An Interview with Tom Derry: ISM’s New CEO (Part 2)

Please click here for Part 1 in this post.

Spend Matters (continued): What are some of the policy issues most likely to surface as important for you and your members (e.g., H1B visas)?

Tom Derry: Regarding the H1B visa challenge, I saw firsthand that even within the finance world (let alone IT and other areas), there are not enough people with good technical skills who can get into the country. This is a good example of the kinds of issues that might work for us to add a voice in the policy world on behalf of our members. I suspect many corporations would generally agree that to recruit talent globally and redeploy talent where it is needed makes good business sense. More broadly, reducing barriers (generally) is often in the best interest of corporations.

With the visa issue, I also believe there are legitimate policy questions around security and border crossings where we need to take a reasonable and sensible view to protect our national interests. There is no doubt, however, that recruiting and deploying talent more effectively across the globe is a good public policy issue that ISM could be on the forefront of in the future.

Spend Matters: Can you comment on the role that you see ISM playing more broadly around the globe -- if there is such a role?

Tom Derry: It is hard to drive the line between having a domestic versus global focus when you work with corporations. It is inevitable and unavoidable that US-based and US-centric organizations also need an association that can serve their global needs, since business is global today. ISM is one of the oldest and most established member organizations. Even though ISM is US-based and can be perceived as domestically oriented, the organization has already made important steps in expanding its global influence and footprint.

The global angle will be a priority to influence the impact and value that ISM can bring. However, we would like to wield influence in public policy and industry matters around the world not because we're based in the US or because we have resources, but because we're respected for the intelligence of our positions. We would also like to be more active commercially on a global basis.

Spend Matters: What is the role of industry certifications globally?

Tom Derry: Take the CPSM®. This ISM certification should assume its place as the most acknowledged designation in the field around the globe. As its stature increases around the world, the value of the certification and the value it brings to the profession do too.

Expanding globally also increases the value for those who hold the CPSM® as well as those companies that leverage the certification and the standards it represents. Given this, those opportunities to expand ISM's operations more globally do make perfect sense. It is my hope that we will oversee this expansion as the market dictates, including hosting meetings and educational sessions in various locales around the world. I believe the opportunity to work globally is in the spirit of influence while it also allows us to bring a positive service to the profession through global certification standards.

Spend Matters: In its programming, training and certification, should ISM focus on the truly innovative and top performing organizations or the long tail of procurement sophistication?

Tom Derry: This is a dynamic within the association world that applies almost irrespective of the function. It happens in treasury/finance. And it happens in procurement. Wherever we happen to be in our careers, we can all benefit from the knowledge of the true leaders around us. This should be central to driving additional members to join ISM and to get those already in the membership more involved.

Stay tuned as we conclude our conversation with Tom Derry in the final post in this series, where Tom will answer this question and more..

- Jason Busch and Peter Smith

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