Elaine Singleton Tapped as Director of the Monica Wooden Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (November 8, 2019) -- The newly named Monica Wooden Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability has a brand new director. Coming from Los Angeles, Elaine Singleton is here to take part in a unique educational opportunity, but more importantly to contribute to student success, the mantra of USF and more particularly the Muma College of Business.
Most recently, Singleton was the vice president of Technicolor Global Logistics in California. She also was the vice president of North America supply chain for The Walt Disney Company and held management positions with Williams-Sonoma and Target. She frequently serves as a guest speaker for industry groups on the topic of global supply chains.
Her three-decade career has encompassed end-to-end supply chain operations that have included strategic design, tactical execution and team building.
“I've benefited from experiences in distribution-center management, corporate-level logistics leadership, transportation management and direct-to-consumer start-up activities that support omni-channel retailers,” she said. “These are invaluable experiences that become so integrated and entwined in my mindset with ups and downs along the way. The richness of experiential learning through successes and failures is a treasure.”
Her goal is to bring students to a place where they are able to move seamlessly into well paying, supply chain jobs.
“We will engage with valuable business-partner resources, faculty and staff and our students, who already are learning from an exceptional curriculum being taught here,” she said. “We want to drive a world-class supply chain ecosystem that is set apart and in a class of its own.”
Singleton is energized by the challenges and she looks forward to communicating the right messages to everyone in a clear and concise tone. She hopes to advance the work of Donna Davis and Jim Stock, two marketing professors recognized for their supply chain management forward-thinking research, and to leverage best practices used by others in supply chain education.
The former chair of the Marketing Department, Davis also is the academic director for the center. She said the $5 million donation from MercuryGate founder and former CEO Monica Wooden, which renamed the center, also allowed for the hiring of a director to manage center activities.
“Elaine brings more than 30 years of executive experience in global supply chain management,” Davis said, “and she will draw on her extensive corporate contacts to help us expand our network of business partners.”
Outside business partners are an important part of the center’s work and success, Singleton said.
“Supply chain is a small world and like many industries, everyone knows everyone,” she said. “The most important aspect of maintaining existing relationships is to be mindful of our partners’ needs and rationale for continued engagement without portraying a tone of expectation.
“Spending the time to understand the ‘what's in it for me’ aspect of any engagement pays dividends,” she said. “The combination of students learning supply chain and businesses in need of talent speaks volumes on its own with the right messaging for new business partners and existing relationships.”
Supply chain business partners in the Tampa Bay area are numerous. USF is the only state university situated in a metropolitan area and Tampa has all the ingredients – a seaport, an airport, railroad lines and highway systems – from which to draw resources. The payback: a steady stream of young talent to fill jobs.
“What an advantage we have here to contribute to Florida's ambition as a key global trade partner,” Singleton said. “Trade can benefit from the growing port commerce, a competitive low-cost advantage, and the richness of USF talent migrating into the business.”
Singleton received a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at the Millersville University of Pennsylvania and a graduate certificate in innovation management and culture from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Moving to an educational milieu is the next step in her long successful career.
“I had been considering a career change for some time to enable some level of migration away from the pure operational elements of managing a large supply chain,” she said. “I had also hoped to be geographically situated with easy access to the East Coast for family considerations.
“When I learned of the Monica Wooden Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability grand kickoff and the pending opportunity here at USF,” she said, “I could not have been more excited about this huge opportunity to work closely with undergrads and graduate students.
“Being a business executive for several large corporations, my greatest pleasure was onboarding and training interns and new talent eager to learn and grow in this amazing field,” she said. “It was like an epiphany every day thinking about the many ways we in business are so incredibly enriched by graduates who actually know practical skills.”