Craig Lardner, procurement marathon man – a great CIPS Branch effort

I managed to catch up briefly and informally with Craig Lardner, the current CIPS President, on his current whirlwind tour of the UK.  Whilst it was a chat rather than an on-the-record interview, there was one point that I just had to capture here.

Many of you will know that Lardner is Australian and although he worked in the UK for some ten years with BOC, he has been back home for a while and is fulfilling his CIPS duties from the other side of the world.  But he has committed to visiting and speaking at EVERY CIPS branch during his year in office. Now in a few cases, they will be joint events – so last week, he spoke at a combined Kent / London branch event, for instance.

craig-lardner1So over his three main visits to the UK during his term of office - now, in June for the Graduation Ceremony and September for the SM Awards (and the Board of course), he will cover all 32 branches.

Assuming he achieves this, I'm pretty sure he will be the first President – certainly for many years – to have managed this feat. It’s pretty amazing to think that a guy based over 10,000 miles away from the UK will be the first to do so, and he deserves huge congratulations and admiration for making the effort. (I’m ashamed to say that it’s at least 25 more branches than I managed in my Presidential year!)

Every President from now will have to explain whether they are going to take up the ‘Lardner challenge’ themselves I suspect! To be fair, I think anyone with a demanding full time job in a large organisation would struggle to get the time to do this – Craig does have the benefit of a portfolio career and a fair but of flexibility. However, the downside of that life is that he is giving up personal earning opportunities to spend so much time on CIPS business, so again it’s a very admirable decision.

He’s also promoting his ‘pay it forward’ theme – do someone a procurement-related favour and they will pass it on.  So if you get the chance to see him at one of the branch events, go and give him support on his quest. He is in Leeds today and Newcastle tomorrow  (more detail via those links) , and if you can’t make it, look at how you can contribute via his ‘pay it forward’ idea.

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