We’re excited to announce that our Director of Operations, Melissa Woodley, recently spoke at the Accelerate Executive Summit, sponsored by LBMX, a software solutions provider for buying groups and cooperatives. Melissa was invited to share insights on IDCO’s Women’s Leadership Group, which she helped develop in early 2023, to gain insights on attracting, retaining, and empowering women in the industrial distribution industry.

During the presentation, Melissa highlighted the significant gender gap in the industry, noting that women, despite comprising 50% of the workforce, are underrepresented in industrial distribution, often below 20%. The IDCO Women’s Leadership Group seeks to address this by recognizing and leveraging women’s unique talents.

In preparing her presentation, Melissa contacted IDCO’s member and supplier leaders to spotlight exceptional women within their companies. She quickly received a flood of positive feedback, highlighting their dedication, upbeat attitudes, strong work ethic, and leadership skills—to name a few!

To ensure success, Melissa and her team researched extensively and connected with similar groups across industries to learn best practices. They found that each group’s unique focus was key to its success. This insight guided them to focus on developing leadership skills and empowering women with the tools needed to excel in the industry.

Since its inception, the Women’s Leadership Group has grown from 30 to over 130 members. It offers a network for discussing success strategies in industrial distribution, managing unique work situations, and sharing resources. Activities include leadership coaching, guest speakers, conversational events with breakout sessions, and an upcoming book club focused on women’s advancement.

Looking ahead, the group is focusing on best practices to attract more women to the workforce, including promoting mentorship and development opportunities, partnering with educational institutions, and fostering a welcoming and inclusive culture.

Melissa’s leadership and the group’s significant growth testify to the importance of creating spaces where women can connect, learn, and thrive. We’re proud of what the Women’s Leadership Group has accomplished so far and excited about the future of the Women’s Leadership Group at IDCO.