chain savvy: Ann Drake '84, CEO of DSC Logistics, is a
leader among leaders. Through her membership in the Committee
of 200, she helps tomorrow's women business leaders realize
offered 'a world of leadership' to Ann Drake '84 and today
the CEO helps expand the horizon for others
is a significant leader in her industry and chooses to support
the Kellogg Annual Fund.
Ann Drake '84 graduated from the University of Iowa
with a dual degree in English and psychology, she did what
many of her highly educated female peers did. She became a
weren't as many choices open to women as there are today,"
says Drake, chuckling as she recalls the other two choices
available at the time: nursing and dental hygiene.
the chief executive officer of DSC Logistics, a Chicago-based
supply chain management company, Drake works to increase opportunities
for women and ensure that women know how to take advantage
of those opportunities. The Women's Business Enterprise National
Council recently certified DSC Logistics, a distinction that
means, among other things, at least 51 percent of the business
is owned and controlled by one or more women. Drake is also
a member of the board of governors for the Committee of 200,
a 25-year-old organization dedicated to the professional development
and advancement of women in business.
this transformation from high school teacher to high-powered
executive did not happen overnight. Stifled by an inefficient
school system that she felt powerless to streamline, Drake
quit teaching, pursued a graduate degree in design and started
her own design business. Still hungry for knowledge and new
skills, she chose to attend the Kellogg
School's Executive MBA Program.
was the most defining moment of my career," she says.
As she studied with the likes of Jeanne
Brett, the Kellogg School's DeWitt W. Buchanan Jr. Distinguished
Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations, and Alice
Tybout, the Harold T. Martin Professor of Marketing, a
lifelong career in business seemed to Drake not only attainable,
but full of promise. "Suddenly it seemed not just to
be a world where accountants did things," she says. "It
was a world of leadership."
Drake still considers herself a "student of leadership,"
she spends much of her time — in the office and in the
community — sharing her knowledge with others. "I'm
really interested in Chicago and Chicago's success,"
she says, particularly with respect to improving the city's
transportation systems. To that end, she co-chairs the transportation
committee for the Metropolitan Planning Council and is vice
chairman of the business advisory council for the Northwestern
University Transportation Center.
says her personal interests and values are closely aligned
with her professional ones: "I'm very lucky, because
it all runs together for me." Through DSC Logistics,
which she describes as "a thinking, learning organization,"
Drake encourages up-and-coming female leaders as she works
closely with diverse suppliers (including women-owned companies)
and sees that her employees and clients learn from each other.
"We're taking the collaborative, networking piece that
I've enjoyed and that I learned at Kellogg and carrying it
the stated mission of DSC Logistics is to help companies achieve
goals through effective supply chain management, Drake says
the company has a higher purpose: "More than that, we
help them with growth and change."
traces much of her own professional growth — which included
the realization that business can be much more than long hours
spent number-crunching in a stuffy office — back to
her Kellogg experience. "It absolutely transforms people,"
she says. "Myself included."