Time for a coffee break? Take a few minutes to get to know Kris Oswold, Vice President of Supplier Diversity at UPS, on the WBENC Board of Directors and a National Conference Co-Chair. UPS is a proud supporter of the WeTHRIVE program, among other programs offered by WBENC.
What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?
I am fascinated to see how UPS’s integrated smart logistics network, leveraging the latest technology and evolving fleet of alternative fuel vehicles, drones, vertical take-off aircraft, autonomous vehicles, e-assist bikes and more, is bringing greater efficiency and very high quality to our service. This level of precision and continuous evolution is what is needed to be able to provide solutions to small and medium businesses, meet the specialized needs of the healthcare industry, and partner with cities and countries around the world to keep commerce moving while meeting critical sustainability goals.
What drove you to a career in diversity and inclusion?
In my 33 years at UPS, I have worked all over the world and lived all over the US. UPS has invested in me through training, job assignments, outside education, and even a community internship, where I spend a month in south Chicago living with a priest and four co-workers, immersed in serving the needs of the community. UPS knows that an effective leader must have a perspective broader than their own lived experience and have caring and curiosity that extends beyond their daily life; and following a carefully executed plan, UPS gave me guidance and experiences that helped me see the world more clearly and understand my responsibilities in this world more acutely. Ultimately, I was assigned to lead Supplier Diversity, and at the time I was not even sure what it was. My path at UPS, however, had prepared me to take it on and make a difference.
What are you reading or listening to now? (Book, blog, magazine, podcast, etc.)
Right now, I am reading Mallory O’Meara’s “Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol”. I am learning about women who were distillers, winemakers, and change drivers around the globe. It is fun and educational at the same time, and it provides a clear reminder as to the importance of our commitment to eradicate inequity everywhere it exists. Up next is Terry Tempest Williams’ “The Hour of Land”. It is her personal history of our National Parks, what we can learn from our mistakes, and hopefully it will help illuminate how we can inclusively celebrate sacred lands going forward.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Last year I found the program from my 1982 eighth-grade graduation ceremony, in which I professed my commitment to become a “Lady Executive”. It was hard to read. I can’t stand gender qualifiers like that, and I there I was having put it in print. Clearly at the time, in my “Friday Night Lights”-community, seeing women in charge was an anomaly. Although the work is not done yet, especially in boards and senior leadership spaces in corporations, I do take heart in the progress UPS has made, and in meeting so many incredible executives through WBENC.
Fill in the Blank
When I face a challenge, I… trust that I am as capable as anyone else to deal with it.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself…to learn to cook.
UPS provides a broad range of integrated logistics solutions for customers in more than 220 countries and territories. Focused on its purpose statement, “Moving our world forward by delivering what matters,” the company’s strategy is simply stated and powerfully executed: Customer First. People Led. Innovation Driven.