Award-winning Business Leader, Women Empowerment in the Workplace and Gender Equity Advocate, Top 100 Most Influential Women in Supply Chain Globally
Born in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, Alma Arzate is a first-generation college student. As she came from an underprivileged background, she grew up without the resources that many of her peers took for granted, which motivated her to become more creative and resilient. Being the trailblazer in her family meant that she had to be the role model for her 2 younger sisters. Despite all odds, Alma persevered and graduated in 1993 in the top 1% of her class with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (B.B.A.).
After graduation, Alma continued to work entry-level jobs for several years. Like many First-Gen students, she suffered from imposter syndrome, feeling out of their depth, and having low self-esteem. Alma did not believe she had what it took to get a leadership role. Fortunately, her leaders believed in Alma, and gave her the coaching and mentoring she needed to improve her self-confidence, find her own voice, and start saying YES to more advancement opportunities. As a way to pay it forward, Alma goes out of her way to create opportunities for deserving individuals. Over the last few years, Alma has facilitated developmental assignments or promotions for 30+ of her team members - many of them immigrants.
Due to the escalating violence in her hometown, Alma and her young family immigrated to Canada in 2007. With no family or friends to support her integration into the Canadian culture, Alma had to find her own way while helping her family not just adapt, but thrive. This is one of the many reasons she feels strongly about making the time to volunteer and support her fellow immigrants that have made Canada their new home. As part of this move to Canada, Alma had to make a decision to take a step back in her career, but as she started learning the culture and successfully integrated herself into the Canadian work environment, she was promoted to Manager, Project Management, then as a Sr. Manager, Supply Planning, which enabled her to land a role as a Director, Supply Chain Execution in 2012 with Apotex Inc., a generics pharmaceutical manufacturer located in Toronto, Canada. Alma continues to work for Apotex, but now as a Senior Director, Global Supply Chain Logistics. Alma has built a successful career of 25+ years across the Automotive, Electronics, Medical Devices, CPG, and Pharma industries, now leading a diverse team of over 150 supply professionals in Canada and the U.S.
Despite her hectic schedule, Alma has carved out 500+ hours of her time over the last few years as a mentor, keynote speaker, and panelist for many Universities, Colleges, Associations, and Canadian Immigrant Settlement Organizations. In 2019, Alma was selected by Supply Chain Canada as part of their first-ever Top 100 Most Influential Women in Canadian Supply Chain. (https://lnkd.in/didy2xhw). Her story was shared on the cover of the October 2019 edition of Supply Professional magazine (https://bit.ly/35QKP3r). Alma was one of the top finalists of the annual RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards in 2020 and 2021. Alma was the winner of the 2020 Woman of Inspiration Awards issued by the Universal Womens Network (UWN) under the category of Authentic Leader, and in 2021, she was named to the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain globally by IBM and Supply Chain Digital magazine (https://lnkd.in/gu44YCq).
In 2021, Alma shared her immigration story as part of the book "Journey to Home: Canadian Immigrant and Refugee Stories of Courage and Hope". In 2022, Alma became the first female content creator and instructor for LinkedIn Learning’s Spanish Library in Global Logistics (https://lnkd.in/gzWXNNvv). She was nominated as part of the Top 10 Most Influential Hispanic-Canadian in 2022, and in 2023, Alma was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Supply Chain by B2G Consulting.
Alma resides in Toronto, Canada with her husband of over 25 years, and their 3 children (ages 15, 17, and 23).