IWD: Women in Procurement share their voices

In support of International Women’s Day on March 8, we have been talking with Carina Hoogeveen, senior director of marketing EMEA at contract lifecycle management experts Icertis. Carina has published a story of her career in procurement on LinkedIn, where she outlines the importance of championing women in the industry and of course in technology.

Here’s a snapshot from her posting:

“As a senior female, I am honoured to support initiatives that help elevate fellow women. We need to pull each other up and push each other to take risks and excel. For each of us, our job is to ensure that we are mindful about our own behaviours and to ensure that we are continuing to create an environment where the people we work with can be themselves, have equal access to opportunities, and those with less loud or assertive voices are given space to be heard in meetings and discussions. The role that men (and women) in procurement can play is to help support their team members and team mates to remove self-limiting beliefs to allow them to flourish in new roles consistent with their aspirations.”

In conjunction with Icertis we’ve been honoured to get some first-hand insight while talking with a number of female procurement professionals about their choice of career, their role within the procurement industry and what’s important to them:

Warda Allaoua, Senior Director Legal Contracts and Projects at Celgene

What attracted you to procurement as a place to build a successful career?

“I wanted to stay close to the business (R&D) while playing a strategic role in achieving synergies and driving initiatives to deliver benefits to the business. My role in R&D procurement brought me all of these: helping the R&D organisation to focus on delivering scientific outcomes, while having professionals in R&D procurement helping them achieve synergies, building strategic partnership with their suppliers, driving accountability and reliability, and so on.”

What opportunities and challenges have you experienced in the profession?

“Procurement roles provide a great opportunity to work with a variety of stakeholders in any company, on a variety of projects, and by such provide exposure to executive levels, internal stakeholders and strategic projects. The challenge is to change the perception that some may have of the role and value of procurement people: we are not (only) about bringing costs down.”

What do you think are the key skills/attributes required for success in this industry?

“The classical ones: business acumen, project management, negotiation skills, financial and analytical skills, attention to detail. And my preferred ones: curiosity and treating your suppliers with respect!”

What one piece of advice would you give to women looking to build a career in procurement?

“I would always advise women to start with a good understanding of the business area they are supporting and build strong partnership/relationship with internal stakeholders.”

 

Celine Arquizan, Head of strategy and development for the contracting sector of excellence at Sanofi

What attracted you to procurement as a place to build a successful career?

“When I was a student, one of my teachers was a former CPO. He had worked in several industries, across different countries and was passionate about his job. He was eager to communicate how procurement brings value to the business and he always had interesting anecdotes to share. It was really inspiring, so that’s why I decided to start my career in procurement.”

What opportunities and challenges have you experienced in the profession?

“Working in Procurement/CLM environment within an international company has allowed me to experience several positions and roles at local and global levels, and work in different countries. Procurement covers a large scope of activities and offers lots of variety of roles, whether you purchase raw materials or services such as marketing or media.”

How do you think the increased use of technology is affecting the role of procurement and the people attracted to it?

“In my opinion, technological change is one of the biggest challenges we are facing, because of all the new tools you can leverage: robotics, AI, process mining, and so on. At the same time, it is all very exciting and requires us to change the traditional way of doing things. You need to be resilient and open to change to succeed.”

What are the key skills/attributes required for success in this industry?

“I believe the key skills to succeed in this industry are adaptability, resilience, being able to build trusting partnerships with your suppliers, as well as being “customer oriented” to best serve your internal clients.”

Why would you recommend a career in procurement?

“The Procurement/CLM space is really broad, and you can easily find a job that will inspire you. What I find particularly interesting in procurement is that it involves finding ways to make a positive social impact, and tackle the environmental challenges that our modern economy faces.”

Look out tomorrow for the view of Katie Tamblin of Achilles Information

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