Celebrating Women In Supply Chain

Natalya Calleja

The month of March celebrates and honors women's history and achievements. 48forty is celebrating Women's History Month by spotlighting some of our colleagues who inspire us all. We spoke with several women about their experience and growth in the supply chain industry. Read on for their stories! (Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.)

Womens History 2022 - 48fortyRelo

How did you start your supply chain career?

Kate Matz, Regional Business Development Manager Kate Matz 48forty
"I came from a career in outside sales – from working art shows as a child to being the top Jack Daniels salesperson in Florida. I met my husband; Travis Matz, at a work event and knew he was the one. At that time, I relocated to Pittsburgh and haven’t looked back.

After we had our child, I began selling for our family business; Allegheny Recycled Products. I was honored to work with my husband and his family. My mentor and brother-in-law, John Cory, taught me the ins and outs of the pallet business and I ran with that knowledge in my day-to-day dealings with clients.  
Since we work together in this industry, we eat, sleep, and breathe pallets. I feel my clients value my feedback and up-to-date information especially during these past 24 months of a volatile marketplace.
In December 2021 48forty acquired Allegheny Recycled Products and I have been running full force since then. 48forty's national platform brings incredible opportunity to increase my regional presence and assist my clients on a larger scale." 
Taylor Little, Director of Supply Chain Operations

Taylor Little 48forty
"I began my career seven years ago as a Logistics Coordinator for Northwest Pallet Supply, having only service industry experience beforehand. I was excited to begin a career in a new and challenging field.
Working in a position that was ingrained in the day-to-day operations of our customers, plants, and service providers allowed me to learn the ins and outs of the supply chain from the ground up. I was then able to apply this new industry knowledge while participating in a training program, as well as while working to boost engagement with incoming employees and to streamline the expansion of our Supply Chain Department. With 48forty's national platform, I now have the opportunity to assist my clients in every aspect of their businesses which makes my job very exciting."
Kristin Kopp, Vice President of Communications and Marketing

Kristin Kopp 48forty"I ran my own business for nine years, concentrating on small business management and marketing until I joined 48forty in February of 2016. Before running my own business, I spent 15 years in the entertainment industry, focusing on Independent Film and Theatre production. Transitioning from the entertainment world and running my own business to the pallet industry was an unlikely and unexpected move. However, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, all the support, mentorship, and friendships I have encountered working in supply chain."
Ibis Reynolds, Chief Human Resources Officer

Ibis Reynolds 48forty
"I served in the Naval Reserves Medical Corp for ten years and was recalled to active duty during Desert Shield/Storm. I went to school at Pacific Western University and received my bachelor’s degree in Administration and then attended advanced executive leadership programs at Columbia University in New York, NY, and IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Singapore. I have more than twenty-five years of Human Resources strategic and leadership experience in distribution/manufacturing, energy, and high-tech industries. I had the background for supply chain and the military taught me a lot which has contributed to much of my own success within the industry."
What are the top 3 traits for women who want to succeed in this industry?

"Open to change/flexibility; Customer Service mindset; Good communication skills."
Yvonne Veliz, Vice President Human Resources
"Knowledge; Confidence; Determination."
Kate Matz, Regional Business Development Manager
"Have confidence in your abilities; Advocate for yourself; Embrace challenge because it is often opportunity in disguise."
Taylor Little, Director of Supply Chain Operations
Describe a challenge you've faced as a woman in a male-dominated field. 

Yvonne Veliz, Vice President Human Resources

Yvonne Veliz 48forty"Not too many challenges luckily, for me it was more about being comfortable either being the only female or one of a few females in the room. Fortunately, that wasn't too hard for me and I got comfortable really quickly, which in turn helped me be successful and elevate to my current position."

Taylor Little, Director of Supply Chain Operations
"There seems to be an underlying doubt in the knowledge and capabilities of a woman in this field, from my experience. Making sure that your voice is heard, in a room dominated by male voices can often be challenging."
"Having firm confidence in your skills, knowledge, and what expertise you bring to the table will allow you to elevate yourself in those conversations and earn you the opportunity to shine among your male peers."
Kate Matz, Regional Business Development Manager
"I feel being a woman has been a double-edged sword. I enjoy the challenges when I am underestimated and can 'wow' clients with my knowledge. We are all aware it is predominantly a male-driven industry yet when a strong, confident, knowledgeable woman walks in the room they demand attention. Once you prove you can sit at the 'big boy' table there is a newfound respect. I am teaching our daughter the power of being a woman in a male world and to face these challenges with her head high and a clear heart."
What advice would you give your younger self?

"Surround yourself with good people and maintain good past and present work relationships. Many of my career opportunities have been due to previous managers and/or coworkers!"
Yvonne Veliz, Vice President Human Resources
"I would tell myself to study hard, do the leg work before a meeting, know your product and believe in it. If you do those things, you will be successful in anything you do! Oh, and have fun while you do it or it will never be worth it.”
Kate Matz, Regional Business Development Manager
"Be humble. Not knowing something, admitting it, and being willing to learn it, will ensure great success!"
Kristin Kopp, Vice President of Communications and Marketing
"You can do anything you put your mind to. Never give up and always be true to yourself."
Ibis Reynolds, Chief Human Resources Officer

48forty celebrates team members for their hard work and dedication to our customers and our business. Women's History Month provides an opportunity to recognize the many accomplishments of women across the world. 48forty is committed to empowering all employees to learn, grow, and succeed on the job, and looks forward to seeing women continue to succeed within our organization.