Tell us about your career path. How did you get into this field? Was it purposeful or by accident?
Definitely by accident! After I graduated, I went into a temp agency in Manhattan, seeking temp work and they asked me if I would be interested in an internal role as a recruiter
. Having had zero experience or insight into the staffing industry/indirect sourcing world, I opted to give it a try. I enjoyed it right away. I really liked working with candidates and assisting with their career goals. After about a year operating on the recruitment side of the business, I asked to be moved into a client facing/sales role. The time I spent recruiting gave me the foundation/confidence I needed to help companies/my clients identify their own staffing gaps and needs. I stayed in a high producing sales capacity over the next 11 years of my career in both the New York City and Philadelphia markets and eventually made the transition to the managed service provider (MSP) space. The experience I gained as a producer for a few of the top staffing firms in the world made the transition extremely comfortable. I currently am running two contingent labor programs and managing recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) for a large financial institution in multiple markets across the United States.
Would you follow that same path again if you had the choice?
Yes, I would. Sourcing/outsourcing/talent management is one of those unique industries where you get to wear so many different hats and there literally is never a dull moment. It forces you to learn so many different facets of business that you may not get to experience with a siloed career.
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career and why?
How contingent labor has developed into becoming a far more recognized procurement function. The increase in contract workers and how global companies recognize the importance of having a contract labor force has shifted significantly and as a result, it is an established HR Procurement function that requires subject matter expertise and oversight to regulate/implement, drive governance and compliance processes, cost measures, supply chain management and stakeholder adoption
Technology, including the use of a vendor management system (VMS), the development of customer relationship management systems (CRMs,) e-procurement tools, cloud technologies, job boards, etc., have created massive shifts as well.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your industry today - and how do you plan to solve it?
I would say that there are four major challenges
1. Unbalanced Labor Market
- Demand higher than supply for certain skillsets globally (IT, engineering, skilled trades)
- Baby Boomer generation beginning to exit the workforce and Gen Y/Z do not have the same skillsets across the population
- Unemployment lower than ever before
2. Competitive Sourcing/Outsourcing Landscape
- Plethora of staffing, MSP and VMS solutions overcrowding the landscape
- Human capital vendors reputation damaged due to excessive competition
- Lack of true differentiators in sourcing techniques and approaches – ultimately vendors are sourcing from the same pool
- Although technology has many benefits to our business, it limits the human interaction/soft skill capture in the sourcing process, which is absolutely critical in the sourcing and delivery processes
4. Client Stakeholders
- Adoption and change management of a new program/process
- Lack of willingness to adjust historical ways of working and thinking
All of the above cause delays to the sourcing process which slows business productivity and performance, ultimately increasing costs for the business.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement career-wise?
The establishment of trust based strategic client relationships that have allowed us to implement value driven complimentary solutions. As one example, I sold an RPO solution to my client that resulted in a full transformation of their IT Application Development team which historically had been supported by off shore contractors. The result was that a total of 48 FTE hires ranging from junior level developers through to Senior Solutions Architects. The success has been referred to other areas of the business and we are expanding services.
What’s your biggest (as yet) unfulfilled ambition - and what are you doing to achieve it?
I would like to take on a leadership role that expands past the management of my contingent labor programs. The role I envision will allow me to lead and mentor others on building client and peer relationships that will drive value for our company as well as our clients.
What three words do you think your colleagues and peers would use to describe you?
Customer-oriented, attentive and dedicated.
Finally, what piece of advice would you give to young women starting their careers in the field of sourcing, outsourcing and procurement?
Procurement is a profession that I have found to champion diversity and one whereby your success as a female professional will not be hampered.
Sourcing, outsourcing and procurement offer deep insight into all aspects of a business operation – you get full exposure into indirect and direct processes, which truly is fascinating. Additionally, in your capacity you have a key role influencing business operational performance which naturally connects you to that company and is a source of pride and passion. Sourcing and procurement have historically been viewed unfavorably by organizations and employees alike as a vehicle to control supply chains and reduce costs; however, it is now getting the professional recognition it deserves. A mature and highly functioning sourcing and procurement organization drives improved financial and operational performance, creating an optimized business that is primed for growth. Sourcing and procurement organizations govern internal supply chain behavior, ensure that the best suppliers are enlisted to support an organization at market costs and enable better business operations.
This is a challenging yet hugely rewarding profession. I feel valued as a key business partner for my clients and appreciate that my category/in-market expertise are proactively solicited to drive optimization.