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Female leaders driving change in the supply chain industry

Within a male-dominated industry, women have steadily advanced within the logistics and supply chain vertical. We recently interviewed, Renata Mihich, who has advanced through the ranks at DHL and currently oversees the entire Canadian operations. She thrives on the challenges the industry presents and is a role model for both men and women looking to forge a career in the logistics industry.

Please introduce yourself… Why DHL?

I am originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil and I studied at a German college, which had a very structured logistics program and partnerships with the major German logistics players. That’s how I got into logistics and eventually DHL. Working in a global company gave me the opportunity to explore an international career. I know that is not very common now to work at the same organization for many years, but the variety of interesting roles within DHL kept me busy enough for the past 20+ years.

What has been your biggest challenge since joining?

Challenges will present themselves in every role and every moment of our careers. If no challenges, no job big enough for you! Keep going and do not accept that being a woman is a roadblock. Don’t make this a challenge. It isn’t and shouldn’t be – especially not in today’s society. Keep pushing for that opportunity, whether it is a more senior position or a high-level project with big visibility. Don’t forget to promote yourself and your accomplishments, and show how strong your leadership skills are.

What have you learned in your role, and about yourself, during these past 12 months?

I have learned we are all very resilient and brave. Working with uncertainty, 24/7 exposure to a scary virus, and finding the energy for operating in such a challenging environment is remarkable. The supply chain professionals should be proud of such achievements.

What core values do you live by?

Respect and integrity.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My family and my career. I am very proud of both.

Logistics & Supply Chain has very much been a male-dominated industry… What are the most important actions/change initiatives that need to be made, in order to recruit & retain more female talent?

Pushing for more diversity and gender equality brings new perspectives to the table, which ultimately drives value for our customers. I believe that having more women at the table, in general, fosters more understanding and collaboration among teams, but also increases productivity and competition. We need to promote women’s success stories both internally and externally if we want to encourage women to join and stay in this sector. Representation is powerful because it inspires hope for the future.

What advice can you give the next generation of women who are thinking about a career in the logistics industry?

I would tell them to build their confidence. It is a male-dominated environment, and we shouldn’t be intimidated by that. The logistics industry has many opportunities that anyone can advance in, regardless of gender. I would also tell them to address ambivalence and make sure they are clear about what they want for their future.

Any funny work-related anecdote you’d like to share?

I have this analogy about our careers. It is not necessarily always a straight line upwards but more like a forest. And in a very ludic and fun way, in my forest, there are some talking animals who would help me deal with the forest’s challenges and succeed. I had many “role-models talking animals” in my career who tremendously supported my development. Seeking advice and mentorship would be my last piece of advice for every professional seeking self-development and career guidance.

Renata Mihich is a dynamic leader and business executive with 24 years of progressive experience at DHL, across multiple locations, and a track record of excellence in all areas of freight forwarding, supply chain, Sales & Marketing.

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