Breaking Barriers and Sparking Change: Hannah Macey's Journey in Logistics

As we celebrate International Women's Day, we take a moment to shine a spotlight on the remarkable career journey of Hannah Macey, our Head of International Supply Chain.

With over 20 years of experience in Supply Chain & Logistics, Hannah's story is not just a testament to her resilience but also an inspiration for women aspiring to carve their paths in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Hi Hannah, can you share your journey and experiences that led you to become the Head of International Supply Chain at M&S?

My journey in Supply Chain & Logistics spans over two decades. Surprisingly, I didn't initially plan to dive into this field, but I did know that I wanted a career that was fast-paced, rewarding and dynamic. Starting on the Sainsbury's graduate scheme, I delved into warehouse and transport planning roles within their distribution network. I then made the move to M&S, where I've had the privilege to work across different business units, setting up our Food operations in Bradford and contributing to the growth of our international supply chain.

I currently oversee the supply chain and logistics function forFoods and Clothing across both online and stores, spanning over 70 markets. Every day brings new challenges, and I relish the variety and breadth across the full supply chain. In my role as Head of International Supply Chain, I'm responsible for operational delivery, the development agenda, and crafting the future supply chain strategy to support our ambitious global growth plans.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the logistics industry, and how have these experiences shaped your approach to leadership?

Early in my career, I encountered challenges such as fighting against stereotypes, aggressive behaviour, and a lack of female role models. These experiences led to a lack of confidence in my ability to progress. I also felt like I couldn’t be open with my sexuality as a gay women in my work. This, in turn, stifled my ambition early on in my career. However, my experiences also made me more resilient and determined to create a culture within the team where no one feels limited or faces such challenges.

Being at M&S, I can confidently say that being a woman has never limited my career. As a business, we celebrate diversity, and it has shaped my approach to leadership by fostering an inclusive environment where everyone is empowered to contribute their best.

You’ve managed to rise to become a Senior Manager in this industry. How and why has that inspired you to initiate a Women in Logistics network at M&S, and what are your primary goals for this initiative?

Over the last 20 years, I've witnessed some improvements in gender diversity within the industry. However, when I started my career, there were few women in the team, and the lack of role models was a significant barrier to my own progression. As a senior female at M&S, I want to change those perceptions, give women of all levels a seat at the table, accelerate the pace of change and create an active support network for women in logistics.

We’re still very much at the start of establishing the network and figuring out what it is exactly that we want it to deliver. It’s been really cathartic to meet with other women, hear their stories and work together to make M&S the best place to work in this field. A few months ago, we hosted a drop-in session to gauge interest in forming a network of this kind. Incredibly, 60 colleagues, both male and female, dropped into the session and showed a keen interest. The real work has just begun as we aim to formalise the group, our objectives and its purpose.

My primary goal is to provide a platform, inspire women to share their experiences and foster an environment of mutual support and learning. As the group matures, our objectives and goals will evolve, but ultimately, we want to champion, advance, and retain more women across all levels in the Logistics field.

What advice would you give to women aspiring to build a career in logistics, considering the traditionally male-dominated nature of the field?

For aspiring women in logistics, I'd offer the following advice:

  • Build your own support network for guidance and mentorship.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Be your authentic self; authenticity is your greatest asset.
  • Champion others and celebrate their success.
  • Drive your own career and be your biggest advocate.

How does M&S promote diversity and inclusion within its Supply Chain & Logistics teams, specifically concerning gender equality?

I'm proud of the progress we've made at M&S in promoting diversity and inclusion, especially gender equality. The International Supply Chain team boasts a 50/50 gender split across all levels. This achievement didn't happen overnight but has been a result of continuous and conscious efforts over the years.

We are extending this momentum to our Global Supply Chain team, witnessing an increase in the gender split at all levels. This year, we are also submitting applications for the Everywoman in Transport and Logistics awards to recognise and celebrate our outstanding female talent.

How do you see the future of logistics evolving in terms of gender diversity, and what role can initiatives like the Women in Logistics network play in this evolution?

The Logistics industry is transforming, and gender diversity is not just a trend; it's necessary for the industry to thrive. Women are playing pivotal roles in shaping the industry's future, bringing diverse perspectives and innovation. I hope that initiatives like the Women in Logistics network will encourage diversity of thought, leading to more creative problem-solving and decision-making. Hopefully, it’ll be another way to encourage the best female talent to join our teams.

As the supply chain continues to evolve, embracing diversity becomes crucial. The network can act as a catalyst for change and challenging norms within the industry.

Finally, what do you hope the Women in Logistics network will achieve in the future?

I envision the Women in Logistics network to be at the forefront of driving change, starting within M&S and expanding to collaborate with our Third Party Logistics providers. Together, we can challenge industry norms, turning them on their head when it comes to gender equality.

My hope is to inspire future generations of women to explore the diverse opportunities within the Supply Chain & Logistics industry. Through collective efforts, we can create a culture of support, challenge, and inclusivity, paving the way for a more balanced and equal future in logistics.

Learn more about a rewarding career in Supply Chain & Logistics with us here.

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