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2024 Star Women in Convenience winner: Laura Cristiano

Laura Cristiano SWIC2024

Senior supply chain manager

Now Prepay


How did you get into this business?

I stumbled into the supply chain business almost serendipitously. After completing my post-secondary education, I sought out opportunities that aligned with my skills and interests. It just so happened that my first job was in a company (Walmart Canada head office) that specialized in supply chain management, and from there, I fell in love with the intricacies and challenges of the field.

What are you most proud of during the last 12-18 months?

I am particularly proud of implementing a streamlined inventory-management system that significantly reduced our carrying costs while simultaneously improving order-fulfillment rates. This accomplishment not only saved the company money, but it also enhanced our overall operational efficiency.

What do you like most about your job?

What I appreciate most about my job is the dynamic nature of supply chain management. Every day presents a new puzzle to solve, whether it's optimizing logistics routes, negotiating with suppliers, or mitigating disruptions. I thrive on the constant challenge and the opportunity to make tangible improvements to the business.

What was the biggest challenge of your career?

The biggest challenge of my career has been navigating through unforeseen disruptions, such as natural disasters, geopolitical tensions and global pandemics. These events can wreak havoc on supply chains, requiring quick thinking, adaptability and resilience to keep operations running smoothly.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

The best advice I ever received was to always prioritize communication and collaboration across all levels of the supply chain. Building strong relationships with suppliers, distributors, and internal teams fosters trust and transparency, which are essential for effectively managing supply chain operations.

What excites you most about the future of this channel?

What excites me most about the future of the supply chain is the ongoing digital transformation and the potential for innovative technologies like blockchain, AI, and IoT to revolutionize how we manage and optimize global logistics. These advancements promise to drive efficiency, transparency, and sustainability across the entire supply chain ecosystem.

What will shape the business in the next 5 years?

I'm closely monitoring trends in sustainability and circular economy practices, as consumers and stakeholders increasingly demand environmentally responsible supply chain management. Additionally, I am keeping an eye on the rise of e-commerce and omnichannel retailing, which are reshaping traditional distribution models and requiring agile supply chain strategies.

How do you define yourself as a leader?

As a leader, I strive to be both empathetic and decisive. I believe in empowering my team to take ownership of their roles while providing guidance and support when needed. I lead by example, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation while always keeping the best interests of the team and the business at heart. 

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Click here for a full list of the 2024 Star Women in Convenience winners

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