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Deanna Lomas

Deanna Lomas works as the Director of Supply Chain at Telstra.

Deanna LomasWhat do you do on an average work day?
I am responsible for the Consumer Technology Product supply chain.  This means sourcing and supplying products such as mobile phones, tablets, wearables and accessories to support our Retail business. 

The most important job for me each day is to understand if we have had any customer issues – customers who have not got their products delivered as promised.  This means understanding if any issues with deliveries from the warehouse or freight network as well as understanding if any broader issues with product deliveries that we are expecting in the coming days & weeks.  At any point in time we can be solving for a commercial problem with a supplier such as pricing, through to understanding what products they are looking to bring to market in the coming months. 

I get to see new products before they come to market, sometimes 6-12 months before they launch.  We also have a cyclical rhythm driving the week.  This is because we have lead times that we need to operate within to make sure we work with our suppliers such as Apple to manufacture the product in advance of us needing to supply it to our customers. 

A big part of my day is supporting my team as they navigate through business issues, I enjoy this part of my job the most as working with people is very rewarding. 

What did you study at school? And after high school?
At school I thrived on maths/science subjects. I particularly enjoyed mathematics and while I didn’t know at the time how I could use it in the future I found that I naturally was able to learn it.  I do remember that the proportion of the class taking a maths/science subject path was not as material as those taking an arts/English study path. 

As I think back, I ended up on the maths/science path not because I knew where it could take me but because I was getting good results in it, so I now realise how important it is to talk about where a maths/science path can take you in your career. I used the maths/science path to complete an Engineering degree, majoring in manufacturing systems after finishing high school. 

I have also completed a Business degree majoring in Marketing and an Arts degree majoring in Public Relations and Asian Studies. I hold an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) qualification and have completed executive study programs overseas at Kellogg School of Management, WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.   I believe it is important to continually learn and develop. 

Was your study directly related to what you do now?
The great thing about engineering and any study post high school is it gives you a great skill set that is relevant in many ways in the workplace.  Specifically engineering gave me a strong process and problem solving mind-set, and an inherent curiosity on how things work. There are not many things that you touch or use in your day to day life that have not been created by an engineer. Engineers impact everybody through building new infrastructure, new products and services and ultimately improve our quality of life. 

Today I apply my engineering mind to the way I solve for problems at work, every day I am faced with challenges in making sure all the products moving through the supply chain get to where they need to be and I always have to think about the next emerging issue that might impact the business e.g. a major supply issue overseas or changing customer demand that might affect what product they want to buy from us. 

What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now?
I would encourage women to think about choosing subject paths at high school that create as many options as possible. A maths/science path can open a diverse range of doors and into careers that have not always been as obvious for women to take. 

STEM qualifications can take you anywhere from working on internationally, new emerging industries such as lifestyle technology (technology enabled clothing & products) or Big Data analytics that anticipate consumer behaviour enabling companies to personalise offers. 

STEM career professionals are often at the forefront of discovery and innovation.  I would encourage women to explore options, and if unsure select subjects that do not narrow options, but help you keep a STEM career as a possibility.

What are some of your career highlights so far?
I have been fortunate to travel the world with my career. I have met and worked with a culturally diverse team, I have worked on projects in developing countries across the Pacific, Asia and Africa.  

I have learnt about new fuel production technology methods and options for Aircraft and the aviation industry, think “coconut oil” based fuels. I have led teams that have launched new products in market such as Apple Iphones and I have learnt about the power of the technology in our consumer mobility products such as mobile phones and tablets. 

Most importantly I have had the opportunity to meet people from many different backgrounds.

Why do you believe engaging in STEM - whether it’s working in the field, studying it or just educating one’s self around the issues – is it important to New Zealand?
STEM underpins a significant amount of daily life activity.  STEM career professionals will help create new opportunities for New Zealand to be known for. 

Why is it important to have more women working in STEM?
It is important for STEM to have diverse participation, without it we will be missing the potential to uncover the next discovery, the next global breakthrough that could be life changing or new ways of doing things that solve for daily challenges.  

We also need more role models for women in STEM, sometimes it is simply knowing what the possibilities are to build awareness and therefore help more women see the opportunities of a STEM career. 

Deanna Lomas works as the Director of Supply Chain at Telstra.

This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM. 
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