Future of Sourcing continues our popular series, “Women in Global Sourcing", with Amanda Prochaska. This series strives to highlight, celebrate and acknowledge women who are pioneers and leaders in the industry and who have been influential in moving the industry forward.
Amanda has built a career over the last 15 years focused on implementing innovative solutions to procurement organizations and has a passion for coaching organizations through large-scale transformations.
Tell us about your career path. How did you get into this field? Was it purposeful or by accident?
I majored in International Political Economics and French in university. Late in my junior year, I started wondering what I could do with such a major, knowing that I wanted to focus on business. So, I started looking through a booklet that my major provided. It was listed alphabetically. I worked through the As and most of the Bs and then came across “buyer.” I thought to myself, I like to buy things, so that might be fun. So, believe it or not, the North American HQ of a French-based company was hiring a buyer. Got the job the same day I interviewed and never looked back!
Would you follow that same path again if you had the choice?
I believe that there was a higher power involved in getting me into this field – some divine intervention. It is a perfect fit and I would be lucky to follow the same path again.
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career and why?
Probably the most noticeable change and impact is the technology landscape. It is changing how we work, who we hire, and what procurement’s operating model looks like now and into the future. When I started, we did not seek data scientists and RPA managers. We also focused 80% to 90% of the skills on technical versus interpersonal. Due to automation, there is a great shift to those interpersonal skills.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your industry today and how do you plan to solve it?
There are two – the impact of tech and the movement to being value-based in our approach within procurement. Since I already talked about tech, I will focus on the latter. Now that procurement is maturing, our traditional price-focused negotiations will only get us so far. We have a vast opportunity to move to being problem solvers, business enablers and community supporters. We have a unique position within procurement to have a direct positive impact on our companies’ success, our suppliers’ success, and within the communities we operate in – through how we engage with our suppliers. This shift could be similar to how leaders managed employees decades ago versus now, with a servant leadership style. Through leading our suppliers like we do with our own employees, we will have access to greater capabilities, diverse point of views, and be able to creatively solve for the biggest business problems.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement career-wise?
The people that I have been able to hire and coach during my career. Many of them have moved on to bigger and better roles – often leading teams of their own to success. It is my honor and privileged to have had the opportunity to be part of their careers.
What’s your biggest (as yet) unfulfilled ambition and what are you doing to achieve it?
I tell people this all the time – I would like to be a speaker and author, as well as a successful business owner. This will allow me to move to a tropical location and have a hobby farm and real estate investment firm with my family. Taking the step to start HPP is my hope to fulfill these dreams.
What three words do you think your colleagues and peers would use to describe you?
Driven, honest and authentic.
Finally, what piece of advice would you give to young women starting their careers in the field of sourcing, outsourcing and procurement?
Do not let any experience, good or bad, pass you by without cherishing that experience and learning from it. Also, don’t let those bad experiences slow you down.