International Women’s Day Profile: Alice Shivairo

Happy International Women’s Day to the B-Log Community!

We are publishing an extra Logistics Staff Profile today to celebrate the strong, trailblazing women working in humanitarian logistics. Thank you for your work, your strength, and for leading the way for generations of women to come.

We are proud to introduce Alice, AAH US Log Advisor dedicated to the bold mission of Action Against Hunger and committed to supporting the growth and development of her female colleagues in HQ and country offices.

Meet Alice Shivairo

Logistics Advisor in New York City HQ

Alice has been a valuable member of the Action Against Hunger team since 2014. Her career in humanitarian logistics and supply chain management spans just over 15 year, having worked with various organizations including International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, GOAL Ireland and Medecins Sans Frontiers. Alice is currently a Logistics Advisor based out of AAH’s US Headquarters.

Tell us about your current job.

“My role as Logistics Advisor is to guide and support the missions in logistics and supply chain related activities and decisions. A typical day will involve discussion with Pool colleagues, review of proposals and grant reports, continuous engagement with the country offices, ongoing work on various logistics related projects, and frequent trips to the kitchen to pick mini chocolate bars :).”

What do you find most rewarding about your job? What is challenging?

“I enjoying being able to coach logisticians in the process of guiding and supporting the countries. The field visits and interactions with the country teams are most rewarding. It is a constant reminder of the achievement of our organizational mission despite prevailing contextual challenges. The main challenge about this job is that it is difficult to achieve much since my outputs are heavily based on the involvement and performance of other key stakeholders.”

What have you been most proud of in your career?

“Seeing the logisticians you have coached grow and take on senior jobs and responsibilities.”

What are the most important qualities for logistics professionals to possess?

“It is important to have the necessary qualifications, such as the certification in humanitarian logistics (CHL), etc. Yet I find an increasing importance in having soft skills too – flexibility to work in multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted scenarios, working collaboratively with teams, and having strong communication skills.”

What is one thing you wish more people knew about humanitarian logistics?

“It isn’t a profession to make money – it is a place to make a lasting difference.”

What advice would you give to new logistics professionals?

“In the early stages of your profession, you must learn, unlearn, and relearn. Most importantly, be willing to be taught.”

How do you see your role in the larger context of the organization?

“At this stage in my career, it is time to pass the baton on to emerging logisticians and focus more on developing capacity in governance and leadership.”

What are some of the most significant changes you’ve seen in the sector?

 

“Donors have become much more engaged and understanding of the work we do, more women taking up logistics as a profession, the use of technology to enhance service delivery, and the rise of tailor-made, humanitarian specific training courses to enhance learning.”

 

What challenges and innovations do you see on the horizon for humanitarian logistics?

“One ongoing challenge faced by the logistics community is that the value of logistics and supply chain management is still not where it should be. There is a strong need to have logistics and supply chain teams as an equal stakeholder in key decision processes in the humanitarian sector.”

Tell us about being a woman in logistics, a traditionally male-dominated field.

“Mmh! After college, I worked in the food manufacturing sector and loved the challenge of getting things done given prevailing circumstances. By the time I entered the humanitarian sector, I loved the challenge of identifying bottlenecks, finding solutions and fixing situations. Of course, I have had the looks that said – “Who does she think she is?” It takes a long time but with consistent professionalism, one eventually earns the respect deserved. I love a quote by Sue Fitzmaurice – ‘Courage in Women is often mistaken for insanity.’ And I tell women to go ahead and be courageous anyway. Our world will be only be changed by those who have the courage – to stand up, speak out, take the first step, go where no one has gone before.”

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