With the theme “It’s About Your People,” the 2014 IWLA Convention & Expo education is focused on the warehouse-based third-party logistics industry’s workforce as a strengthening factor to business growth. One hot topic in this arena is the focus of an IWLA General Session: diversity.
The “Diversity in the Workforce: Today and Tomorrow” panel, sponsored by Qualified Plan Advisors, features keynote speaker Karen Blackwell, manager for supplier diversity and development for Nestlé North America Procurement followed by panelists Nelson Remus, president & CEO of Remar Inc., André Thornton, president & CEO of ASW Global, LLC and moderator Scott McWilliams, executive chairman of OHL.
Logistics and warehousing are similar to most North American organizations: The workforce is increasingly becoming more diverse, yet it lacks at the management and leadership levels of companies. “There still are very few minority CEOs running Fortune 500 companies. This is an important area that we are trying to address in order to stay competitive,” Thornton says.
Thornton has gone through great lengths to foster diversity at ASW Global. “We put diversity in the front page of our mission statement and the guiding principles of our company,” he says. He also implemented training programs for his employees to explain the importance of diversity and has instituted policies specifically to sustain a good representation of women and minorities in leadership.
“We make sure that people know it is important and we lead not only from a policy standpoint but implementation that backs up those policies,” Thornton says.
These efforts have served Thornton and ASW well. “In a small company, it allows us to stay competitive against larger companies by attracting talented individuals that perform well and allow us to remain profitable,” he says.
Panelists hope attendees will walk away from the session with:
- A strong understanding of why diversity matters and the importance of it from a business standpoint.
- The ability to identify areas of diversity within companies which already exist.
- Strategies for using diversity in a positive way through adoption of policies, shifts in culture and new management principles.
The “Diversity in the Workforce: Today and Tomorrow” panel is Monday, March 24 at 1:30 p.m. during the IWLA Convention & Expo at the JW Marriott in Phoenix, Ariz. Attendees are encouraged to build their agendas through the IWLA Convention App. Attendees may access the app by searching for “2014 IWLA” your mobile app provider’s store and provide your email and the password “2014IWLA.”