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Maria Villablanca, Co-Founder & CEO, Future Insights Network

Maria Villablanca: Navigating the Complexities of Changing Business Models in Supply Chain

The intricacies in the supply chain are increasing with each passing day; even though technological advancement and data bring additional value to the process, the skill gap keeps expanding. Organizations need diverse talent to manage the supply chain to push performance and profitability further. Having insights and information about the supply chain can provide organizations a refreshing perspective which is what Maria Villablanca delivers with her venture Future Insights Network.
As the Cofounder and CEO, as well as the host of a successful podcast, Maria creates a workplace culture that inspires and motivates. She is an effective, energetic, and visionary leader who believes that “good enough” is never good enough. With her leadership at the forefront, Future Insights Network is driving manufacturing and supply chain innovation through; thought leadership, virtual workshops, live, collaborative events.
Insights Success caught up with Maria in our endeavor to find “The 10 Most influential Women in Supply Chain, 2022” We talked with her to have a deep understanding of how she is driving a transformational change by connecting supply chain leaders.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Future Insights Network. What challenges you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I have had a long trajectory spanning multiple continents, languages, industries, and roles over my 20-year career. This path has allowed me to embrace change, diversity, transformation and has provided me with an opportunity to develop agility and adaptability. My greatest teachers throughout my career have been my failures, and I am very grateful for them.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
The Future Insights Network exists to provide our network of over 80,000 senior supply chain leaders with content, connections, and a community to help them solve their burning questions. Today, more than ever, this is important in helping to build agile, resilient, and sustainable supply chains.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Logistics & Supply Chain niche through your expertise in the market?
We try to bring stories and case studies with clear and actionable advice to the industry. There is too much hype, noise, and buzz out there, and we hope that we can deliver some clarity amidst the complexity and disruption of today. We do this via the Transform Talks with Maria Villablanca podcast and our events.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
We strive to create a culture of agility, flexibility, learning, and diversity. As a woman-led, woman-owned business, we aim to give voices to underrepresented groups in our industry and further the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Equally, I think it’s important to ensure we create a culture where all our team feels comfortable in bringing new ideas to the table.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
The pandemic meant shifting our business from one where we delivered physical events to a purely digital offering. This meant learning new skills and implementing new technology, including AI, into our business. Without it, we would not have been able to weather the last 18 months successfully. Not only has this technology allowed us to grow during the pandemic, with almost triple-digit revenue and community growth, but we have been able to widen our nets to grow into new markets that were previously unavailable in their physical form.
If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the Inventory Storage & Management industry?
Ideally, I would want to see two changes, 1) to drive more diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and bring more people with different backgrounds to the industry but also 2) drive sustainable change. The pandemic has fast-tracked digital transformation. It would be great to see us develop new and more sustainable business models too.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the Supply Chain industry? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
The next big change will be around digital transformation technologies and sustainability. Both will have an impact on how we define the supply chain and how businesses operate. Every single role in Supply Chain will change. I hope for the better. Our role in this new world is to continue to bring stories of positive change to the industry.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Future Insights Network?
In the long run, I hope to continue growing the business, the community, and the network to include a wider group of Supply Chain executives from the moment they start their careers in this industry until the moment they retire. I hope to continue bringing them content, connections, and a place where they can dialogue and debate the latest trends and issues.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Supply Chain sector?
Do it! There has never been a more exciting time to join the industry. I believe Supply Chain professionals can change the world!