Brienne’ Coates our second alumni spotlight for May is an industrial engineer who works for Home Depot as the IFC Analyst. She is graduate of South Paulding High School (2010),  Spelman College (2015), and Georgia Institute of Technology (2016).  Brienne’ is a member of the inaugural 21st Century Leaders Junior Board of Directors and when asked why she is interested in serving on this board, she says “The 21CL Junior Board is a great initiative and platform to give back to youth in Georgia and share experiences that encourage others to be leaders right where they are. It’s an exciting time to reach out, collaborate, and make a difference today!”

Paint a brief picture of what you are doing now.

I wake up to the hustle and bustle of accelerating trucks carrying containers with decorative symbols and bold insignia, often wondering where the freight is going. My current role as logistics analyst in partnership with the world’s largest home improvement retail company allows me to support the operational and inter-modal efficiency of shipping freight across the U.S. to ensure on-time delivery to our stores, and valued customers. Collaborating with vendors, dedicated partners, and on-site teams to reduce transit time, maintain roadway safety practices, and initiate more savings is the objective. Additionally, servicing the DIY customer with home goods and power tools to meet their needs results in success sharing. The logistics of coordinating freight enables exponential growth performance by focusing on improving vendor and carrier relationships with emphasis on engagement, support, and compliance. To my delight, fuzzy logic is the crux of data analytics when it comes to transporting freight.

How did participating in 21CL transform you and lead you to where you are now?

Participating in a 21st Century Leaders summer leadership institutes helped open my eyes to the possibilities of leadership. Knowing that leadership skills can be developed and nurtured through a supportive network of peers and experienced professionals is remarkable. When I reflect on my experience with 21CL, I am continuously reminded to take on new leadership roles and engage in the adventure that follows.

And how did 21CL prepare you for your next steps? Going into college and taking on leadership roles, heading into a new era of professionalism, etc. What skills/tools/perspectives have helped you along the way?

Discussing leadership challenges and development in a 21CL program prepared me for the next step of taking on leadership roles. In further consideration, it was the guidance, and encouragement from the staff, volunteers and peers which really helped to create a memorable and fun experience that got me excited about becoming a transformational leader in my community. I also gained a better understanding of how leadership spans across networks of people and systems for a bigger purpose. Having toured the facility of a primary electric utility company which supplies power to millions, my perspective was shaped by this experience. It inspired me to customize my leadership journey and maximize opportunities in higher education and professional development.

Which programs did you participate in, and when? What skills did you gain or improve through those programs?

I participated in 21CL’s 2009 EarthCare summer leadership institute at Berry College in Rome, GA.  I improved my soft skills and enjoyed interacting with colleagues from diverse backgrounds. Interestingly, taking part in a life-sized obstacle course exercise made me realize the importance of team work, momentum and agility in overcoming real-life challenges.

What was a memorable or ‘aha’ moment in 21CL? (Particular program, meeting a professional and diverse peers, speaking in public for the first time, etc.?)

Being involved in the environmental leadership challenge focused on reducing energy consumption and collaboratively delivering a winning proposal was a memorable ‘aha’ moment. In sharing the journey with other self-motivated individuals, I continue to embrace leadership skills and develop confidence in my ability to communicate and lead others effectively.

Did 21CL assist you in developing a leadership style that makes you an effective leader? if so how? And have you recently learned something else about leadership? Please share!

Yes, assisted by the workshops and tours provided by 21st Century Leaders, my leadership style has ­­­been influenced through networking with other student leaders and positive role models. By practicing bridge-building leadership, I am a more effective leader. As a 21CL alumna, I realized that leadership skills learned and activated today creates wisdom for effective leadership tomorrow.