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Logistics Quarterly Magazine - Volume 16, Issue 1, 2010

Women in SCM

A Conversation with Cynthia Cochovity, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, CEVA Logistics

Cynthia Cochovity

Executive Interview Questions for LQ's Women in SCM Executive Interview Series have been prepared by members of LQ's Board and friends of LQ: Elsie Blauwhoff, CPP, Corporate Procurement, Apotex; Sue Gadsby, Director of Procurement, Apotex; Michelle Kiang, PhD, Founder and VP Marketing, PINC Solutions; Diane Mollenkopf, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing and Logistics, The University of Tennessee; Susan Moore, Director of Sustainability, Lakeside Logistics;Sue Oaks, Partner and Vice President, A.T. Kearney; Kate Vitasek, Founder Supply Chain Visions.

LQ: How have you dealt with the onslaught of information that commands your attention every day? Two or three timesaving tips would be helpful.

Cynthia Cochovity: This is an ever increasing challenge and one that can get the best of you if you let it. Prioritizing is essential but not always enough. More often than not the "high priority" information is tough to rank, so one must force diligence to identify the impact and the urgency of action required. Always tackle the difficult and complicated items first while you're fresh and the day's surprises have yet to hit the radar.

LQ: How did you choose logistics as your profession? Would you encourage other women to seek their careers in this industry and what's your advice?

Cynthia Cochovity: As part of college coursework, I took classes in international business and exporting. At the time it was all quite a mystery and one of my professors suggested I explore internships in the field of international logistics. This lead to being hired upon graduation by a small Swiss freight forwarding company - the rest is history. I would encourage other women to seek careers in this industry. Global trade and exposure to the dynamics of worldwide supply chain necessity is full of endless opportunity.

LQ: What role does corporate culture play in hindering or hampering a woman's rise to leadership positions? How can fellow women help change corporate culture to be more female-friendly?

Cynthia Cochovity: Corporate culture plays a critical role. It sets what I would call the template or foundation in development and identification of opportunities for women.

However, I'm a firm believer that fellow women in leadership positions must be allowed to take a larger role in presenting innovative female-friendly solutions. It's the key to targeting the efforts appropriately and achieving the best possible results.

LQ: What skills have you developed and relied upon to succeed in a maledominated industry?

Cynthia Cochovity: Having only brothers, I grew up in a "boys club" environment.

This from a young age exposed me to relationships and competitive situations where the idea of special treatment for being "the girl" just didn't exist. In business and in life, respect for the individual and appreciation of talent or value rather than a focus on gender or nationality has been a natural gift. While not always easy and certainly a challenge in our male-dominated industry, it gives me the balance I need to face each situation with minimal distraction.

LQ: What one word would most people use to describe your leadership style?

Cynthia Cochovity: Coach.

LQ: How does it feel to sometimes be the only woman in the room?

Cynthia Cochovity: This is an all too common occurrence. Some would think it an uncomfortable situation, but I find myself more curious and I immediately think through the dynamics, especially when dealing with other countries and cultures. Being outnumbered typically diminishes as the discussions develop and the focus on the subject matter takes over.




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