Q1 2013 WLGO Newsletter

WLGO NewsLetter March 2013


Happy 2013!  Welcome to the second edition of the WLGO newsletter.  Each quarter, we will be focusing on updating the WLGO community on a group of graduating classes cycling through all classes each year.  This newsletter focuses on alumnae graduating in 2010 and onwards.

Mary Anito ’12, Emily Chang ’11, & Shafali Hill ‘99

What’s Up

Bill Hanson, former faculty for the LGO Davis Leadership Seminar as well as industry co-director, will lead a discussion with the Women of LGO community.  When Bill considered our top interest areas of career management, leadership and life balance, he said…”we must start with leadership” and “we need leadership in the area of life balance”.  Join us for a compelling conversation on the topic and consider what type of  leadership is called for in this arena.  See link for recent article titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”.


To register for this meeting
1. Go to https://mit.webex.com/mit/j.php?ED=171693502&RG=1&UID=0&RT=MiMxMQ%3D%3D
2. Register for the meeting.

Logging into the WLGO Website

Don’t have a user name and password for the WLGO website?  It’s easy.  Go to http://www.wlgo.org/ and click on the “Join” tab on the far right.  After filling in the application form you will receive an e-mail with your user name and password.

Your Voice

The most important part of this newsletter is to hear your voice.  Please take a little time to post anything you’d like to share (promotions, new family additions, events/causes you’d like to advertise, etc….) to http://www.wlgo.org/groups/general-discussion/forum/topic/whats-coming-up-in-your-world/.

Nitida Wongthipkongka ’10 recently left her job in Ireland at Novartis and moved back to the US.  Nitida is in the midst of a career change into the social impact space and is trying to focus on more innovative organizations focused on entrepreneurship and Global Health.  Before leaving Europe, Nitida was able to see some amazing places like Poland, Croatia, and Lithuania.  She is looking forward to trips back to see friends.

Since LGO, Tye Duncan ‘11 stayed in Boston and has been working as a supply manager for Philips Healthcare’s service parts organization.  Tye will soon be moving into a new role in the same organization and welcome her first child last July – a happy boy with awesome red hair.

Emily Edwards Chang ’11 lives in Boston and recently made a career change to return to industry from management consulting.  Emily now works at Power Advocate, a SaaS company focused on the energy industry, as a product manager reporting to Joe Levesque ’04.  In October 2012, Emily married Cliff Chang along the South Carolina coast and loved getting to see all the LGOs in attendance.

Kacey Fetcho-Phillips ’11 writes “Hello LGO Ladies, hope everyone is doing well and glad to have this network to keep in touch.  In September we welcomed our second child, Liana; and her and big brother Nolan are doing well. At work I’m preparing to move for my second rotation at Amgen and look forward to the new adventures.”

Catherine Liang Chew ’11 lives in the Bay Area with her husband Mark ’10 working for Google and had the wonderful opportunity to recently attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on behalf of Google TV and YouTube.  Google TV announced 6 new partners with its smart TV platform which one BBC reporter proclaimed, “Perhaps the most compelling offering is Google TV – an open platform for whichever manufacturer wants it, and several do.”  YouTube announced 10 new partners for its send to TV functionality and YouTube star Felicia Day stopped by for a live demo.

Christie Simpson ’11 works as a Product Manager for HeartWare right outside of Boston.  Christie’s job takes her on hospital visits and to medical conferences all around the world.  She is very excited to report that her company just received their first FDA approval. 

Leonora Lanza ‘12 lives in Phoenix with fellow LGO alum and Amazon Pathways classmate,

Limor Zehavi ‘12.  Currently working as an Inbound area manager at Amazon’s PHX6 Fulfillment center. Looking forward to a trip to Seattle for an Amazon Operations conference in February.

Mary Anito ‘12 recently moved to Peoria and got a new home so lots of space for an LGO reunion!  Had Jalpa Patel ‘12 out for a visit and have regular dinner parties with the Cat LGO alums.  Currently working at Caterpillar managing a team focused on Supplier Development.  Helped to host the LGO Plant Trek in January (where Denise Johnson ’97 was a keynote) so got to meet lots of ’14s.  Planning a visit to Seattle in Feb. to see some other classmates – can’t wait!


Alumnae Mentoring

Leigh Hafferty  wants to thank the WLGO community for their great response to the call for mentors.  We represent a significant percentage of the overall mentors.  If interested contact Leigh directly.

Interview: Natallia Pinchuk, WLGO 2011New Picture_3

Work Background

Prior to MIT, Natallia focused on sustainability strategy, operational improvement and nuclear power plant operations at GE.  Her LGO internship involved short and long term sustainability strategy for Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems business unit.  After graduating from LGO in 2011, Natallia took a job as management consultant with A.T. Kearney out of their Moscow office.  She recently transferred to the Washington, DC office.  At A.T. Kearney, Natallia focuses on strategy, supply chain and operations. She has served clients across the USA, Netherlands, and Russia in Utilities, Manufacturing, Energy and Process Industries. 

Brief Refresher on Chernobyl (from Wikipedia)

The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (then officially Ukrainian SSR) near the border of Belarus.  The disaster began during a systems test at reactor number four of the Chernobyl plant. There was a sudden and unexpected power surge.  When an emergency shutdown was attempted, an exponentially larger spike in power output occurred leading to a reactor vessel rupture and a series of steam explosions. These events exposed the graphite moderator of the reactor to air, causing it to ignite.

The resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere which spread over much of Western USSR and Europe. From 1986 to 2000, 350,400 people were evacuated and resettled from the most severely contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.  According to official post-Soviet data, about 60% of the fallout landed in Belarus.  The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles.  The official Soviet casualty count of 31 deaths has been disputed and long-term effects such as cancers and deformities are still being accounted for.

The Chernobyl disaster is widely considered to have been the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011).  The accident raised concerns about the safety of the Soviet nuclear power industry, as well as nuclear power in general, slowing its expansion for a number of years and forcing the Soviet government to become less secretive about its procedures.

Motivation for Visiting Chernobyl

Natallia was born Belarus and spent her formative years in the area of the world most impacted by the Chernobyl disaster.  Though Natallia was only four when the actual accident occurred and does not remember that fateful day, she always had a desire to learn more about it for as long as she can remember.   Natallia heard that the accident site was opening up to tourism a few years ago and had been looking for the opportunity to visit ever since.  She wanted to learn more about accident and draw own conclusions.  Living in close proximity to the disaster site while in Russia working for AT Kearney, gave her that chance.

Chernobyl’s Impact on her Profession

As a result of the accident, Natallia’s childhood home had three Geiger counters to measure radiation.  A malfunctioning counter became her “toy” and Natallia loved playing with the counter and using it to measure people and things.  Natallia said that “from a very young age, I had a curiosity about radiation and (later) wanted to be a radiation engineer … to clean up the forests around Chernobyl.”  Many years later, Natallia went to university to become a radiation specialist but realized nuclear engineering was cooler and impacted the potential consequences of radiation further up the chain in design.

After finishing secondary school in Belarus, Natallia applied for a visa to several English speaking countries in the hopes of one day “reading Shakespeare in his native tongue”.  Her first choice, the UK, would not grant her a visa but the US did and Natallia wound up working as a summer cook at a small camp in remote PA.   After camp ended, she traveled to Boston and was impressed with the intelligent, ambitious people and the museums and hospitals.  Her love of Boston prolonged her original brief stint in the US with a turn at BU and eventually Michigan University where she earned both a BS and MS in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Science got BS in Nuclear Engineering.  There are no nuclear reactors in Belarus so Natallia stayed in US so could truly work as a nuclear engineer. 

Chernobyl TourismNew Picture_2

Ukraine just opened up the sealed zone around the Chernobyl reactor to tourists in 2011 when it was deemed that enough time had passed since the accident for it to be safe for tourists.  The process is complex and costly and is run via a private tour company through the Ukraine Department of Energy.  Tourists are divided in small groups of five people to one guide. New Picture_1

There are three areas of the accident site divided by distance from epicenter: 5Km, 10Km, and 30Km. On the way to and from the site, each time you go through a “border” everybody gets off the bus.  On the way in, the officials check your passport and on the way out, they check you for radiation.  Occasionally people’s clothes are taken for measuring too high of radiation levels and the tour groups suggest that you bring a change of clothes.  There is one approved route through the town which is abandoned.  At time of the accident, people had to leave immediately and left everything lending an eerie ghost town feeling.  Natallia’s photo on the left is of an abandoned kindergarten.  Looters came and all the valuables are long since gone.  A few years later, graffiti artists came and now the town is adorned with murals and other graffiti with an abandoned theme.  One of Natallia’s favorite memories of the trip was seeing the hauntingly beautiful graffiti, one such example shown on the right.

Upon reaching the station, visitors are able to see the site of the explosion.  At the time of the accident, Chernobyl had four operating nuclear reactors and two under construction.  Reactor number four where the accident occurred was largely obliterated.  The remainder of that reactor was sealed off with concrete to allow the other three operational reactors to continue running after the accident.  Natallia is pictured at left with reactor #4, the one where the accident occurred, showing the present day seal for radiation containment.  A significant amount of electricity was produced in Chernobyl and the Ukraine government decided that immediately turning all them off would devastate the region’s power supply.  The three remaining reactors were modified for safety and were decommissioned over the years with the final reactor being turned off by then-President Leonid Kuchma in December 2000.  

Key TakeawaysNew Picture_4

While the thought of visiting the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history may terrify many people, Natallia is quick to point out that the radiation exposure is minimal. The picture on the right shows Natallia holding a Geiger counter in front of Unit 4.  At the distance pictured, the radiation exposure is only twice the radiation exposure on a flight. This means that if a person stayed at the site for 20 minutes, the dose of radiation they received would have been equal to the amount of radiation they would receive from a 40-minute New York-Boston flight or 1/10th of New York – San Francisco flight.  Natallia flew directly from Amsterdam to Kiev and back on her visit to the Chernobyl flight.  She had her own Geiger counter on her throughout the course of the trip and registered 4x the radiation on those two flights as she did spending twelve hours in Chernobyl.

Being a nuclear engineer, Natallia already knew the history of Chernobyl prior to visiting the accident site.  During her visit, she was most struck with the realization that “life goes on even after such a horrible accident as this”.  Chernobyl use to be solely an industrial site and “now it’s an untouched piece of land and a safe haven for animals”.  Natallia believes that everybody remembers Chernobyl, somewhat unfairly because it’s a big headline.  While Natallia acknowledges that the media and the public focus on big, dramatic events, she feels these preconceived beliefs about nuclear energy “are not truly reflective of the real risk of real damage”

Point to Ponder

During a recent conversation at work, I was reminded of my need to stay up on all things supply chain, even if I did only recently wrap-up LGO.  Leaving LGO it almost seems like you have heard everything under to sun on supply chain, either through discussions with partner companies, thesis research, conferences, or course work so it’s easy to get a bit complacent and forget to keep researching and learning.  I started working at Caterpillar earlier this year and have been working with another woman in our Purchasing group who is focused on our newly developed Assurance of Supply Center.  This Center is focused on monitoring and highlighting supplier issues as they develop (whether from a tsunami, fire, or simply consistent under performance) so that others in Purchasing can work to address these issues.

In starting a leadership class at Caterpillar, I was given the opportunity to provide an issue to tackle via a group project (talk about flashback to LGO, and especially Product Design and Development [PDD]), the only difference is this had to be a mission critical challenge for the enterprise that I had been a part of for less than a year.    I had been surprised by Cat’s lack of a single Supply Chain division, after seeing a fairly mature and effective model in use during my tenure at Cisco.   So I pitched the question, Is it time for Caterpillar to create a Supply Chain Division?

Thus, I started working with my colleague from the Assurance of Supply Center and she continued to remind me that rather than focus on a supply chain (a misnomer for Caterpillar’s complex grouping of suppliers), she kept reiterating the complex supplier network.  So I started looking around, thinking there must be research on the topic of supply chain versus supplier network.  It’s not always a one-way chain of Supplier A getting supply from Supplier B who gets its material from Supplier C.   Sometimes we get materials from Supplier A and B, depending on which facility they are shipping to, or just depending on the nature of the product the supplier is providing.  Our suppliers aren’t always a tier 1 direct supplier or tier 2 providing to tier 1, instead they are tier 1 for some things and tier 2 for others.

From my quick search, I didn’t find much research in the field yet so perhaps this would be a good LGO thesis for the future or topic for our spring conference.  Let me know if you have any good resources.  This discussion and attempt at research did get me back on a favorite topic of mine, life-long learning.  I love to volunteer in STEM education (the topic of my team’s PDD project) and this keeps me in the mind of continuing education.  A favorite learning resource of mine is my local library so upon moving to Peoria, that was my first membership.  So I found this fact on reading in the below article quite upsetting:

“As kids, the world is our classroom… Every year, we can look back on ourselves the year before and be amazed at how much we’ve learned. In college, things get a lot more specialized, but we’re still continuing to learn all that we can.

And then, we just stop.

42% of all college graduates never read another book again. Ever.

After you finish school, you’ll never again have someone giving you homework. And while you probably spent many years looking forward to that, it’s important to realize that learning is a big part of what makes life interesting. When your learning is self-directed, it can be a lot more fun than school was.”

– Why Great People Never Stop Learning, Hunter Nuttall1

How do we, as eternal LGOs, keep learning, keep growing, and keep sharing that knowledge?

Post a response on the Activities tab!