Karen Carter | AHRMM



Karen Carter, CMRP    

Director for Supply Chain Operations, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Joined AHRMM in 2013

1. Please share your history of involvement with AHRMM committees/task forces/activities:

I have been on the Membership Committee for four years and on the Chapter Relations Committee in the past.

2. Tell us more about your specific job responsibilities in your company/hospital/organization:

I am the Director for Supply Chain Operations at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The department of Supply Chain Operations is responsible for management and oversight in the areas of supply chain distribution, inventory management, receiving management, mail services, courier services, van & shuttle services, and fleet management activities 7 days.  I, as director, have general oversight of the Supply Chain Operations Departments which includes medical supply distribution, inventory management, receiving management, shuttle van services, mail and package services, courier services, acquisitions and oversight of the systems fleet, customer service, and staff training.

3. How many years have you been in your current role; how many years in supply chain?

I have been in my current role since 2017 and in supply chain since 2006.

4. What aspect of your job do you like best?

I like working with the staff and being able to serve as a mentor and talent developer.  I manage 1 assistant director, 2 managers, 2 supervisors, 1 project coordinator, 5 front line employees and have oversight of more than 100 employees. I meet with them quarterly to help them develop and review their professional development plan. I help my staff complete college applications, develop transition plans, and expose them to other parts of healthcare. I try and introduce my employees to others, especially individuals who might be able to relate to them or help them in particular ways, and I encourage networking in general. I strive to make time for them to learn aspects of supply chain that they don’t have access to in their current role.

5. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging aspect of my job is overseeing the performance of employees with varying level of experience and engagement. Managing people is not easy! I have employees under my supervision in their 50s and 60s who have been in the same role their entire career, people in their 20s just starting out, all working together. Some are college educated; some may not have finished high school. Many have challenges outside the workplace. We are in an urban hospital in a city that has had some significant challenges. Some of my staff face serious economic and social issues, and I find I often spend a considerable amount of time on issues that aren’t necessarily work related, but do affect their work.

6. Who is your mentor/key influencer, and why?

My key influencer in my professional life is Mr. Kenneth Grant, Vice President of Supply Chain Services at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Mr. Grant cares about our employees and has an open door for over 1500 people who work for his departments. I learned a lesson from Mr. Grant early in my management career and its practice has helped shape me into a leader today: our employees are our most important asset. Mr. Grant taught me through his actions how to serve my employees, and for that I am eternally grateful. 

7. What AHRMM board/committee/task forces/activity/experience stands out/is most memorable for you?

I have attended the AHRMM conference the past five years, and each year my conference experience increases. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from great courses like the Supply Chain 201 seminar I attended at AHRMM15. The conference offers a wonderful opportunity to network with other supply chain professionals, learn from the masters within the supply chain industry, and share best practice for performance and production improvement in the workplace. 

8. Why did you join AHRMM/what keeps you coming back?

I joined AHRMM because I believe it’s important for my career development to be a part of a professional organization within the supply chain industry. I remain a member and continue to pay my dues because of the benefits I experience as an AHRMM member.

9. Name one AHRMM tool you “cannot do without”:

I cannot do without the AHRMM job board and the resource tab for members.

10. What are key AHRMM resources you use to leverage your supply chain processes? 

11. What is the best part of being involved in your professional association?

The best part of being involved in AHRMM is the opportunity to network.

12. What is something most of your peers don’t know about you?

A few things come to mind. One thing is that I love and am committed to mentoring college students and encouraging all students and employees to further their education, both at work and in my free time. Another thing most people don’t know about me is that I have been on 12 cruises to date. I love cruise vacations – I’ve been to the Caribbean, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Belize, the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, and Jamaica to name a few! I work hard during the year, and I appreciate the fact that a cruise is an all-inclusive resort on the water, with wonderful food, lots of activities, games, parties, and a host of options.

13. In my free time I like to:

I spend a lot of time volunteering and mentoring young adults. I am a volunteer – for the National Association for Health Services Executives and Maryland New Direction, a local nonprofit. I conduct resume review and coach interviewing skills. I help people locate resources and bridge the gap between what they are doing and where they want to go (like find internships and other career-focused opportunities).

14. Personal Motto or Favorite Quote:

You have to first serve to be a leader.