Ann Drake gives keynote at University of Iowa Tippie Women Summit

Mar 26, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Print View

IOWA CITY — As an executive of a leading supply chain management firm, Ann Drake is often the only woman in the room.

At cocktail parties, she said she used to try to strike up conversations with groups of businessmen only to be met with uncomfortable silence. Once, when she was the only woman at a golf game, the businessman she was supposed to share a golf cart with looked at her and left.

“It’s not over yet, and things will happen to you,” the CEO of Des Plaines, Ill.-based DSC Logistics told a room of mostly women at the University of Iowa’s Levitt Center on Saturday. “We’re still not equal everywhere.”

Dozens of women — many students at the UI Tippie College of Business, UI faculty members and local businesswomen — attended the Tippie Women Summit on Saturday, which featured Drake as the keynote speaker.

For Drake, she said her male counterparts learned her name after she was the first — and still the only — woman to be awarded the Council of Supply Chain Management and Professionals’ Distinguished Service Award in 2012.

The next year, she founded a group that promotes women’s excellence in supply chain management. She is also involved with Paradigm for Parity, a coalition of senior executives, board members and business academics working for workplace gender parity by the year 2030.

During her speech, Drake said her life didn’t all go as planned after she graduated from the University of Iowa. She had a career in interior design before she enrolled in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She then had a spot on the advisory board of directors at Dry Storage Corp., which her father founded, before she was hired as vice president for strategy and culture.

But during that professional rise, Drake said she also spent years being “mortified” as she learned the workings of DSC Logistics on the job.


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