The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and ThomasNet recently announced the winners of their 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program. The program, which launched in 2014, aims to draw young professionals to supply chain management and procurement careers by highlighting millennials in the industry who are not only leading successful careers but who are passionate, innovative and demonstrate leadership qualities.
With the second batch of winners for the program announced, Donna Cicale, director of audience development at ThomasNet, said those involved in 30 Under 30 noticed a number of commonalities among the young professionals. The winners believe in a “dynamic environment,” she said, and are constantly searching for new, innovative ways to do their work.
“They all sort of say the same the thing about the profession — they are saying ‘No day is ever the same,’ because they get to work across so many disciplines and they really enjoy the constant learning of that,” Cicale said.
Other similar traits among 30 Under 30 winners Cicale pointed to was a love for problem solving and being results-driven. Many are also already seeking or receiving certifications from ISM and other organizations or continuing their education and receiving additional degrees.
M.L. Peck, senior vice president of program and product development for ISM, also said these millennials are collaborative, super motivated in their careers and work naturally in a virtual environment. She called this group members of the “always on” generation of workers who stay connected after normal business hours and are always collaborating and communicating.
Another trend ISM and ThomasNet noticed specifically for this year’s winners of the 30 Under 30 program is that all of them volunteer for causes outside of work. Mentoring is also popular — program winners are involved in mentoring peers both inside and outside their companies. Cicale said it was great to see some of the 30 Under 30 program winners from last year nominate professionals for this year’s program.
Changes Moving Forward
The 30 Under 30 program received 150 qualified candidates this year, similar to the number of qualified nominees the program received in its first year. The amount of “qualified nominees” is smaller than the total number of names ISM and ThomasNet receive each year, but candidates who do not meet the age range requirements (30 years old or younger), do not work in the supply chain or procurement field or who are based outside the U.S. cannot be considered for the program.
The nomination period for this year’s program winners ended Oct. 30, 2015. Originally, the deadline was set for July 31, 2015, but ISM and ThomasNet decided to extend it last summer, which helped to draw in more nominations. Winners of the 30 Under 30 program are recognized at ISM’s annual conference in the spring. However, by the time last year’s conference took place, ISM and ThomasNet had already opened nominations for the next year. Having these two things overlap proved to be problematic. For instance, companies had missed the announcement for the new nomination period.
“What was happening is that the opening of nominations was getting lost in the whole celebrating of the prior year’s winners at the ISM conference, and we really wanted to separate out the two,” Cicale said.
ISM and ThomasNet will wait this year to open up a nomination period for the next round of 30 Under 30 candidates until after the ISM annual conference, which take place May 15-18 in Indianapolis. Peck said the new nomination period will likely begin in September this year.
At the moment, that is the only main change ISM and ThomasNet plan to make to the 30 Under 30 program moving forward. The two organizations will, no doubt, continue the program in years ahead, Cicale and Peck agreed. The program is proving to be effective in attracting people to the supply chain management and procurement fields at a time when large numbers of older generations are retiring. It is also tackling misconceptions that exist about jobs in these industries, Peck said.
“I think it is still vitally important to attract millennials to the field,” she said, adding that, as the 30 Under 30 program is demonstrating, supply chain management and procurement align well with the core values and interests of younger generations.
The program’s “megawatt” winner this year, Amy Georgi, who serves as program manager of supply chain acquisitions and integrations at Fluke Electronics, proved Peck’s point.
“The possibilities for a supply chain professional are essentially limitless,” Georgi wrote in a questionnaire 30 Under 30 winners submitted to ISM and ThomasNet. “If you have the skills and the drive, you can live anywhere you want to live and work in any industry. What is more appealing than that for any new college grad?"
Stay tuned to Spend Matters in the week ahead as we profile some of the winners of this year’s 30 Under 30 program, including Georgi, the megawatt winner.