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2023 Comenius Award

June Youngs

June Slawinski Youngs ’79

The Comenius Award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement or service in an alumna's or alumnus' field of work. This is the Alumni Association's lifetime achievement award.

Since her time at Moravian, June Slawinski Youngs ’79 has been breaking barriers to achieve the top level of her career in the male-dominated field of supply chain logistics. But to June, it has always been about recognizing that every person has a seat at the table—something she has worked to do in her leadership.

June enrolled at Moravian to explore its engineering and liberal arts programs. She pursued a liberal arts background, majoring in English with minors in political science and music. She attributes her academic track at Moravian to much of her success—she calls it a gift. “What helped me in my career was the diversity of classes I took. My liberal arts education allowed me to morph during my career,” says June. “I started in logistics but also ran manufacturing and global customer service. My baseline undergraduate education allowed me to do that. It also made me a better speaker and communicator, a better leader.”

After graduation, June started out with a job in banking. She then was an analyst for an oil and gas company. Her first role in logistics and supply chain was at Nabisco foods company in New Jersey. She climbed the ranks from specialist to senior analyst, then manager, and eventually director of transportation/distribution services. June then took a position at toy, game, and entertainment company Hasbro, Inc. in Rhode Island, first as vice president, then senior vice president of supply chain logistics. Later she held positions at Boston Warehouse Trading Corporation, a fine housewares and gifts company, as its chief operating officer, and at agricultural cooperative Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., serving in various director roles overseeing manufacturing and supply chain. When June served in her role as vice president at CVS Health in Rhode Island, she was responsible for all aspects of corporate logistics and distribution center operations across 4,000 CVS/pharmacy retail locations, nine distribution centers, and 3,500 employees. She helped develop and implement strategies to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of distribution operations, store service levels, and productivity.

June navigated the male-dominated profession at every level. She says she was the one woman among dozens of men in every meeting. While aware of the situation, June refused to let it affect her role and her growth. “You need to understand that you are providing value, and there will always be people that don’t accept where you are coming from, what you are doing, or your background. If you provide value in whatever situation you are in, you can overcome it,” she says.

Through her career, June learned how to include and position herself well among her male colleagues. She would make a point to invite her coworkers to lunch to reserve her spot at the table. She took up golf, knowing important business discussions were happening on the course and over drinks in the clubhouse. But just as well, June is quick to acknowledge the men who offered her opportunities for growth and advancement, including a CEO who promoted her to run manufacturing in a significant sector of the business citing his trust in her leadership ability and background. June says it’s about ignoring one’s own unconscious bias.

“We all have it. It’s not recognizing that the person has a seat at the table,” she says. “As I moved through my career, I made sure men, women, and people of all backgrounds had that seat at the table, literally. I learned that some of the best ideas came from those who were most quiet, so if I was leading a team or running a group, I always made sure that those folks had time and space to think about the issue at hand and had an opportunity to speak. It’s what I learned from my own experiences of having to push my way into discussions. I wanted to open the door for others. We need to make all people feel comfortable in moving things forward.”

June has received awards and been named to lists of influential individuals. In 2000, she was lauded as one of the Top 20 Logistics’ Professionals in Who’s Who of American Women. In 2007, she received the “Women of Influence in the Northeast” award from the Griffin Report of Food Marketing. She has also been featured in Chief Logistics Officer Magazine as the first female chairperson in the 90-year history of the National Industrial Transportation League.