Location: Aurora, Colorado
The pandemic was tough on every business in every industry, and Symbia Logistics was no different. But it had one weapon to combat the tidal wave of change that most companies did not: a leader like Megan Smith.
“Megan Smith handles challenging days like a pro skier on the bunny slope,” her staff said.
Symbia Logistics was deemed an essential business, and Smith immediately delivered speeches to her employees in English and Spanish to commend her team for its dedication. She conducted Facebook Live events in her warehouses to explain the mission and encourage her staff, boosting morale and showing she would be right there on the front lines with them. “It was natural for her and an incredible display of leadership for the rest of us,” her staff said.
Smith did her best to frame the challenge of the pandemic in a positive way. “Change can be a challenge, especially progressive change,” she said. “To successfully be a leader who is also a change agent, you must first illuminate why the change is positive for the group or organization.”
Symbia is a third-party logistics (3PL), warehousing and fulfillment company that traces its roots back to 1989 as a bulk storage and pallet management company under a different name. The company was sold in 2014, marking a turning point for the business. The leadership team shifted focus to pallet management services for the world’s largest pallet pool, CHEP, a division of Brambles. The Symbia team integrated automation and robotics into its operations as well. Today, with a nationwide footprint of fulfillment centers and hundreds of employees, Symbia has become a go-to provider for expanding companies seeking a logistics partner who can help them scale and expand into new markets.
Over the next 24 months, Symbia will be largely focused on streamlining operations and developing and refining processes. The team has moved on from pallet management and is now focused on warehousing and fulfillment services with an eye on lowering its carbon footprint. Looking ahead three to five years, Symbia will be back on the acquisition path, seeking out other 3PL companies in ideal markets to further expand its national footprint.
“As a privately held, family-owned business, I plan to continue taking Symbia into the future,” Smith said. “We have no plans to sell or take on new partners, which gives me a strong platform for the long term. Being a woman in a male-dominated space also means a lot of opportunity for positive impact and influence on both the company and the logistics industry.”
While Smith’s leadership in the workplace is impressive, she’s equally accomplished in other ventures. She graduated with a master’s in supply chain management and a 4.0 grade point average. When she read an article about how socks are one of the greatest needs for the homeless population, Smith donated 500 pairs of socks to Denver’s homeless shelters. During the height of COVID-19, she donated hundreds of masks that her team had made as part of an initiative she spearheaded and saw all the way through to fulfillment.
Under Megan’s leadership, Symbia is a 2017 Inc. 5000 Award winner (No. 69 overall) and Colorado’s No. 1 fastest-growing private business. Smith was recently recognized as one of the Top 5 Coolest Females in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digital.
Smith is a single mother with two young children who is the CEO of a company with more than 1,200 employees and who completed her master’s degree during a global pandemic.
"To successfully be a leader who is also a change agent, you must first illuminate why the change is positive for the group or organization."