Staying ahead of the game and the importance of business ethics …
Many years ago I started my career working for a London Marketing Agency and one day was asked to take over a buying project by my boss. I had no idea what I was doing but I was organised and focused on dotting the I's and crossing the T's! It was a fairly traumatic experience buying directly from China but I delivered the project to spec and on time – hurrah! Long story short my boss asked me to take over the merchandise buying for our account team (which held some of the larger accounts in agency). I gave it some thought and accepted the challenge on the condition they funded my purchasing training.
So I found CIPS, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply and studied at night school for three years to gain my MCIPS. Working in an Agency back then involved extremely long hours so balancing it all wasn't easy, but I am so pleased I saw it through. The qualification has made a huge difference over the years to my thinking, the skills that I took to my role at the time and how I wanted to share that best practice with others in my sector and my team.
Today as CEO, my CIPS membership is still extremely important to what I do. We are an ethical sourcing company and we are leading the way in our space. That does require a huge amount of commitment and due diligence. We care about everyone connected in our supply chain and do what we can to drive better behaviours and change. Change in thinking differently about the materials we use and the people engaged down the chain in producing them. I have said many times before that Procurement have the power to change the world – they do, they make decisions that effect not only their own organisation but many other organisations, large and small – they can be #changemakers.
Whilst I never planned to study procurement, I am delighted I found myself in a role buying branded marketing products for local and global campaigns. I was proud to gain my MCIPS qualification, but I always wanted to keep developing my CPD and knowledge. The world is changing fast and as a CEO it's important that I am on top of my game in all areas which effect my business and my customers' businesses. Not only that, our journey to ethical sourcing and to sustainability has a deep connection for me and my team and from that comes real passion and commitment.
I was asked one day if I would volunteer for the CIPS Council and I did for three years, a brilliant experience meeting and engaging with leaders in procurement across all sectors. When I completed my volunteering on the Council, I was encouraged by a wonderful friend to go for my Fellowship. I was immensely proud in 2011 to become a Fellow of CIPS and my passion for our Institute continues. In 2011 I joined Shirley Cooper, Chair of the Fellows Committee as a member of Fellows Committee to bring amazing events to our amazing Fellows at amazing venues! My focus for those events often reflects my passion for ethical sourcing, driving sustainability and diversity in the supply chain – all very topical today.
I have wanted to complete my ethics test and go for my Chartered status for a long time, but as an SME there is always something taking precedence over my time.
I am delighted that I have finally achieved my Chartered status. Whilst our business can demonstrate commitment and rigor to ethical sourcing it is important for me, as the leader of our business to compete this, sending a clear message from the top down to encourage and inspire my team to continue to grow and develop.