This month’s Member Spotlight

Susan Sampson

April 2019

Partner & Manager, Supply Chain Configuration and Planning
Waitrose & Partners

1.Can you tell us a bit about your background and your role?

My role is Manager, Supply Chain Configuration and Planning, and I am responsible for the day-to-day operational leadership of central forecasting, capacity management and order scheduling. I joined Waitrose & Partners in 1996, and over the years I have worked in a number of management roles within Supply Chain, initially focussed on supplier ordering and forecasting then more recently taking responsibility for the Supply Chain Configuration and Planning Team. Prior to joining Waitrose, I was a Food Supply Officer in the British Army, completing one operational tour in Croatia as part of the UN Peacekeeping Force.

2.Why are you passionate about the mission of the LEAD Network?

I’ve worked in a Supply Chain environment for over 25 years and I wish I had been able to experience an organisation like LEAD when I was starting out in my career. The opportunities available through LEAD and the educational support are superb. It is so valuable to be able to develop your own skills in a safe environment through listening to the experiences of others. I am encouraging many young women in my company to take part in the webinars and events because I am sure it will have a positive impact on their careers.

3. Is there one person you could attribute a big piece of your success to?

My colleague and friend, Chris, who I worked with in Waitrose for over 20 years until he retired last year. Chris was my manager when I first joined Waitrose and through his gentle encouragement and belief in my ability, I have achieved a number of things. He shared so much of his experience with me and his sometimes frank feedback made me reflect and change aspects of my approach. He really helped me gain confidence in my own ability and prepare me for leadership roles within the company.

4. What would you tell your younger self to ease her heart?

No-one is perfect and most people lack confidence too. Trying to be perfect is hard work and quite frankly, a waste of time. It’s better to accept you will be great at some things and not so great at others so concentrate on the stuff you are good at – it will make you so much happier. Recognise your strengths and what you can bring to the table, don’t dwell on your weaknesses and your confidence will grow.