2020 is the year of “supply chain.” Before, it was just a buzzword. People didn’t know what it meant to them. COVID has illustrated the importance of supply chain and why we should all care—it impacts all of us. Between stores running out of toilet paper and your local hospital not having enough COVID tests, it has highlighted the need for, and global complexities of, a strong supply chain.
Up Close: Jessica Scott ’15
Jessica Scott ’15, global supply chain offering manager at IBM in Boston, is working on IBM’s COVID task force to help supply PPE and test kits where they’re most needed.
The global citizenship program is what drew me to Lehigh, and I liked that the program was strong across all disciplines. My mother is in business and my dad owned an art gallery. I felt I could explore both of those areas at Lehigh. I took a few classes in the business school my sophomore year and just totally fell in love with the subject matter.
Lehigh’s business education provided me with a really good breadth of business—you get a little bit of marketing, a little bit of finance, a little bit of supply chain. Having that foundation has prepared me to wear multiple hats in my role.
I’m passionate about supply chain. At Lehigh, my global citizenship program and community service were really important to me, but I wasn’t sure how I would manage to keep that service piece through my career. Now, I know that a healthy supply chain that’s working correctly will get the right goods and services to the right people at the right time. In my current role at IBM, it’s exciting to see that I can make an impact and satisfy my need for community service.
Decision-making was a big challenge at 18. I felt a lot of pressure around each decision I made. Over the last nearly 10 years, I’ve realized that my next decision is not going to be my last. Confidence in each decision is key, even when there may be doubt. It might not always be the right one, but we have to be comfortable with failing and learn from it.
The best thing that happened at Lehigh was making lifelong friends. I ended up in M&M [McClintic-Marshall House] with a phenomenal group of women. We are all best friends to this day. I’m inspired by them. It’s been great to see everyone find their passions.
Become known for something. Find your niche. How can people rely on you? Be the go-to person for that one thing—it can really be a game-changer.
It’s not just about the 9-to-5 job. My recent leadership team has given me the advice that it’s ok to bring your whole self to work. There’s a personal side to professionalism.
My advice to other women is to speak up! Have the initiative to speak out where you can have impact. Also, lift each other up. Supply chain is very male-dominated, but we need to seek out other women for advice about how they’ve managed their careers, their families, and working up the ladder. Surround yourself with other women in your industry who are excelling.
My role models are my family: my brother, who has a passion for service and is in the Coast Guard; my mother, who has stuck with her career in technology and life sciences banking; my dad, who tried a corporate career and found that art and social services were his true path. I'm inspired by how my family members have combined their passions with their careers.
What makes me happy is doing what I’ve set out to do, and when the people in my immediate circle are happy. We have to try extra hard during this pandemic to keep those connections.
Story by Cynthia Tintorri