After Courtney Palkowski, supply chain management junior, attended the second annual WISE Future Leaders Symposium last October, she knew right away that she wanted be more involved to further the group’s mission of helping women in supply chain.

Courtney Palkowski, supply chain management junior

WISE, which stands for Women Impacting Supply Chain Excellence, is a student organization at the University of Arkansas that strives to empower women pursuing supply chain management by hosting its annual symposium focused on student development and connecting with current female industry leaders.

“The symposium not only inspires and empowers young women in supply chain management but also helps them to grow into exceptional leaders in supply chain management,” said assistant professor Simone Peinkofer, who has served as the Broad faculty advisor for the event each year. “For two years in a row, the supply chain management department has selected four outstanding female supply chain students to participate in this event.”

Beyond the symposium, WISE created its first-ever advisory board this year to build a network of female college students who could share stories and advice about their studies and experiences as women in a male-dominated field. And this was Palkowski’s opportunity to step up.

Through a competitive process, Palkowski was chosen to represent MSU on the advisory board. As the only Broad Spartan, she will be working alongside eight students from The Ohio State University, Georgia Southern University and the University of Arkansas. Her first project is to build out a social media campaign showcasing what it’s like to be a student in supply chain.

“The goal is to show that though we all go to different universities, we all share a passion for supply chain,” she said. “It is also really awesome to see the differences in supply chain programs and be inspired with ideas to make all of our programs better.”

Palkowski shared how the Broad College has prepared her well to help the advisory board in a multitude of ways.

“The Broad College of Business has given me a well-rounded education that allows me to fit into any role on the board that is needed, from marketing to finance to management, even if my major is supply chain,” she said. “It also allows me to have a different insights on topics and ideas since what may be normal for the majority of the board may be completely different for me, and I can provide that diverse and unique view.”

Although there is much work to be done to improve gender equality in the industry, Palkowski serves as an inspiration for other women — and Spartans — to aim higher to improve the future of business.

“There are still challenges with gender diversity and equality in the field, and I hope that with WISE and our board’s work, we can continue to foster conversations on these challenges and work to eliminate them,” Palkowski said.