Spotlight: Nicole Purinton
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with Nicole Purinton, Supply Chain Leader in our Americas region. An energetic force in our business and always confident to voice her views and ideas, she embodies everything we demanded of a strong leader and more! Read on to hear more about Nicole’s career with Clear Edge, how she continues to confront gender-biased attitudes and what advice she has for women entering the workforce today.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a mother, wife and a 20-year veteran of Clear Edge. I am one of those overly happy people who truly enjoys life and specifically the people in it.
International Women’s Day celebrates the scientific, political, economic and social achievements of women. In your experience as a woman and leader, what is its significance?
Women have been influential since the beginning of time. I am proud that we are in a time where the amazing successes, struggles and perseverance of women are being acknowledged and celebrated. I was raised by a strong woman who taught me to challenge the status quo; not to accept complacency, and to speak up when I had something productive to add to a conversation.
What are your main responsibilities and achievements at Clear Edge?
My current role is Supply Chain Leader – Americas. I lead a team of rockstars in Customer Service, Supply Chain, Planning and Logistics. However, I didn’t get here overnight. I started as the receptionist of our Minneapolis facility when I was a pup. I learned a lot over the years from mentors and peers. I worked hard and spoke up when I had ideas. Some were implemented and some weren’t… but, I never stopped bringing the ideas up! I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for the many people who supported and challenged me, in both positive and negative ways. We learn from those challenges.
How would you describe your job environment?
Oh my gosh! I LOVE my job!! It is stressful right now, for sure!
The people make it EVERYTHING! I get to come into work where people high-five each other for their accomplishments, or simply because it is a Friday. My colleagues make me laugh, they support me when I’m stressed. I grew up in this business, had all three of my kids here (one was almost born at the facility). I am also proud to be part of a team where we can challenge each other professionally; it makes us stronger! No company will hit its goals by simply accepting its circumstances. What I love about my environment is that we keep pushing to be better and my colleagues push me to be better too. It’s invigorating!
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
At the beginning of my journey, I received the judgement that many working mothers used to receive and still receive to this day, which is either, judgement about missing milestones in my children(s) lives or the opposite, if I did need to stay home or leave early to tend to them, judgement that I wasn’t working as hard as my male counterparts. The mental load on any parent’s plate is very full, especially a working parent.
The other obstacle to overcome is the gender-specific syndrome. I am proud to be part of an organization that has come far from where it started. There were many times when it was expected that I would be the note taker in a meeting or the one ordering lunch, as I was the only female in the room. We are in a day and age where the world is no longer tolerating this. If we, as colleagues, can figure out how to write down our actions and find ourselves food, then it can fall on any one person. I have a leader now, who is male, who is happy and able to do these things himself. It’s been great!
I have found, in my career, that rather than getting upset by these things, I simply vocalize my opinion. Women and men need to keep using their voices and speak up for equality. When enough of us speak up, the world must listen.
What is the driving force behind everything you do… what keeps you motivated and driven on a daily basis?
I want to leave a positive legacy in this world when I am gone. I want every person that I come into contact with to feel better than before. We are all here for a certain amount of time, I believe in using that time to be kind to others, to love fiercely and have a LOT of fun!
Even when there are times where I am at my wit’s end, there is always someone out there who is “worse off than you”, a saying that many of us have heard. It is true. I am grateful for EACH day! If and when I forget my mantra, life has a way of showing up and reminding me of how beautiful it can be and I am grateful for that.
Who has been the biggest influence of your success?
My mom. She is the strongest person I know. She and my dad had me at a young age, she put herself through college with a toddler, worked her you know what off, and climbed that corporate ladder. Even to this day, she is retired and studies Spanish full time, when she is not downhill skiing. She strives to challenge herself no matter what age.
Who are your female icons?
Oprah! Sounds so corny. But she is fierce! She had a rough upbringing, has overcome not only being a professional female but a person of colour. I would love to meet her someday!
Is there a specific message you would like to send to those reading, to bear tribute to International Women’s Day?
We are seeing more women in predominantly male-dominated roles, CEOs, coaches of male sports teams, astronauts, engineering, etc. Invest in women-owned shops, look for non-profits who specifically target young females to help them grow into being anything they want. Last but most important, females need to support other females. The day for pinning women against each other is over. I love being in my job and seeing other females grow and succeed in their goals. To quote Beyonce, “Who run the world”…
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am honoured to be part of the Clear Edge family and the opportunity to share a little bit about my story. I have strong women all around that encourage me, but I also want to point out that I have an unbelievable male support system as well. Women speaking up for equal rights is necessary, but we also need male voices demanding for the same thing. When we all support equality, we all win.