Tell us about your career path. How did you get into this field? Was it purposeful or by accident?
I was involved in several organizations in college. My sorority put on an annual fundraising event that I chaired. I hired a local company to source and produce all the print, promotional items and apparel. They offered me a job. They wanted to infuse the company with younger people and setup an internship program.
I started in sales and marketing. I did marketing and print procurement until my company was acquired by The Sourcing Group (TSG) in 2013. I served as the Chief Growth Officer for TSG, an outsourced print management firm, until taking on the position of President at Real Sourcing Network (RSN) in August 2018.
When doing print and marketing services procurement, I saw a need in the market for a print category specific e-sourcing tool that automated competitive bidding, monitored supplier performance and captured savings and spend data. This motivated me to transition into software and start a company that has a niche print and marketing services software sourcing tool that add values to procurement and marketing stakeholders.
Would you follow that same path again if you had the choice?
No, I would have transitioned to the software side of procurement sooner. I saw a need in the market on the buy side while doing print and marketing services procurement, but I was afraid to leave my “stable corporate” job.
I wish I would have taken the entrepreneurial risk sooner and found the right investors to back my company the first time. I hit a snag in getting my business going by being associated with investors that did not have my morals and values. Luckily, a mentor introduced me to the owners of Real Sourcing Network who are aligned with my goals, values and vision.
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career and why?
Making the shift from traditional sales to content driven marketing. I learned that adding value and providing helpful information is a much better way to build a brand than making cold outreaches. Procurement people don’t want to be sold to – they want to learn and are looking for new ways to be more efficient and drive change.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your industry today - and how do you plan to solve it?
The biggest challenge facing the print category is the lack of procurement’s control and influence on the marketing print spend. Companies need to hire procurement professionals with good interpersonal skills who can build relationships, sell and drive change. These people skills are much more important than technical sourcing skills which can be learned.
What three words do you think your colleagues and peers would use to describe you?