Tell us about your career path. How did you get into this field? Was it purposeful or by accident?
I actually started out my career working as a project manager and functional consultant leading ERP implementations in the HR and procurement space at public sector clients for various boutique consultancies, while also helping the firms’ market and grow their businesses. One of the issues we frequently ran into was the inability of these large integrated suites or products to effectively manage and innovate on the nuances of contingent workforce, indirect procurement, and service procurement spend. When I graduated with my MBA from IE Business School with a focus on marketing and strategy, it was a natural fit to join the contingent workforce management industry at DCR Workforce, combining my background in HR and procurement technology and my education in business strategy and marketing.
While I was at DCR, (which was recently bought by Coupa Software in one of the larger acquisitions in the industry’s history), I helped to rebrand the firm from the ground up, won numerous accolades for its leading vendor management system (VMS) product, transformed its digital presence and capabilities and built a best-in-industry demand generation platform.
In late 2018, I joined Simplify Workforce as the SVP of Marketing and Strategy, an innovative provider of workforce technologies, including contingent workforce management and services procurement. I was brought on board to bring our products to market, drive continued rapid growth and generate demand for the company and our flagship product, SimplifyVMS.
Would you follow that same path again if you had the choice?
Yes! I love this industry and find it very rewarding working for SaaS solution providers who are helping HR and procurement executives realize significant ROI from their businesses. It’s also a very exciting area to be in right now, since there’s a great amount of innovation and opportunity for transformation, such as digital procurement, advanced automation and intelligence/machine learning. There are so many firms doing very cool things!
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career and why?
That’s a hard question, and my tip of tongue answer would be technology since it’s impacted the industry and my career in marketing. However, thinking about it more deeply, I’d have to say it’s the people. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have worked with (and continue working with) some of the most agile, innovative and forward-thinking people. It’s opened up the path to several professional opportunities, and I’ve learned so much.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your industry today - and how do you plan to solve it?
I think that a lot of people are starting to have serious conversations about total talent management (TTM) – that is, aligning internal talent acquisition models to create a strategic sourcing model for all types of talent engagement. While the concept has been around for several years, it still remains an abstract topic in the United States. Around that, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry in terms of achieving TTM is going to be breaking down the barriers between separate technology solutions that have historically had pretty narrow focuses. For example, HR technologies were built largely to attract, engage, and retain employees, while procurement systems often viewed workers as resources to be planned as opposed to people to be managed. However, attracting a quality workforce necessitates an approach to engagement that is more reflective of an integrated view of talent and informs decision-making about the right balance of “build vs. buy” skills.
The solution, I believe, lies in having HR and procurement come together to break down silos and integrate spend, strategies and systems. While I do not think that there’s going to be a new, great human capital management (HCM) technology that emerges (one system to rule them all, and all that), I do think that it’s possible for solutions such as a VMS to become platforms and ecosystem players to drive innovation towards TTM and to power total talent sourcing strategies.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement career-wise?
I’m very proud of the growth and exposure I’ve been able to drive for the companies I’ve worked with and the strategic thinking I’ve been able to inform and guide.
What’s your biggest (as yet) unfulfilled ambition - and what are you doing to achieve it?
I’m going to answer this in two ways – personal and professional. So, I’m a big fan of education – i.e., I have two MBAs with different focuses. At some point I really want to go back to school for a doctorate degree. Right now, it’s an ambition for the more long-term future – I have two-year-old twins, so any spare time I have is accounted for!
Professionally, I’m very excited about what the future holds for Simplify Workforce. Our teams are doing some amazing things, and I’m uber focused on fulfilling my role in our growth.
What three words do you think your colleagues and peers would use to describe you?
I haven’t asked anyone to verify this, but I hope they would say strategic, agile and collaborative.
Finally, what piece of advice would you give to young women starting their careers in the field of sourcing, outsourcing and procurement?
Four things that I think are important not just to women but to any young person:
- Listen. I’ve learned so much in this industry by just listening to ideas, discussions and debates.
- Keep learning. This industry, and the world at large, are moving rapidly and you need to pivot and move with it. Take the time to focus on broadening your experiences and skills, whether it’s classes or certifications, reading about new ideas or learning a new tool.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s healthy, within reason, to challenge norms, debate ideas or change direction. In a collaborative environment, insightful recommendations will be valued and respected. And ask questions – it’s perfectly okay to not have the answer but ask and figure it out.
- Find your passion. You have to be passionate about what you do – we all spend too much time at work to not enjoy it. So, when you do some reflection and introspection (and if you don’t, you should), consider if what you’re doing is really something you care about. If it isn’t, pivot directions and find that passion. If it is, awesome! And as a caveat, as passionate as you may be about your career, try to find some balance in your life.