Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Sheri Hinish, The Supply Chain Queen®!

Sheri Hinish

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At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe.  As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series here at Supply Chain Game Changer. This interview is with Sheri Hinish, the World renowned Supply Chain Queen®!

I started hearing about Sheri several years ago as I started Supply Chain Game Changer. Her name would appear across Social Media quite frequently.

And in 2019 I noted that Sheri and I were both selected as Supply & Demand Chain Executive Pros To Know! I was certainly in exclusive company.

Sheri Hinish
Sheri Hinish, The Supply Chain Queen®

More recently I was honoured to be asked by Supply Chain Brief to be a judge for their 2019 annual MVP awards. And I soon found out that honour extended to sharing the judge’s panel with Sheri.

Given her tremendous global leadership, experience and influence I took the opportunity to ask Sheri if she would participate in our Interview series. She graciously accepted and has taken the time to answer our questions which provide fantastic insights for those at any stage of their career path and personal lives.

Sheri thank you so much for your generosity and kindness and support and mentorship of other women in Supply Chain.

Here’s our interview with The Supply Chain Queen®, Sheri Hinish!

Tell our readers a little about your background and experience?

Colleagues and clients affectionately call me the “Supply Chain Queen.” I’ve made a career rethinking supply chain strategy, sales and operations planning, and talent management helping executives and their teams reimagine their approach to supply chain management by: 

1) leveraging new ways of thinking about supply chain and sustainability in the world we share

2) helping leaders design, guide, & inspire organizations through complex transformations, bridging workforce generations

3) using next-gen leading practice to develop the right supply chain and solution strategy for ecosystem orchestration and stewardship. 

I am an eternal student most passionate about adding value to others, changing the world through sustainable supply chain, and advocating for women in business and STEEM, and providing expertise in social media with purpose. I started out in the wholesale distribution of wine and spirits and have spent most of my career in supply chain planning and strategy. 

What are some of your greatest achievements in Business? 

My greatest achievement is being a mother to the 3 most awesome kids on Earth. Professionally, I am recognized as an IBM Futurist, a 2019 Supply & Demand Chain Executive “Pro to Know” and among LinkedIn’s Top 1% SSI in Supply Chain.

I have a strong presence across social and professional networks. I love connecting with others and challenging business-as-usual-paradigms. 

How has the Business and Supply Chain changed over the course of your career?

Over the past 6 years, I’ve focused on learning about different facets of sustainability.  When I started my career, I believed that for businesses to be successful, they had to master supply chain management. Fast forward…amid climate change, waste management, migration, resource scarcity, and emerging consumer sentiments, I realize that in order to succeed as human beings, we must master sustainability.

See also  Procurement and Sustainability are Your Yin and Yang!

While I am passionate about the social and environmental benefits realized through sustainable ways of working, the corporate domain is slower to share my enthusiasm. 

What are some of the lessons you learned in your career that you would like to share for others to learn from? 

It took me a long time to find my voice and have confidence. When I was younger, I listened too much to others, their limitations on what they thought I could or couldn’t do, and as a result I lived for many years – boxed in.

As a 1st generation college student, I didn’t have the same support network or access. Grit, determination, and a passion for supply chain helped motivate me, but success should not come at the cost of balance. I had to learn this, particularly with three kids in diapers. I always pause and take time to decompress now. 

One thing that has helped me in my career is I’m obsessively curious and always challenge myself to learn by expanding my comfort zone. You must take chances on yourself, in your ability to demonstrate leadership and competency, and in learning new things every day.

I am far bolder now and don’t take anything for granted. I remember distinct moments in my career when I thought it couldn’t possibly be any harder or how could I possibly deliver a huge project. Bottom line, the sun rises each morning.

You do your best, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Your response to adversity and how you learn and recover is what will define your future successes.

What challenges facing the world are important to you?

Sustainability is impacting global supply chains.

When you think about e2e orchestration across planning through execution, supply chains feel the pressure of balancing risk, effectiveness, customer expectations, and profitability. Supply chains also add tremendous value in mitigating environmental impacts e2e by influencing product design, sourcing responsibly in supplier networks, rethinking how we make products, how we share information with trading partners, network optimization in transportation, etc.

I know that I’ve said that supply chains own the responsibility of product stewardship, how natural and human resources are used across processes, whether in the supply chain or in direct operations.

I’ve changed my mind.

I’d argue that sustainability is a “human issue”… it’s a global issue in the world we share. It’s deeper than supply chains.

My PoV is corporate sustainability isn’t a department. If a company has a commitment to sustainability, it’s intrinsically a part of every person’s purpose. And sustainability should be as much of an individual commitment as a top-leader’s commitment.

The tension is between Values, Policy, and Access. It’s easier to have blinders on. It’s easier to, well be lazy, and do nothing, and throw it over the wall.

I think we need insights so we can understand the impacts of consumption in decision making. Understanding total costs of ownership means companies must also consider a wide range of environmental, social, and economic issues.

What are you working on these days? 

I’m in my last year at Harvard Grad School, so finishing my thesis is front of mind. I’ll be in Tuscany in a few months working on a sustainable farm and biodynamic winery. Life has come full circle with my Wine & Spirits background and my sustainability passion.

See also  Our 2022 Top 10 Articles (Part 2)

I’m also launching a new digital platform called ‘Supply Chain Revolution”, including a podcast and other niche services. I have an executive advisory practice and would like to focus more executive branding and wellness in 2020.

Folks can visit to learn more.

What advice would you give people who have a career in, or who are considering joining, Business and/or Supply Chain? 

Never stop learning new things and honing your craft. Take on the challenging projects, but also allow space in your career for your mental and physical health.

When I speak to top CEOs or CSCOs, they want two things: an edge, whether in prioritizing strategy in talent, tech, and transformation or branding themselves for the future of work. The second thing they want is vitality…more energy, nutritional blueprint, and feeling their best.

You can’t sacrifice your health for success. It will catch up to you in the end. Take the time now to build a solid foundation.

Lastly, help others. Giving back is the most rewarding feeling in the world. The ability to have an impact in someone’s life is a blessing.

Never forget it.

How can people contact you?

Sheri Hinish can be reached at:

[email protected]

Sheri’s Biography 

Meet Sheri Hinish. To colleagues and clients, she’s known as the “Supply Chain Queen.” Recognized as an IBM Futurist, a 2019 Supply & Demand Chain Executive “Pro to Know,” and among LinkedIn’s Top 1% SSI in Supply Chain, she has a strong presence across social and professional networks. She calls herself an “eternal student” who is passionate about adding value to others and is an advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. 

Sheri has made a career rethinking supply chain strategy, sales and operations planning, and talent management. She helps executives and professionals reimagine their approach to supply chain management by: 1) leveraging new ways of thinking using circular economy and sustainability, 2) helping leaders guide and inspire organizations through complex transformations and bridging workforce generations, and 3) using next-gen leading practice to develop the right supply chain and solution strategy for ecosystem orchestration and stewardship. 

She is a Masters Candidate at Harvard University in Sustainability with emphasis in Industrial Ecology (Circular Economy) and Product Life Cycle Management. Sheri holds two credentials from Rutgers Business School with highest distinction (Beta Gamma Sigma), a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management, and a Mini-MBA, with focus in Digital Supply Chain.

Sheri Hinish is certified in Organizational Behavior and Change Leadership from Cornell University. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Business, Supply Chain Management (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Maryland. Additionally, Sheri is a certified IBM Design Thinking Co-Creator, a licensed Project Management Professional (PMP), and Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt.

Originally published on January 14, 2020.


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