In light of both Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day taking place in March, we’d like to take a moment to recognize the incredible accomplishments of women in business, science and engineering related fields, where they are often in the minority but increasingly are emerging as leaders.
Anna Biegen, a global supply chain analyst at Novelis headquarters in Atlanta, is one such example. Anna is passionate about what she does and is one of the many emerging leaders at Novelis whose dedication, hard work and critical thinking are helping us achieve our goals for today and beyond.
When asked about how she built her career, who her role models are and what her hopes are for the future, here is what Anna said…
Q: How did you get started in your career? What was your career path?
A: Being an oddly focused seventh grader, I decided I wanted to study International Business at the age of 13. One of my elective classes at business school was supply chain and I just got really into it! Supply chain touches all parts of the business and since Supply Chain Management is a relatively recent field, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many new and interesting projects that previously didn’t exist.
After I graduated from Wiesbaden Business School in Germany, I started working at Kuehne + Nagel, a global logistics provider in Atlanta. I completed their management trainee program and took a position as an Engine Specialist, shipping aircraft engines for companies like MTU, Delta and Rolls Royce. I joined Novelis in October 2012, and since then, I have had the opportunity to work on many amazing assignments, including our global supply chain management system, our European supply chain for Jaguar Land Rover and the supply chain ramp-up for the 2015 Ford F-150. Never a dull moment!
Q: What are your career aspirations?
A: My career aspiration is to continue growing and developing in order to one day have the expertise to hold a strong leadership position. Not only do I want to see more women hold leadership positions, I want to be one of those women.
Q: What does success look like to you?
A: Success means setting goals for myself and achieving them, both in my professional and personal life. I think it is important to take a balanced approach and not derive your entire feeling of success from one aspect of your life alone.
Q: What do you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?
A: Along with having been able to work on and learn from several great projects, I recently helped start Novelis’ collaborative Global Supply Chain (GSC) A.C.E meetings for the GSC Leads and Analysts.
A.C.E. stands for Advance with Collective Intelligence and Expertise and the meetings are centered around topics relevant to our global supply chain team’s career development. The idea is to have a guest speaker address a topic in a roundtable format, followed by a discussion with the group. We had our first meeting on the topic of “managing up” in February 2015 and we already have our second meeting on networking lined up in March.
I find that it is so easy to get caught up in your day-to-day activities that sometimes you forget that there is more to developing your career than executing your daily tasks. I am glad to be a part of an effort to get my team together to discuss topics that are important to us – not to mention, it’s fun!
Q: What more do you think should be done to advance and raise up women in STEM fields?
A: I think the number one thing that can be done to advance women in any industry is to empower women AND men to take on whatever role they desire, because they can!
In respect to women in STEM fields, all too often I hear phrases like “it’s a male-dominated field.” This can lead women to question how they need to act if they want to break into that particular department. The answer to that question is, act like yourself! The best person for the job is the best person for the job, regardless of gender. I have worked with many strong women in Supply Chain and Manufacturing who do an incredible job.
Q: What makes a great mentor?
A: A great mentor provides you with honest feedback, shares their personal experiences – especially as they relate to something currently relevant to your life – and helps you further develop yourself and your career. Getting advice from someone who has “been there, done that” can really put things in perspective and help you learn to handle whatever challenging situations come your way.
Q: What women have been role models in your life?
A: Definitely my mom! She went through a lot when she was younger, but she did a great job raising my brothers and me. She gives the best advice.