The Best Advice From A Collection Of Procurement Mentors

Posted by Hannah Broaddus

The Best Advice From A Collection Of Procurement Mentors

Recently I asked a fun question to procurement professionals on Procurious, an online procurement network:

What is the best thing your procurement mentor taught you?

Think of your favorite mentor in the procurement arena over the course of your career. What did they teach you? How did they encourage your career to grow? What were they like? How did they set a good example for you?

The answers that I received were not only engaging and inspiring, but also included lots of useful career insight that I thought would be great to share.  At the most basic level, each one showed how deep-seated the respect and camaraderie is between a mentor and mentee.


Advice From Procurement Mentors


Become comfortable with silence.


My procurement mentor taught me that our role is all about service. Help colleagues in departments to achieve their objectives, help your organization achieve it's objectives - that's the secret to a great procurement function.


The best advice I received from a mentor was when I first started in the profession. He told me that no matter my age or experience, I shouldn't be afraid to voice my thoughts and opinions (assuming they were relevant and constructive if there were problems) and to stand up for my ideas. Being young in a profession dominated by older, more experienced people was a bit intimidating but his advice and support helped me to find my voice.


Amongst all good stuff I’ve learned from him, one sentence remains in my relationship with suppliers: there ain't no such thing as a free lunch!


Learn to be versatile in your communication so you can engage more effectively with stakeholders.


I had a great mentor once when I was still mucking about in warehouse management / inventory control. He gave me an in-depth overview of procurement in general, and encouraged me to pursue this discipline. Best thing I did. Our paths diverged after a while but I still have great respect for him. He had great patience and understanding, and took the time to slowly answer my then ignorant questions about procurement.


My mentor provided me with priceless support by showing me what works and what doesn't in different organizations, the efficiency of e-Procurement, processes and stakeholder approaches. Everything fell into place and I worked from the ground upwards. Mentor still around for strategic innovative discussions. The best inspirational person I've met thus far.


I met a brilliant lady who became a mentor and coach for me about 15 years ago. She encouraged me to change careers and move from HR into Procurement. Over the years she has encouraged me at every step, and the main thing she has done is to encourage me to believe in my own skills and abilities, and to trust my own instincts. She has fantastic communication skills, and I have tried to model those same skills in my own work. She has now moved out of procurement, but remains in my life to support and encourage me, and challenge my thinking when needed.


Did you get some great advice in your career? We want to hear what it was. Share your favorite advice from a mentor in the comments below.

Topics: Purchasing & Procurement



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