Mar 08, 2021

Death to Manels

Internationalwomensday
diversity
Inclusion
Procurement
Laura V. Garcia
4 min
International Women's Day
With a wave of new tech and the big battles that lay ahead, could it finally be time to do away with “manels...

I once had a boss who told his management team in no uncertain terms, that if a machine was down, or a solution needed to be found, that he expected us to listen to all who take the time and effort to afford you their thoughts. “If the cleaning lady shares an idea, I want you to listen to it and evaluate it, without bias,” he said. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea.

Well, the machines are down. As you can see in our ESG feature, Covid has left our planet and its people in a worsened state, and let’s be honest, we weren’t doing that great going in. It’s time to get all hands on deck, so we can procure and manage our supply chains, and our profits ethically and sustainably.

So, could it finally be time to do away with "manels"?

Manels; the symptom, not the disease

I can’t lie, I was a little slow on the uptake on this one, quick to point to a lack of female representation in the industry as reasoning behind the still all too often seen all-male panels. Although it’s true that manels are a manifestation of a deeper problem, and we can’t simply change the face of boards of companies and C-Suite execs overnight, we can change our perceptions of what and who is worth listening to.

Subject matter expertise, technical knowledge and valuable opinions do not lie in a pool of only men and come, regardless of gender and as brightly hued as the rainbow, from all corners of our planet. As Stacy Norman, BizClik Media Group’s COO, points out in our Top 100 Women in Supply Chain feature, we are finally making some headway on gender parity, and the women listed earned their place as well as the respect of their peers.

Although I do not personally believe in forced quotas and providing opportunities simply to make for good PR, as the Financial Time’s Michael Skapinker argues, “Impressive women can be found all over, with no question of diluting standards (and plenty of dull male speakers can be found at every conference). Nor, in my experience, is there any need to look for specifically “women’s voices” — just people who know what they are talking about and can do it well.”

Procurement's Branding Problem

Procurement and supply chain have long since had a branding problem, an issue that perpetuates the manels we continue to see today. If we want to attract more diverse talent to the industry, representation is important. 

As a young girl, I didn’t need Dora the Explorer, I needed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in all of her red-lipsticked fire-tongued glory to make it a little more conceivable that great things were possible. As a woman who stood time and again in boardrooms full of men, fighting to earn their trust and their respect so I could best manage their spend, I could have used a procurement magazine that reflected my ethnicity and my gender in its pages.

And so, I must say, I am finding it poetically fitting and beautifully fulfilling to find myself part of the amazing team at BizClik Media, launching Procurement Magazine and the Top 100 in Women in Supply Chain on International Women's Day.

Are there things we could be doing better? I’m sure there are. Quite frankly, there are things I could be doing better, and I will most certainly work towards that end. But taking a look at these amazingly diverse magazines full of rich and valuable content, I am glad to be where I’m at, working hard with a team looking to make things better.

Human’s are often the first to get in their own way, but just as the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of tech and a focus on resilience, it’s my hope that with some hard conversations and the calling out of truths, we can domino this into an acceleration of changing mindsets. Because in reality, at a time when we need to find better ways of doing things, fast, for the good of our planet and its people, we simply can not afford to remain stagnant in our old ways.

Happy International Women’s Day and congratulations to all the amazing women who made our list, and may we continue to #choosetochallenge.

P.S., AOC’s signature red lipstick is Beso by Stila, and it’s fire.

Please take a moment and show these magazines a little love: FinTech Magazine, InsurTech Digital, Procurement Magazine, Supply Chain Digital,

Want to know more on what you can do to help dismantle manels? Check out this article on Weforum

Want to chat about Procurement or diversity? Have something cool going on I should know about? Send me a message and let’s chat, [email protected]

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