Tell us about your career path. How did you get into this field? Was it purposeful or by accident?
My early career was in application/systems development (aka “programming”), but the company quickly learned that I not only was technical, but could also give presentations and was comfortable in customer-facing situations. I moved into pre-sales support and then into a role as a product manager, where one of my responsibilities was negotiating contracts with application partners.
When First Data made the decision to create a procurement organization to “leverage the purchasing power” of the various affiliate companies, I was one of two people selected for this. I later became CPO at First Data, and subsequently the procurement executive at other global companies,
Would you follow that same path again if you had the choice?
Yes! Procurement has been a perfect career for me.
What one factor has most profoundly changed the way you personally work since your first day in your first job?
Technology. When I started working, there were no cell phones, PCs or even answering machines. Technology has enabled speed, efficiency and globalization that would have never been possible otherwise.
What do you think are the best characteristics of a strong leader?
Having empathy, listening, being willing to take risks and knowing that failure isn’t fatal (not for you or your team).
What three words do you think your colleagues and peers would use to describe you?
Driven, passionate and focused.
What three words do you think your friends and family would use to describe you?
Successful, talkative and energetic.
Finally, what piece of advice would you give to young women starting their careers in the field of sourcing, outsourcing and procurement?
My advice to any young person, woman or man, starting their careers is:
- be passionate in your career, but keep balance in your life;
- learn your strengths and how to leverage them;
- know your weaknesses and strive to improve them, or at least don’t let them impact your success; and
- always act with utmost ethics—your reputation will both precede and follow you.