ProcureCon Canada: who to look out for
This week, Business Chief is attending ProcureCon Canada, the key event in the region for all procurement and supply chain leaders.
ProcureCon Canada takes place at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre on 9-10 April, and is billed as “Canada’s ONLY interactive, peer-led sourcing event”.
Set to include more than 50 speakers, the conference promises networking opportunities as well as all one needs to know about sourcing and supply chain management to make the best cost savings for businesses in every industry.
Now in its 10th year, ProcureCon gives companies the tools to transform their operations through a variety of panels, workshops and other events. This year a key theme will be technology disruptions and how best to implement tech into supply chain operations.
The Toronto strand of this worldwide initiative is totally dedicated to teaching businesspeople how to succeed in the Canadian market as well as across the globe.
Here are some faces to look out for…
Wael Safwat – Chairman, CIPS Canada.
A global chartered procurement and supply chain fellow, Safwat not only chairs the Canadian branch of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, but is also Director of Procurement – North America for construction company Black & McDonald Ltd. Therefore, Safwat brings a blend of qualifications and academic knowledge (he is also a lecturer, has written books and often delivers keynote speeches) as well as hands-on experience in helping large organisations transform their supply chains to remain competitive.
Don’t miss Safwat at ProcureCon if you want to learn about change management, value creation, global best practice in procurement and much more.
Shauna Gamble – Vice President, Procurement Aerospace/ Supply Chain, Bombardier.
One of the largest companies in Canada, aerospace manufacturer Bombardier is known throughout the world and looking after its supply chain is no mean feat.
Gamble heads up the business’ Aerospace Procurement organisation which was set up shortly after she joined the business. She is also in charge of Bombardier’s Procurement Academy which allows staff to become leading procurement professionals by providing them with the support and training they need to upskill.
Gamble is the go-to speaker at ProcureCon for those wishing to learn about commodity strategies, contract management and suppler relations. She also has extensive expertise in building upa procurement organisation within a global business and how the role of procurement has been brought to the fore in companies the world over.
Fatma Hassan – Director, Business Development & Partnerships, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC)
Having a sustainable, socially responsible and diverse supply chain is hugely important for any business, and now more than ever companies are rightfully being pushed to consider the impact their operations have on communities.
CAMSC aims to lead supplier diversity in every industry segment in Canada, in order to ensure wealth and jobs are created for Aboriginal and minority suppliers. The organisation does this through championing supplier relationships and the impact of this on economic growth.
Hassan supports the council’s efforts to improve supplier diversity through the delivery of events and programs. She can offer important insight int public policy as well as the impact of supply chain management on minority populations and what businesses can do to build a responsible, impactful procurement strategy.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.