Pathways students at Wendy's

Shortly after arriving at Fisher as a first-year student, Haley McCrory knew she wanted to pursue a career in supply chain. What she didn’t know then was the stunning scarcity of female leaders within the industry.

As she completes her degree, McCrory is looking forward to doing what she can to help even that gender disparity now and as a soon-to-be graduate. It’s the culmination of an educational journey that McCrory says has been shaped by the Pathways for Women in Supply Chain program at Fisher.

The Pathways program seeks to increase the number of women in leadership positions within the supply chain industry through undergraduate scholarship funding, experiential learning, mentoring and networking.

Haley McCrory
Haley McCrory

“The Pathways program is such a great way to show women in positive leadership roles within supply chain,” said McCrory, who has a full-time position in General Motors’ Global Purchasing and Supply Chain Division waiting for her in Detroit. “When I was beginning my education at Ohio State, I was very motivated by the success stories of our Pathways mentors.”

Created in 2016, the program’s first cohort numbered eight students, some of whom landed roles at top companies such as Manhattan Associates, Wendy’s, Amazon, The JM Smucker Company and TJX Companies. The most recent class of Pathways students has increased to 12. 

“About 33 percent of the majors in supply chain programs in colleges are women,” said Ken Boyer, the Pathways program creator and the Dean’s distinguished professor of operations management at Fisher. “But when you get to the C-suite, less than 5 percent of the executives are women. What we’re trying to do through the Pathways program is show women the possibilities in this career.”

Describing that statistic as “disheartening,” McCrory recalled a pivotal moment shaped by the Pathways program: working as a TA for an operations management course.

Haley McCrory at GM
Haley McCrory will begin a career in General Motors’ Global Purchasing and Supply Chain Division upon graduation.

“I realized that I wanted to add on operations as my second specialization in addition to my specialization in logistics,” she said. “I feel that through Pathways and all of the professors that I have worked with through Fisher, I am very supported and ready to continue my career in supply chain.”

Following a global supply chain internship with Sherwin Williams after her first year at Fisher, McCrory’s inroads at General Motors began routinely enough. She met with company recruiters at a university-wide career fair, where she dropped the name of her Pathways mentor, a General Motors executive, as well as a professor also involved in the Pathways program.

“Even name-dropping one of my professors from Pathways caused the recruiters to say, ‘Oh! We know them,’” she recalled.

The networking led to the first of two internships with GM and ultimately the full-time job in Detroit.

The Pathways network

A member of the first Pathways cohort, Amy Zucker (BSBA ‘20) is proof of just how powerful the program’s emphasis on networking is. Internships, as well as her current position as a transportation software implementation consultant, were made possible in part by Pathways connections.

“These experiences would not have been possible without the strong network of supply chain students, professors and businesspeople,” she said. “My Pathways network grew over my four years in college and constantly pushed me to keep improving academically and professionally.”

Amy Zucker
Amy Zucker (BSBA '20)

Just as student participation in the Pathways program has grown, so too has interest among corporate partners. Encova Insurance, JPMorgan Chase, Williams-Sonoma, Sherwin Williams, Deloitte and Norfolk Southern are program sponsors, providing support that includes $2,500 scholarships to each Pathways student, Boyer said.  

Those participating companies also offer site visits — currently virtual — to students. Those visits were invaluable to Zucker, as were Pathways workshops dedicated to resumes and cover letters, highlighting women in the workplace and how to appropriately network.

“Having these experiences and career guidance early on in my freshman year was invaluable,” she said. “Furthermore, we were able to form friendships with other like-minded business students at the very start of college. This was great because many of us remained friends and study buddies all throughout college.”

Zucker also gave back to the Pathways program, assisting incoming cohorts during her junior and senior years.

“I met with my mentees about every other month and we would talk about classes, internships, careers, what restaurants to try on the weekends…just about anything,” she said. “It was a really fun experience to develop these friendships.”

What we’re trying to do through the Pathways program is show women the possibilities in this career.

Ken BoyerCreator, Pathways for Women in Supply Chain program