership advancement.

How can logistics and supply chain companies leverage female leaders' unique perspectives to drive innovation and efficiency, while addressing industry-specific challenges to create a more supportive environment for future leaders?

Gender equality and diversity is an integral part of our global corporate culture - the Hellmann Promise. In my opinion, women's diverse problem-solving approaches and collaborative styles are invaluable for addressing industry-specific challenges such as sustainability, risk management, technology integration, human resources management, and meeting evolving customer expectations. By promoting gender diversity in leadership, implementing mentorship programs, and fostering supportive networks, companies can create an inclusive culture that nurtures future female leaders. This approach not only enhances adaptability and performance but also encourages creative solutions and continuous improvement. At Hellmann, we have learned that women's unique perspectives significantly contribute to innovative strategies, ensuring our industry remains resilient and responsible in a rapidly changing global landscape.

How can logistics and supply chain companies integrate gender equality into core strategies and effectively measure diversity programs, prioritizing metrics that ensure meaningful progress beyond traditional initiatives?

I believe companies can integrate gender equality into core strategies by setting clear diversity goals, implementing inclusive hiring practices, and fostering a supportive workplace culture. Measuring diversity programs should prioritize metrics like gender representation, pay equity, and employee retention.

Implementing a succession plan to develop female talent into leadership roles over time ensures sustained progress. At our organization, we began with transparent reporting on diversity and sustainability, ensuring that gender equality efforts lead to substantial and lasting change within the organization.

What structures can organizations implement to ensure inclusive mentorship accessible to women at all career levels, while fostering a culture actively encouraging peer support, led by senior leaders in the sector?

From my perspective, one effective solution is to ensure inclusive mentorship for women by establishing structured programs accessible at all career levels. I have seen the benefits of creating mentorship pairings, supported by senior leaders, which promote guidance and growth. Organizing regular networking events and discussion groups fosters a collaborative environment. Additionally, implementing training for mentors on diversity and inclusion is crucial for creating a supportive culture.

How can technology and digital transformation in the logistics sector be harnessed to create more opportunities for women to ascend to leadership positions?

I see technology and digital transformation as key enablers for creating leadership opportunities for women in logistics.

Promoting flexible work arrangements and enabling remote management through digital tools can help women balance their professional and personal lives. Advanced training platforms and digital mentorship programs provide essential guidance and skill development.

Leveraging data analytics and AI helps identify high-potential female talent, ensuring fair evaluations based on transparent performance metrics. These advancements foster an inclusive environment, encouraging more women to pursue and achieve leadership roles in the sector.

What practical measures can aspiring female leaders in logistics take to overcome the glass ceiling? How can companies spot and eliminate systemic obstacles preventing women from advancing into leadership roles in the sector?

As a female leader, what has significantly contributed to my growth is actively seeking mentorship, continuously upskilling, and engaging in strategic networking.

Companies can facilitate this by identifying and eliminating systemic obstacles through bias training, transparent promotion processes, and diversity audits.

Establishing clear, measurable goals for gender diversity in leadership and regularly reviewing progress is crucial. By fostering an inclusive culture that values diverse perspectives, we can support women in ascending to leadership roles and drive meaningful change within the sector.

How can logistics firms globally foster gender equality in leadership across cultures, leveraging international collaboration to expedite women's advancement? What's the role of industry associations in driving this initiative?

From my perspective as a Chief People Officer, firms can foster gender equality in leadership by promoting cross-cultural mentorship programs, sharing best practices, and setting global diversity benchmarks. International collaboration allows firms to learn from each other and quickly implement effective strategies. At Hellmann, we believe that industry associations are crucial in this effort by advocating for gender equality, providing training resources, and facilitating networking opportunities. They can also drive policy changes and establish industry-wide standards that promote women's advancement in leadership roles, ensuring consistent progress across different regions and cultures. This comprehensive approach helps create a more equitable and dynamic industry environment.