The Hottest Profession

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.

-Albert Einstein

In the midst of tariff wars and constant threats of the corporate giants like Amazon and Apple, global crises and competition have created an unprecedented need for creative solutions to maintain profitability of the business. In order to fulfill the needs of the business, organizations more than ever are equally turning to Marketing & Procurement to drive business profitability together. Over the past decade the Procurement function has seen a drastic shift from a cost focus to a ‘value’ mindset.

Formerly, the skill set needed by a Procurement professional were basic financial analysis, negotiation, project management, and contracting. Now, the professional must be well versed in complex global negotiations, process improvement initiatives, multi-year financial analyses, and long term strategic innovation drivers to create significant step improvements in cost that drive business value. They are challenged to think about revenue generation or development of large scale consolidation initiatives. 

Their sourcing strategies must align with the business strategy but also challenge the status quo to drive healthy disruptions which is why Procurement and Sourcing professionals alike must become transformational leaders in their organizations. This is the only way to achieve the fierce but delicate balance between Cheap, Fast, and Good.

The function has truly transformed from RFP monkeys to innovative business catalysts for change. With over 2500 open Procurement roles in the Chicagland area alone, it is clear that this growing profession will require new avenues for workforce development of this specialized skill set. Beyond the well respected Institute for Supply Management, universities like Michigan State University and Baylor University are actively seeking to enhance their Supply Chain programs and market young talent to large corporations such as Walgreens. Even Forbes 2017 wondered, “Will Procurement Be The Hottest Job Of The Decade?” 

Yes, Forbes….. Yes it is!!!!

The Making of a Nerd

I grew up in a Japanese household before origami and ramen were trendy.

My grandmother, Toshiko, immigrated from Northern Japan shortly after WWII and had 6 children with my Polish/German grandfather. Soon after they met my German grandmother, Patricia, who is a talented Opera singer in Milwaukee, WI. Toshiko became a seamstress at the Skylight Opera House and developed a friendship with Patricia. Patricia had a son and Toshiko had a daughter around the same age…….and the rest is history!!!

Dad left at a young age so Grandma Susie (Toshiko) stepped in to raise us. We called her Grandma “Sushi” and boy was she a RIOT! Her magnetic, outgoing personality made friends INSTANTLY anywhere we went! Airplanes, slot machines, restaurants, and more! Her accent was thick but her smile was delightful!

My story starts here because at a young age she and my mother taught me hard work and kindness which translates to who I am today and why Procurement has been such a great career for me! My mother, Mei-lyn, started as an insurance saleswoman and blossomed into an intelligent, successful businesswoman adept in financial planning, real estate, tax planning/preparation, restaurant/bar/event space owner, and more! As a TRUE entrepreneur, we even attended a Harley Anniversary parade one year and sold ear plugs to the attendees!!!!! It was mildly successful but was a great learning experience!

She is never afraid to try something new and dive into a new business venture! She is a daily inspiration to keep pressing on despite racism, sabotage, and downright UNFAIRNESS in the world.

The great thing is that all of the positive things these women showed me, has created an inspirational leader in my career. I found myself in a career that allows me to feed my same desire for learning. I can negotiate fair agreements, though I am a tough negotiator it has been said (and awarded). I get to mediate between groups and all the while make a positive financial impact on my company’s bottom line! All the while, I can leverage my analytical & financial ‘saavyness’ taught by my mother Mei-lyn ‘the human calculator.’

That being said, this page is dedicated to those that wake up in the morning and greet each day with the same WARMTH as Susie ‘Toshiko’ Paradowski and those that MASTER the day like Mei-lyn ‘the OG Entrepreneur’ Nelson.

Thanks for visiting,

Jenni ‘The Procurement Nerd’ Baez

#procurement #.