Blume Global has employees all over the globe (California, Boston, Hong Kong, India – to name a few locations). Today, we are putting the spotlight on Christine Sobczak-Barwicz who lives in New Jersey, but recently visited the Pleasanton HQ office for a week-long customer workshop. Christine was born in Montreal, Canada where her first primary language was French. She learned how to speak English through writing technical specs in her college and early career. Pretty impressive.
Good morning, Christine. Welcome to sunny California!
Christine: Thank you. It’s nice to be here enjoying the summer-like weather.
Tell me what you do for Blume Global.
Christine: I’m the Director of Product Management, where I manage a team of 12 product managers and the UX team. My role is to work with both teams to create the best solution for our customers and ensure that we are headed in the right direction.
But your team is mostly here in Pleasanton, CA, while you’re out in New Jersey.
Christine: Yes, and it is becoming more and more common in tech, where we work daily with global teams. I have an open-door policy. People know they can reach me at any time. It is especially important when managing a team remotely to have trust relationships with your teammates and let them manage the details while you work on developing the team and company strategy.
How did you get your start in your career?
Christine: I went to a college in Canada for industrial engineering. Then, I was hired as a data analyst within the transportation procurement consulting team at Logistics.com in 2001, where I met our now CEO, Pervinder Johar and CTO, Mark Pluta.
Very cool! It’s a small world in the supply chain technology world. What are some essential skills to be successful in the supply chain industry?
Christine: Yes, it is a small world. The supply chain industry is all about being more efficient at every step and delivering the best service or product to the customers. The domain is very broad, with a variety of areas people can focus on, and it’s a global industry. To succeed, some essential skills include curiosity and a love of learning. It’s also important to have the ability to tackle, analyze and split complex problems within the supply chain into logical flows.
What excites you about working for Blume?
Christine: Blume is developing solutions for supply chain flows that I have not had to address before, working with new technologies and being innovative. It’s exciting to see how software advances can be used to help our customers bring more efficiency to their processes.
What advice can you offer to those who find themselves at the very start of their supply chain career?
Christine: It’s okay not to know everything; companies are looking for people that are proactive about learning, understanding problems and searching for solutions. Just be enthusiastic and open to learning something new.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in a role and field that is still predominantly men? Any advice for other women in the supply chain industry?
Christine: Just do what you want to do. I know I’m in a non-traditional career based on statistics and I am not blind to the remaining challenges that can be associated with such a path. However, I chose a career in the STEM field because it’s what I wanted to do. I love the work I do, and I don’t think about gender differences.
What do you do in your free time, if you have any?
Christine: Time when I’m not working is dedicated to my family. My favorite thing is to discover new places with them and go hiking.
This family picture below was taken by Christine’s husband at Sequoia National Park, California.