March 21, 2014 — Meet: Leslie D. Shuman, Director of Supply Chain, Alcoa Aerospace, Transportation and Industrial Products.
Alcoa was one of the 2013 Catalyst Award Winners.
Early influences: I’m a Pittsburgh native and third generation Alcoan. Before working for Alcoa, I’d never even been outside southwestern Pennsylvania.
Career path: I graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Industrial Engineering in May 1985, and started in sales at Alcoa a month later. My first assignment was the Dallas, South Arkansas and Louisiana territory. Since then, I’ve earned my MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, and worked in a variety of departments across the company. I’m currently the Director of Supply Chain for the Aerospace, Transportation and Industrial Products (ATI) segment of the Global Rolled Products (GRP) group, and have direct accountability for sales and operations planning, scrap purchasing, logistics and customer service. I’m also the chair of Alcoa Women’s Network (AWN) and sit on Alcoa’s Inclusion Council.
Lesson learned: Early on, when I was working in industrial sales in the Texas/South Arkansas/ Louisiana territory, I was tasked with getting to know procurement managers. They were all about 20 to 30 years older than me, and their paternalism was part of my on-boarding. I remember driving one gentleman to lunch, and he was giving me instructions: “Turn at this stop sign.” “Make a left here.” “Don’t get hit by that truck.” Though part of me wanted to rebel, I realized that I could learn lots from these folks. I learned how to really focus on listening to my customers and learning different markets in various industries.
Establishing executive presence: Don’t be the one to take all the notes in a meeting. Sit at the table and contribute. And take up space. Spread out. Executive presence is about putting your stuff out there.
Hear more of Leslie’s comments, from the Catalyst Connects panel at our 2013 Catalyst Awards Conference.
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Learn how others are Catalysts for change at IAmA.Catalyst.org.