AWL Playbook

1. Program Overview, Objectives & Goals AUDIENCE , MENTORS, MENTEES

The Advancing Women Leaders program brings together Mentors, Sponsors, and Mentees from SMI member organizations for the advancement of women into senior leadership positions. Women currently only account for 15% of leadership roles in supply chain. This program strives to close this gap by guiding women in leveraging their networks while changing the corporate system to a more inclusive and diverse landscape.


  • Increase Mentees’ knowledge and experience in healthcare supply chain, tapping into specific industry knowledge of both providers and industry partners
  • Expand Mentees’ networks among the industry’s top thought leaders and how to leverage Mentees own network
  • Broaden skills and relationships for Mentees, Mentors, and Sponsors
  • Enhance awareness in systemic strengths and issues
  • Focus on Mentee’s specific professional growth aspirations
  • Goals

  • Increase women in executive supply chain and customer experience roles
  • Maximize systemic strengths and reduce barriers for advancing women leaders
  • Program Overview

    This 12-month program includes mentoring, forums, peer learning and Sponsor engagement to customize and expedite the career progression for SMI women leaders. Cohorts will consist of approximately 12 Mentees and Mentor/Mentee relationships will be one to one

    What Makes This Program Unique & Specialized to Supply Chain

  • SMI Members nominate a Mentee and participate in the program as their Sponsor
  • SMI Members will serve as Mentors, providing the Mentee an opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience from successful women in healthcare supply chain 
  • The Mentee and Mentor are paired from different organizations to broaden perspectives as Mentor will connect Mentee to new opportunities and new networks
  • Peer-to-Peer learning sessions will allow all levels to share perspectives and experience
  • Forums allow Mentees to expand their network among SMI’s thought leader community
  • The program brings together healthcare providers and industry partners
  • This program utilizes resources from the McGuckin Group
  • Steering Committee

  • Christine Arme, Vice President Healthcare Systems, 3M
  • Karen Conway, GHX Vice President Healthcare Value
  • Donna Drummond, Northwell Health, SVP, Chief Expense Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Marisa Farabaugh, Advent Health, SVP Chief Supply Chain Officer
  • Lisa Hohman, Concordance Healthcare Solutions, CEO
  • Mary Beth Lang, Kaiser Permanente, SVP/Chief Pharmacy Officer
  • Jane Pleasants, SMI Executive Director

    2. Foundational Principles & Statistics AUDIENCE , MENTORS, MENTEES

    Despite women accounting for 51.1% of the U.S. population, women currently only account for 15% of leadership roles in supply chain(Source: Gartner 2022)

    32% of women in technical and engineering roles are often the only woman in the room at work(Source: McKinsey Women in Workplace 2022).

    Women are leaving organizations at the highest rates in years. For every woman at the director level who gets promoted to the next level, two women directors are choosing to leave their company. Source: McKinsey Women in Workplace 2022).

    Providers and suppliers will likely need to invest in talent with experience both inside and outside of healthcare to infuse their organizations with the knowledge required to deploy new tools and approaches (Source: SMI LEK The Healthcare Supply Chain of 2030: Mapping Priorities for the Future).

    Foundational Principles

    Lead: Intentional Sponsorship and Mentorship are critical to the advancement of women’s careers.

    Connect: Relationships with Mentors and the Mentees’ cohort will create an AWL community that continues well past this 12-month program, and that will sustain itself as Mentees advance and “pay it forward”

    Learn: Curiosity, openness, and active listening allows Sponsors, Mentors, and Mentees to grow and expand perspectives

    Transform: Insights put into tangible action creates growth and change for our organizations

    Differences between Mentor and Sponsor


    Talks with you

    Removed from day to day

    Helps build skills and confidence

    Helps craft career plan/aspirations

    Gives suggestions on how to expand network

    Offers ideas on finding projects


    Talks about you

    Is closer to the daily work

    Drives career vision

    Advocates on Mentee’s behalf – directly uses influence and network to connect Mentee to higher profile opportunities within the company

    Personally invested in upward movement of Mentee

    Is constantly thinking about internal promotion and identifies challenging opportunities that support Mentee’s professional growth and visibility


    3. Nomination Process AUDIENCE & MENTORS

  • Mentor, Sponsor, and Mentee must commit to this 12-month program
  • Suggested reading before nominating a Mentee: How to Choose the Right Mentee. This article is written for a Sponsor choosing a Mentee
  • Mentee should be Director Level (1 to 2 levels away from senior level) and on a career advancement path
  • Travel expenses & budget must be approved by the Sponsoring organization for Mentee to attend Forums
  • Deadline to submit is May 31st of each calendar year
  • The AWL Steering Committee will review all nominations and make a recommendation for next cohort
  • If a nominee is not chosen for a cohort, they will be considered for future cohorts if Sponsor resubmits the nomination
  • Mentees will be balanced with equal number of providers and industry partners

    4. Personal Development Plan AUDIENCE , MENTOR MENTEE

    During the 1st quarter the Sponsor, Mentee, and Mentor will provide context and guidance for meaningful opportunities and growth throughout the year. The Mentor guides the Mentee in creating the main areas that will propel the Mentee forward. The Sponsor provides organizational knowledge and influence for the Mentee to gain key experiences and exposure. An internal Personal Development Plan from a specific organization may also be used. The creation of the Development Plan will take place during the first quarter and can be adjusted during the 12-month program.

    The Four Es is a framework that utilizes integrated and continuous learning methods to focus development activities that will achieve long-term career outcomes.

    Experiences – this should be the bulk of the development plan as the most power comes from learning from experience (70%). This can be on-the-job experience such as a high-profile project, taking on new responsibilities, peer/job shadowing, and job-sharing.

    Exposure – this is the next largest part of the development plan (20%), and can include exposure to people, departments, peer-to-peer learning, or industry events outside of the organization (20%).

    Expertise – this is a specific area where a specialty or capability is needed. It’s typically a smaller portion of the plan (5%).

    Education – when a skill or knowledge needs to be acquired in an instructional setting such as an online program, formal education, or a specific seminar. It’s typically a smaller portion of the plan (5%).

    Below is an example of the Personal Development Plan:


    5. Responsibilities & Commitment AUDIENCE , MENTORS, MENTEES

    Mentee Mentor
  • Participate in monthly sessions with Mentor
    Attend SMI Spring & Fall Forums
  • Participate in the in-person workshop at the Fall Forum
  • Participate in check-in meetings with Sponsor and Mentor
  • Participate in virtual peer-to-peer learning sessions – topics will be pre-determined so Mentee is prepared with questions
  • Connect with NEW Mentees as a battle buddy (one-on-one)
  • Uphold Mentee Agreement
  • Participate in monthly sessions with Mentee
  • Participate in the in-person workshop at the Fall Forum
  • Conduct check-in meetings with Sponsor and Mentee
  • Participate in ideation sessions with the McGuckin Group
  • Participate in virtual peer-to-peer learning sessions
  • Be an active member of SMI and participating in Councils and Forums
  • Uphold Mentor Agreement

    6. Role of Mentee / Mentor / Sponsor AUDIENCE , MENTORS, MENTEES

    Mentee Mentor
  • Shares strengths and development gaps and solicits advice to build skills and confidence
  • Takes initiative and accountability in own vision, career plan and development
  • Participates with Mentor and Sponsor in creating the Capstone Development Plan
  • Ask for suggestions on expanding network and takes action to build
  • Listens to feedback, incorporates at least some of the ideas and reports back to Mentor on results
  • Uses self-awareness and feedback to identify projects and areas of development
  • Own and drives scheduling meeting and provides agenda prior to meeting after one or two initial meeting


      Your Sponsor is a resource for you to build your network and identify development experiences and exposure for your career plan. In the Playbook, there are multiple tools to engage your Sponsor and keep them informed of your progress.

      Check in Meetings with Sponsor and Mentor

      The agenda for these meetings can vary based on your specific needs. In general, they usually cover:

      1. What progress have we made since our last check in

      2. What progress is still needed

      3. What obstacles are you facing

      4. For those obstacles, what have you tried and where might the Sponsor help

      Also, no later than mid-way through the program identify 1 area specifically for Sponsor engagement. See the 1 thing to work on with your Sponsor section in this guide.

      Career Development Planning

      There are multiple tools in this guide to assist in your career development. The Mentor may guide you in the main areas, and the Sponsor and the Sponsor’s organizational knowledge and influence is critical to gaining key experiences.

      Personal Development Conversations: This resource assists you in creating their Personal Development Plan to craft a plan using the Four Es of Personal Development. The Mentor may guide you on the main areas, and the Sponsor’s organizational knowledge and influence is critical to gaining key experiences.

      Building Personal Board of Directors – The Personal Board of Directors and the Stakeholder Block allows you to build and activate your network. The Sponsor’s input for the who and how in your organization is critical to this.

  • Supports via discussion about how to build skills and confidence for career advancement
  • Helps craft career plan and aspirations
  • Gives suggestion on how to expand network
  • Gives feedback to support development
  • Offers ideas on identifying meaningful projects
  • Available to meet with Mentee, reviews agenda and prepares
  • Additional Resources




    Kick off Workshop

    Mentee, Mentor & Sponsor to attend Workshop at the Fall Forum


    Mentor & Mentee one-on-one calls

    Mentee Peer-to-Peer Networking Session (Mentees facilitate on their own)

    Bi-Monthly (Occurring Every Two Months)

    Mentor Peer-to-Peer Learning Session (with facilitation by Audrey McGuckin)


    Sponsor, Mentee, Mentor Check in Calls

    Suggested First Quarter: Life Map, Your Story in 6 Images & Development Plan

    Suggested Second Quarter: 1 thing to work on with your sponsor

    Suggested Third Quarter: Check in on the 1 thing decided on the Second Quarter

    Suggested Fourth Quarter:Progress Check and Update Development Plan

    Sponsor Peer-to-Peer Learning Session (with facilitation by SMI)


    8. Tools & Tips

    Predictive Index AUDIENCE , MENTORS, MENTEES

    You will have a session facilitated by a Predictive Index expert to review the Predictive Index Tool of the Sponsor, Mentor and Mentee this month. The purpose of this is to understand each other’s driving forces, needs and typical behaviors and how we may work together effectively. It also can be used to inform the Mentee’s development plan.

    Mentor, Mentee and Sponsor will participate together in a triumvirate facilitated by the McGuckin Group

    Conversation Starter Questions AUDIENCE MENTORS

    • Tell me more about you and your current role? Your family? Your interests outside of work?

    • What was your reaction to being selected for this program?

    • For this to be a safe environment, what are your expectations and needs?

    • What do you love about your current role? What do you find challenging?

    • What were you hoping this program might help you achieve?

    • What are your career aspirations?

    • For this to be a successful year together, what would you have to accomplish or achieve?

    • What do you want out of this Mentoring relationship?

    Questions for Sponsors to engage Mentees AUDIENCE

    • What are your aspirations?

    • What achievements and accomplishments are you most proud?

    • What are your most recent achievements and accomplishments?

    • To achieve your career aspirations, what parts of the business do you need more experience and exposure?

    • Which executives have you had the most and least exposure?

    • What expertise and experiences are most important for you to gain in the next year? What are your plans to build these?

    Peer to Peer Mentee Connections AUDIENCE MENTEES

    Collaborating with your fellow Mentees is a powerful way to expand your knowledge and your network. A couple suggestions:

    • Be fully present in the Mentee and peer learning sessions to connect with others

    • Speak up in the session. Your experience could help someone else. Your questions allow someone else to be helpful.

    • Follow up post session with peers in areas you have expertise and offer assistance.

    • Follow up post session with specific Mentees who have an area of expertise you need and ask for assistance.

    • Connect with each other via linked in to stay connected

    Navigating the SMI Fall Forum AUDIENCE , MENTEES

    To ensure you get the most out of the forum, below are suggestions for the Mentee and Sponsor.

    Prior to the conference:

    • Identify what sessions to attend together

    • Identify what sessions to attend separately and how you will share information post session

    • Share advice on general conference etiquette

    Post conference:

    • Share information on sessions attended

    • Identify areas to volunteer and get more involved

    5 things to accomplish during your first meeting with your Mentee AUDIENCE MENTORS

    Get to know each other’s work and personal history. Share Your Story in 6 Images and encourage the Mentee to do the same next meeting.

    Discuss your philosophy on shared accountability, your role, and expectations. Below are questions to facilitate the conversation:

    • What does Mentoring look like to each of you?

    • What do you both want out of this relationship?

    • What boundaries need to be established?

    • How will you hold each other accountable?

    • Establish 1-3 goals for partnership. Review Mentee’s development plan.

    • Agree on logistics (meeting cadence, scheduling, virtual/in-person, Mentee sets agenda, etc.)

    • Discuss the Development Plan

    What to expect in your first meeting with your Mentor AUDIENCE MENTEES

    Get to know each other’s work and personal history

    Discuss expectations and shared accountability. To prepare, review the Responsibilities & Commitment, Roles, and refresh on the Mentee Agreement.

    Establish 1-3 goals for the partnership and begin your Capstone Development Plan

    Cover basic logistics like meeting cadence, virtual/in-person, you’ll set all future agendas, etc.

    Your Story in 6 Images Exercise AUDIENCE , MENTORS, MENTEES

    This introduction format can be used to get to know each other one-on-one during your initial meeting. It allows you to communicate who you are in a confident, relatable, and memorable way.

    It is suggested the Mentor share theirs in the first meeting, and the Mentee shares in the second meeting


    • “Our personal authentic leadership comes from knowing and sharing our own story. “ Leadership emerges from your life story. Discovering Your Authentic Leadership Bill George, Harvard Business School

    • This exercise can be done first by Mentee and Mentor and then Mentee and Sponsor

    • Select 6 images to introduce yourself. They should be a combination of past, present, and future. For example:

    Past: Where you grew up, family, defining moments, your education, past work

    Present: Current role, family, outside work

    Future: Aspirations, dreams, goals


    This tool is a visual representation of key moments of your life. In a developmental framework, it allows you to explore your life and accomplishments to identify themes and patterns of success to gain insights for future goal setting.


    • This exercise can be done first by Mentee and Mentor and then Mentee and Sponsor

    • Create a chronological timeline

    • Using words, pictures, or drawings fill in important milestones and key events

    • Highlight accomplishments and important lessons

    • Reflect on emerging patterns

    • Consider In the context of future goals, what might be repeatable? What might be new territories to explore?

    1 thing to work on with your Sponsor AUDIENCE , MENTEES

    During the 2nd quarter of the program, identify at least one area for the Sponsor to engage with the Mentee. Examples may include but are not limited to:

    • A high-visibility, high-impact project for the Mentee to be involved in

    • Advocate for tangible next step experiences for the Mentee to accomplish their career vision

    • Connect Mentee with connections in Sponsor’s network to give them greater exposure and resources

    Personal Board of Directors AUDIENCE MENTORS, MENTEES,

    This tool supports the Mentee in leveraging their network. It allows the Mentor to help identify who else they can connect with the Mentee.


    • When a CEO of a company needs help, they go to their Board of Directors, which consists of trusted advisors. It is important for all of us to have go-to people in our lives who can help us with certain problems; to have people who will be give us honest feedback. These might be peers, cross functional colleagues, a former boss, Mentors, friends, or family members.

    • Those you elect to your Personal Board of Directors are people who will:

    lead and plead your case

    go out on a limb for you

    tell you your image/reputation & proactively help craft it

    be able to match your desires to opportunities

    give you heads up about problems in a timely way

    advocate vs. be silent vs. throw stones at you

    others who will pile on

    • Mentee may share this with their Sponsor for additional insights and help making connections


    Stakeholder Block AUDIENCE , MENTEES

    This tool supports the Mentee in identifying and managing key stakeholder relationships.


    • For your most pressing initiative, identify 10 stakeholders and plot on the graph based on their passion for this initiative and their level of influence. Consider who is affected by the initiative, who has power over it, and who has an interest in it succeeding or failing.

    • With your Sponsor, discuss your approach to managing each group of stakeholders. It is optional to share with your Mentor.




    Sarah Charai, Allina Health, Director Supply Chain

    Kelly Hammons, Concordance Healthcare Solutions, SVP Customer Experience

    Amanda Morgan, Medline, VP Acute Care Sales

    Rachael Raynes, University of Vermont Health Network, Network Director, Supply Chain Contracting

    Sophia Flores, QuVa Pharma, Director, Manufacturing Operations

    Jolene Peterson, Baxter, Senior IDN Director

    Michelle Azotea, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Director of Project Management and Implementation

    Elisa MacCarroll-Wright, Advent Health, VP System Ancillary

    Anne Nelson, Johnson & Johnson, Director, Contract Strategy

    Key Learnings from Past Mentees

    What’s unique to SMI’s Program is that your Mentor is outside of your organization.  Therefore, no question is off the table and it’s a confidential relationship, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek support from your Mentor, who is outside your company.

    Attend the Spring & Fall Forums.  Spend time networking with the other Mentees during the networking sessions/evening events instead of working & catching up on email.

    Best advice for next round of Mentees

    Be prepared for the monthly meetings with your Mentor – What topics do you want to discuss?  Are there open items from the prior month to revisit?  Is there a specific project or skill where you’d like outside perspective?

    Your Mentor is likely busier than you are, so be respectful of your time together & have your camera on to talk face-to-face, and draft an agenda for each call.


    10. Continuity & Growth of Program AUDIENCE , MENTORS, MENTEES

    One of the foundational principles of this program is relationships last well past the 12-month program, and that the Mentees from previous cohorts “pay it forward” as they advance.

    Below are examples of tangible next steps for the Mentees

    • Become a battle buddy for future cohorts

    • Become a Mentor for future cohorts

    • Join and participate in a SMI Council

    • Facilitate peer-to-peer learning sessions for future cohorts

    • Actively engage in AWL Alumni Community

    • Potential attendance at future Forums


    11. Measurement Scorecard/Success Surveys AUDIENCE , MENTORS, MENTEES

    (in progress, items below are possible items)

    • % increase of SMI organizations with women in leadership

    • # of Mentees who are promoted during or after their 12-month program

    • % Mentees who become council members the following year

    • % of Mentees who become Mentors in future years

    • % of Mentors who become Sponsors for future Mentees

    • Survey Feedback mid-program and end of program to show progress against the objectives of the program

    • % of total SMI member organizations involved in the program

    • # of individuals AWL has touched within SMI organizations outside the formal SMI program. # Predictive Index events have taken place within SMI member organizations