Leadership Lessons From the C-Suite

“Leadership is the most important process in all of business.” — Dr. Robert Kemp, president of Kemp Enterprises

Throughout the session “How We Did It: Gaining Professionalism, Developing Leadership Skills, Building Teams and Leading Business Success,” there were numerous inspirational messages on leadership from some of the most successful leaders in the supply management field. The following is just a sampling of what the esteemed panel had to share on the topic of leadership and professionalism.

Lisa Martin, C.P.M., senior vice president and chief procurement officer at Teva Pharmaceuticals, and ISM’s 2013 recipient of the J. Shipman Gold Medal Award, discussed women in leadership.

Martin sees a resurgence in discussions about gender in the workplace and the rising awareness of unconscious bias in companies. She emphasized the importance of having a thick skin, and the ability to have offensive and defensive leadership tactics without burning bridges. And don’t forget, always have patience. Look at where you’re starting from and celebrate your singles — which are just as important as home runs.

Shelley Stewart, Jr., CPSM, vice president, sourcing and logistics/chief purchasing officer at DuPont, made an excellent statement about the purpose of networking — it’s not about just having someone to help you find the next job, but having someone to talk to for support and feedback. And today’s supply chain management practitioners must have passion for the job. Stewart advises practitioners to run toward risk-taking, not away from it.

Brad Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, focused on the importance of mentoring, both as a mentee and mentor. “Try to mentor five to 10 people. And if that’s cascaded, we can change the profession. Be a mentor, find a mentor, or both and help change the world,” he said.

Angel Mendez, senior vice president of Cisco transformation at Cisco, advises practitioners to always be learning. Have a global curiosity. And most important, consider your style — the package that skills come in.

R. David Nelson, C.P.M., A.P.P., CEO and senior adviser for Dave Nelson Group Inc., encourages people to make a real contribution wherever you’re at and at whatever level.

Finally, Dr. Kemp, who opened the panel discussion, closed the session with some inspiring words: “Never miss an opportunity to achieve success. Get yourself good mentors, listen to them and learn. And build and reward your team.”

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