AMS Series #4: Women in Leadership

August 19, 2022

This week our Women in Leadership spotlight shines on Sarah Smith, AMS’ Vice President of Marketing. Sarah joined AMS in June of 2022, so she is our most recent Woman in Leadership! Sarah has more than 16 years of marketing experience, with over five years specifically in the eCommerce & fulfillment industry. She comes to AMS from Rakuten Super Logistics where she served as Director of Marketing. Sarah was responsible for all marketing strategies and implementations, including the development of marketing programs, strategic planning, KPI and KSO goals, budget management, execution, and ROI tracking.

Sarah began her career as a Forecasting and Business Operations Analyst in the CPG vertical. After moving to Las Vegas in 2005, she fell in love with digital marketing – where she has been for over 16 years. She spent most of her time in the travel industry before making the switch to B2B Marketing. Sarah has driven businesses to generate optimum campaign ROI using her analytical knowledge. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 

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Thank you for being in the spotlight Sarah! Our first question has to do with marketing. Have you seen that AMS’ culture and B Corporation focus has an influence on potential clients? Have we reached a place and time within the industry where clients want to see their fulfillment company responsible for being the change?

Yes! Conservation and sustainability are important to us and our clients. We are witnessing firsthand the impact of climate change. Hurricanes are stronger, wildfires are more intense, and here in Las Vegas – Lake Mead is dangerously low.  The supply chain industry is carbon producing; however, AMS is focused on reducing our impact, simple things from LED lighting to recycling, and green warehouses. Climate change is something we all must do our part to tackle – working together we can have a huge impact.

In our introduction to this series, we stated the following: “McKinsey & Company reported that even a 10% increase in gender diversity has a positive impact on EBITDA, above-average profitability, increased company communication and direction, as well as increased sustainability and diversity and inclusion.” We realize that you have been with AMS for a short time, and we’re wondering what you have seen so far as the positive impact of women in leadership at AMS?

AMS is the first organization I have worked for that has more female leaders. This had a huge influence on my decision to join the team. Being in logistics is tough for women, it is a male dominated industry. Only 19% of logistics employees are female, here at AMS, over 50% of leaders are female. AMS has been extremely successful over the last 20 years and I fully anticipate that our growth will be exponential in the coming years due to our leadership.

When you were considering accepting your position at AMS did our B Corporation values, diversity, community involvement, environmentalism and so forth play a role in your Yes decision?  

To answer this question, I need to go back to the 1980s…when I was going to single-handedly save the Amazon Forest. Since that obviously didn’t happen, for decades, I have done what I could to contribute. I have volunteered for organizations like SafeNest (domestic violence survivors) and Get Outdoors Nevada (environmental cleanup). This month, I joined Las Vegas Women in Business for Good, a new organization dedicated to the advancement of women in business.

So, long story short, the B Corp values played a significant role in my decision to join AMS. I have been very fortunate in life – both throughout my career and personally. I feel that now is my time to pay it forward and lead change.

The reason we celebrate women in leadership is because women have historically been denied leadership roles. In your years of service in the corporate world have you faced challenges due to being woman, and if so, how have you overcome them? 

Unfortunately, yes, I have experienced challenges early on in my career. Some were subtle, some were overt. I worked for a power tool company where we were encouraged to learn how to use the power tools. We had a sales rep that didn’t agree with my forecast for accessories (drill bits and such). He made the comment “What do you know about how many drill bits we’ll sell, you’re a woman.” I honestly didn’t know how to respond. It took a few years for me to learn how to handle those type of situations.  By the way – that forecast was just about 100% accurate. 

I can directly attribute my success to my high school, Trinity High School. Trinity was an all-girl college preparatory high school. Being all-girl, Trinity provided an environment that fostered excellence. We didn’t have to deal with a lot of the distractors that were in co-ed schools. The vast majority of women I went to school with have become leaders in their industries. It’s pretty darn amazing. I wish there were more all-girl high schools, those formative high school years really do lay the groundwork for successful careers.

Could you speak about your hopes for all women who are seeking to improve their incomes or careers or lives through advancement up the corporate ladder? 

Women have made some incredible strides in the last couple of decades. When I had my daughter 21 years ago, I vowed to give her the skills to deal with gender discrimination situations. My hope and dream is that she, and no women, ever experiences what I did early in my career.

Thank you for being in the spotlight with this inspiring interview – Sarah Smith, VP of Marketing!