Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/12/19
Courtesy of Justin Lafleur, Lehigh Sports Communications
When Googling “supply chain,” the following definition comes up: “The sequence of processes involved in the production and distribution of a commodity.”
Focus in on one part of the definition, “the sequence of processes,” which is applicable to much more than just the business world.
Lehigh women’s lacrosse rising senior and supply chain management major Christine Balestra (Perkiomen Valley) has played an important role in multiple “supply chains,” interning this summer with Boeing and helping enhance the “supply chain” of the women’s lacrosse program.
“A strong supply chain can give a company a huge competitive advantage in their industry,” she said. “It’s fast-paced, it’s dynamic and it really has an emphasis on efficiency and quality. It starts with your raw materials and goes to suppliers making parts.
“Then, you think of procurement where you’re ordering parts; you’re receiving requests from engineering with the needs for those parts. Procurement orders and receives them, then it goes to the production line where it becomes the final product and is delivered to the customer.
Here’s what it boils down to …
“Supply chain management is managing the raw materials to the final customer,” said Balestra. “It is super complex and dynamic, but it keeps you on your toes.”
This summer, Balestra has been on her toes as a Boeing procurement agent intern on the major subcontract commodity team. 26214Balestra in front of the Boeing factory.
Procurement is an important aspect of any supply chain management, which focuses on processes. And by Balestra embracing the process of learning at Lehigh, it actually helped lead to her opportunity at Boeing.
“We’ve learned a lot about Boeing in my supply chain classes,” she said. “They’re a prime example of a super dynamic complex supply chain because they’re obtaining parts from suppliers all over the world in high quantities. One of my professors, Bob Trent, worked at Boeing a long time ago. I became interested in the company, told him I wanted to apply and he encouraged me to do so. He really enjoyed his experience there.”
Balestra went on to apply through the Boeing website.
Several months later, Balestra is now the person experiencing the company first-hand. In a few short weeks as an intern, she has been working on a wide variety of projects.
As if her day-to-day tasks wasn’t enough, Balestra has also taken part in the business intern case competition.
“We were placed on teams with business interns across departments,” she said. “I’m on a team with a finance major, and also an engineer. We created a pitch and presented it. It was a great experience working with people from different backgrounds.”
Balestra has enjoyed a long-standing passion for working with, and helping people. Serving as co-captain of Lehigh Athletics’ service program C.O.A.C.H. (Community Outreach by Athletes who Care About Helping), she also joined Boeing’s community service organization.
“We meet once a week and plan monthly events to benefit the community,” said Christie. “Since my internship is only 10 weeks, we’re really only having three events.”
Those 10 weeks end on August 16 and not long after, Balestra and her teammates will return to campus for the 2019-20 school year. At that point, her work won’t be over. She looks to continue enhancing Lehigh women’s lacrosse’s “supply chain.”
Remember how the chain definition boils down to “the sequence of processes?”
The Lacrosse team’s “supply chain” includes every process from film to practice to the weight room and much more. It even expands to taking care of business in the classroom because if you’re not academically eligible, you can’t play. Balestra doesn’t have to worry about that; she owns a 3.93 grade point average in her major and 3.75 overall.
“Everyone has their roles and whether you’re the last bench girl or the star player, you’re important,” said Balestra. “It’s like with a supply chain in business; every function has to work together or it won’t go right.”
Working together means every function bringing value to their roles every single day. There may be no better example than Balestra, someone who may not score the most goals or cause the most turnovers, but who has embraced her role on the team.
She was rewarded with the Coaches Award after the 2019 season.
“Christie earned the Coaches Award for demonstrating consistent effort, coachability and loyalty,” said Lehigh head coach Jill Redfern. “We often say each player has the opportunity to star in her role. Christie has embraced challenges and grown as a student-athlete at Lehigh.”
Balestra takes pride in doing just that, in bringing value to everything she does and starring in her role.
“If you have a great work ethic, really care about what you’re doing and own your role, you will add value to your organization,” she said.
Balestra has become a difference-maker to do those around her.
“As I work closely with Christie, I see a very giving, caring, thoughtful and compassionate person,” said Roseann Corsi, Lehigh Athletics’ Community Relations Coordinator. “What a joy it is to plan and help others together. It is not surprising to see that Christie has also been involved with Boeing’s Community Service. Christie has a warm heart and it truly shows that no matter where Christie is, she will be making a difference in the community in helping others. We are very fortunate to have Christie as one of our leaders in the C.O.A.C.H. Program.”
As a leader already and an aspiring young professional, Boeing is the latest organization Balestra has impacted. She also interned with Pfizer last summer.
“My title there was product portfolio lead manager,” she said. “My manager managed a portfolio of rare disease products, specifically hemophilia products, so we managed different drugs that Pfizer developed. We forecasted the needs for those products, making sure there were no shortages to patients with a rare disease who needed it. Last summer, I was more in the forecasting side of supply chain. Now, I’m in procurement at Boeing, buying parts and everything.
“Experiencing the different sides of business, I’m able to figure out what I want to do,” she continued. “I really like where I am (at Boeing) and could see myself working in procurement, at least for a few years.”
For now, Balestra’s goal is to, as she said, “bring value every single day to every position.”
If Christie does that, she will keep putting herself – and whatever team she’s on – in a strong position to succeed.
“We are very proud of Christie and she is proud of her lacrosse program and school,” said Redfern. “‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well’ summarizes her approach to all she’s undertaken. She will have some exceptional opportunities as she takes the next steps in her career.”
“I’m making connections, growing my professional network and bringing that technical knowledge from my classes and applying it to real-world experiences, which helps you grow,” said Balestra.
“I’m so appreciative of the opportunities Lehigh has afforded me,” she continued. “There are obviously amazing academics, and the professors are always there to help. Our coaches are really supportive of everything we do. Lehigh really prepares you for your future and builds those relationships that will last a long time.”