By Susan Avery
“This profession has taught me so much about organizations and how they operate. I truly believe that a strong supply chain distinguishes great companies from good ones and is a competitive edge crucial in today’s global economy.”
Linda Rigano, Executive Director, Media Relations at ThomasNet, attributes this quote to a procurement professional recognized recently by the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars program, a ThomasNet and Institute for Supply Management initiative to advance the future of the supply chain profession.
“Our organizations share a common goal,” Rigano tells My Purchasing Center. “We need to fill the pipeline with Millennial talent. One of the best ways to attract people to the profession is through role models and showing that procurement is fun, creative, cool.”
ThomasNet and ISM announced the 30 Under 30 program at ISM2014 in May, asking ISM members and others to nominate young procurement and supply chain management professionals deserving recognition for their leadership qualities. The deadline for nominations was July 31, 2014. ThomasNet and ISM announced the winners in late January, 2015.
In addition to the 30 Under 30 recognition, winners receive a one-year membership to ISM and complimentary registration to the ISM2015 conference May 3-6 in Phoenix. A Mega Star and the individual who nominated him or her also receive an all-expense paid trip to the conference. Other prizes include subscriptions to trade publications.
Of the profession’s response to the call for nominations, Rigano says, “We held our breath, but what we got back in nominations was wonderful.” ThomasNet and ISM received 225 nominations, and put together a team of seven judges representing both organizations to select the 30 Under 30.
The 30 Under 30 “paint a very bright, rosy future for the procurement and supply chain management profession,” Rigano says. “It’s inspiring to all practitioners."
From the 30 Under 30, ISM chose a Mega Star who outshines the others, Kathryn Conrad Maynor of Shell Oil in Houston, Texas. “Selecting the Mega Star was a really tough choice,” M.L. Peck, Senior Vice President, Programs and Product Development at ISM, tells My Purchasing Center.
“Kathryn is truly a rock star,” Peck says. “What drew us in was her dedication to optimizing relationships within the supply chain to improve processes and drive results in the organization. She volunteers, and takes initiative with ISM-Houston. She was the lead on creating the first emerging professionals group, which resulted in a really impressive network."
ThomasNet and ISM surveyed the “30 Under 30” and found that all the supply managers are dismayed by negative perceptions others have of their generation. “They are frustrated with the impression that, as Millennials, they are not hard workers or that they are entitled,” Rigano says. “It’s absolutely not the case. They are not slackers.”
ISM’s Peck adds, “the 30 Under 30 is clearly a group that wants to take the initiative and advance the profession. They’re giving back by volunteering with professional and community organizations. Their family plays a big role in their lives as well.”
She points out that a career in procurement and supply chain management seems to be a good fit for Millennials and their value system. “The 30 Under 30 say their positions empower them to improve access to vital products and services, from medicines to clean energy, and contribute to sustainability goals,” Peck says. “They also allow them to make a big financial impact.”
The 30 Under 30 also want to correct an impression that they’re “techno geeks,” Rigano says, adding that their knowledge can help bring innovation to their organizations and the profession. One of the 30, she points out, introduced an e-auction tool that’s helping his organization reduce costs.
ThomasNet and ISM asked the 30 about their role models. Nearly every one cited their parents’ guidance. Rigano shares this quote from one: “At great personal expense, my parents supported, encouraged and challenged me to achieve my goals. They’ve been consistent models of selflessness, generosity, hospitality and hard work and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
Peck says that at least nine of the 30 plan to attend ISM2015 where ThomasNet and ISM will celebrate the program and announce details for the next competition. “Businesses need to understand this generation," she says. "We encourage people to spend time with the group. It will help change and shift your mindset. They don’t have traditional motivators. They truly value the chance to make a difference in an organization and giving back to the community.”
Rigano tells My Purchasing Center that the individuals who nominated the 30 Under 30 should also receive recognition. “They are great champions for the profession.”
Also see the My Purchasing Center articles ISM, ThomasNet to Recognize Young Supply Chain Professionals and Innovative Suppliers Accept Procurement Challenge.
Susan Avery is Editor-in-Chief at My Purchasing Center. She writes articles, blogs and white papers and manages and creates other content for the online procurement and supply management publication. She produces and moderates roundtable discussions, podcasts, webcasts and video interviews. Susan has 30 years experience covering procurement and supply management for Purchasing magazine and Purchasing.com.
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